When the bass are in a tizzy the drop shot rig can be one of the best set-ups to throw. A lot of anglers make the mistake of using the drop shot rig only for deep, clear water situations. The drop shot rig is rather very versatile and can work under a wide range of conditions with the proper adjustments.
For most of my deep clear water dropshotting I use a 7 foot medium light to medium AiRRUS Ultra XL Spinning rod with 6lb test line. I like to use a lighter action rod because I can just shake the slack line when working the bait rather than moving the weight around. Spinning is my preferred set up because most baitcasters don’t have the silky smooth drag I am looking for in using light line. I look for a spinning reel with a big face on it so it will take up more line which is critical when fishing deep because a lot of times those deep kentucky bass will try to sky rocket to the top and you better be able to catch up to them. One of the biggest keys to dropshotting is to always use the lightest line that you possible can. I really like to use 6lb test because it gives the bait a lot more action. I like to use the Gamakatsu No. 1 split shot/ dropshot hooks because there isn’t a stronger or sharper drop shot hook on the market. You want to make sure you tie a Palomar not for your dropshot and that you slip the tag end back through the eye of the hook so that your hook rides upright on your line. As far as plastics go I am a big fan of the zoom finesse worms for my clear water dropshotting. I like to also throw the robo worms also because they have insane action. Some of my favorite colors are green pumpkin and Aaron’s Magic.
If I’m fishing dark or off colored water of around heavier cover I really like to step up to the casting gear with heavier line at least 14lb test. With the casting gear you won’t get near as much line twist as you do with a spinning rod. I like to use a medium or medium heavy action AiRRUS Ultra XL casting rod. My favorite baits to throw in off colored water on a drop shot are a Sweet Beaver, a Yum Doozie, and 6 inch Senko because I can get a lot more water displacement. I will also use an offset worm hook in the 2/0 size so as to not hinder the action of my baits. I like to use a reel with a fast gear ratio at least 6:31 because a lot of times the bass will start to swim off because they don’t feel any weight and you will have to catch up to them. When I’m fishing off colored water I will almost always add some type of a rattle to my bait because I want the bass to key in on it.
There really isn’t any wrong way or place to fish a drop shot. I like to work mine a variety of ways depending on what kind of structure I am fishing. As always it is best to let the fish decide what they want. When I am fishing deeper points I often like to cast my drop shot rig out and drag it slowly along the bottom until I find a rock pile or some other piece of cover that gets my attention. I will usually let the bait sit almost on point without moving it to try and tempt a bass into biting. If I don’t get any response I will start to shake my rod tip on a slack line to give the bait some action. A lot of times the bass can’t stand this. I like to also throw a drop shot rig around boat docks. I’ll cast the bait up to the bank and work it out to the front of the dock. I’m always trying to feel for sunken brush piles and I will stop my bait and hold it when I get to a dock post. In the spring time you will want to keep your drop shot closer to your weight almost 6 inches above it a lot of times because the bass will be looking down feeding on crawfish. Rip rap is a great place to throw a drop shot rig. A good presentation to try is to let the bait sink on a slack line and then tighten up the line. This makes your bait come up off the bottom and then I’ll give it slack again and let it go back down. When fishing shallow cover the dropshot can be great. I like to pitch my rig up onto the bank and crawl it in so the weight doesn’t splash. The dropshot is an under used tool by most shallow water fisherman and it can give the bass that see hundreds of jigs and spinnerbaits a totally different look. You can work the bait very slow and keep it almost in one spot. I like to also throw a drop shot rig on bluff banks. A lot of times I’ll work the bait off the shelf and just shake it as it stair steps down the bluff wall. The key is determining how deep the bass are relating to the bluff and keeping your bait in the strike zone. I hope these tips on dropshotting will help you put more wary bass in the boat. Best Wishes!
Spencer Clark, editor