The Drop Shot Rig: The Secret to Consistently Catching More Fish.
When it comes to bass fishing, there are many techniques to choose from but few are more popular and effective than drop shot fishing. The drop shot has become a staple rig for any serious bass fisherman due to its ability to target suspending fish at specific depths, keep your hook out of the weed beds, as well as provide an effective technique when the bite is slow. In this article, we cover what the drop shot rig is, its advantages, how to rig the drop shot, finesse fishing techniques, and tips to and help you catch more fish.
What is the Drop Shot Rig?
The drop shot rig is a fishing rig that involves rigging a drop shot hook above a sinker that is tied to the end of your fishing line. Drop shot hooks are typically tied at least a foot above the weight. The weight is attached to the tag end of the line, keeping the hook suspended off the bottom. This allows the angler to fish vertically and present the bait at different depths.
Advantages of the Drop Shot Rig
The drop shot rig is a versatile fishing method that offers many advantages to anglers. Here are a few of the key advantages of the drop shot rig:
Target different depths
The main advantage of the Drop Shot Rig is that you’re are able to target suspended fish at a specific depth. For example, if fish are suspended 2 feet off the bottom, you can set the distance between your hook and weight at 2 feet and your bait will be suspended 2 feet off the bottom.
Less snagging on structure
If you notice that there is structure or weeds on the bottom, you have the ability to keep your hook suspended above the structure in order to prevent snagging.
Since the Drop Shot Rig consists of a hook that is facing upwards instead of downwards, the bait has a slightly more natural presentation.
Good Hookup to Bite Ratio
With the hook facing upwards, fish are more likely to hooked hooked in the upper lip, thus increasing your catch rate.
Catch Bass in Deep Water
The drop shot rig is an effective rig for catching bass in deep water. simply lift the bait up and let it sink slowly back to the floor. This action mimics wounded bait and is proven to be very effective for hungry bass.
The drop shot rig is also a finesse technique which means it can be used to target fish that are less active.
Easy to Rig
The drop shot rig is easy to rig, making it a great option for anglers of all skill levels.
Fishing gear you need for the drop shot rig
Drop shot hooks
Use size #1 or #2 drop shot open hooks. My favorite brand is Gamakatsutsu.
Drop shot weights
You can go with tungsten or lead weights. Tungsten weights are really nice because they are so dense for their size but they’re also a lot more expensive than lead. Either works great. In addition, their are several different weight styles including the tear drop, cylinder, and ball weight. If you’re concerned about you weight getting hung up in the weeds then I would use a cylinder weight. If you’re not concerned then I would use a tear drop weight. In most instances I would avoid the ball weight since it tends to get hung up more often.
Drop shot baits
By far the most common drop shot bait is a worm with all of its varieties. However, you can rig plastic lizards, fluke styles, or even a creature bait.
Medium light spinning rod
You want a rod that is medium light so that you have greater rod sensitivity in order to better detect a subtle fish bite which can be difficult when dealing with weights dragging along the bottom. The spinning reel allows you to cast further with a relatively light setup.
You can either use a Fluocarbon for your entire rig or you can use a braided line with a Fluorocarbon leader. Using braided line as your main line can be beneficial because it offers even more sensitivity than Flurocarbon.
How to Rig the Drop Shot Rig
Rigging a drop shot rig is simple and straightforward. Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to rig the drop shot rig.
Step 1 – Thread your fishing line through the hook eyelet from the back.
You want to thread your fishing line through the hook eyelit while the the hook is facing towards the main line and not the tag end.
Step 2 – Slide the hook about 1 – 3 feet from the tag end.
The distance from the hook depends on how far off the bottom you want to fish. I recommend using an Gamakatsutsu drop shot open hook.
Step 3 – Tie your knot using your preferred knot.
A popular knot for this rig is the Palomar Knot. When using the Palomar Knot it is recommended that you feed your line back through the hook eyelet in order for it hold the hook at a 90 degree angle.
Step 4 – Attach a cylinder or tear drop weight to your tag line.
These style of weights will help keep your bait on the bottom, reduce snags as well as wear and tear on your knot. In order to ensure that if you do get a snag that you only lose your weight, it is recommended that you tie your weight with a simple overhand knot.
Step 5 – Select your bait and nose hook it.
There are also a couple other ways that you can thread your bait on to your hook as well. Wacky rigging your worm is very common as is Texas rigging.
