The Finesse Worm and Drop-ShottingThe Finesse Worm and Drop-Shotting Learn to use the drop-shot technique to fill the livewell with limit after limit of fish. Here's how!
By John R. Pulliam
The craze started off in the waters of California, and slowly started making its way to the East Coast. The anglers of the southern United States began to laugh at the small lures, small line, and small hook that are commonly used with this technique... that is, until it started catching more and more fish, some of which were pushing into trophy status.
Which technique could this be? It's the technique that has become known as drop-shotting. It is extremely effective when fishing gin-clear waters or waters that have extreme fishing pressures on them.
There are many ways of creating a drop-shot rig, but I have found that by using the inexpensive split-shots as weights, normally found on bluegill and crappie setups, that this technique becomes more affordable, and easier to rig and learn. I also like to use small hooks, such as size 2 Gamakatsu off-set worm hooks. These are a light-wire hook, that still have enough backbone to hold up against the biggest bass, but with constant pressure, can be straightened out so that break-offs come down to a minimum.
The trick in rigging a drop-shot is to make sure that you have enough of a tag end to run back through the hook, so that you will have adequate distance between the placement of the hook and the placement of the weight. I suggest having close to a 10-inch clearance between the hook and weight. Under most conditions I will tie the hook using a Palomar knot. Double your line and run it through the eye of the hook. Then, tie an overhand knot. You should now have a loop as the tag end, which you now run back over the hook. Now, cinch the knot down, making sure to lubricate it (with saliva or water). Now, all that you should have left is the 10-inch tag end, which you will now run through the eye of the hook. Once this is done, flip the knot so that it's sitting on the top of the hook eye. You want the hook to sit perpendicular to the line.
Once you are finished with the hook, you can place the split-shot on the line. Normally, I leave a good 3 inches from the bottom of the tag end of the line and where I set the weight. I have found that this does two things. First off, you are less apt to hang up in gnarly cover and secondly, it makes the weight become sort of a rattle, especially when fished against rocks.
Now that your drop-shot rig is complete, it is time to decide which lure you are going to use. Remember, this technique is tailored to smaller lures, ranging in size from 3- to 5-inches, however, don't be afraid to experiment with larger lures. This technique is new to the eastern states, and sometimes, the fish you are targeting have never seen it. A larger lure could produce larger bass for you.
There are several lures that can be used on this rig, such as jigs, worms, lizards, tubes. I suggest that you use a 6-inch finesse worm, from Zoom. My favorite color is icicle. Not only does it mimic the natural color of some shiners and other baitfish, it also mimics colors found in some bluegills, due to light hitting the lure and refracting the light. Experiment with the colors that you use and don't be afraid to switch colors in a drastic way, to prevent the bass from becoming lure shy.
Drop-shotting is not a technique that is difficult to learn, as I have found that most bites are very hard. Upon occasion, you will find a bass that only moves the line off to the side, and this is where I recommend using a line that shows up well for you, but vanishes under water. I use Triple Fish UV (Ultra Visible) 12 # test exclusively. It has four neon colors woven into the line, and is very visible above the water, yet hard to see under.
Choosing a rod and reel combination is very important. I suggest getting a spinning outfit that has a rod with a wispy tip, for shaking the lure, and a reel that has a high gear ratio, so that if a bass is in gnarly cover, you will be able to get him out quick. A 6-foot 6-inch rod is an excellent choice. I personally use a Quantum Torsion coupled with a Mitchell Avocet reel. When choosing a reel, get one that has at least 4 ball bearings, as this will ensure maximum smoothness.
As this technique is used by more anglers, making subtle changes in the technique will consistently put fish in the boat for you.
I hope that this gives you the information that you will need to learn the drop-shot technique with confidence and begin using it to fill the livewell with limit after limit of fish.
As always, tight lines and be safe!
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