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.
The Effectiveness of Drop Shotting:
- Pin-Point targeting of deep water fish on structure.
- Holding baits in front of finicky fish.
- Take advantage of a soft plastic bait uninhibited by a jig head and still fish in deep water.
- Easy to re-rig.
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.
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
- Leader Material: We prefer using fluorocarbon for the drop shot leader for its low visibility and abrasion resistance.
- Hooks: For larger soft baits such as Hogys we recommend a long shank to better support the bait and how it sits on the line. This will increase hook up ratios and minimize chafe on your running line.
- Weights: We recommend using a little more weight than you normally would 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.
Materials For this example:
- 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)
Constructing the BIG BAIT Drop Shot Rig:
- 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.
- 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.
- Crimp on a barrel swivel that will easily attach to your running line. (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.)