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Sharkbite

Need Help With Drop Shot

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Hey guys.  This year I want to start to learn how to use a drop shot rig.  It was suggested to me from a good freind.  I am going to be fishing the near by resivor.  The average depth is about 20' to 50'.

So I picked up a pack of weights. I wanted to hear from you guys till I bougth  more tackle.  

I would like to know.  How far should the weigth be from the bait.  How much action do i give the bait when fishing it?  What baits are best for DS rigs?  I buy at *** so I can get almost anything.   What type of structure and depth is this best effective in?  

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the drop shot is actually very versatile. you can fish it in any depth. you can put the bait as far up as you like. i usually keep it between 12-18 inches up. it takes very little movement for the bait to move. even slight current will give it action. i start slow, dragging slowly every 10 secs or so. if i don't get anything after a while i give it subtle movements by gently moving the rod tip. try different things and see what works for you.

as far as the bait, any plastic will work. most people use 3-5 inch "drop shot" worms

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the drop shot is actually very versatile. you can fish it in any depth. you can put the bait as far up as you like. i usually keep it between 12-18 inches up. it takes very little movement for the bait to move. even slight current will give it action. i start slow, dragging slowly every 10 secs or so. if i don't get anything after a while i give it subtle movements by gently moving the rod tip. try different things and see what works for you.

as far as the bait, any plastic will work. most people use 3-5 inch "drop shot" worms

So I just don't drop it off the side of the boat I can cast it to cover more area?  

How bout finess worms do they work or even a fluke?

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Start with light line....8lb test. Less visible and thinner diameter.

Round drop shot weights. In my experience the round weights hang up less. And are easier to maintain a consistant bottom contact. Tie a simple knot in the end of you tag end line to keep the D/S weight from slipping off.

Gamakatsu Finesse hooks. 1, 2, 1/0, 2/0 depending on the bait being used. For instance Goby type baits would get a bigger hook since they are so think the Goby fills the hook gap to much with smaller hooks.

You will tie a Palamar knot with the hook facing up. Leave a really long tag end, and loop that over the hook eye, and back through it. This will help to keep the hook standing out.

Small 4" Finesse worms and minnows...etc.

Spinning takly enable's you to use lighter line and get a slack line fall.

It can be cast and fished anywhere but is usually better in lighter to little vegetation...weedlines usually outside, in deeper water....I intend to expand the areas I fish D/S this year including adding a texes rigged setup for thicker grass....

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Islandbass' Take on the Drop Shot

I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I have grown fond of the Drop Shot technique in my short, four-season fishing journey. I have been using it for just over a season's time. This is a very productive method to catch fish in a variety of states. In my first outing for smallies this season, I hooked and caught 3 smallies on three consecutive casts. It is the only method that has done this for me to date, and from the shore to boot. At the very least, I can share with you what I have learned through trial, error, and experience (which isn't much).

Basic Drop Shot Diagram

Here is a generic set up.

dropshotrig.jpg

Rod and Reel Type

You don't need a Drop Shot specific rod. A medium-light to medium-action rod from 6'6" on up to 7' should work for you for now, unless you plan to fish heavier cover. If you find drop shotting to your liking, you can then opt to go with a Drop Shot specific rod of your choice. As a rule of thumb, a longer rod will enable you to have more line control and leverage; two big pluses in drop shotting.

I prefer spinning reels (a size 20 or 2500 reel is an excellent choice) because they require less work to give the bait a better (IMHO) descent than a baitcast reel. Sorry baitcast reel users, but the way a spinning drops the bait (for ¼ oz weights and less) smokes a baitcast reel any and every day for drop shotting. To those who use baitcast reels exclusively, please note I said for drop shotting in its basic, finesse form (lighter lines, weights, and smaller baits). There will not be a need to strip line off just to make the bait fall.

With that said, casting reels can also be used. I just prefer a spinning reel. You may use whatever reel you want. Even a Barbie pole can get it done for drop shotting! However, I would not hesitate to use heavier line, weights, larger baits and a baitcast reel if I were to drop shot heavy cover. Something I call Alpha Shotting!

Drop Shot Weight and Type

A 3/16 - 1/4 oz weight is a good starting weight. Going any lighter might make it harder for you to read what is going on until you get experience. As for the shape, I like to use either the teardrop (WCCT weights rock!) or cylindrical shape and prefer the former as my first choice. I have not experimented with other shapes. Windier conditions and stronger currents might make you want to choose a heavier weight, but let's not worry about that for now.

