The Ultimate Guide to the Drop Shot Rig for Bass Fishing
Whether you have already learned a variety of rigs or you need to improve your fishing style, drop shot fishing is one of those processes that can be intimidating for the beginner fisherman. In recent years, it has grown in popularity due to its wide publicity in tournaments, and, combined with specialized tackle options, it has become an easy option for people of all skills and experience to tie the rig. While the drop shot approach may require practice and focus, it has become a very popular rig for bass fishes due to the way the bait presents itself. If you are new to drop shot fishing, here is your one-stop shop to get you through each step of the process.
Recommended Best Drop Shot Rig Gear
What Is a Drop Shot Rig?
A drop shot rig is a simple setup. A line is tied to a hook with a trailing leader. The line is tied to a hook with a trailing leader that comes to an end with a weight. The weight is at the bottom and the hook and bait are placed above it. It is a very versatile setup for a variety of fishing scenarios, and as a result, this makes it a very enticing and effective practice for a whole range of fisherman, from amateur to pro. Many people believe it is the most effective rig for catching bass all year round.
Why Is it an Effective Rig?
One of the main reasons drop shot fishing is so popular is because, very simply, it works. Because the weight is at the bottom of the line, and the bait is suspended above it, it looks like the bait is moving naturally in water. Therefore, it lures more bass towards them, resulting in catching fish easily. For any angler, the importance of making the bait look alive is crucial to attracting fish. When you use a drop shot rig, the bait is suspended in a weightless environment, so it can move more naturally.
It’s also very effective for the angler. There is no need to move the bait continuously to try and attract other fish, and the water does a lot of the work for you. This is invaluable when you are planning a long day of fishing. Fishing is a very fatiguing activity, and drop shot fishing means you can stay out longer without experiencing the tiredness that comes with more intensive fishing practices.
Also, there’s a lot of versatility in the drop shot rig. It gives you the opportunity to fish almost anywhere. You can adjust the length of the leader and tie the lure above it, you can position your bait perfectly depending on the environment. For example, when you are fishing in eelgrass, you can tie a longer leader for the bait to float above it. The fish will see it when they look up to feed, making it a less labor-intensive practice for you, and the fish!
What Equipment Should You Use?
The drop shot rig is great for almost any fisherman, due to its simplicity and portability. You don’t need a lot of gear to do it properly. The basic setup includes the rod, reel, line, hook, weight, and bait.
Choosing the Right Drop Shot Hooks
Over the years the hooks have evolved, they have become a key part of any fisherman’s arsenal. When choosing a drop shot hook, select a model that is sharp and heavy enough to perform without breaking. There are a variety of hooks available, but the three types of drop shot hooks that perform well are Octopus style, straight shank O’Shaughnessy, and Spin shot/swivel shot. However, circle or finesse hooks also guarantee great results.
Depending on the bait you are targeting, the best size hook is either a 1 or 2. Ideally, the smaller the hook, the better, as this will be more inconspicuous to the fish. When you are choosing the right hook, you can choose one specifically designed for a split shot or drop shot fishing.
Picking the Right Drop Shot Weights
When working with drop shot weights, there are a number of conditions to consider, such as the depth of the water and the weather. As a general rule, ⅛ of an ounce is best, but make sure that you don’t go any bigger than ¼ oz. Choosing a weight with specialized tungsten comes with a clip-on top, so you can run your tag end through it, and use a simple overhand knot to clip it to the line, allowing for quick release. In water that is less than 15 feet, 1/8 oz is fine, between 15 to 25 feet you can use 3/16 oz, and more than 25 feet you should use 1/4 oz. You should also consider the situation you’re fishing in. If you are in choppy water or a strong current, a heavier weight may be necessary to attract the bait.
What Rods Should You Use With a Drop Shot Rig?
Drop shot fishing is a finesse technique, so you need to pick a lightweight tackle to get the best results. When it comes to rods, the best performing one is a spinning rod as you are fishing with lightweight tackle. While you may be able to use a casting rod, this makes it more difficult to cast lightweight tackle. A spinning rod is a better choice for amateurs and pros because they are easy to use, and give you more control of your cast.
The best rod length for drop shot fishing is 7 feet because it is a good compromise between a longer rod that performs better for casting and a shorter rod that is best for vertical fishing from a boat. Ultimately, it depends on where you will be fishing. If you are fishing vertically, you can choose a shorter length, between 6’6” to 6’8”, and if you are casting from shore, a rod between 7’2” and 7’4” is ideal.
When you are choosing the best rod power, medium power is the most effective. Because drop shot fishing is a finesse technique, you have to choose a rod with a strong rod backbone to set the hook in the mouth of a bass. Medium is the ideal choice for most, but you could choose a medium/light rod if you are fishing in open water. The best type of rod action for drop shot fishing is fast action, with a tip soft enough for subtle movements to the hook and bait. You should avoid extra fast action for most drop shot fishing as the tip is too stiff.
What Reels Should You Use With a Drop Shot Rig?
The best drop shot reel is a lightweight spinning reel with a fast retrieve rate. It is important to pick a lightweight real for drop shot fishing, as this works better with a lightweight rod and lightweight lines. When fishing for bass, you need a line that is able to handle the weight of the fish. Many people may choose ultra-lightweight due to its ease of use, but will not be able to handle bass weighing more than 5 lbs. A fast retrieve speed is crucial because bass can swim straight towards you after they’ve been caught so you need to take up the slack line quickly to keep up with the fish.
