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bronzewb22

drop shotting smallmouth

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I'd like to learn how to dropshot for smallmouth. When is the best time of year? Where and how should i fish a dropshot rig?

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Best time to learn would be in the summer.  Weather is somewhat stable, and the fish are usaully predictable.  I like to fish a drop shot in 20 ft +.  Start out on points or humps and move up and down the different depths until you find some fish.  Cast it out or drop it straight down and keep your line tight and do nothing with it.  If they do not bite it that way then shake it a little.  Don't do too much.  They will see it and they will eat it!!!!

Get set up with a drop shot rod and get some 6 IB fluro line, size 1 or 2 drop shot hooks, some drop shot weights in 1/8 up to 3/8, and some 4" worms in Green Pumpkin or Watermelon Seed. (nose hook them or wacky rig them)  Get on a decent smallmouth pond or lake and you'll be good to go.

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thanks for the advice, we've also got big brookies and browns where i fish for smallmouth so i might end up pulling some interesting stuff.

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anywhere, any time, you can dropshot for smallies with any soft plastics

smallies like DS in their beds. thats a good time to start and get your confidence in the technique

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I drop shot in less than 10 feet of water in the river here.  I use 3/16oz drop shot weight.  I start the year with 4" lizards, use finesse worms, senkos, and other small worms.  I do this all summer long on the river.

I have caught 20+ pound carp on the drop shot. :o  Have fun catching other species too!

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I agree with most of what has been said. However, one very important point needs to be made. Your success/failure with the DS will depend largely on your ability to read your electronics. A good sonar is indispensable to finding BAIT. And basically, that's all you need to do. If you find bait relating to a 20' - 35' hump, then anchor and proceed to catch smallmouth. No other presentation is as effective in deep water. As long you as you focus on LOCATION!

The DS can be used in shallow water as well, but then your electronics are not as effective in telling you where the bait is. In that case you have to "read" the structure yourself.

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Last season was really a learning experience for me as far as telling when and where to use the drop-shot for smallies. The key thing to know first hand is the type of structure you'll be fishing as well as the forage that is present.

Since my boat is pretty much always in the water and I don't own a vehicle that can tow it, I'm usually "stuck" to fish the same waters. That being said, I don't rely on my electronics as much since I pretty much have a good undderstanding of the type of structure, cover and bait available. But when they're deep, it's like ice fishing....you see them on the sonar and you see your bait go down. Next thing you know, you feel weight. Set and hold on!

I quickly learned that drop-shotting can be used at any time of the year, but has better use in specific situations. For example, where I would normally use a hair jig and trailer, I sometimes used DS since I believe the smallies can see the bait off the bottom at all time, instead of slipping in and out of surrounding boulders.

When summer comes around, mid-day is a hard time to stick 'em. But I learned that using a DS can get a few bass to bite when dead-sticking a 3-4" senko. Seems just wave action is enough to wiggle the ends and they just go nuts! If that doesn't work, downscale. Sometimes even a slimmer profile bait like a Zoom 4" finess worm does the trick. If not, then my go-to bait was a 3" Gulp Alive minnow...they can't resist 'em!

But just to warn you, if you always use this as a way to catch bass....I quickly found out that being a "one trick pony" doesn't always cut it. DS has its place just like every other tactic.

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Crestliner is 100% correct about electronics.  The better you are with your electronics the better you will be with the drop shot.  

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I drop shot year round for SM, from ice out till ice up. It is my #1 technique for both numbers AND size. I will fish it from the bank to as deep as 50'. I cast it, as well as drop it down vertical. It is a very productive and versitile presentation.

I usualy fish it exclusivly on one rod/reel. I have a 7' ML/fast St Croix Avid spinning rod teamed with a Pflueger Supreme 8030 spinning reel spooled up with 6lb test Trilene 100% flurocarbon.

I adjust my weight based on depth, 1/4 oz seems to be a versatile size and can cover many situations, but I go as lite as 1/8 oz in very shallow clear water, and as heavy as a 1/2 oz. for deep vertical presentations. 1/4 and 3/8's most of the time for drifting the rig.

Length from hook to weight depends on depth, a like a long "drop" (14"- 18") when casting and "dragging" the rig back to me, this keeps the bait and sinker at the proper angle (to me at least)to keep the bait hovering above the bottom or cover. When drifting I often use the same length of drop, as I am usualy long lining the bait out the back/side/front of the boat and trying to achive the same height for the bait to "hang". You have to play with the length a little more when drop it vertical. This is where electronics play an important role. Sometimes they want it 2" off the bottom, sometime they want 2 feet. Ileave my self enough line to adjust that as needed. One thing I have found, they will come UP and take a bait alot more than they will go down for one.

I pretty much stay with one hook and size for most of my dropshoting, a #1 gamakatsu dropshot/splitshot hook has worked very good for me, but carry a few extra sizes and styles cause you never know what size bait's they will key on. I carry the #1 and 1/0 for most of my open hook "nose rigging" and also some 1/0 EWG hooks for texas rigging a bait if I am using bigger baits, or snags are a problem.

I have a few baits that I really like, the Berkley Gulp 3" crawler, the Yum 2.5" Baby craw bug, the Zoom tiny fluke, and the 4" Robo worm, are about all I carry, and usualy get bit on any of them. Green pumpkins, watermelons and other natural colors work best for me. There are times when I have got creative and used beavers, tubes, grubs, senkos, and they all worked, so bait selection is IMHO the least important part, as long as you put something infront of them and they eat it.

