Drop shot fishing is a versatile and effective technique that has gained popularity among anglers for its ability to target fish suspended just off the bottom. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, mastering drop shot fishing can greatly enhance your success on the water. In this article, we’ll delve into the rigging techniques, favorite baits, and strategic adjustments that can make drop shot fishing from the bank a rewarding experience.
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Drop Shot Rigging Techniques:
One of the key elements of Drop Shot fishing is the unique rigging setup. To rig a drop shot, tie a circle hook (preferably) to the end of your line using a Palomar or improved clinch knot. The size of the hook depends on the size of the bait you plan to use. A smaller hook like a size 1 or 2 works well with finesse worms and smaller soft plastics, while a larger hook like a size 1/0 or 2/0 is suitable for larger baits like the Zoom Super Fluke. Once the hook is tied, leave a tag end of about 12 to 18 inches below the hook for attaching the weight.
Note: Be sure your hook point is facing up! You can do this by running the tag end through the eye of top of the hook one more time.
Favorite Baits for Drop Shot Fishing:
Drop shot fishing provides an ideal platform for presenting a variety of baits to finicky bass. Among the top choices are the Zoom Super Fluke, Zman TRD, and finesse worm. The Zoom Super Fluke is my personal favorite because it is a versatile bait that imitates baitfish and can trigger reaction strikes. I like to fish it with 18 to 24 inches of line between the lure and the weight. The TRD, on the other hand, is a soft stickbait known for its subtle action and buoyancy, making it irresistible to bass in various conditions. It is fantastic when fished with a shorter tag end that keeps it 6 to 10 inches off the bottom. It is lethal, especially when fished around the spawn. Lastly, the finesse worm is a classic drop shot bait that elicits strikes with its lifelike movement, especially when presented subtly.
Strategic Adjustments for Different Seasons:
The success of drop shot fishing from the bank depends on understanding bass behavior during different seasons. During the spawn, when bass are focused on their nests, tying the weight closer to the hook, around 6 inches, can keep the bait in the strike zone while minimizing the risk of snagging. As summer arrives and bass suspend off the bottom, increasing the distance between the hook and weight to around 18-24 inches allows the bait to be presented at varying depths where the suspended fish are more likely to strike.
Techniques for Bank Fishing:
When fishing from the bank, your positioning and presentation are crucial. Find areas with submerged structures, ledges & drop-offs, or cover where bass are likely to congregate. Cast the rig out and let the weight sink to the desired depth before gently twitching the rod tip to impart subtle movement to the bait. This imitates a wounded or struggling baitfish, attracting the attention of nearby bass. Vary your retrieve speed and action to determine the fish’s preference on that particular day.
A word about retrieves:
The drop shot is deadly jigged off a dock. It can be cast out and simply shake the lure on semi-slack line. These finesse techniques are fantastic, even for the most finicky bass. Nevertheless, the drop shot can also be used as a search bait. You can fish it with the lift and drop or with pops and jerks. As mentioned earlier, my personal favorite technique is to tie on a Zoom Super Fluke 20 inches above the weight. I then really snap the rod tip on slack line to make the fluke dart and dive just off the bottom. This technique allows you to cover ground and I found that bass simply can’t resist it!
Reading the Water While Bank Fishing the Drop Shot:
Successful drop shot fishing also requires the ability to read the water and identify potential hotspots. When bank fishing, start by casting to objects near the bank on either side of you. Then work your way out towards deeper water. This ensures you don’t startle fish near the shore.
In addition, pay particular attention to how long it takes the weight to hit bottom. You can use the countdown method with each cast. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three…bottom. If you notice one cast is a 5 count and the next is 8. Fish this drop-off thoroughly. You can stand in one spot and fish alongside a ledge and catch fish after fish.
Commit and Adapt:
Commitment is key in drop-shot fishing from the bank. This technique requires finesse and subtlety, and bites may not always be aggressive. The first time I fished the drop shot, I 100% made the commitment to fish it and nothing else at a local pond. The result? More bass in one short session than in any other single presentation produced through the years. If you aren’t getting bites, don’t hesitate to adapt with different bait colors, sizes, and the distance between the hook and weight to figure out what the bass are responding to on that given day. But stay committed to the drop shot until you gain confidence. You will be glad you did.
One Last Cast With the Drop Shot
Drop shot fishing from the bank is a strategic and rewarding approach to catching bass. With the right rigging techniques, choice of baits, and an understanding of seasonal adjustments, you can increase your chances of success. Remember to pay attention to the water, adapt to changing conditions, and be patient in waiting for those subtle bites. As you gain experience and hone your skills, drop shot fishing can become a go-to technique that consistently brings in impressive catches from the bank. Finally, know that the drop shot isn’t just a small fish or finesse presentation. It can land you a giant. So, gear up, head to your favorite fishing spot, and give drop-shot fishing a try—you might just land your personal best!
For another great fishing technique, check out these Texas Rig tips!