Hi guys my name is Tim Fleischauer, I work in the fishing department here at Bass Pro Shop in Gurnee Illinois. I am an avid bass fisherman but also enjoy fishing for other species, but largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing is my favorite. Like many of you other anglers reading this, fishing has become an obsession of mine so I have many baits and techniques that I use frequently.
One technique in particular that in my opinion has been under utilized by many anglers, and that has helped me land many nice large and smallmouth bass over the past few is the drop-shot rig. The drop shot rig is a technique that is very effective in catching bass in very clear and deep bodies of water. Now with the drop shot there are many ways to set up your rig, most important is rod and reel, type of line, size of you hook, and the size of your weight.
Choosing the right length and action rod is key when using a drop shot rig. I prefer using a 6’8” medium extra fast action rod, because I like a little more back bone but like the extra fast action on the tip to get a better feel. Now the rod “made” for the drop shot is a 6’9” medium light fast or extra fast action. Medium light is the ideal action for most anglers but I like a little more power when I drop shot.
Line plays a very important role in your drop shot rig. In those deep, clear bodies of water like Lake Geneva WI, you can see the bottom in 20 foot of water, and those fish can see just as far and will spook very easy. Always use a fluorocarbon line, I prefer Bass Pro Shops XPS fluorocarbon in 6 or 8 pound test because it’s super strong, very sensitive, but also very clear when submerged under the water. Now fluorocarbon line in general is a harder line, so there will tend to have more memory, I don’t recommend spooling this directly on to your spinning reel. I like to use a 10 or 15 pound braided line then attach a 6 to 8 pound fluorocarbon leader to the end of my line, about 3 to 5 feet is fine. I do this for three reasons, one because braided has no stretch there for I can feel the bottom and the real light bites that you may sometimes get. Secondly, braided line has no memory so I am able to cast my spinning reel with no problems. Lastly the diameter of a braided line is less than half the size of its monofilament equivalent, so you are able to use a higher pound line and get a lot further cast.
There are many types of hooks you can use for the drop shot rig. A lot of the times I find myself using the Spin Shot hook by VMC, in either a # 2 or #4 size. But in cases where fishing is slow or high pressure, like a blue bird day with no wind, I will switch to a #4 octopus hook and tie the rig myself to eliminate as much visible hardware to the fish as I can. The weight you use is another important factor when it comes to drop shoting, you want a weight heavy enough to maintain contact with the bottom while you drag it around weed beds or vertical jig it over rock piles. I prefer to use 1/4oz in all my applications of drop shotting because it is a very versatile weight. I can fish the deeper 20 even 25 foot rock piles with it and I can still fish the shallower weed beds efficiently, without getting hung up.
Using the right baits and how you present those baits, is what’s going to catch you fish. I can go on and on about the different baits for the drop shot, but for the sake of this blog I am going to keep it short and sweet. For the #2 VMC hooks I will use a 6 inch worm my favorite but then I will also present the worm nose hooked and wacky style. For the smaller #4 hook I like to use 4inch worm’s nose hooked. My favorite brands of worms to use are the Chompers drop shot worms, the Bass Pro Cut tail worm’s, and a zoom finesse worm. As far as colors go, when you’re in clear water go natural green pumpkin is always a killer, my smallmouth killer is a plum chompers 4” worm.
The type of presentation you will use with this rig will be vertical jig and twitch, keeping the weight in contact with the bottom and shaking the line making the worm twitch. The other technique is casting the rig let the weight hit the bottom then you will just drag and shake the rig towards you, keeping the weight sliding along the bottom.
Areas of interest when using the drop shot in deep clear bodies of water is focus on deeper points, break lines, or rock piles. I find myself working from 10 FOW all the way out to 25 FOW when using the rig. This rig is a blast to use! You will catch a lot of fish and have a blast doing it!
I recently took my boss out fishing on my boat, and had one of the best days this year using the Drop shot Rig!
Here is a nice Bass he landed!
By: Tim Fleischauer