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fourbizz

Dropshotting my way

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   Many people would probably be suprised that drop shotting is possibly my favorite way to fish. I love this technique. If I am in danger of getting skunked, this rig will cure it. It is not an intricate tactic, but, the devil is in the details. This is how I dropshot on clear, deep, rocky lakes with an emphasis on application and gear, and not so much on baits. T

Rod:

Its got to be a spinning rod for me. I do not feel that line can pay out of a casting reel fast enough with a light weight to allow the rig to drop without it made to pendulum. Some people prefer a very light whippy rod, I am not one of them. The rods I like tend to be marked as Medium Light, erring more to the light side perhaps. But they have an extra fast action. This is important to me because I feel that the XF tip is more sensitive and able to tell me more of whats happening down below. I like a 7fter but i dont think length is critical. I use a Powell 702ML XF most of the time, although I own others. This is my favorite rod, that I have ever owned.

Reel

Your selection in reels should be based on only a few things. What you can afford is obviously one, there are usable reels all the way down to the $40 range. For functionality, in my mind, there are only two things that truly matter over simple preference. First major trait is the drag. Drop shotting is a technique that between the light line and small hooks means that if you get into a good fish you need a drag that will perform. Second important trait, especially if you do not follow my line recomendations, is a reel that has a very good line roller to reduce twisting. Start dropshotting in 60+ fow with mono or flouro, and a bad line roller will instantly make its presence known. I prefer 2000 size reels for this technique as I feel that they offer the perfect balance of weight, line capacity, and drag ranges. I use a Daiwa Tierra 2000 primarily and a Daiwa SOL 2500.

Line

In the running with rods as most important to your entire presentation in my opinion. This is where my style massively strays from the standard, which is 4-10lb monofilament or flourocarbon. When I made the switch to very light diameter braid and a flourocarbon leader, my dropshotting world was shaken to its core. I use 2lb diameter braid, which is 10lb test.

     The first and most obvious benefit is sensitivity. With a technique that often finds you plying for un-aggressive fish, deep, with tiny baits and light weight, it should seem clear that light bites are gonna be common. In fact the most undetecable bites i have ever had have been on the drop shot. Braid really helps level the playing field for you.As a corollary to the sensitivity, there is the awesome, and much more important than it seems benefit of line resistance. With the much thinner diamter line, it is much easier to keep a nice taut line all the way to your bait when casting. This helps bite detection immensely all on its own. When fishing vertically you have the benefit of much, much shorter drop times due to reduced drag. Also when moving the bait horizontally, you do not develop a bow, and are less likely to pull the bait up out of the strike zone.        

     Another major bonus in my eyes is braids resistance to twisting. The dropshot is a rig that really twists line, between the long retrieves back to the surface with a spinning reel and the worm constantly spinning around your line, its a recipe for frustration. That does not happen with braid.

     Yet another benefit of the braid is hooking fish. Since you have no bow in your line and no stretch a nice smooth reel set and lift sticks fish more me with a huge hookup percentage.

     Finally you have the benefit of using many different lines to cater to situation without changing spools. I most commonly use 5, 8, and 10lb flourocarbon. This gives you a nice, lo vis, but high abrasion resistance leader.

     I use ONLY Sufix 10lb Braid, and use flourocarbons from Maxima, Seaguar and Sunline. WHEW, the dude is long winded about line isnt he? ;D

Hooks

    Hooks are obviously an important part of the game, principally their sharpness. I very seldom texas rig a dropshot and prefer to nose hook them the vast majority of the time. Even if you are getting snagged some, I still prefer the nose hooking as I feel that the presentation is much more effective, as are the hook up ratios. Pick a company reputable for their sharpness and use their dropshot/split shot hook. I prefer the Owner Mosquito in size 2 and 1.

Weights

       The actual weight of the sinker and its shape are the most important to me. In incredibly rocky areas, a cylinder weight will hang up less, at the cost of reduced feel on your end. The ball weights offer you the best feel of the bottom in my opinion and to my that is more important during a tough bite than sacrificing a few weights. Whatever you choose, you want it to seperate from your rig under less pressure than it takes to break your leader. I have used everything from bell sinkers to crimp on weights of several varieties and they all work, but I always come back to the 1/4 ounce ball with clip swivel. With the light braid, 1/4 oz will let you fish 5ft or 80ft if water effectively. If you are having a hard time with weight selection, err to the side of too light.