Line

Because you are drop shotting, lighter line is preferred if the cover you are fishing allows it. Go up in # strength if the cover dictates this. I like and use 6# fluorocarbon, particularly Seaguar's Invizx. This line kicks fanny. No doubt about it. The plus in going with fluorocarbon in a higher # test if needed is despite having a slightly thicker line diameter; the angler retains the benefit of fluorocarbon's trait of near invisibility as advertisers so claim. Whichever line you choose, I think the fluorocarbon line of your choice will be fine.

I know that some also prefer to use braid. I know the benefits of braid and am not against it and maybe someday I'll use it with a fluorocarbon leader. Given the amount of sensitivity my rod and line provide me, I just don't have a need to take it up a notch to braid for the typical depths I fish, which is usually no more than 20'. If you plan to fish greater depths, braid may very well be the ticket. The enhanced sensitivity braid provides can be a plus.

Baits

Keep an open mind here. Many baits of a variety of shapes can be used. The general rule of thumb is a tendency to use smaller baits since we are "finesse" fishing (translates to downsizing in general). The typical length of a drop shot bait usually ranges from 3" - 4.5" but this is NOT set in stone. Roboworms, Senkos, Sniper Snubs and Bolts (the latter two are locally made baits), Reaction Innovations Flirts, and heck, even Baby Brush Hogs and Tubes can be used. Think out of the box. I have used longer worms too. This season, the 4.5 Roboworm (in Aaron's Magic) and Sniper Snubs in Watermelon and Dark Brown have been so effective that to date I have not seen a need to try something else or other colors. It might be different for bass in other waters. If you wish to know, so far the most effective baits for me have been, the snubs and roboworms.

Here is a picture of a smallie I caught on a longer Roboworm hoping for a bigger smallie. The darn Roboworm is nearly as long as the smallie!

AlexandSmallie003.jpg

Hooks/Knot

I prefer to use size 1 or 2 (mostly size 2) Owner Mosquito or Gamakatsu Split Shot/Drop Shot hooks. If I am fishing a grassy area in which grass can catch the exposed hook, I opt for the Owner Down Shot hook, which is in essence a mini version of an EWG (extra wide gap) worm hook. Naturally, if you plan to drop shot much larger baits, you might need to go up in hook size.

I attach the hook to the line with a Palomar knot and after it is tied, I insert the extra line (tag end) through the hook's eye before attaching the weight.

Tag End Length (Distance from the hook to the weight)

The best way to figure this out is to experiment. I have had success with the tag end being as short as 4-6" to nearly but not quite 24. Because drop shotting is not limited to a purely vertical presentation, a longer leader is a good idea if you wish to work it somewhat like a Texas or Carolina rig. The longer leader length or tag end (which I define here as the distance between the weight and your hook, perhaps 18" as a ballpark figure) will enable you to keep the bait off the ground with the shallow angle that will result from a long cast. For a more vertical presentation, a shorter distance from the hook to the bait can work. Another influencing factor is the depth at which the fish are staying. You might need to adjust your tag end accordingly.

Imparting Life to the Lure

Despite the initial perception of working this lure, it is not all about jiggling and wiggling the bait to death. An angler can indeed work the bait this way, but I can tell you from personal experience, that wiggling and jiggling the bait to death (continuously) has accounted for the fewest number of catches. By no means am I saying to not wiggle and jiggle it to death. That is only one method.

So what should one do in addition to the wiggling/jiggling tactic?

Keep the weight on the bottom for the most part and leave enough slack to let the bait sink on its own weight. Then, when you think the bait is near the bottom lift/twitch the rod just enough to move the bait a little (without moving or minimizing the movement of the weight on the bottom) and repeat. In effect, what you are doing is working a semi-slack line and this is what is imparting action to the bait. No hits? Repeat if you wish, or add a little dead sticking to the mix or, drag your bait to the next spot. All are good choices. The dragging of the weight from one spot to the next also imparts life and action to the lure and can help to draw a strike. In addition, working with the slack and dead sticking have been far more effective for me compared to wiggling and jiggling the bait to death.

Not sure what the bait will do? Find some shallow water and drop your bait down. The depth should be one where you can see all the way to the bottom. Once the weight is on the bottom, let your bait fall by lowering your rod. Before the lure hits the bottom, raise the rod's tip enough to bring the lure up, and do your best to keep the weight in place. Watching this will give you an idea of what will likely be happening when you are not able to see the bait with your own eyes. Visualizing what the bait is doing when I can't see it helps me to focus on what I am trying to do, and that is catching fish.

