Fishing the drop shot rig is one of the best ways to catch bass period! Just about any angler in any major fishing series will always have a rod rigged up with a drop shot. This is because this rig flat out catches bass in almost any condition during any time of the year. Also, the technique is so simple to use that anyone of any skill level can learn to fish the drop shot rig.
This post will cover:
- Gear and Tackle You Will Need
- How to Tie and Rig a Drop Shot
- The Different Techniques and Baits
- Where and When to Fish it
The Gear You Will Need
One of the great things about using a drop shot rig is that it doesn’t require a bunch of fancy expensive gear. All you need is a spinning rod and reel, light line, a drop shot or mosquito hook, and a drop shot style weight.
Rod and Reel
The best rod and reel combo to use is a light spinning rod about 6.6’ or 7.0’ with a 200 size spinning reel. Most outdoors stores like Cabela’s and Bass Pro sell similar setups. My favorite rod is an old Wally Marshall crappie rig I bought as a combo from Bass Pro shops about 7 years ago. This type of rod/reel combo is perfect for a drop shot rig. Although they don’t carry that particular setup anymore, most stores you go to will have a similar setup. Most folks probably already have the prefect drop shop rod and reel which is another great thing about the drop shot rig.
I use the lightest line I can get away with. I personally use 8-pound test monofilament. I have heard a lot of other people say to use fluorocarbon. There are some benefits with the fluoro over mono such as fluoro is nearly invisible under water due to its light refraction properties. Fluoro is probably the wiser choice for finicky fish and a true finesse presentation when the bite gets tough.
In my opinion, the best hook to use is a Gamakatsu 1/0 wide gap drop shot hook. I have tried a lot of other hooks and the Gamakatsu hooks allow me to land more bass. One reason I think this hook helps me is that it’s a bit thicker than a normal mosquito hook so it tears through the mouth as much as other thinner wire hooks. Plus the wide gap allows me to use some bigger baits like a fluke without having to worry about pulling a smaller hook through all that plastic.
I have seen guys use a Texas rig worm style hook and hook their bait Texas rig style in order to fish down into some grass. I have not used that setup before but I can imagine if you are in that kind of conditions then it’s definitely worth a try.
The Drop Shop Weight
There are two primary styles of drop shot weights, slim and ball shaped. But the one thing they all have in common is the very simple way it attaches to your line. Since the hook is above the weight, the weight doesn’t really need to be fastened very securely.
The ball shape weight works for most applications. But if you are fishing rocks or fishing deep, you will want the slim cylindrical shape to reduce the number of hang-ups and get down to your target depth quick.
Drop shop weights attach to the line by squeezing your line into the pinched portion of the weight’s eyelet. This serves two purposes. First, it allows you to quickly attach your weight to your line or opt for a different weight and it helps with getting your main rig back i.e. hook and bait. The rig is generally fished on the bottom so it increases your chances of the weight getting stuck on something and since there is no knot, the line slips out of the eyelet before it breaks off above the hook.
One drawback I have found is that some fish jump and shake so hard that the weight will fly off. Optionally, you could really use any kind of weight.
How to Setup a Drop Shot Rig
The most difficult part for most people is tying on the hook so that you get the right presentation. What makes it somewhat more confusing is there are few different types of knots that people use. Alternately, you can actually forgo the entire knot tying process by using a drop shop specialty hook that has a swivel on the top and bottom and the hook swings freely. You just tie on at the top and the bottom.
However, I prefer to use a Palomar knot and bring the tag end back down through the eyelet of the hook which makes the hook stick straight out when the line is tight. The tag end should be about 12 to 15 inches long and then the weight will attach near the bottom of the tag end. While this is the most popular way of setting up a drop shot rig, it’s not the only way. Below is a video that shows the exact way I set up my drop shot rig.
You can put the bait on the hook two different ways. Just nose hook it or hook it through the tip by coming up from the bottom and bring the point of the hook right up to the tip of the bait.
Here is a great video that shows the exact way I rig my drop shots.
Techniques and Baits
There are two primary techniques to fishing a drop shot. Casting out and working it back to you, or fishing it vertically. The most common method is fishing it vertically and I catch 90% of all my bass using a vertical presentation. The casting method works great when fishing super clear water that’s not very deep, maybe in 4’ to 6’ of water. Many anglers targeting small-mouth bass will use the casting method when in very clear waters such as Lake Michigan. Personally, I have not fished in those conditions so I have always used the vertical approach in water up to 20’ deep.
To fish it vertically, it is as simple as dropping it down until it hits the bottom and bringing up just a few inches off the bottom. Then slowly move the rod up and down in short strokes. If the bass are suspending just work the bait into the strike zone depth and use the same motion.
Sometimes a fast twitch or two will trigger them to bite. You will find that you will need to try different movements of the fishing rod until you figure out what makes them strike which can change everyday.
Here are the best baits that I use
Where and When To Fish A Drop Shot
Where and when is pretty easy. This rig works just about everywhere and any time of year. I fish this rig a lot when the fish are deep. If you have a boat and a good fish finder, then you can’t go wrong fishing a drop shot. Mid to late summer I’m always cruising around looking for bass and then dropping in on them where they are hiding. It is super effective and once you get the knack of finding them on your fish finder you will have a lot more success fishing – and a lot more fun too!
If you are like me, you’ll find that the drop shot could be your “go to” rig after you start catching some bass with it. I fish dropshot just almost all year long. When I’m having a tough time finding the bass mid to late summer I’m fishing with a deep diving crankbait in order to locate fish. I then switch to the drop shot because the fish bite better on the drop shot. So give the rig a shot (no pun intended) the next you’re out and I can guarantee you’ll love how effective it is.