By: Dylan Napoleone, Jared Balestreri, and Blake Tollefson
The drop shot rig is arguably one of the finest techniques for finesse fishing. The rig is extremely versatile and it can be fished in numerous different conditions. They have long been a staple in the bass fishing world, but have also proven they have a place in the panfish and other game fish species markers. Drop shot rigs allow anglers to fish a plastic or bait suspended in the water column, while still maintaining bottom contact.
The technique includes a plain hook, fluorocarbon leader, and drop shot weight. The hook is tied directly to the mainline so the hook hangs horizontally and will not slide up and down. The most basic method for attaching a hook to the mainline is a snell knot. Position the hook facing up and run the line through the eye of the hook. Leave a relatively long tag end (this will be dependent on how suspended you intend to fish the bait). Wrap the line 6-7 times around the shank of the hook and come back through the top of the eye with the tag end of the line. Adjust the hook as needed to ensure it remains horizontal. Specialty hooks have also been designed specifically for drop shot fishing. A leader is added from the hook to the drop shot weight itself. A plastic is then threaded onto the hook so it sits completely horizontal or perpendicular to the line.
Rods in the 7 foot range make excellent tools for drop shot fishing. However, different species require specific equipment. Bass and walleye anglers often prefer a medium light rod, while panfish anglers typically opt for an ultralight to light rod. Fast to extra fast action rods are preferred because the they allow for quicker hook sets. Reels in the 500-1000 range pair well with ultralight to light rods, and 1000-2500 series reels pair well with medium light rods.
The lighter the better is typically the best choice for a drop shot rig. Fisherman should rely on the lightest weights available that still allow the rig to be fished effectively and make adequate bottom contact. Eurotackle offers tungsten drop shot weights in four sizes from 1/8 oz to 1/2 oz. Lighter weights should be used in shallower water and in calm conditions. Windy conditions and deeper water will require heavier weights. Drop shot rigs should also include the lightest line available. Six to eight pound line is ideal for game fish, while line in the four pound range is preferred for panfish. Fluorocarbon has an advantage in these situations as it is abrasion resistant, highly sensitive, barely visible, and provides less stretch than monofilament line.
The list of baits that could be used on a drop shot rig is truly endless. Live bait and plastics alike are highly effective when fished via this method. Plastics are the most common choice and preferred choice, as live bait is not needed for this type of presentation. Thread the bait of your choice onto the rig so it sits perfectly horizontal. The placement of plastic is key to the effectiveness of this presentation. For bass, walleye, and other game fish, Eurotackle’s new line of bass plastics, such as the Swagger and Profiler, make excellent choices. The Fat Assassin, from Eurotackle’s Micro Finesse line up, is a preferred choice for extreme finesse situations. For panfish, smaller profile baits such as the Eurogrub, Fat Assassin, and B-Vibe are ideal choices.
If you are looking for a finesse presentation, a drop shot rig is an excellent choice. The rig allows an angler to fish a suspended bait with ease, as the weight still maintains bottom contact. Regardless of your fish preference, the drop shot will make a great addition to your arsenal.