Concerned about not being able to feel the bite on this semi-slack line if you are using fluorocarbon or braid? Let me put you at ease. It is not an issue. Either of those lines combined with a sensitive rod is more than adequate to feel the bite when the line has a bit of slack.

The Strike or Hit

The strike or hit can vary depending on the activity level of the fish, the quality of your set up to a certain extent, and the line you are using. More sensitive rods do a better job of transmitting what is going on to you. I have had the blessing of drop shotting with my Berkley Cherrywood Rod, which is decent and not too shabby, but comparing it to my Lamiglas Certified Pro Drop Shot rod is something else. Here is my analogy:

If the Cherrywood rod provides stereo sound to me while watching a DVD movie, the Lamiglas rod gives me the sound in THX, for the full cinema experience. The latter rod is not necessary to enjoy drop shotting, but it makes it a lot easier to feel and detect the subtle strikes.

The line you use can also influence the feel of the strike. My experience working with both mono and fluorocarbon is that the latter always seemed to give me a better picture. We all know now that although FC line can have as much or more stretch than a comparable monofilament line, it is likely that its density still enables it to beautifully transmit information from the end of our line, to the rod and to our hands. We all know how well braid transmits data back to the angler too so I don't think I need to elaborate further.

The hit or strike can feel like:

1) 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.

2) 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.

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

The Hook Set

For one and three, just reeling up the slack and adding enough tension to make the line taut is sufficient for most cases to drive the light wire hook home. For case two, you have to wait until the fish gets to the hook and then do as mentioned above. If you don't, you will pull the lure from the fish's mouth. Since it didn't get to the hook, there is no way the fish can get hooked.

I have written this based on the experience I gained from drop shotting. Take it for what it's worth, an opinion at best. I will close by giving you a final warning:

WARNING: Drop Shotting is as addictive as it is effective.

Good luck and go get'em!

-ib

(Alexander Arceo)

Review of the 2007 Season

The Drop Shot technique has been so effective for me even though it is my first season learning and using it. It has accounted for 100% of the smallmouth bass and about 70% of the largemouth bass I have caught this season, and I caught a lot, the most ever!!! And here is the thing that makes this even sweeter. They were all caught from the shore. No, this is not a testament to my skills, but a testament to the effectiveness of the Drop Shot technique.

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the drop shot is actually very versatile. you can fish it in any depth. you can put the bait as far up as you like. i usually keep it between 12-18 inches up. it takes very little movement for the bait to move. even slight current will give it action. i start slow, dragging slowly every 10 secs or so. if i don't get anything after a while i give it subtle movements by gently moving the rod tip. try different things and see what works for you.

as far as the bait, any plastic will work. most people use 3-5 inch "drop shot" worms

So I just don't drop it off the side of the boat I can cast it to cover more area?

How bout finess worms do they work or even a fluke?

yeah, finesse worms are the way to go. never tried a fluke before.

i never drop it straight down but then again i never fish deep water.

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You can use a drop shot rig using ANY tackle and ANY plastic bait that you either want to drag off the bottom, or hold in place while imparting slight action to the bait.

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ISLANDBASS!  Thank you for your knowlege bro that helped me alot.  I already feel that I got some D/S skills.  I can't wait if I have more questions I'll PM you

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Here in so.cal I've had the best luck dropshoting using Senco's..pumpkin with red flake seems to be the best color so far.

Depending on conditions ect..experiment with different lenghts and baits, i.e. I use any thing from 8lb to 12 test. Senco's and Roboworms are my choice.

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Sharkbite,

I'm just sharing what I learned from experience. Drop a line and go get 'em!  8-) Can't wait 'til you get addicted to it. ;D

Hammer,

I've had decent success with the 3" skinny senkos and even caught a perch on one. What length senkos do you use?

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If bass are suspended far off the bottom - say at 30 feet in 50 feet of water - could this technique still be effective and how would you fish it differently?

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Sharkbite,

I'm just sharing what I learned from experience. Drop a line and go get 'em! 8-) Can't wait 'til you get addicted to it. ;D

Hammer,

I've had decent success with the 3" skinny senkos and even caught a perch on one. What length senkos do you use?

Well I buy at *** and I use 4'' and 5'' trick sticks t-rig and on jigs

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Sharkbite,

I'm just sharing what I learned from experience. Drop a line and go get 'em! 8-) Can't wait 'til you get addicted to it. ;D

Hammer,

I've had decent success with the 3" skinny senkos and even caught a perch on one. What length senkos do you use?

5" Senco's...and when they get beat up, I cut them and use them in the 2 1/2" size... :)

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