Tag Archives: spotted bass

Drop Shot 101

If I could only use one technique to catch fish consistently, it would have to be the drop shot.  Thanks to the urging of some close friends, I finally picked up the drop shot about 5 years ago, and since then, my fish-less days have become much fewer and much farther between.  Some people will claim the drop shot only catches small fish, but I have a photo album full of big fish, especially big spotted bass, that have all fallen victim to the drop shot.

The great thing about the drop shot is that you can custom tailor it to almost any fishing situation.  It is so versatile that you  can fish it with 6lb fluorocarbon and a #4 hook or 80lb braid and a 5/0 straight shank flipping hook.  While I could probably fill a book with the things I have learned about the drop shot, that is not the point of this post.  This post is geared to the fisherman who has never picked up, or just picked up the drop shot.  The number 1 key to learning to fish this, and any technique, is confidence.  Hopefully this article will give you just enough that you can stick it out a few days and see just how great a technique the drop shot can be.

The body of water you are fishing will really dictate the direction you go as far as your line, hook and weight sizes.  I normally fish deep, clear lakes with spotted bass making up the majority of the bass population.  These lakes are highly pressured, and finesse is usually the name of the game.  However, if you are fishing a shallow lake with heavy cover, the concepts will be the same, just not the line/hook size.

The first thing you need to do is tie on your hook.  This is very simple.  If you can tie a Palomar knot, you can rig a drop shot.  Tie your hook on with the Palomar knot, but leave a long tag end (approx. 12 inches).  Once you have your hook tied on, take the hook and hold it between two fingers.  Hold it so that the hook point is up, and then run your tag end of line back through the eye of the hook.  Let go of the hook, and finish pulling the tag end through the hook eye.  Once the tag end is fully through the eye of the hook, grab your line above the hook in one hand, and below the hook in the other.  Pull it tight, and your hook should be situated so that the point is facing up.  This is very important to ensure you are hooking up with the fish that bite.  After that, all you need to do is clip your weight on the tag end and hook your bait on the hook.

Now, there are two basic ways to rig your bait, and it will usually depend on if you are fishing around a lot of cover or not.  The first is with the hook point exposed (nose hooking/wacky hooking) and the second is with the hook point buried inside your worm (Texas/Texposed style).  Generally I will rig my worms with the hook point exposed.  The area I usually fish has very little for the hook point to get hung on.  However, when I fish in heavier cover, I will go to a re-barb hook or even a heavy duty flipping hook to help keep from getting hung up.

Once you have everything all rigged up, the next step is to decide if you are going to fish vertically or cast your rig.  Vertical fishing will rely on your sonar reading skills, and your ability to get over fish, drop your bait down and tempt the fish to eat.  This can be extremely productive when the fish are schooling on your local body of water.  Lakes with a lot of vertical timber (such as Lake Lanier in Georgia) or brush piles, a vertical approach can be deadly.  If you have a lot of brush piles on your local lake, I would suggest rigging up a drop shot and sitting over those piles for a few moments and make a few drops straight into the pile and give it a few shakes.  You may be surprised what you pull out!

If the fish aren’t schooling, and you don’t have a list of brush piles to fish, don’t fret!  Most of the fish I have caught on the drop shot have been from actually casting it.  On my local lake, we have a lot of bluff walls, and I will fish down those with the drop shot, and many times be very successful.  Just with any technique, you will need to fish where the fish are, but the drop shot will give you a unique presentation over the typical Texas rig, jig and shakey head.  Simply cast your drop shot out over any are you feel may hold fish.  Let it sink to the bottom and then reel up a majority of the slack, but not all!  You will want a little bit of a bow in your line, and then start shaking.  You will want to make the bow in the line become tight but try not to actually move your bait any closer to you.  Of course the bait will work its way to you, but you will want to move it as slowly as possible, while still shaking it as much as possible.  It seems like some days you cannot shake the bait fast enough, while others they barely want the bait moving.  Just experiment until you start catching fish.

The final key to the drop shot is the hook set.  Depending on the style of hook you are using, your hook set will vary.  If you are using the Texas/Texsposed style rig, set the hook like you would with any other worm!  However, if you are using a nose hook the last thing you want to do is jerk to set the hook.  Simply lift on your rod to slowly apply pressure and reel like a mad man.  This will tighten the line up on the fish and the little bit of pressure will be plenty to drive the smaller hooks home.

Hopefully this little post will be helpful to some of the new drop shotters out there.  If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Finally, never let anyone tell you big fish won’t eat a drop shot.  This is a 5+lb spot that I caught on 6lb line, a #2 hook and a tiny fluke.  And this isn’t the only one, I have caught quite a few quality bass on the drop shot over the years!