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Drop Shot Rig Complete Guide – How to Tie & Fish

The drop shot is one of the best techniques for fishing for bass. It allows you to suspend your bait at varying heights off the bottom. This is perfect for targeting fish holding near the bottom and will work in any body of water.

It is a technique that every bass angler needs to know. If you have never tried it or haven’t had success with it in the past then I encourage you to read through this guide and give it another shot.

A drop shot rig consists of a hook tied on your line anywhere from a couple of inches to a few feet above a weight. The length you choose between the hook at weight depends on where bass are suspending.

How to Rig a Drop Shot

  1. Thread your line through the eye of your hook facing up to the length you want your bait off the bottom
  2. Tie a palomar knot on your hook
  3. Next thread the tag end of your line back through the hook eyelet from above so your hook point is facing up
  4. Attach your weight to the tag end with an overhand knot at your desired length
  5. Cut off the excess line
  6. Attach your bait of choice

What You’ll Need

How to Fish a Drop Shot Rig

The drop shot is a very versatile technique with many ways to fish it. Below you will find the 4 most effective ways to fish

Fishing a Drop Shot Vertically

The most common way to fish a drop shot is fishing it vertically. This is especially effective if you have a fish finder. With a fish finder you can drive around until you find a school of fish and drop your bait right on top of them.

This is commonly referred to as video game fishing, which is watching your fish finder for an arch (a fish) then dropping your bait and watching it fall on your fish finder. When your bait gets right in front of the fish you can shake your bait right in their face and watch them eat it.

Covering Water With a Drop Shot

When covering a lot of water with a drop shot, you want to fish it faster and more aggressively. A heavier weight will help keep your bait down even with an aggressive shake.

During warmer months, especially during spring bass are much more aggressive so you can get away with fishing the drop shot a lot quicker.

Cast it out and let it sink to the bottom. Then lower your rod tip and just shake it while you slowly drag it back to you. This will make your bait hop along the bottom. Add in some pauses so the bait can kind of shimmy in place before moving it again.

Targeting Suspended Bass With Swimbait Drop Shots

Drop-shotting a swimbait is a technique that doesn’t get talked about much but should be. It is a great way to catch suspended fish which can be one of the hardest fish to catch.

Being able to catch suspended fish puts you at a big advantage over other anglers. With technology, it’s getting easier and easier to find suspended fish and this technique is a great way to catch them.

To target suspended bass what you want to do is position yourself shallow and cast your bait out deep. After casting out flip your bail closed which will prevent your bait from sinking straight down.

Instead, it will follow a pendulum path, meaning it will be pulled towards you as it sinks. As it, pendulums down through the fish slowly reel it in. When your bait gets to the desired depth you can add in some rod twitches.

Power Shotting – Fishing Drop Shot Baits in Vegetation

A power shot is a power fishing technique using a drop shot. You hook your bait texas rigged and use a baitcaster flipping stick.

You want to flip your drop shot into lillys, toolies, reeds, or any other cover just like you would any other flipping bait. Let it sink, then shake it a couple times, pause, and shake it again. Reel it in and flip it to another spot. If you like to flip and pitch then you definitely want to give power shotting a try.

Drop Shot Leader Length – How to Determine the Best Length

Leader length is something most anglers don’t think about enough when they are fishing a drop shot. Ideally, you want your Ieader to be the length that keeps your bait at depth bass are suspending. I use leaders ranging from 3 inches, all the way up to 3 feet long.

Below you will learn how to adjust your drop shot leader length for different situation.

When to Use Longer Dropshot Leaders

A longer leader might be required when making longer casts due to the angle of your retrieve. Long casts will shorten the distance between your bait and the bottom.

For example a 3ft leader may only keep your bait a foot off the bottom on a long cast due to the angle. So keep your retrieve angle in mind and adjust your leader length accordingly.

Longer leaders are also ideal when targeting suspended fish. As your bait pendulums back towards you, having some extra distance between your bait and your weight tends to work better.

When to Use Shorter Dropshot Leaders

Shorter leaders are great when fishing water that has a lot of gobbies like the great lakes. Gobbies are bottom dwellers so in order to mimic them you want to use a very short 3-6 inch leader.

Shorter leaders also tend to be better when fishing water with a strong current. A strong current will pull your bait away from your weight. So when targeting cover, you need a shorter leader to help keep your bait close to your target.

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How to Prevent Line Twist When Drop Shotting

When fishing a drop shot it is very common to experience line twists. It’s just the nature of the technique. To help prevent line twists I like using a small size 10 swivel to connect my mainline to the leader.

I like keeping the swivel about 3ft above the bait. This keeps it away from the bait while being short enough that I can still cast easily. A size 10 is very small so it doesn’t stand out or hurt the presentation.

Using a small swivel will significantly cut down on line twist. Additionally, a swivel makes it easy to pre-rig extra leaders ahead of time that you can swap in and out as needed.

Recommended Rod & Reel

Rod Type


Spinning

Rod Length


6’10” to 7′

Rod Action


Fast, Extra-Fast

Rod Power


Medium-Light

Line Size and Selection for Drop Shots

When fishing a drop shot I always use braid with a fluorocarbon leader. I use 10lb Power Pro braid as my main line because braided line handles line twist better on spinning reels and lasts longer. I then tie on a 6-8lb Sunline Sniper fluorocarbon leader to give me the low visibility, finesse presentation.

Published on: 3/17/2020
Last Updated: 10/2/2022