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Drop Shotting with Big Soft Baits

By Captain Mike Hogan

Originating in Japan, this soft bait bottom fishing technique first arrived in the United States on the West Coast, and made quite a splash in the largemouth bass scene. While “Drop Shotting” is popular in many freshwater bass fishing scenarios, it is largely under-utilized in salt water.

 

What is a Dropshot Rig?

In a nutshell, you could say a drop shot rig is a terminal tackle configuration used in bottom fishing (typically with soft plastic baits) where the hook is tied (in-line) above a sinker. Why is this important? Basically, by tying the hook directly “in-line,” any movement in the line will transfer directly to the soft bait.

Natural Drifting: Assuming you’re in a drifting situation, each time the sinker skips over the bottom and consequently any structure, the vibration in the line will transfer upward all the way to the rod, which you feel in your hands. Each time you feel the bump… bump.. bump… as the sinker ticks along the bottom, the soft bait will literally quiver due to the movement in the line.

Rod Action: As an angler, you can impart similar motion in the bait by adding your own rod action. By adding short twitches with the rod your bait will dance.

The major point to take away here is how important it is to have that hook attached “in-line” to the leader. Any time anything alters it’s path in the water, your soft bait will move too, as opposed to using a dropper loop or a three-way rig, where the line could move up and down and have no effect on the bait. The slack in the loop or the leader portion of a three-way may dampen some of the movement – or even disguise a hit. Not a desired effect.

 

Components of The Drop Shot Rig

Before delving into why it is so effective, let’s take a look at the rig, how it is constructed and how simple it is.

Leader Material

We prefer using fluorocarbon for the drop shot leader for a number of reasons:

  1. Low visibility: Since the hook is connected in-line, you will have fluorocarbon line both above and below the hook, which is not the case with a fluorocarbon to running line set up.
  2. Abrasion resistance: We use this technique on huge game fish in lots of structure where the toughest line is mandatory.
  3. Low stretch properties: You’ll feel more hits than with standard monofilament.

Hooks

Traditionally, drop shot rigs are constructed with small, wide gap hooks and small soft baits, and Senko style worms are rigged “wacky” style, which means the hook is placed in the middle of the bait so both ends ungulate as the rig is twitched. These days many freshwater anglers  use small baits that are rigged in-line, “Texas” style with a single hook.

For larger soft baits such as Hogys we recommend a long shank off-set worm hook for three reasons:

  1. The length of the hook will support the bait on how it sits on the line. We’ll get into the action in a bit.
  2. Increased hook ups. The farther back the hook sits the more likely it is you’ll connect with fish that hit short.
  3. The length of the hook will keep the fish away from the line and minimize chafing. The two sizes we prefer are 7/10 and 11/10. Tandem rigs are recommended on the larger baits such as our 14-  and 18-inch models.

Weights

Drop shot rigs are generally used with a weight at the bottom. A couple of thoughts here. First, I like to use a little more weight than I would normally use when bottom fishing. Remember, it is the vibration in the line that gives a soft bait the action. This is especially important if you’re in deep water, and in moving current. You must keep a direct connection to the sinker (and your bait) as it bounces over the bottom and that bouncing and vibrations will transfer right through the bait.

    Hogy Tip: Another thought would be to use a jig head and bait for the weight. Two baits are better than one. But remember: watch out for structure that could snag your gear.

 

The effectiveness of Drop Shotting

  1. Pin-Point targeting of deep water fish on structure.
  2. Holding baits in front of finicky fish.
  3. Take advantage of a soft plastic bait uninhibited by a jig head and still fish in deep water.
  4. Easy to re-rig.

 

Constructing the BIG BAIT Drop Shot Rig

Example suitable for Hogy Flatfish, 10″ Original, 10″ Double Wide Hogy, and 8″ Paddle Jerk. Component Size will vary based on lure size and target species…

Materials

  • Fluorocarbon leader material (60- or 80-pound test)
  • Crimp Sleeves (1mm size)
  • Crimping Tool
  • Heavy Duo Lock Snap (Size 6)
  • Barrel Swivel (100- to 150-pound test)
  • Appropriate Hook (Owner 7/0 or 11/0)
  • Weight (1 to 4 ounces, or more, depending on depth and current)

Step 1: Determine the length of your leader. In salt water, I typically make my drop shot rigs 36 to 40 inches in overall length. Start by crimpng on your duo lock snap (the snap makes it easy to change weights) and your sinker.

Step 2: Attach your hook. In this rig, I am attaching the bait about 12 inches above the sinker. Start by sliding your first crimp sleeve down to the desired height above the sinker and crimp it. Next, slide your hook down the running line. Make sure the hook point is facing up. Lastly for this step, slide the second crimp down the line and crimp it above the hook so it fits snugly.

(In fresh water most anglers will use a Palomar knot. But with heavy lines geared toward salt water, crimping is the way to go as it is difficult to thread a heavy doubled line through the hook.)

Step Three: Crimp on a barrel swivel that will easily attach to your running line.

Buy Hogy Drop Shot Rigs Here!

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