Before we tell you anything else about using a Drop Shot Rig, it is important that you know, while many anglers will assume that fishing with a Drop Shot Rig requires hard-to-learn methods, it is easy to use.
So long as you can cast accurately, you can fish a drop shot rig.
Let’s get rid of the stigma around these rigs and learn all about them.
What is a Drop Shot Rig?
A drop shot rig is a finesse fishing rig that involves tying the line with a hook and a trailing leader at the end with a weight. The hook and the bait are above the weight in this setup.
Drop shot rigs are becoming more and more popular with anglers across the globe. It is an effective method that works every time! It is considered to be a finesse technique as it contains light weights and plastic baits.
When this fishing style first came to the USA, anglers mainly used it for fishing in deep waters, especially during cold winters when anglers would snag a winter bass hiding 100ft deep.
The idea of a drop shot rig is to sling a bait, such as a plastic worm, into the water, positioned directly in front of the fish. The weight is then dropped to the bottom, which shakes the bait, attracts the fish’s attention, and makes it more alluring.
Conditions for using a Drop Shot Rig
Drop shot rigs are suitable yearly thanks to them excelling at catching fish both post and pre-spawning periods.
During winter seasons, using a drop shot with an imitation shad bait can be a killer combo. In winter, the colder waters are also a fantastic place where you can place your bait stationary at the bottom of the waters, thus attracting much fish.
A drop shot rig can work with any structure of cover except tall weed beds or matted vegetation. In these conditions, the weight will likely get stuck, and it will signal a warning to the bass to escape.
On the other hand, the best conditions for drop shot rigs are isolated weed clumps, rocks, trumps, gravel, and weed edges.
You can use this finesse technique for fishing; we will discuss these below in more detail.
If you want an excellent area for drop-shotting and using heavier weights, rivers, especially slow-moving ones, are a great choice of location.
In these conditions, the heavier your weight is, the better chance you will have at combating the water flow. Lock cuttings and islands are great hotspots for snagging yourself a fish on your line when using this technique.
Canals are full of locks and marinas, and many predators enjoy sitting close to the bank and the boat. This is what makes this an ideal place to drop your shot.
Still waters, such as park lakes and ponds, are all great spots for this type of fishing. Seek out overhanging trees or plants that may cover the water surface, such as lily pads, if you decide to drop your shot here.
Tying a Drop Shot Rig
Drop shot rigs are one of the most effective ways to fish. You place a weight at the bottom of the line and the bait on the line’s hook. Let’s take some time and go through some instructions on how to tie a drop shot rig.
Tying a hook up the line
To tie your hook up the line, you want to begin by connecting your hook around it with a 12-18-inch tag end. Move the tag end through the hook’s eye where the pointed part faces upwards, then run it out the bottom to streamline the angle with the line.
Adding weight to the bottom
Add your weight to the end of the line; you can use a traditional weight shaped like a bell or use a more specific weight with a clip. Tie the knot at the end of the line, even if you use quick clips weight. It helps to counter the fish’s jumps which can cause the drop weight to get shot off the line if not lied to the bottom of the rig adequately.
Attach the worm, alive or dead, whatever works best for you, either using a nose hook or a wacky rig.
Nose hooks involve attaching the worm to the hook near the nose; on the other hand, a wacky rig includes attaching the bait to the center. Light wire hooks are better with a drop rig, and in deep waters, a faint line with a smaller gauge will penetrate better.
Best Line for a Drop Shot Rig
While using a drop shot rig can be a great way to fish, you need to choose the right line for your setup. What you decide to use will be a critical element of your rig and its effectiveness. You can use a fluorocarbon or mono, but you will likely become frustrated as the line twists when you are fishing.
The best-recommended line type for drop shot rigs is a lightly braided line with a fluorocarbon leader line between 10-ft to 20ft in length. Fluorocarbon leader lines are great for fishing in those deep waters we previously mentioned.
Best Drop Shot Hook
Ever since the gain of popularity in drop shot hooks, many new hooks have been introduced into the market, which, although beneficial, can make things somewhat confusing.
There are three main types of hooks that you should consider using for drop-shot fishing.
Straight Shank Hook
A straight shank hook is the overall most popular type of hook used by anglers. With a Rebarb hook, you can rig your worm ‘exposed quickly and fish it without it getting caught up in the cover or grass.
