Our guide will get you up-to-speed on fishing the drop shot rig for bass. Learn how to make a drop shot rig and where and how to fish it to catch more bass.
Of all the techniques, a drop shot fishing rig for bass is one of the most fun and exciting. Finesse fishing with light tackle for bass in deeper water can be a challenge. It is not always productive, but when fish are offshore in the summer and winter, a drop shot rig is key. Learning how to rig and fish a drop shot is one thing, but then you have to find where the fish are. These tips will help you learn the drop shot set up and get you finding bass in deeper water.
How to Rig a Drop Shot
Learning how to rig a drop shot is fairly simple. The 3 important components are the weight, the hook, and the bait. A palomar knot is used to tie the line to the hook and the remaining tag end connects to the weight. Depending on the of weight you have, you either tie or hook the tag end. The result is a hook that sits up the line while the weight is on the bottom. The height of the hook above the weight can be changed depending on the cover your fishing or the baitfish you are trying to mimic. A good length to start is about a 1-foot leader. This will get the bait off the bottom and into the strike zone, but you can trim down the leader as needed. For a drop shot hook, there are several options that will work. A 1/0 red octopus hook is the most popular as it is better for smaller baits and will be more concealed. For a weedless approach, a smaller 2/0-3/0 worm hook will work. For weights, the typical sizes range from 1/8 oz up to over 1/2 oz.
1). Pass 12-24 inches of line through the eye of the hook.
2). Double the tag end back through the eye leaving 4-6 inches from the loop to the hook.
3). Tie a slightly loose overhand knot and leave the hook hanging in the bottom of the loop.
4). Pass the end loop over the hook and beyond the eye.
5). Wet the knot and pull both the tag line and standing line down on the eye of the hook.
6). Pass the tag end back through from the top of the hook down.
7). Trim the tag line to the desired length and attach a weight.
How to Fish a Drop Shot
Now that you know how to rig your drop shot we can start fishing. To cover more water, cast your drop shot around and drag it back to the boat. If you are on top of structure with your boat, a more vertical presentation will produce. A spinning rod setup is the preferred method spooled with 6 or 8-pound test line. Match the size and style of your hook and weight to the conditions you are fishing. The goal is to maintain contact with the bottom. In windier conditions you will need to increase the size of the weight. If you are shallower or fishing vertical, you can decrease the size. Try to use the smallest weight you can get away with. The smaller the weight, the better you will detect a bite.
Working through Cover
In most cases, a drop shot fishing rig for bass in deeper water is going to be used around some sort of hard cover. Rocks, ledges, and brush piles are the most common. Target these areas and fish around the cover. Start on the edges of the rock piles and ledges and work deeper. Depending on the cover, you may need a different style hook. Most commonly, a circle or finesse hook will be used. Use a smaller hook around 1/0 when nose hooking soft plastics to conceal the bait. Rig your plastic weedless on an EWG hook to avoid getting snagged in weedy areas and shallower haunts holding timber
Power Fishing a Drop Shot
A drop shot fishing rig for bass is used as a finesse technique most of the time but will produce through faster power fishing. Power fishing with a drop shot simply means upping the size of the line and using a heavier rod. A power shot, as it is often referred to, is using a bait casting setup with heavy line to fish around structure. The power of a casting rod gives you the ability to fish offshore through deeper transitions. In super windy conditions, use 1-ounce or heavier weights and heavier hooks with larger baits. This technique will also well in shallower water, albeit with less finesse.
Finding Bass in Deeper Water
Some lakes have a lot of off-shore structure that is easy to find while other lakes are the opposite. Available mapping such as Lakemaster or Navionics has really allowed anglers to break down bodies of water and map out the structural transitions on the lakes bottom. These high definition contour maps make it easy to pick out features such as ledges, points, ridges, reefs, channels, and flats. Focusing on those key areas will quickly get you on the fish. If you are are good at reading a fish finder, such as a Humminbird or Lowrance, you can easily spot bait and fish on the graph to mark a spot on your structural map that is most productive. Once you have a waypoint, you can work back up to it with the trolling motor and begin fishing.
Off Season Scouting
Successfully locating bass in deeper water will vary by the season. The water temperature will greatly affect the best time to fish for bass. There are times in the year when bass will simply not be in deep water and using drop shot fish rig for bass is not a productive technique. However, the fish do not have to be deep in order to mark productive spots for the rest of the year. Spending time in the spring and fall, when the fish are typically shallow, will pay dividends down the road. Locating and marking structure this time of the year will give you a starting point when summer arrives. You can return to the waypoints and begin to break them down a little more. With fish moving off-shore in the summer, your waypoints may or may not have fish. You can either see fish on the fish finder, or begin fishing to see if what you have marked is holding fish.