The drop shot technique is a true finesse technique, requiring only the most subtle of twitches at strategically timed intervals. This technique is meant to be fished using light line, and light tackle; which typically means spinning reels and light rods. Stealth and subtlety are key when presenting your lure to a fish. Popularized in California, this technique is extremely versatile and can be fished vertically, or cast out. Terminal tackle and lures can be scaled and modified to fit any situation: deep, shallow, weedy, and rocky; just to name a few. When all other techniques fail, the drop shot will produce fish even during hardest seasons.
How to Tie the Rig
Because this rig is heavily dependent on stealth and subtlety, it is recommended to use no more than 8-10lb test, of pure fluorocarbon or copolymer. To rig a drop shot, an octopus hook is tied on with a Palomar knot, and a tag end of about 10-12″ is left hanging below the hook. Loop this long tag end back through the eye of the hook (open end of the hook should be facing up and the line goes down from the open end of the hook). When you pull your line tight, your hook should be sitting out sideways, with the hook point facing up. If your hook is facing down, you have made a mistake in the process and should redo the knot. An improperly tied drop shot rig will not catch fish.
You don’t want the weight to be too light, or the lure will be lifted too far during movement. You don’t want the weight to be too heavy, as it will cause the lure to “snap” violently when the line becomes taut during a twitch. Choose an appropriately sized bass casting sinker or drop shot specific clip-on sinker to attach to the long tag end. If you choose to use a casting sinker, you can use a simple improved clinch knot. If you choose a clip-on sinker, specifically made for drop shotting, tie a single overhand knot at the very end of your tag line, and then clip your weight just above this.
This weight is designed to help you keep your hook and lure in the case of an unescapable weight snag. The weight slips off the line when pulled past its grabbing strength; however, if you would like to try and recover the entire rig, the knot will help to hold the clip weight on the line while you pull.
How to Rig the Lure
You may choose to nose-hook, Texas rig, or even wacky rig your lure, depending on the type of vegetation you are fishing around. I personally prefer to texas rig my lures because it keeps them relatively weedless when I cast my drop shot out and pull it through vegetation.
If you would like to rig your lure wacky style, I would suggest rubber o-rings to hold your plastic lure in place on the hook, to preserve the lure. Alternatively, you can purchase drop shot hooks with weed guards, however, some believe the added bulk detracts from the purpose of this technique.
When choosing to Texas rig, you may also tie the drop shot rig using an offset worm hook, or EWG (extra wide gap) hook. This will, of course, depend on the size of your lure. You can definitely use this technique with larger lures, just make sure you scale your hook and weight accordingly. Tie the rig the same way you would with an octopus hook, and rig your lure.
Best Lures for Drop Shotting
Much praise has been sung for the iconic Yamamoto Senko. This plastic worm, along with all of its copies, is irresistible to bass when rigged wacky style. When rigged in this way, the Senko subtly flutters its way down the water column; each half briskly “flopping” up and down as it falls. When using this lure, lift the weight up, and lower it slowly as you follow the worm down with your rod. Add in a couple pops every now and then to get the attention of bass just passing through.
Small worms such as Roboworms, Zoom finesse worms, etc., make a great lure when nose hooked or texas rigged on a small octopus hook (size 0 or 1). When twitched up and down, the lure’s tail whips around elegantly, hypnotizing the fish into biting. Its small and thin profile allow it to slither through thick vegetation, enticing fish in places you wouldn’t even think to throw light tackle.
“Match the hatch” If you haven’t heard this figure of speech before, all you need to know is: observe the small prey fish around your area, and do your best to match your lure size and color to them, and you’ll be sure to land a fish. Minnows, like the Berkeley Gulp! Minnow have an extremely subtle action, as they are short and small in mass. They will typically have a paddle tail or split tail that gives off small vibrations; the way a small baitfish would. Lift your rod gently up and down with a few twitches in between to mimic an injured or dying baitfish. Bass love an easy meal.
How to Fish the Rig
After you feel your lure reach the bottom, you can begin gently twitching the rod to apply movement to the lure. Twitches should require only slightly movements of the wrist, and should not be so vigorous as to seem unnatural to the fish. It is best to twitch the rod on a semi-slack line. Too slack and your lure won’t move, but too tight and your lure will move unnaturally. Don’t lift the weight up off the bottom unless you are casting your drop shot out.
When setting the hook on a drop shot rig, a broad and powerful sweeping motion is not recommended as this usually ends up pulling the hook out of the fish’s mouth. Instead, set the hook by reeling down to the fish, then continue to reel while applying smooth, upward pressure on the rod. It will be beneficial to have a rod with a medium strength and a fast to extra-fast action.