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Arv

Drop Shot Bite

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So, I finally tried out a drop shot rig a couple of weeks ago. Admittadly, I was suprised at how productive it is. Since then I've landed several decent fish with it, but I am having trouble picking up the actual bite. A few times I thought I was hung up on the bottom and other times I would just see my line swimming away but I really don't feel anything when I get a fish on. This has led to several missed fish. I don't have a designated drop shot rod since I do not have a wide array of rods but I feel like the set ups I have used should do a good enough job. I use a 6'6 Shimano Compre spinning set up with 8# fluoro and a 702c Dobyns Champion with 10# fluoro. My question is, from your point of view, what does a fish feel like on a dropshot? And is there anything you do to pick up on bites using this rig? Thanks in advance.

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Very rarely do i feel a DS bite and when i do, its a small fish. Usually i just pick up the slack and there's weight.

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Yeah, your rods and stuff are fine, just watch your line, and keep a tiny bit of pressure on your weight to have a constant feel of it.

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Learn to use the index finger with the line over the tip so you can feel the lightest bite. This takes a little practice with a spinning reel to get the bail in the right place. When bass are striking and not moving off with the worm, you feel what can be decried as a rubber band bite or a light spongy feel, just firmly lift the rod up, if you feel weight reel fast and that should set the hook.

Leaving a little slack in the line with the weight on the bottom and lightly shaking the slack line against the weight is a good presentation technique and generates a lot of strikes. This is why keeping in touch with the worm with your finger tip is important.

Tom

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May also try using braid to a Fluoro leader.  I use 12lb braid to 8lb fluoro and have very little trouble feeling bites.  

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That is just part of the learning curve with this technique, figuring out what is and isn't a bite.  I fish a drop shot quite a bit, probably 20% of my total time on water I've got a drop shot in hand, and I have occasional days when I miss a bunch of fish.  I've also had days (mostly post spawn through early fall) where drop shot has turned average days into great days.  So who knows?   I know that if I've decided to fish soft plastic, that is where I start.  I do better on that than I do with a standard tx rigged worm, by a whole bunch.

 

Next year, I'm going to try the braid to fluorocarbon leader thing.

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This is where that "softer" tip for lack of a better description really comes in.  Also, try to work a semi-slack line and by this, I mean that the line is not too tight nor is it too slack.  I say this because you are using fc line and even in semi slack mode, it can still send feedback to the angler's hands.

 

From my experience, I have summed up the "bite" types with the drop shot as follows:

 

The hit or strike can feel like:

A) A mushy tug or tick, which could translate to a complete inhalation of your bait or the fish attacking the lure from the hook's side.

B) A nibble or nibbling, that transmits vibrations through the line to you. Sometimes you can see or feel the line vibrate through your semi-slack line.  More sensitive rods tell you this much better and more clearly. I believe when the hit is like this (my best guess anyway as I visualize the strike), it is possible that the fish might have taken the lure from the side opposite the hook and the nibbling/vibrations you feel is the fish taking in the bait into its mouth, eventually getting to the hook. Or it is a "cautious" take.

C) Bam! An aggressive hit and it's on!

 

 

The thing I try to key on on the less aggressive bites it to be mindful of the change in something. For example, if I am dead sticking, I know I am not putting input to my "system" of line, rod, and lure/hook.  Barring or excluding feedback from strong winds or current, any change in the "system" is most likely a strike or a hit. I regret that I am unable to explain it any better.

 

You can also use a similar approach even if there is current.  It is roughly the opposite.  You know your "system" is moving along.  If something stops it, it could be a hit or you got snagged.  A 50/50 chance is better than a zero chance, lol.

 

Back when I started, I also had difficulty feeling those bites as you do now.  With focused effort and experience, it will also become a thing of the past for you too.

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The thing I try to key on on the less aggressive bites it to be mindful of the change in something. For example, if I am dead sticking, I know I am not putting input to my "system" of line, rod, and lure/hook.  Barring or excluding feedback from strong winds or current, any change in the "system" is most likely a strike or a hit. I regret that I am unable to explain it any better.

 

 

Exactly.  You explained it better than I could. You're not necessarily feeling the bite, something just feels different. 

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This is where that "softer" tip for lack of a better description really comes in.  Also, try to work a semi-slack line and by this, I mean that the line is not too tight nor is it too slack.  I say this because you are using fc line and even in semi slack mode, it can still send feedback to the angler's hands.

 

From my experience, I have summed up the "bite" types with the drop shot as follows:

 

The hit or strike can feel like:

A) A mushy tug or tick, which could translate to a complete inhalation of your bait or the fish attacking the lure from the hook's side.

B) A nibble or nibbling, that transmits vibrations through the line to you. Sometimes you can see or feel the line vibrate through your semi-slack line.  More sensitive rods tell you this much better and more clearly. I believe when the hit is like this (my best guess anyway as I visualize the strike), it is possible that the fish might have taken the lure from the side opposite the hook and the nibbling/vibrations you feel is the fish taking in the bait into its mouth, eventually getting to the hook. Or it is a "cautious" take.

C) Bam! An aggressive hit and it's on!

 

 

The thing I try to key on on the less aggressive bites it to be mindful of the change in something. For example, if I am dead sticking, I know I am not putting input to my "system" of line, rod, and lure/hook.  Barring or excluding feedback from strong winds or current, any change in the "system" is most likely a strike or a hit. I regret that I am unable to explain it any better.