Knots

   Your knots, especially with my braid/leader setup are critical. I am a knot nerd. I am constantly checking out new knots online and burning 100's of feet off my filler spools trying them out. With this setup, you have two knots that are vital to your success. Firstly the line to leader knot. This is the big one. Tying two lines of different materials and diameters with good strength retention, ease, and function is a tough one. After trying out quite a few, sometimes elaborate knots, I found this knot, the Modified Albright  or Alberto knot.

http://stripers247.com/albrightknot.php

   Having used this knot for over 2 years with this and other techniques I feel comfortable saying that it meets or exceeds all of my needs and expectations. If you are gonna run braid/leader learn this knot. Period.

   Your other knot will be your knot to your hook. I prefer a Palomar. There is a trick in tying this to get your hook to stand out from the line, point up. When you pass the doubled line through the eye, pass it through in a direction that goes FROM the hook point TO the hookshank. Leave at least 18 inches of tag end. After you have tied the knot, take the tag end and go back through the eye again in the direction from the point to the shank. Pull tight and you will see your knot roll down and your hook will be properly placed. You can now place your weight on your line. the distance between hook and weight will obviously be the distance your bait is fished off the bottom.

Baits

   Keep it simple. A few basic colors in a few basic styles. I need a small 3.5-4" leach/reaper, a 4inch straight tailed worm, and a 6" straight tailed worm. Of course there are a myriad of baits to try, but for me, this is the core of it, and what I am fishing almost all of the time when dropshotting. You dont need every color out there, even on clear water. I like a dark green color, a brown color, a purple/pink color, and a white/shad color.

Basic Application

   So simple it is difficult. Let rig drop to the bottom. Remove all slack. Your bait is now levitating up off the bottom in an oh so inviting manner. Shake your rod tip. Not hard, just give it a nice shake, with that braid, there is plenty of action being imparted. Less is more in my opinion, you need your worm to look like it has parkinson's not a seizure. After you shake, just let it sit a moment, then lift your rod tip and move the rig towards the boat a few feet and repeat. Easy to learn impossible to master.

Thats it, thats my take on the drop shot. It is a very versatile rig limited only by your imagination. A myriad of baits and applications are possible, but this is the core of my dropshotting. Not a big fish technique in my opinion, but a great, fun, challenging, and rewarding way of chasing bass.

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Do you watch it to detect bites like the pros in lake Michigan and what-not, or do you have enough feel with the braid? also, do you you think dropshotting with a really light dropshot weight over a huge hydrilla infested area would work? I could treat the top of hydrilla as if it is the bottom, and tie the worm closer to the weight (maybe 5 inches?). You have a way better sense of dropshotting, so do you see this idea potentially working out? It is the only way I could dropshot on FL. Let me know what you think, and great post, this will be a huge help for everyone who fishes "dropshottable" lakes.

Oh one more thing, how far do you cast out from the boat? Is it better to keep you casts in closer to keep the bait and weight more vertical, or can you cast it way out and work it in?

thanks fourbizz dude for taking the time to write this

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Nice, fourbizz. Good read. I am just getting into drop-shotting and I was thinking about trying braid for the very same reasons you mention. Thanks.

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Do you watch it to detect bites like the pros in lake Michigan and what-not, or do you have enough feel with the braid?

Its all about the feel for me, between a high end rod, and a finger on braid, youre in good shape imo.

also, do you you think dropshotting with a really light dropshot weight over a huge hydrilla infested area would work?

It might, but you would need to change almost everything I recomended for it to work effectively in hydrilla. Rods, line, hooks all gotta be heavier and you will probably have to texas rig the plastic. think about those rubber weights, enough to cast, big profile, they might not sink through as bad.

Oh one more thing, how far do you cast out from the boat? Is it better to keep you casts in closer to keep the bait and weight more vertical, or can you cast it way out and work it in?

i fish it anywhere from directly under the TM to as far as i can cast, which with really light braid, is a long, long way. If the bites are super light, keep your casts to medium distance or less though.

