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Brad in Texas

Lesson learned: Drop shot rigging

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One week ago, I fished a local lake here in east Texas, stumbled across a cove point where apparently the LMBs were on beds spawning and I found this out very quickly by pitching a drop shot rig, getting hit fast and repeatedly. Well, the sad ending to this was around 20 bites all the way from holding and running with my rig for 5 or 10 feet and then coming off, to jumping and breaking loose. I was 0 for 20 on my hook up ratio. This was the worst result . . . ever. Three years ago, a friend was on the opposite side of a cove point on another lake, dragged a Carolina Rig with a chartreuse lizard across beds . . . and caught about 20 bass. Same sort of timing, same sort of place, the opposite outcome. So, I suppose in both cases, the bass were picking up our baits and moving them away, getting hooked on his, not on mine.

 

This week, I decided to change my drop shot approach. I have been a big fan of the little Gamakatsu Swivel drop shot hooks with pinch grips that allow a separate line down to a sinker. I still like this product. And, I have been a big fan of Kevin Vandam's approach to hooking drop shot plastics. He often puts the hook into a worm's "lower jaw" area, brings it up and aims towards the "nose," but leaves it embedded in the plastic. This works great for me most of the time and I have learned to let the bass just hook themselves rarely using anything more than a very gentle hook sweep. It didn't work last week.

 

Yesterday, I went out again except this time I decided to use a Roboworm Rebarb hook, but really any of the old style worm hooks would likely do. No EWG, no offset, just sort of an Aberdeen shaped hook except mine have these little barbs on them to keep the plastics from sliding down. I push the hook down through the nose of the plastic worm on a strong angled bias (that is, not straight down), then follow the standard Texas Rigging of pulling the hook through, flipping it over and up on the "keeper" near the hook eye, then I just embedded the hook into the plastic, not through it. To this date, I had always been a "through the worm, skin hook" the worm angler. But, that causes the hook to lie flatter along the bait and I wanted to see if having it just below the surface ready to come flying up and out at about a 45 degree angle would help. It did. And, the hook is much farther down on the bait than a nose hook arrangement.

 

I couldn't find those spawners again in the same location yesterday, but I did get on bass in 3 locations. Again, the T-Rigged version of a drop shot puts the hook much lower in the bait than the nose hooking I was using a week ago. And, it allowed me to slightly increase my role in setting the hook, not really hard, but I did pop the hook a bit to drive it into the mouths of bass. My hook up ratio was about 66%, caught 6 and missed 3 more as I recall. Those might have been crappie. The biggest bass was just at 4 lbs. and it felt great to fight it in feeling I had it hooked really well. A pic of one of my catches below, an illustration of how I was rigging the hook, too.  Long post. I'm verbose.    Brad

Drop Shot T-Rig.JPG

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If any technique can really benefit from a premium hook, drop shotting is certainly one of them that really does. Hook setting technique can make a huge difference too. I like to nose hook or wacky rig my drop shot bait on a Gamakatsu A-a-ron Martens TGW drop shot hook. Used to have a pretty poor hook up ratio, especially for an open hook technique. Not anymore after I tried those things. It's pretty rare for me to miss a fish with them. I haven't tried the hooks you mentioned, but I'm sure they're good since they're designed specifically for the technique. 

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I wacky rig mine, too, quite often, and I like to change it up to suit the fish, the circumstances. They definitely like a drop shot presented different ways. Wacky rigging on a quality hook is a super presentation.

 

That's a great hook you use! Aaron Martens is often the first name thought of when the drop shot topic comes up.

 

My main take-away from a week ago was that if bass are not all that interested in eating but just moving what they see as fry predators off their beds, then a T-Rigged hook farther down the plastic has a much better chance of finding its way into the meat of their mouths and keeping them hooked than a nose hooked plastic. But, a wacky rigging would likely do the same thing since it places the hook in the middle and is also, I think, more likely to get snagged in their mouths.

 

I like the drop shot. I come off lakes having caught at least a few fish when others might get skunked on really bad days using power presentations. It has saved me on countless occasions.

 

I know the Ned Rig is the latest hot trend in finesse fishing and it works great, especially on harder bottoms, but I'd think a drop shot rigged with a very, very short leader down to a sinker, say a 3" leader, would out-fish a Ned Rig. Both are great ways to catch fish when other presentations aren't working.

 

Brad

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1 hour ago, Brad in Texas said:

I know the Ned Rig is the latest hot trend in finesse fishing and it works great, especially on harder bottoms, but I'd think a drop shot rigged with a very, very short leader down to a sinker, say a 3" leader, would out-fish a Ned Rig. Both are great ways to catch fish when other presentations aren't working.

 

Brad

A drop shot is not nearly as effective as a Ned rig around here, but most of our lakes are shallow and a bait that can cover more water is more effective. Not sure why, but they just don't eat a drop shot very well here a lot of the time, but it has it's place still. I know it's not the case other places though.

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13 minutes ago, Bluebasser86 said:

A drop shot is not nearly as effective as a Ned rig around here, but most of our lakes are shallow and a bait that can cover more water is more effective. Not sure why, but they just don't eat a drop shot very well here a lot of the time, but it has it's place still. I know it's not the case other places though.

I could see that, that it is regional and depends on so many factors. We are having good luck with Ned Rigs here in Texas but we have a lot of vegetation on some lakes where they might just drop into it and not be visible.  *** Have you noticed all the new Ned Rig heads and new plastics now introduced to the market? Most of the big guys seem to have a TRD worm and several are offering the hook/heads. Pretty cool!   Brad

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I switched to that technique for a different reason.  Cover kept hanging me up and I used the mustad grip pin hook to the same effect.  Much better around wood and other saggy areas.  I have also found using the smallest hook will lead to heartbreak.  Texas has a lot of good bass and I was dropping a lot until I up sized to a 1 or 1/0.  Did not seem to effect the bit but the landing ratio went way up.

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Yep! There are several proponents of really small hooks down to #4s. An angler named Marc Marcantonio (I think that is it) explains why it works, that a tiny hook like that very easily gets snagged in the bone of what would be the equivalent of the area in our mouths behind our front teeth. And, I have found this to be true. However, here in Texas if a 3 or 4 lbs. LMB jumps and swings its head, they can often get off. 

 

So, my hook up ratio has greatly improved over the years using small hooks, swivel hooks, but I started watching Cornell on YouTube Fishing Videos and he is a really remarkable drop shot angler, among other techniques. He, at some point, switched over to largely using the T-Rigging with a Rebarb hook, sold me on making the change. I had them in my tackle box, never used them until going 0 for 20 a week or so ago convinced me to move over to these hooks.

 

Today, here in Texas, it was super windy and I actually fished two different lakes. Two fish caught on a drop shot, one from each lake below. I used the Rebarb hook and it really snags the fish well. If this hook finds penetration, there is no way they are going to shake it off.

 

*** I haven't tried that Mustad Grip Pin but Cornell is a big fan of it, sponsored by Mustad as I recall. I need to pick some up and experiment.

 

Brad 

 

Lake Athens Far NW Corner 033118.jpg

Mill Creek Reservoir Canton 033118.jpg

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