Ron's Catch: Dropshotting

The Drop Shot is probably one of the most productive fishing techniques today and one that works just about anywhere in the country no matter the time of year.

Although this technique is considered to have originated or taken off on the West Coast, primarily in the deeper reservoirs of California, it is believed to have been invented by the Japanese.

Regardless, in the early 1990’s, Professional Angler Aaron Martens was the one credited for bringing this technique to the forefront of the bass fishing world when he began to win tournament after tournament using this technique in the deep, clear California waters.

Drop Shooting is a finesse technique and one of the few and very versatile techniques that can be fished from one foot of water to 100 feet of water. The presentation consists of a soft plastic, and a varied length of leader material where a small weight is attached to the tag end of the line.

Over the years, the way people drop shot has expanded, and the options for the soft plastic presentation rigged on the drop shot have become endless. Today you will find finesse worms, grubs, minnow baits, small creatures, and even live bait being used to catch fish anywhere in the country.

Because of the technique’s success, I don’t think there is a Tournament Bass Angler alive who doesn’t always have one or more of these rigs ready to go. The reason it works so well is its versatility, and ability to produce when fish are heavily pressured and often in a negative mood.

The Drop Shot presentation works extremely well under cold conditions when fish are just not willing to chase down fast-moving prey or other baitfish, and the often bite size profile is just too easy when moving along past their face, making it hard to resist.

Other than my preferred choice of lure to add onto my hook, the most common questions I get asked all the time would be how do you prefer to rig your drop shot? Weedless or non-weedless?

This is a great question, and the simple answer is both ways. Not only can the drop shot be utilized in all depths of water, but also fished in all kinds of cover. If rigged properly, it can be incredibly effective.

For instance, if I’m fishing open or deeper water where it is apparent there is not much for a fish to get my line hung up in, I prefer to use a nose hook technique. This way of rigging gives my bait or lure the most action, and instant hook penetration into the fish’s mouth.

Fishing lure

When fishing near laydowns, brush piles, docks, thick vegetation or other cover, I will Texas Rig my soft plastics and go with the weedless application. This keeps my hook point buried into the plastic which enables me to fish in or around heavy cover without hanging up or breaking off so frequently.
Fishing lure

The weight or leader between the hook and the weight can be modified quickly depending on how or where you are fishing. If I am fishing rock piles or emergent vegetation, I will often go with a longer 18-inch to 24-inch leader before attaching my weight. A longer leader is also used if I notice fish on my electronics are feeding higher off the bottom or even suspended.

Under most conditions, I usually prefer the leader between my lure and weight to be about 12 inches in length, unless I see the need to lengthen. Typically, the finesse approach with keeping the presentation close to bottom to imitate prey creeping along the bottom or close to structure comes across most natural to a feeding fish.

Next let’s talk about the rod/reel set up. Because this is a finesse technique, it’s best to use a good finesse application.

I prefer using a 7-inch Medium Duckett Micro Magic Fishing rod, but you can use any of your favorite Duckett Medium Spinning rods. They are all designed by top fishing pros who know what you need in a fishing rod when it comes to finesse fishing. Any of the spinning rods in the series are incredibly light and sensitive which will telegraph even the slightest bite into your hands, especially when fish are in a non-aggressive mood.

Having a good sensitive rod will also allow help you feel the kind of structure your drop shot may be dragging across. A good rod will enable you to tell the difference between rock, shell beds, sand, mud or weeds, which is very important when discovering where and how the fish are relating to cover in order to duplicate a fishing pattern.

For the Reel, I prefer a 2500 series or medium sized spinning reel which will give you the perfect balance paired with the rod for those long fishing days, and the spool size will give you plenty of options for line size and great cast ability. Investing in a good spinning reel is important as well so take your time learning about the differences or by talking to somebody at the Shoppers Sporting Goods department.

Lastly, I spool up all my reels when fishing a drop shot with 15-30 lb Seaguar Smackdown Braid which has very small diameter and allows for super long casts. It has the general properties of zero stretch, max sensitivity, abrasion resistance, and instant hook set penetration which are all important factors for good hook up to landing ratio.

Fishing accessories

The last 6 to 10 feet of my drop shot is fluorocarbon leader material where I recommend Seaguar 6-10 lb InvizX fluorocarbon.  You can vary your leader depending on the structure and water clarity, but fluorocarbon is invisible, which is why under most conditions you will go this route and not just use straight braid.

If you do happen to be fishing super thick vegetation or dirty water conditions, tying this to straight braid is certainly an option. The straight braid will cut through weeds better, and many times prevents that trophy fish from breaking your fluorocarbon leader material or breaking your line where the two lines are connected. Again, I prefer to use a fluorocarbon most of the time, but will use straight braid under rare occasions when conditions or situations call for it.

Tie on a drop shot if this is a new technique you are not yet familiar with because the more you fish it, the more you will understand why this has become one of the best fishing techniques you can learn to catch more fish.

To learn how to tie a drop shot, visit:

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