Why Throw a Drop Shot in the South?
As a Southern angler, I was hesitant to even use this technique due to the stigma it has attached with it. It’s commonly referred to as being thrown on a “Fairy Wand”, meaning the rod used for a drop shot is flimsy and doesn’t have much backbone. Thankfully, this isn’t truly the case.
Most southern anglers are fishing jigs and crankbaits or other power fishing techniques, and it is known that these techniques help you land some big fish. So, I resolved to using those tactics. I found myself not separated from the rest of the tournament field and needed to find something different to gain a competitive edge. A good friend of mine talked me into using the drop shot, and low and behold, I was getting limits on a regular basis and starting to climb up the leaderboards.
The drop shot works on any body of water. From river systems to reservoirs. You can fish it at any time of the year. It works especially well when you have high bluebird skies and in heavily pressured situations where the fish aren’t in a very cooperative mood or are suspended. The dropshot is a big player on clear water reservoirs, but can still have its place in dirty water scenarios!
How to Rig a Drop Shot:
Here in the south, when fishing stained or muddy bodies of water, you can normally get away with a little heavier line size. I rig mine on 30-pound Sunline SX1 braid with a 10-pound Sunline Assassin fluorocarbon leader. You can always go with a lighter leader in clearer water. I use a Roboworm Rebarb hook in varied sizes depending on what bait I am using. This hook allows you to rig your worm Texas rigged. It makes for a truly weedless approach.
This is how I normally rig my drop shot!
In open water, you can use an exposed hook presentation. I will just nose hook the bait on a Trokar TK 150 Drop Shot hook. Leader size depends on the water depth and if you are targeting suspended fish. My normal setup will be anywhere from 8 to 12 inches. With the water depth in mind, the weight on the bottom of your leader can be from 1/8 oz to as heavy as 1/2 oz for deeper presentations. You want to have everything on your leader from hook to sinker. Using the Palomar knot and feeding your tag end back though the front of the hook eye will allow your hook to face correctly and create more action with the bait.
Drop Shot Gear
This topic has many opinions depending on who you talk to and what region of the country you are in. Ultimately, you need to find what works best for you. Most anglers will use a spinning set up in the 6’6”- 7’ range with a medium light to medium action.
I choose to use a Lew’s 7’ medium heavy because you never know what you will hook into, and it just works for me.
Reels can vary as well. Ardent makes good quality 2000 and 3000 series spinning reels that will provide you the ample amount of line capacity. Most anglers I have talked to will use the 3000 series. I prefer the 2000 to cut down on weight. Even though it may not be much, over an eight-hour tournament day, everything comes down to ounces. The key is to make sure you have a reel with a good drag system.
How to Fish the Drop Shot
There are a few ways to fish a drop shot. The “traditional” way is the fish it vertically. Some even have coined the phrase “Video Game” fishing. That involves watching your graph and dropping down to bass when you see them on your graph. Twitching the bait and watching the fish come eat can be a blast!
However, I prefer fishing it like a Texas rig or more so like a jig. Cast it out to a lay down, near a rock pile or some kind of structure and shake it like you would a jig for a few seconds, reel it up and go to the next target. You don’t have to shake it like you’re mad at it either. Just move your rod tip about an inch or two. Anything more than that translates into a lot of movement on the end of your line.
There is a misnomer that a dropshot only catches small fish. I am here to tell you, that isn’t true. I have landed quite a few largemouth from the 6-8 pound range. You just have to finesse them with the lighter line. This method works very well to get a limit in the boat in a hurry. It is definitely not the magic wand, but once you become proficient with this technique, you will become more comfortable throwing your bait in spots not many anglers will.
This method works very well to get a limit in the boat in a hurry.
Whether you are in the south fishing for Largemouth, in the northern region fishing for big Smallmouth, or out west, this technique is not one to overlook. It simply catches fish. I have been blessed to fish all over the mid-Atlantic region and fish against some of the best anglers out there. I will attest that the drop shot has worked on each body of water I have fished. Take the time to tie it on, get used to the feel of the bite and have fun with it.