Drop shot fishing is a style of fishing that has become increasingly popular among anglers due to the limited amount of gear and basic rigging that you need for this type of fishing. Even though the gear you need for drop shot fishing is basic, a rod that is specifically made for this type of fishing will help to improve your success and technique. So, what exactly is a drop shot rod, and when would you use this rod, reel and fishing style?
Drop shot fishing is a simple to rig, effective method to target fish using lightweight fishing equipment. The method aims presents baits naturally, both by having them fall through the water and then stay elevated from the bottom. It is possible to both vertical and cast fish using this method.
A drop shot rod is a fishing rod that is designed with features that assist in the drop shot fishing style and help to improve the bait movement and thus the success of drop shot fishing. The features of a drop shot rod are designed to give additional flexibility to the rod, especially the tip, better balance of the rod, and more control over the movement of the bait on the hook.
What Is A Drop Shot Rod?
Drop shot rods are rods that are designed with a particular feature set that makes them more appropriate for drop shot fishing. Those features will include the following.
A drop shot rod is short, lightweight with a stiff to medium-stiff base and mid-section but a very flexible tip to the rod. This gives a delicate “feel” to the rod and enables the fisherman to more effectively manipulate the lure rigged in this method. It is used for fish that are reluctant to bite.
- A lightweight rod. A drop shot rod is usually a very lightweight rod, which helps to improve the balance of the rod, and it makes it easier to manipulate the rod in your hand to move the bait. The rods are usually made of high-tech products such as carbon to achieve a lighter weight.
- Very flexible tip. The rod tip is normally of solid construction to make it extremely flexible and strong. The flexible tip will give a great deal of sensitivity to the rod to allow you to “feel” the lure more effectively and, of course, when you get a nibble on the bait.
- Shorter rod. A drop shot rod is usually a shorter rod that makes it easier to manipulate the tip of the rod to move the relatively lightweight lure on the line.
- Balance point at the reel. Most of the time the rod will balance with the reel. a decent reel is going to be around the 1000-2500 mark. Larger is going to be to big for this type of fishing really.
As with most gear in fishing, you can go cheap, mid-range, or expensive, and drop shot fishing rods are no different. With drop shot rods, in particular, you get what you pay for, so a rod on the high-end of the price scale will be fantastic and well worth the money, but you do not need to go to this extreme to start out.
The St. Croix Rods Legend Xtreme is a great entry-level range drop shot rod, you have a choice of ultra to medium depending on your target as well.
If you can pay a little more for a mid-level rod, the Dobyns Rods SSM 702SF Sierra Micro Series Light Spinning Rod
Of course, if you want to try out drop shot fishing without buying new gear, there is nothing preventing you from giving drop fishing a try with a normal but lightweight, shorter spinning rod. However, once you try out a purpose-built drop shot rod, you will see a marked difference in the improvement of your “feel” and enjoyment of this fishing style.
When Do You Use A Drop Shot Rod?
If you have never tried drop shot fishing, you may wonder when the best circumstances are to use this fishing technique.
It is possible to use drop shot fishing as your preferred fishing method of choice in any circumstance. The technique is often used to catch fish that are hesitant to bite, such as bass that have become accustomed to being fished with traditional bass lures and, as a result, have become reluctant to take those lures.
Drop shot fishing is also often used in wintertime when fish are reluctant to bite, but the drop shot lures seem to be irresistible to them and entice them to bite despite them not being in feeding mode.
Drop shot rigs are also useful in areas that have a lot of underwater obstacles and vegetation since this type of rig is less likely to get caught up on these hidden obstacles. This is especially true if you rig your drop shot lure with the Texas rig, which does not let the hook stick out of the lure and therefore limits the hook hanging up on vegetation and reeds.
Drop shot fishing is a great technique to use if to fish either shallow or deep. You can adjust your rig to get the lure down to the bottom quickly, or even fish the middle column of water where you use a light weight that does not take your rig all the way to the bottom.
You can adjust the length of the line between the hook and the weight to fish at different heights above the bottom.
Drop shot fishing is a versatile fishing method that has applications in many types of waters and targeting different fish species.
Why Use A Drop Shot Rod And Rig?
Using a drop shot rod and rig has many advantages over other types of fishing that make it attractive to newcomers to fishing as well as people who are fishing veterans.
- Minimal gear. Drop shot fishing used minimal gear. This means you can keep a short drop shot rod rigged and ready in the boot of your car so you can even pop off after work for a quick hour of fishing before going home.
- Drop shot fishing is easy to rig. The rigging styles and methods are not difficult, and even a beginner can easily rig a drop shot rig and get fishing.
- Drop shot fishing is easy. The techniques used when fishing with a drop shot rig are not difficult or complicated to learn. This makes it a popular method for beginner fishermen.
- It is successful. Drop shot fishing is not only an easy method to fish, but the fish often seem more willing to take the bait when it is presented in this way.
- Feel delicate biters. The drop shot rod and rig allow you to better feel when you get a fish that is not a hard hitter showing interest in your lure. This is often the case in waters where the fish have been fished, often with traditional lures or if you are fishing for species that do not hit the lure as hard as other species.