Any time that you’re using a rig that scrapes the bottom of the floor bed, it is recommended that you use a lightweight rod as well as fluorocarbon so that you still have a good amount of sensitivity in order to detect fish bites as well as present your bait as naturally as possible.
If you’re fishing shallow water, a lighter weights are recommended since you don’t need as much weight to get the rig down to where you need it. Likewise if you’re fishing deeper water then I would recommend you use a heavier sinker. If you do use a heavier sinker, make sure not to go to heavy since the heavier the sinker, the less sensitivity you will have.
Fishing Techniques with the Drop Shot Rig
One drop shotting technique that works well is to slowly lift up your rod tip to lift the bait and then slowly reeling in the slack as it falls. The key here is to have a slow retrieval and let the bait stay suspended for a longer period of time then most other types of rigs.
Another fishing technique is to drag the rig along the bottom while slowly reeling in the line. The fishing method used is nearly identical to the way the Carolina Rig is fished. This is a great finesse technique that keeps your bait where the fish are located.
Another way you can fish the drop shot rig is fishing vertically from a boat by jigging the bait up and then letting it sit for several seconds on the bottom before jigging it again. Often times the fish will grab the bait when it falls.
Tips on how to adjust the Drop Shot Rig for different conditions
When fishing with a drop shot rig, it’s important to adjust the rig according to the fishing conditions. Here are some tips on how to adjust the rig for different conditions:
If you are fishing in shallow water, I recommend using a lighter sinker since you don’t need to get the bait down deep.
If you are fishing in an area with strong currents, use a heavier sinker to keep the bait in place. This will also help to keep the bait suspended in the strike zone. If the sinker isn’t heavy enough, then it will get pushed down stream causing your bait to be closer to the bottom than you intend it to be.
Use the Drop Shot Rig when their is cover on the bottom and you want to keep your bait out of the weeds.
Determine the depth of the fish and adjust the distance between your sinker and weight accordingly.
Use a slow retrieve or other technique when the bite is slow. If there are hungry and active fish then try to speed up your techniques and see how the fish react.
When fishing for Bass in cold water, use a slow retrieve and small bait. On the flip side, when fishing for Bass in warm water, use a larger bait and quicker retrieve.
Experiment with baits, fishing methods, and water depths until you get on the fish.
By adjusting the rig according to the fishing conditions, you can increase your chances of catching more fish. It’s important to remember that experimenting with different techniques, baits and weights, until you find what works best in the specific fishing situation.
Examples of different drop shot rigs
If you’re fishing shallow water use a smaller weight (1/16-1/8 oz) and a smaller bait (such as a 3-inch finesse worm). Tie the hook about 12 inches above the weight and use a light line (6-8 lb fluorocarbon). This setup is best for targeting finicky fish in clear water.
While fishing deep water, use a heavier weight (1/4-1/2 oz) and a larger bait (such as a 5-inch straight worm). Tie the hook about 18 inches above the weight and use a heavier line (10-12 lb fluorocarbon). This setup is best for targeting suspended fish or for fishing in murky water.
When targeting suspended fish, use a lightweight drop shot hook and a small soft plastic bait. Tie a fluorocarbon leader (6-8 lb) to the hook and attach the weight to the end of the leader. Adjust the length of the leader according to the depth of the suspended fish. This setup allows for a more natural presentation of the bait.
In cold water conditions, use a slower retrieve and a smaller bait such as a 3-inch finesse worm. Use a smaller weight (1/16-1/8 oz) and a light line (6-8 lb fluorocarbon). This setup is best for targeting finicky fish in clear water.
When fishing warm water, use a faster retrieve and a larger bait such as a 5-inch straight worm. Use a heavier weight (1/4-1/2 oz) and a heavier line (10-12 lb fluorocarbon). This setup is best for targeting active fish in murky water.
In conclusion, the drop shot rig is a versatile and effective fishing method that can be adjusted for different conditions such as water depth, current, fish activity, suspended fish, water clarity, and temperature. The drop shot rig can be used for vertical fishing, casting, and even jigging. The drop shot rig is also an effective rig for catching bass in deep water and for targeting suspended fish. The drop shot rig is a finesse technique, which means it can be used to target fish that are less active. With patience and practice, the drop shot rig can become an effective tool for catching more fish than you ever thought possible.
If you would like to learn about some of the other Bass fishing rigs, checkout the Ned Rig.