The great thing about dropshoting is the varity of fish you can catch. I have had 100+ fish days with it, catching everything from 10lb pike, to 5" bluegills. It has saved they day when nothing else seemed to work.

One last word of advice, for me at least, it seems the LESS I move the bait the better it is. I have fished with and against guys who shake it, hop it, and seemingly can't hold still to save there lives and smoked them.

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ww2farmer - Great post! I use 1/4 oz. no matter what the depth. With drop shotting, you are not fishing the weight, but the "slack" between the weight and your rod tip. So, as long as the weight holds to the bottom, it doesn't really matter how big it is. I've fished this 1/4 oz. in 50' with no problem. I mainly vertically fish it though - as the Japanese originally taught us. Casting is fine, but I find this approach to be better suited in shallow water areas.

Also, anyone trying this for the first time would be well advised to try the Daiichi "Stand-Out" hooks (red please!), invented by Rob Long. They not only work great, but they relieve the anxiety of of having the hook perpendicular to the main line. I use size #2's.

I would not try to "sell" someone on drop shotting by saying that you catch 100+ fish a day. I suppose that can happen. I've fished the DS for 6 years straight now and I've had some pretty decent days. But if I get one or two dozen smallies over 2 1/2 lbs., I call that a very good day. Unless you're fishing Champlain or Erie. The thing is, a lot of "hype" has been put out there with regards to the DS's effectiveness - some of it true....some of it, not so true. I just hate to discourage anyone from trying it, based on one or two days of "only" catching a few fish (if you know what I mean!). JMO Folks! :)

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Has anyone tried braid as main line,  say 10/2 PP and a Flouro leader? I am gonna give DS a try this year and I usually have braid on my setups and dont want to strip it off? I would think it would be alot more sensitive and that thin a dia shouldnt matter as far as visibility goes? Thoughts???

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Yes, I've tried Fireline for a season, but took it off. My catch ratio decreased dramatically. I'm assuming it was because of the clarity of the water I fish. When fishing my second rod with fluorocarbon on the main, my catch went back up. Maybe it's the visibility of the braids? JMO.

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After experimenting over the past couple of years, I've had the best success with braid and a flouro leader. I fish water that is gin clear, as you can see the bottom in 20+ ft and I catch fish up to 60+ ft. The braid is ultra sensitive and you can feel everything in the deepest of depths. Just straight flouro can be a nightmare with twisting and can make for a long day. Some people also use a swivel a few feet above the hook but reeling it through the eyes of your rod can do damage. Braid and a six foot flouro leader is the way to go IMHO. The knot to tie them together has been debated here in different posts.

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After experimenting over the past couple of years, I've had the best success with braid and a flouro leader. I fish water that is gin clear, as you can see the bottom in 20+ ft and I catch fish up to 60+ ft. The braid is ultra sensitive and you can feel everything in the deepest of depths. Just straight flouro can be a nightmare with twisting and can make for a long day. Some people also use a swivel a few feet above the hook but reeling it through the eyes of your rod can do damage. Braid and a six foot flouro leader is the way to go IMHO. The knot to tie them together has been debated here in different posts.

I may have to give a spool of Fireline another crack! Regardless of what I use, I always use a swivel - a #10 Power Swivel by SPRO. Never had much of a problem with line twist; using 6# main fluoro line, the swivel, and then a 3 1/2' 4# test DS leader. As far as reeling the swivel through the tip top guide goes, I prevent that with the use of a small, red, glass bead - a tad larger than the tip top.

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Fireline is a fused line, and will probably work fine, though I MUCH prefer Power Pro after using both.  

When fishing very deep, I agree with the others that braid with a fluorocarbon leader is an ideal setup.  I fish Lake Ontario quite a bit, and while I think the fish would probably ignore the 10/2 diameter line at those depths, the zebra and guagga mussels would slice it up.  

If you use a tough leader material, like Gamma Leader or P-Line CFX, you'll minimize break offs.  you have to check it frequently, though.  I generally start with about 8' leader, and within a few hours, its whittled down to 3' or less, and I have start with a new section.

One thing to note, a Uni to Uni connection with a mainline that is 2# diameter, and leader that is heavier, say 6 or 8#, then you will want to either go to an Allbright knot or use a spider hitch knot to double the mainline.  

If you use a swivel, a friend showed me a cool trick: thread a small, plastic bead on the mainline that is just bigger than the ring in your tip top.  Thais will save your rings should you accidentally reel in too far.  The downside of this trick is if you still don't stop reeling, you could snap the rod.

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Using trial and error I finally settled on 10 lb Fireline as my main drop shot line.  The reason is simply it has just enough memory to stay on the spool.  I use Power Pro for baitcasting, but it drove me nuts being so limp it fell off the spool of my wide spool spinning reels.

I add a small swivel and then use 6 to 10 lb fluoro depending on the conditions I am fishing.  Gamakatsu drop shot hooks seem to hold up the best and are super sharp.  

This is the rig I have used for the past two years and my catch rate on Smallies from 15 to 50 feet deep has been excellent.  I can feel the bait no matter how rough it gets out on Lake Ontario.  Plus I catch the occasional Walleye using this rig as well.

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Is the bite always the same for smallmouth and large mouth? Is the bite just a heavy feeling?

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Guest Grandfather
Crestliner is 100% correct about electronics. The better you are with your electronics the better you will be with the drop shot.

I'll second that statement....It won't be long Richard... :)

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Crestliner is 100% correct about electronics. The better you are with your electronics the better you will be with the drop shot.

I'll second that statement....It won't be long Richard... :)

x3 ;)

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