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If you are casting the rig farther away from you, wouldn't a longer bait-to-sinker distance help to keep the bait higher in the water column at the lower angle created when the sinker is farther from your rod tip?

I hope that makes sense.

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Well if you did that, would it be too long when it got closer to the boat?

I didnt really go into weight/hook distance, but I often will go with as little as 4 or 5 inches of drop. Sometimes they love that. Sometimes you gotta go 18".

I definitely understand what you are saying, but if i were positive they wanted a bait 10" off the bottom, then that is where i would set my weight. if they werent eating it till it got closer to the boat, then id stop casting so far, lol

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bizz and dropshot in the same sentence :o

I use 10lb braid and floro leader too. awesome combo for deadstickin.

hope you've been good dood, it's been awhile. 8-)

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WOW!

;D ;D ;D

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I am a total noob and the more I read the more I want to get out and do it. Thanks ;)

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Thanks for the write-up, Bizz. Nice job keeping it simple. I'd like to gain more confidence in dropshotting this year, and your instructions will definitely help.

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Nice post Bizz,  One question you said about being in clear water. Does this method also work in our murky water up here in the north?

My guess it would be more feeling of the rod and line rather than sight in this situation, I'm I close.

             Bare with me I'm still learning  :-[

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Jay, I didn't know you had it in you. Good read and well done, thanks.

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Bizz, great post, thanks much! I've really been wanting to give drop shotting a try this year, especially at Table Rock, where it's very clear and the bite can be tough. Your insight has really helped increase my knowledge of this technique, not to mention my confidence... :)

Thanks again!

Tom

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Fishizzle,you lose the weight, generally.

_______

Fourbizz, that is one solid approach to the rig and application.  Thanks, great post.  

I tend to think of "Drop Shot" as a rig, not a presentation or style.  I'm pretty sure I've rigged it up on every rod I own.  Well, not my trout rods, LOL.  I love DS on braid as well, and 10/2 is ideal.  I've also used much heavier line and a flipping stick to cannon ball the pads.  A very deadly tactic with a 10" worm or Super Fluke.

While many think of the rig as a way to deliver a soft plastic to a location, and add action while keeping it in place, it solves other problems.  When slow drifting either live bait (GASP!) of finesse plastics in the Great Lakes, the rig keeps the business end of your terminal tackle from getting hung, or chewed up on the zebra and quagga mussels.  I will often drag a tube and a DS when fishing in Lake Ontario.

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Great report!  I too switched over to braid and found the sensitivity increased dramatically.  However instead of tying directly to the leader I use a small black swivel between the main line braid and the fluoro leader.  While braid does not show the twist as badly this almost eliminates any line twisting.  

The other thing I discovered after a couple years of using braid was  using 10 lb Fireline worked better then my favorite Power Pro.  The Fireline has just a small amount of memory and stays on the spool better then the limper Power Pro.

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I was using the same braid (Suffix 10/2), until I had a ton of breakoffs between the leader and the braid main line then I went to straight flouro.  I was using a blood-knot, which I think was causing the braid to cut thru my leader.  I'm going to try that albright knot and see if that solves my problem.

Other than that, my set-up was pretty much like yours.

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Blood knots are terribly unreliable on fast action bass tackle.  They do not hold up well to the hookset.  The Allbright knot is a very good one.  I'm good with a Uni to Uni connection.  If there is a big difference between leader and mainline, a spider hitch knot to double up the braid makes a better connection.  

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Great information!  I cant wait to try it!

As a side question would this work equally as well in stained water with timber?

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It works anywhere there are fish.  Adjust the tackle to the situation.

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When I read the post title, I expected to see a drop shot rig consisting of a 22/0 EWG hook impaling one of those hand-poured 19" worms and a 4oz cannonball weight, all tied up on 100lb test flouro.

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Great report! I too switched over to braid and found the sensitivity increased dramatically. However instead of tying directly to the leader I use a small black swivel between the main line braid and the fluoro leader. While braid does not show the twist as badly this almost eliminates any line twisting.

The other thing I discovered after a couple years of using braid was using 10 lb Fireline worked better then my favorite Power Pro. The Fireline has just a small amount of memory and stays on the spool better then the limper Power Pro.

Just curious, does the swivel ever get hung up on the guides? Thanks!

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