Monday, February 27, 2012

Dropshotting for Suspended Bass

Dropshotting has just recently been thrown into the mix of new techniques that will hopefully add to my overall success this year.  This technique has been around for awhile and most pros use this technique when bass are suspending off the bottom in deeper water areas.  Otherwise known as the "split shot" rig, this technique is one of the most successful finesse rigs that a bass angler should have in their arsenal.

What you need to have to be successful with this rig...

- 6'6" to 7'2" Spinning Rod with a Medium Lite or Medium power and a Fast or Extra Fast action tip
*You can also use a baitcasting rod with the same characteristics, but you want to be able to throw lighter line with this rig since it is a finesse technique*
- Spinning Reel with 6-10 lb flourocarbon
*Flourocarbon will give you more feedback to the bite and cover you are in, and will not be visible to the fish*
- Cannonball weight (1/8 to 3/8 oz)
*I like to keep it in the middle so a 1/4 oz cannonball weight will work in most applications, you may want to go up in weight if the area you are fishing is really deep*
- 1/0 EWG Worm hook
*You can use a smaller or bigger hook, but for most of the plastics I will throw a 1/0 hook will work for most baits*

After you have all of the necessary pieces, the success of this technique stems from the way you rig it.  In order to fish this rig effectively you must have the hook point facing upward, the hook should be parallel with your line (not perpendicular), and the tag end should be long enough to suspend at a decent height off of the bottom.

As you can see in the image, this is what the final rig should look like when you are finished.  To begin tying this rig, should have a firm understanding on how to tie the Palomar Knot (see below) 

In image number two you should have a tag end atleast 16-24 inches long.  It will look goofy at first but the tag end will be long enough to give the bait a good height off from the bottom.  Most people that try tying a dropshotting rig miss a very important step at the end after they finish tying the Palomar knot, and that is bringing the tag end back through the eye of the hook on the hookpoint side.  This will ensure that the hook stands proud of the line when the rig is being fished. This can be seen at the 1:08 mark in the following video.

After tying the hook to the line the last step is attaching the cannonball weight or drop shot weight.  It is important that the angler DOES NOT tie the weight to the line!  By not tying the weight to the line you will only risk losing the weight if a snag occurs instead of losing the hook, bait, and weight.  Most dropshot weights come with a crimped wire attachment that allows you to pinch the line to the weight without having to physically tie it on (See picture below)

Now your rig should be completely finished and should like the first picture in this write-up.

What kind of baits should I use?

Again, this is a finesse technique so smaller worms, tubes, shad style baits, curly tail grubs, and senko type baits can be used.  I generally prefer to use either a 4-5 inch straight tail Roboworm or a Zoom Finesse worm.  Play around with what you are comfortable with, you'll eventually find a technique or pattern that will work for you!

The bait should either be texas rigged, or nose hooked so the bait can float horizontal with the lake bottom.

How do I fish this rig?

The dropshot rig should be fished with close to zero slack in the line with the weight at the bottom of the area you are fishing.  This will help you keep the bait in the strike zone and allow you to feel the cover you are dragging the weight through.  By bouncing the rod tip, you will dictate the overall action of the bait.  Pauses should be made in between to increase your time in the strike zone.  Even lifting it off the bottom and letting it fall will trigger a strike.  Seems like most of my strikes have a occurred on the fall of this bait.  You can see this happening in the video below...

This rig can be fished throughout the year whenever a finesse situation would be more appealing to the fish.  I have used this in cold fronts as well as hot summer days with great results.  Deep water structure as well as less weedy shallow structure are all prime targets for this type of finesse technique.  Some pros also prefer fishing this bait in clearer water as opposed to stained water since this technique relies on the fish seeing the lure in action off the bottom. The only place I would not use this technique is when I am shore fishing.  Shore fishing with this bait puts you at a disadvantage because the steeper the angle you put between the lure and your pole, the closer that bait will end up hugging the bottom...especially in shallow water areas.  You want to only be casting the bait at the most 20-30 feet away from you so that you can keep that bait in a vertical position during the retrieve.

That pretty much sums up the dropshot rig.  There are other variants you can try with this bait such as using two hooks instead of one, using different styles of weights or using split shot weights, and using different size lures and hooks...but all of these varieties stem off of the same basic rig.  So once you learn this, you can do it all.


Flickshakes and Shakey heads...some more finesse techniques to add to your arsenal that you can do on the same rod and reel as you dropshot rig!

Tight Lines to all of you...the tournament season will be starting in 2 1/2 weeks!



  1. Nice post Fluke, I am about 0 for 20 on the drop shot, this year I am going to change that.

  2. Thanks Dan! It isn't an easy technique to learn, but when it works, it works well! I had an opportunity to learn it from a guide last year who swears by it and learned a lot. Just keep at it, and if you are marking fish off the bottom this should be one of your first choices to turn to.

  3. Kalin Grubs work awesome with a drop shot. Had one of my best nights of small mouth on lake Geneva on a 17 foot break. Nice post.

    1. I will have to look into those PB, thanks for the tip!

  4. This is a great blog entry and very informative. I had problems with the dropshot last year and did not connect at all. I will be using this technique on some deeper structure this year until I hammer one. Thnaks!!!

    1. No problem Tom, thanks for the positive comments! I hope this rig will get you that pig you are after this year! Good luck!

  5. No problem Fluke!! Thanks for the info on tourneys also from WCF. I think that I found some that I can do. This is a great site and I hope you have a lot of readers. Good luck with the tourneys this year too!!!!!