The recommended size for a drop shot is 3/0
Octopus Style Hook
Octopus-style hooks are wide gaped, short-shanked hooks, and the hook eyes are online with the pointed part of the hook.
Therefore, the bail stand and the hook both get straightened and streamlined when the weight is dropped.
As you would expect, considering the name, these hooks have swivels built into them. They are created to prevent the twisting of the line, which can be very helpful if you are using a mono or fluoro line.
If you struggle with other types of hooks, finding the line twisting or turning amid your calm fishing session, you may want to give a swivel shot a try. The only real drawback of these is minimal sensitivity because the hook does not directly contact you, and it could swivel to bend when dealing with a giant fish.
Best Types of Weights
A great deal of drop shot rig weights has a crimped swivel at the top, which can make slipping it to your line relatively easy.
You then attach weights at the bottom of the line, and it can work just fine. There are a few things you may want to consider when choosing the right weight for your drop shot rig.
The first thing you want to consider is the size of the weight. Many anglers will use ¼ an ounce of weight; however, if it is too windy or you prefer to fish in deeper waters, you could choose a ⅜ ounce weight.
While it may seem like the weight of ⅜ ounce is a bit too much, and it could seem like overkill, the entire concept of this is to keep your bait/ lure hovering just above the bottom, and to achieve this, you need to have a decent sized weight.
As well as size, there are shapes as well; there are three shapes of weight that you can get; Ball, Teardrop, and Cylindrical.
Teardrop and cylindrical are the most common and popular shapes among anglers as they are less prone to breaking off or getting snagged in weeds and other objects.
Best Baits for Drop Shot Rig
When seeking out a bait for a drop shot rig, you want to use an object that can float neutrally to provide a hovering action that fish are drawn to. You can drop shot any plastic bait and will be able to capture fish successfully with this.
That being said, there are a few baits that are given a bit more preference than others.
A finesse worm is a classic drop shot bait; it is a simple and straight tail worm. It will get a bite regardless of the type of water that you are fishing in.
It also comes in a variety of colors and sizes, so it offers variety and functionality.
A crawfish bait is one of the best options on the market and is highly recommended for drop-shot rig fishing.
Grubs are not as popular as they used to be with anglers these days; they are still good for catching fish, though. They mirror nature forages.
Once they are drop shot, they give a snack-size silhouette that fish simply cannot resist.
Paddle Tail Swim Baits
Swimbaits do a fantastic job at mimicking bottom feeder fish; they have a paddle tail that forms a tasty-looking wiggling action at the bottom. This will have all the fish swarming for it very quickly.
Who could resist?
Creature baits have unique body types and wiggling appendages which is perfect as bait for drop shot fishing.
They give off a profile that a lot of bass will not have witnessed before, and hence they develop a kind of curiosity; this will immediately gain any fish’s attention.
When seeking out fish that feed heavily on minnows and shad, the best bait you can use is a small shad-styled bait.
Pop it on your drop shot, and you will not be disappointed.
These are some of the best drop-shot baits that mimic a bottom-feeder fish. These baits have a baitfish-style silhouette and are available in a variety of shades and sizes.
They usually get a bite immediately after being dropped at the bottom, resulting in a high catch rate. However, many anglers will use an internal jig head for bait, which could pose a problem.
How to Fish a Drop Shot Rig
Fishing with a drop shot rig is a fishing style similar to the natural movement of prey and is ideal for catching bottom feeder fish like catfish or bass (learn how to hold a bass here). Let’s talk you through how to fish with a drop shot rig setup.
It is best to use a medium or lightweight rod to make sure that your bait moves realistically.
Then thread the braided line onto the spool and over the reel counterclockwise to loosen some lines. Taking the tag end of the line and running it through the eye of the pole, you should then pull it out of the eye, so there are 12” or so of excess lines.
Use a swivel or double uni knot to attach your fluorocarbon leader to the braided line, hook the weight, and attach the bait. Tie the leader securely to the hook and thread the tag end through the other side of the hook. Your hook should be pointed to the side and upwards.
Cast your line and wait for it to reach the bottom, rotate the reel to leave 10-12” of line, move your wrist while pressing the release in the direction you want to cast.
After a few seconds, wait for the weight to hit the bottom surface, and you’ll feel a slight pull as it hits the floor. Rotate the reel 1/4 clockwise, ensure no looseness, and when you feel resistance, it means a fish is biting your bait.