If you think the drop-shot technique works only when the fish aren’t biting, you’re overlooking a valuable tool. This fabulous rig for soft plastics has become an integral part of my arsenal. I’ve always been a heavy-line/big-bait angler, but this nifty system has helped me catch a lot of fish the past couple of years.
The drop-shot rig is fashioned by tying a small hook onto the line and leaving a long tag end beneath the lure onto which a sinker is attached. With the bait above the sinker, you can present lures to fish that are on or just off the bottom and tease them into striking.
The more I play with it, the more I’m impressed with its versatility. It’s definitely a finesse technique, but one that works in a variety of situations and in both deep and shallow water.
About the only time a drop-shot rig isn’t very effective is in dirty water. It is a subtle method of fishing, so the bass need to see it to bite it. That’s why it is so deadly in clear water.
Here are some of the situations where I’ve consistently caught fish with it.
Early Spring – When bass are bedding, pitch a heavy sinker to the opposite side of a bed and flick the lure just above the nest. That drives bass crazy. Also, try tying a stretchy piece of rubber band between the end of the line and a heavy tungsten sinker. This allows you to see-saw the bait back and forth over the bed without moving the sinker.
Post-Spawn – Once the spawn is over, bass will follow shorelines to main-lake points on their way to off-shore areas. I used to fish a Texas-rigged worm along those banks, but I now use a drop-shot rig. I can fish it faster than a Texas rig and cover water quicker and more thoroughly.
Summer Ledges – I like to pull drop-shot rigs where I used to fish Carolina rigs, such as over the ends of deep points and down creek ledges. The drop-shot rig stays in the strike zone better on those steeper breaks.
There are times, however, when it is more effective to fish it slowly uphill rather than downhill. Place the boat on the shallow side of the structure, cast deep and finesse the bait up the ledge. This works best when the fish aren’t in a chasing mood and holding tighter to the bottom.
Vertical Jigging – I’ve seen the drop-shot rig be more effective for fishing deep cover in places where I once fished jigging spoons and other vertical presentations. Those places would include around bridge pilings, deep docks and standing timber.
If the fish are suspended, don’t be afraid to set your leader length longer. I’ve used 6-foot leaders on my rigs at times. It makes it more difficult to cast, but you can keep the bait closer to suspended fish. Never get hung up on one leader length whenever you are drop-shotting. An 8- to 12-inch length is okay when fish are hovering near the bottom, but be willing to experiment.
Rocky Bottoms And Current – If you’re fishing a deep river or canal with strong current, rig a drop-shot with a walking sinker. It doesn’t hang up in rocks as easily as other sinkers.
Texas rigs and Carolina rigs work in that scenario, but the sinker snags more frequently. By fishing the drop-shot rig vertically with the walking sinker, you can bounce it along the bottom and catch fish more efficiently.
The possibilities of drop-shot fishing are endless if you can adapt it to the situation and fish where the bass are living.
Be creative and keep an open mind. That different look may be all it takes to catch fish that others aren’t getting.