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losing fish on drop shot

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When I cast a drop shot rig, I only tend to land at best 70% of my fish. With just about every other single-hook, finesse technique (including vertical drop shotting), I'm well above 90%. I've noticed that the fish I do manage to land tend to be hooked very well.

 

For gear, I use a dropshot-specific rod, 10 lb braid with a long (usually 20+ foot) 7-lb fluoro leader, #2 VMC spinshot hooks, 3/8-1/2 oz weights, and 4" senkos (usually with a wacky ring). I set the hook with the reel. I've tried setting my drag anywhere between very loose, which makes me lose fish because they can create slack so easily, and very tight, which makes me lose fish because I tear the skin. I lose fish in the air and in the water and at the beginning and the end of fights.

 

This time of year is probably worse than usual, because the smallies I target jump more and run harder now than in any other time of the year.

 

Am I doing anything wrong?

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It sounds like you're doing the right thing and using the proper gear.  I actually place a lot of blame on that hook.  I've had terrible luck with those in the past. I really like the concept, I just think they're sub par in quality.  Gamakatsu splitshot/dropshot hooks all the way for me.  Summertime smallies are the absolute worse.  A 70% catch rate with those is actually pretty good imo! 

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I hate those hooks.  Not worth the effort.  The Gammy recommended above, or an Owner Mosquito hook are much better when tied in the traditional drop shot rig.

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Try owner mosquito hooks. Very little hook set needed and they stay on very well 

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I tried the Spin Shot hooks for part of one season a few years ago. Seemed like a fine idea at the time. My loss ration skyrocketed. Over a dozen years ago I started off drop shotting with the Gammy Split Shot/Drop Shot hooks in size #2. Rarely lost a fish. So, I'm now back to the basics, as depicted by RichZ. And I'll never stray again!

 

The key is in the point of the hook. Any hook with a curved/beaked point will just not work well with smallmouth bass and the drop shot technique. As RichZ says, the beaked point enters the tough skin at the top of the mouth and comes right back out again (following the curve of the point). You are pulling against a thin skin flap instead of having the point and barb buried in solid meat. I believe if you try these Gamakatsu hooks your problems will be over.

 

Also, I really do not see the advantage of having such a long leader. My leaders are rarely over a rod's length with braid as the mainline and I've caught a ton of smallies in a deep, clear water reservoir. JMO.

 

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I guess I'm the only one that has good experience and high landing percentage with a spin shot hook. Trokars. Please don't let.my.opinion sway decision. I use a number 1 orn1/0 offset worm hook and t-rig weedless

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I have just succumbed to dropshot fever and it's all I have been fishing for the last week or three.  I to was having a lot of trouble keeping fish on, but with a standard dropshot/wacky hook.  Even the bass I landed were never hooked very well.  I did some reading and gave the Gamakatsu/Roboworm hooks a try.  I have been using the 1/0 and the 2/0 and thus far have landed every fish that has hit the lure.  I have even had to start de-barbing the hooks as I was getting a large percentage of fish that were hooked a little too deep for my liking.  I have been using 6" Robos almost exclusively and they mate up perfectly with the 2/0 worm hooks.   I have some other hooks on order, some Gammie TGW dropshots and some Owner Downshots, but I am happy for now with the Robo hooks.  

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Why such heavy drop shot weights? I would change to 3/16-1/4 oz and try #2 Owner 5172 weedless wacky hook designed for thicker soft plastics.

Tom

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5 hours ago, J Francho said:

I hate those hooks.  Not worth the effort.  The Gammy recommended above, or an Owner Mosquito hook are much better when tied in the traditional drop shot rig.

Those are also the primary hooks I use too. It's just me but when I saw those spin shot deals I thought gimmick but I could be wrong. What I use isn't broken so no need to fix so I apologize for not being able to support my initial at first glance of the spin shot. 

 

Because if the way the fish practically set the hook on themselves we don't need a cross the eyes hookset but I still add a little tension to assist with reeling in of the line. 

 

Also, when in the fight are you losing them? There might be a clue there that might shed some light. That's the nerd in me though. I like to analyze when things go wrong to minimize error and failure duplication. 

 

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I use the spinshots.  #2 is just too small for those.  I use #1 and 1/0.  I have lost fish but nothing close to 70%.  I use the same size hooks with standard rigging too, which I have plenty of in my dropshot box.  Just been using the spinshot more often because I'm tired of the line twist, which even the spinshot doesn't cure 100%.

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Don't overlook texas rigging with a #1 or #2 EWG or offset worm hook. Hookup percentage is extremely high with that setup. As others have said, gamakatsu split shot/drop shot #1 or #2.

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I use a method that is less popular for drop shotting but has helped me remedy the exact issue you're experiencing.

 

After losing myriads of fish using a 7' ML drop shot rod with 10lb power pro slick and 6lb flouro leader, I switched to a 7' M rod with 10lb braid and an 8-10lb flouro leader.

 

With this set up I was able to abandon the need to reel set so now when I have a bite I will drive the hook home like it's a T rigged senko.