 

You can also use a similar approach even if there is current.  It is roughly the opposite.  You know your "system" is moving along.  If something stops it, it could be a hit or you got snagged.  A 50/50 chance is better than a zero chance, lol.

 

Back when I started, I also had difficulty feeling those bites as you do now.  With focused effort and experience, it will also become a thing of the past for you too.

 

X2 Great post!!!

 

Exactly why I posted about having a soft tip in so many threads on the subject. Really good description on the different types of bites, there certainly are a few different ways that fish take a dropshot bait and they all have their own unique feeling. With my Cumara and Seaguar Tatsu I can feel everything. I don't use braid for the technique because the technique does require one to shake the worm on a semi-slack line and braid does not transmit on a semi-slack line. 

Excellent post above me^^^^

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Very well written islandbass!

I have nothing to add really except one small detail I have noticed on my end. This detail is the water temperature vs the perceived level of aggressiveness. Take early spring and late fall as an example. Water temps here can be mid 40s to high 40s. When water temps are colder I find the bite to be typically lighter due to fish being less aggressive and more lethargic. These fish are less willing to move to pursue a bait and have to be really "finessed" into biting. When water temps are mid 50s and above the bite seems to be much more aggressive and easier to detect. A fish may attack a bait and move off with it much faster when this is the case. I would say from my own experience this is the case 80% of the time although the opposite can happen from time to time as well.

I believe the intensity of the bite on a drop shot to be partially correlated to the water temp and overall activity level of the fish present.

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This is where that "softer" tip for lack of a better description really comes in.  Also, try to work a semi-slack line and by this, I mean that the line is not too tight nor is it too slack.  I say this because you are using fc line and even in semi slack mode, it can still send feedback to the angler's hands.

 

From my experience, I have summed up the "bite" types with the drop shot as follows:

 

The hit or strike can feel like:

A) A mushy tug or tick, which could translate to a complete inhalation of your bait or the fish attacking the lure from the hook's side.

B) A nibble or nibbling, that transmits vibrations through the line to you. Sometimes you can see or feel the line vibrate through your semi-slack line.  More sensitive rods tell you this much better and more clearly. I believe when the hit is like this (my best guess anyway as I visualize the strike), it is possible that the fish might have taken the lure from the side opposite the hook and the nibbling/vibrations you feel is the fish taking in the bait into its mouth, eventually getting to the hook. Or it is a "cautious" take.

C) Bam! An aggressive hit and it's on!

 

 

The thing I try to key on on the less aggressive bites it to be mindful of the change in something. For example, if I am dead sticking, I know I am not putting input to my "system" of line, rod, and lure/hook.  Barring or excluding feedback from strong winds or current, any change in the "system" is most likely a strike or a hit. I regret that I am unable to explain it any better.

 

You can also use a similar approach even if there is current.  It is roughly the opposite.  You know your "system" is moving along.  If something stops it, it could be a hit or you got snagged.  A 50/50 chance is better than a zero chance, lol.

 

Back when I started, I also had difficulty feeling those bites as you do now.  With focused effort and experience, it will also become a thing of the past for you too.

 

Are you changing the timing of the hook setting based on A ), B ) or C )? I mean, C ) is easy, but other two. I kind of hold setting a hook just a bit with B ) and my bait is rather longer thinking the hook might not be in fish's mouth yet.

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Arv, you need to know how the drop shot feels without a bite. That is how does the rig feel after you casted it our or dropped it over board with just the bait and weight.

So cast it out and keeping a finger on the line bounce your rod tip a few times so you will know how the rig feels in the water.

IF THE RIG FEELS DIFFERENT SET THE HOOK!

If you fee any weight that was not there when you set the bar for the rig only, set the hook. If the line moves, set the hook.

You set the hook by lifting the rod tip easily. You do not have to cross the fish's eyes or fall out of the boat. Just lift the rod and keep the line tight.

Some other suggestions:

A 6'6" medium or medium heavy rod is fine but a 7-foot rod may serve you better.

Use the lightest line possible. 4 or 6 pound flourocarbon line works best.

Always check the line for abrasions, cuts or nicks and cut out any section of damage line and retie the rig.

Let the water's current move the bait. You stand there, looking pretty, and just let the water move the Robo worm (or other bait) for a natural look.

Keep line tight so you can feel any difference with the setup.

Always keep a finger on the line coming off the reel.

And remember, IF THE RIG FEELS DIFFERENT SET THE HOOK!

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Simply lift the rod a tad if you "think" you feel or notice anything different. If the tip stays where it was, lift up fully and start reeling at the same time. If you are using the proper hook, you'll have 'em every time. By "proper" hook, I mean one with a straight point vs. a "beaked" point:

 

Straight point:

 

DSHook_1.jpg

 

"Beaked" point:

 

DSHook_2.jpg

 

This has been reported by Rich Z many times here, as well as other venues. You won't miss many takes if you follow this advice.

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As long as we're on drop shot hook pointers, I used the Gamakatsu wicked wacky hooks quite a bit last season.  Tie any knot you want to it and thread the tag end of the line through the tube glued to the hook shaft.  It helps the hook stay aligned better and it is alot more snag free than you might think.

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VMC Spinshot Dropshot hooks is what I use. Eliminates line twist completely and is the best DS hook IMHO.

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In my experience I've had large spotted bass slam the ds bait, other times its just weight, it's a 50% chance IMO that you will feel the bite

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