You can use a wide variety of drop shot weights, lures, and lure sizes in drop shot fishing which will give you the ability to target a wide range of fish species. You can catch anything from perch to zander and pike on these rigs and also, of course, bass that seem to find these lures too tempting to pass up!
How To Drop Shot Fish
Drop shot fishing requires some gear, but it is gear that you will most likely have in your tackle box, or if you don’t have it, it will be inexpensive to acquire. To get you started, let’s take a look at the gear that you will be needing and then examine the techniques involved in fishing this method.
Drop Shot Fishing Gear
We have already covered the drop shot rod, but what other gear do you need for your drop shot rig to get fishing? Most of it you will have a form of in your collection already, but in case you are just starting out we have our recommended gear below. The rod is mentioned above, but lets look at the other gear.
Reel For Drop Shot Fishing
Lightweight rods work best with lightweight reels so try to keep the reel below 3000 (at a maximum), You also need a decent retrieve speed, to keep up with the fish as they swim towards you. The Abu Garcia Revo series of bait casting reels are light weight enough for this, and we have them ourselves as well. We have the link below for you to check out if it suits your set up. That retrieve rate comes at a price of course.
Best Line For Drop Shot Fishing
Its more about the leader than the line here. We would but a 15lb braid on the reel as they work really well on bait casting reels, but drop shot fishing is going after skittish fish, or those from big popular lakes who have been hooked before. So you want to have a good quality fluorocarbon leader to make it as invisible as possible we use about 5ft of it in clear water.
Drop Shot Lures
We tend to Texas rig plastic worms when we fish this way. It hides the hook inside the bait or lure and reduces the risk of snags on the bottom, or on vegetation. However, as with all things fishing you can change this up depending on your levels of success.
Although bait will depend on your target fish and visibility we can say bright lures should work better in muddy waters and more subdued should work in clearer waters. Pair these up with an octopus hook. We personally like to use roboworms ( see below) both nose and wacky rigged. The color choice is huge!
Weight Choice Drop Shot Fishing
This really depends on where you are fishing, if you are in deep water, if its moving water or a still pond or lake. However the simple rule of thumb here is the deeper water, or the stronger the current the more weight you are going to have to use. Conversely shallower water and still water means you can lighten the weights and give your self more control. Tungsten is our choice, around 3/16 to 1/4 ounce. Unless conditions are hairy when we might go to 3/8ths.
Drop Shot Rigging
Now that you have the gear that you need to get going with drop shot fishing, you need to know how to rig the gear for this fishing method. Although we are in the process of doing a video guide for this, at the moment Karls has a great guide on how to tie this rig, its super simple and super gear light!
How To Hook The Lure and when to use each one.
There are three main ways, the Texas Rig which buries the hook entirely in a soft lure, the wacky rig which puts it through the middle or the nose / lip rig which usually gives the best action on worm lures. the choice is yours!
Texas Rig: If you are fishing in lakes with lots of grass and you don’t want to get caught up or snagged then you can try a Texas rig which keeps the point of the hook inside the bait. It will allow you to fish through vegetation. It is also good if you are fishing with kids, as the hook point is not exposed.
Nose/Lip Rig: This rig offers the best presentation of the bait and allows the full action. It is great use if you have swimming tails or actions on the bait you are using. This is better if using bait fish lures.
Wacky Rig: Basically this is hooking through the middle of the bait, now this is way better a rig to use on a worm, not a bait fish profile. it provides both head and tail action as it falls and when it is on the bottom it is really responsive when twitched to try to encourage the bite.
Length Of Line Between Weight And Lure
This can depend on the depth of water you want to fish, but if you are banging the sinker on the bottom we would start with 6 to 18 inches of line between your lure and the weight. If you are in semi deep water you can adjust this if you want to fish mid water or higher.
Drop Fishing Techniques
Now that your line and lure are rigged, we can discuss some of the ways that you can fish this setup and get great success right from the outset.
The idea is that you can cast and let the weight and sinker arc down through the fix and present the lure and bait right in front of the fish.
- You cast out (fish finder is useful at this point) to just past the suspended fish or structure.
- The bait swings down between the fish and encourages a bite reflex
- It keeps the bait off the bottom and among the fish.
- once it settles, giving it little shakes will keep the fish around.
- If they don’t bite, then cast it in again.
- As it swings down the resistance causes the bait to swim.
- Small jerks to move the worm not the weight can be used.
It offers the opportunity to video game fish, this means you can water your fish finder and present your bait really close to the fish and basically shake it in the face of the fish! It does feel like cheating a little but is kind of cool if you have the tech to target fish so accurately.
Drop shot fishing is quick, simple, and a lot of fun! It is a way that you can get a quick hour or so fishing in here and there or spend an entire weekend fishing with minimal gear.
Drop shot fishing is a great way for new fishermen to get into the sport with fairly basic gear, and it is also a superb alternative method to try in waters where the fish are reluctant to bite or have become habituated to other lures.
Using a dedicated drop shot rod will greatly improve your feel for this type of fishing, and it is advisable to get the best drop shot rod for the budget that you have available. The money spent on a dedicated drop shot rod is well worth the cost and is a purchase that you will not regret. The benefits of a dedicated rod far outweigh the cost and will certainly enhance your drop shot fishing experience.