 

This has increased my hook up and fish landing ratio enormously and just gives you more muscle with a drop shot and sacrifices very little sensitivity. The main drawback I've noticed is a loss of bait action that you achieve with lighter line and rod. 

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12 hours ago, WRB said:

Why such heavy drop shat weights?

 

I don't know about the OP, but it's because I don't want the bait to move.  I start at 1/2 an ounce, and go up from there.

 

Also, I see people complaining about smaller hooks not working, and I don't think that's it either.  This was caught on a #6.  Why a #6?  Because it fit the bait I was using.  BTW, I caught my PB smallmouth that day.

 

20101113-ErieWithNoel-05-L.jpg.ac156fc33

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19 minutes ago, J Francho said:

 

I don't know about the OP, but it's because I don't want the bait to move.  I start at 1/2 an ounce, and go up from there.

 

 

That's a big reason for me. On even moderately wavy days, it can be hard to keep a light weight on the bottom.

 

The other reason is that I often drop vertically to fish I see on my graph, usually in 10-40 fow, and I want the bait to get down there fast and vertically so that the fish can see it. Lighter weights drop slower and can be moved by current on windy days. I also use a very long fluoro leader because it comes off the spool much faster than braid does when I'm dropping vertically. I catch tons of fish doing this, so I don't want to do anything different with my weights or leader length.

 

On a final note, thanks everyone. I'll try some different hooks and hook sizes and report back once I've caught enough fish for a decent sample.

 

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15 hours ago, clh121787 said:

I guess I'm the only one that has good experience and high landing percentage with a spin shot hook. Trokars. Please don't let.my.opinion sway decision. I use a number 1 orn1/0 offset worm hook and t-rig weedless

 

The Trokars are probably decent, it's the VMC's that stink.

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1 hour ago, J Francho said:

 

I don't know about the OP, but it's because I don't want the bait to move.  I start at 1/2 an ounce, and go up from there.

 

Also, I see people complaining about smaller hooks not working, and I don't think that's it either.  This was caught on a #6.  Why a #6?  Because it fit the bait I was using.  BTW, I caught my PB smallmouth that day.

 

20101113-ErieWithNoel-05-L.jpg.ac156fc33

It wasn't "people" it was just me 

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Drop shot gets it's name from the weight being able to "drop" off when snagged, that is what the crimped line holder allows the weight to do. Heavy weights get ripped off fighting bass like a swinging bolas, so anglers add a overhand knot to prevent the weight from "dropping" off.

You say you have 90% success rate vertically drop shotting and less than 70% casting and fishing the drop shot in lieu of vertically fishing it. More line makes it more difficult to get a hook set with light line and M or ML spinning tackle by reel setting only, you need to move the heavy weight. Try a harder rod sweep during the reel set and set your drag at 2 1/2 lbs using a scale and trust it.

For what it's worth I use 1/4 oz weights in 30' to 35' depths in the wind using spinning tackle and rarely loose any bass using a drop shot. I also rarely cast a drop shot, instead prefer to drag a slip shot rig, far more effective presentation for me.

Good luck.

Tom

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22 minutes ago, Jeff H said:

It wasn't "people" it was just me 

 

Not just in this thread... ;)

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1 hour ago, WRB said:

Drop shot gets it's name from the weight being able to "drop" off when snagged, that is what the crimped line holder allows the weight to do. Heavy weights get ripped off fighting bass like a swinging bolas, so anglers add a overhand knot to prevent the weight from "dropping" off.

You say you have 90% success rate vertically drop shotting and less than 70% casting and fishing the drop shot in lieu of vertically fishing it. More line makes it more difficult to get a hook set with light line and M or ML spinning tackle by reel setting only, you need to move the heavy weight. Try a harder rod sweep during the reel set and set your drag at 2 1/2 lbs using a scale and trust it.

For what it's worth I use 1/4 oz weights in 30' to 35' depths in the wind using spinning tackle and rarely loose any bass using a drop shot. I also rarely cast a drop shot, instead prefer to drag a slip shot rig, far more effective presentation for me.

Good luck.

Tom

 

Thanks, I'll try a different hook set as well. I was thinking the vertical presentation was giving me a better hook set angle than the horizontal presentation. I hadn't considered the loss of power with more line out.

 

Like you, I'd rather not have to cast a drop shot. But where I fish, zebra mussels and snot weed often make drop shotting the only viable bottom contact presentation.

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How sharp are your hooks? I've seen new hooks that are dull.

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I use the spinshot hook in the number 4 size with a 1/4 oz drop shot weight and I have a very good hook up ratio .

 

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I followed Rich F and J Francho's advice and got some #1 and #2 Gamakatsu drop shot hooks at my local tackle shop. WRB said to try bigger hooks for bigger soft plastics, but I didn't have time to order them, so I switched to Jackall crosstail shads, which are much thinner than Senkos. I went 15/15 with the different tackle (22/22 if you count fish I hooked under my boat), which is pretty awesome.

 

I was hoping to get a bigger sample, but the fish didn't cooperate. Thanks everyone.

 

 

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Nice work.  Sounds like we're fishing the same type of waters., and using the same tools worked for you.  I like it when a plan comes together.

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