When choosing a fishing line, the best lines are made of fluorocarbon, as this is able to tie directly to your hook and has minimal visibility underwater. Your lead length needs will vary depending on the clarity of the water and the bass. When fishing in muddy water, the lead can be short, roughly between 1 and 2 feet. However, if you are in a crystal clear lake with around 30 feet visibility, the lead should be up to 7 or 8 feet.
The Best Drop Shot Baits
Where it comes to the best drop shot baits, there is a wide variety of soft plastic bait that you can use in drop shot fishing. The most commonly used types come in two different categories: shad imitations and finesse worms. However, when it comes to using bait, there’s a lot to choose from.
The finesse worm is a classic option, but the senko worm works for bass with a unique movement pattern. Shad-style bait is best when fish are feeding on minnows and shad. Craw bait mimics realistic crawfish movement, and creature bait has different movement types to entice finicky fish.
When choosing the best drop shot baits, you have to remember that the best practice is to mimic baitfish, or “match the hatch” as they say, as this is what bass will feed on throughout the year. When the fish are less likely to feed and are slow (in cooler temperatures), a straight worm will encourage a fish. But when you’re trying to attract a hungry and active fish in warmer water, fluke styles tend to work best, however, it’s always worth experimenting depending on the area you are in.
How to Set up a Drop Shot Rig
- The first thing you need to do is get your drop shot hook between your fingers and put the line through the top of the hook eyelet.
- Pull it through until you have approximately a foot or more tag end to make a leader.
- After this, you need to make a loop with it, place the line back through the bottom of the hook. Make a single knot with the loop while holding your loop on the bottom side of your hook, and take it over the front. This forms your knot. At this point, you can use a variety of knots, like the palomar knot with the drop shot rig, but the uni knot is considered the quickest and easiest setup to target your bait.
- Wet the line and cinch it tightly, which will leave you with a tag end. Take the tag end through the top of the hook, pull it tightly. This will cinch the hook on the line.
- Put your weight onto the line by clipping it onto the tag end or tying it. After this, rig the sinking work by hooking the bait through the middle. Using a soft plastic placement is vital that goes through the head portion of the bait. This gives you a bit more natural look in the water.
Time to Cast Off!
Once everything is set up, you can now cast your rod. Cast your rig to a spot where the fish are more likely to congregate, which could be along the side of a boat, under an overhanging tree, or next to reeds. Make sure the weight falls through the water so that it rests at the bottom and you wait for your catch. When you are around active fish, you can try popping, twitching, or shaking the bait to get a reaction from hungry bass.
Other Drop Shot Fishing Techniques
There will be different styles of fishing depending on the environment. Here are four techniques you can try:
One of the most common ways to fish a drop shot. If you find a school of fish, the drop shot is great so you can drop the bait, watch it fall on the fish, and as it stays in front of the fish, you can keep the bait in their face, and they will eat it. This is a technique used to give action to the bait without needing to cover much distance.
When you fish in a specific spot, you don’t need to cover much distance, but when you are in covering water, you can find the fish are more aggressive, especially during the spring when they are hungrier. Choose a heavier weight and shake it aggressively before casting the line out. Let it sink to the bottom, lower your rod and shake it while you drive it back towards you slowly, allowing your bait to hop along the bottom.
Swimbait Drop Shot
This is a technique that can catch suspended fish. It gives you a big advantage over many other anglers. To target any suspended bath, position yourself shallow and cast your bait deep. After you cast out, close your bail to stop your bait sinking straight down. The bait will follow a pendulum path, so it is pulled towards you as it sinks. This gives you the opportunity to reel the fish in slowly, incorporating some rod twitches when the bait gets to the desired depth.
Another fishing technique using a drop shot. You hook your bed Texas rig, and you flip the drop shot into any cover like you would any other type of flipping type. You let the bait sink and shake it a couple of times, pause, and shake it again.
How to Reel in the Fish
Now, reel in slowly, while jiggling or lifting the tip of the rod up and down around 6 inches, this makes sure you don’t make any sudden movements and scare the bass away. Make sure that you keep the weight on the bottom or near the river bed or lake. If you have no success at this point, try again, but change the speed of the rod jiggling and reel turning. At this point you could drag the weight across the bottom, so the bait will move more enticingly off the bottom while keeping the weight of the bottom of the lake.
The Benefits of Drop Shot Rigs
As you can see, the process is a great way to catch hungry bass, and when you compare the drop shot rig to a more popular rig, such as the Texas rig or Carolina rig, it’s easy to see why people go for this over the others. When you compare this to a Texas rig, a drop shot rig bait is always suspended off the bottom. This means the bait is either at a high level or just a little bit over the fish when they are on the bottom of the river or lake.
From the perspective of the fisherman, this allows them to keep the bait in the strike zone for much longer. In comparison to a Carolina rig, a drop shot rig is far easier to cast. The bait is always suspended, and is easier to catch any suspended fish, but it also allows you to adjust the depth accordingly. As the weight is on the bottom, you can feel the bottom of the lake or river much better.
Drop shot fishing is one of the best finesse fishing techniques that have taken the fishing scene by storm recently. It is a way for you to shake up your fishing style and is a method that can be applied in various types of water. It is a key setup every bass fisherman needs to use. It is a technique that regularly wins tournaments. But it is also a great way for you to apply less effort and actually enjoy the act of fishing rather than using a lot of phsyical effort. Start incorporating a drop shot into your fishing, and it will make a massive difference to your technique and overall enjoyment.