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Finicky Bass 2 – Drop Shot Finesse Fishing Tips and Techniques
Category : ANGLER’S POV
This is part two of a three-part series from 17-year-old tournament Angler Patrick Zajdel
While the Shakey Head is a shallow water bottom contact presentation, the drop shot is a technique that originated in Japan as a light tackle finesse presentation for suspended finicky bass. This rig is extremely effective year round and can be utilized in both shallow and deep water applications, for both suspended largemouth and smallmouth bass. When fishing the drop shot you want to focus on locating deep underwater points, humps and drop offs with a mix of sand and rock. However, the drop shot is equally effective when used in shallow water applications around docks, shallow rock and timber. The drop shot rig consists of a hook tied directly to your line with a Palomar knot, and without cutting your tag end off, simply attaching a sinker anywhere from 6” to 24” below the hook. The length of your tag end will vary on the depth in which the fish are situated. You can use your electronics to determine the length of your tag.
The hook that I always have tied on when dropshotting is the VMC Spin Shot Drop Shot Hook. These hooks feature an extremely different design, incorporating a swivel. What this swivel will do is virtually eliminate a common issue when fishing this rig, line twist, and will keep the bait horizontal. When it comes to the size of weight that I use when dropshotting, I like to stay between 1/4oz and 1oz. There are two determinants that I use when choosing a size of weight; the depth I am fishing and wind speed. If I am fishing in shallower water and on calmer days I will fish a 1/4oz. to 3/8oz. weight. However, when fishing deeper water on rougher days, I will use a 1/2oz. to 1oz. weight. The reason why I prefer a heavier weight in deep water is because I have found that I catch more fish when the bait is positioned vertically. The heavier weight will do just that, however, it will also make sure that you are maintaining contact with the bottom. Through the course of time I was able to narrow down my bait selection from numerous baits to only one. My bait of choice is the Bass Magnet Lures Twitch, available in two sizes, 3” and 3.75” and a multitude of colors! The most important thing to do with baits is to match the hatch! The Twitch has a very versatile profile, featuring a thick head, resembling a goby – common food source for bass on the Great Lakes. However, it also features an action packed tail that will shiver with the slightest movement of the rod tip, resembling baitfish.
As mentioned previously, when bass are inactive, it is hard to feel the bites, this is why an extremely sensitive rod with a soft tip is a must have for drop shot fishing! Shimano makes a line of rods specifically designed for finesse fishing. The Cumulus line-up of rods is the lightest and most sensitive line of rods on the market today! A soft tip is only one part of the equation when choosing a drop shot rod. You want to make sure that your rod has a strong back bone to bring those bass out from the depths. The Shimano Cumulus features a HM-1 blank, specifically developed for this line of rods, using a new graphite and resin blend. Weighing in at only 3.40 ounces the 6’10ML Shimano Cumulus is my rod of choice. It offers ideal length for both shallow and deep water drop shot applications.
The Shimano Stradic Ci4 is the reel that you want to use for finesse applications like the drop shot and the Shakey head which we covered in our previous segment. This reel features Shimano’s revolutionary Ci4 material, making it over one and a half times stronger than previous models and almost 20% lighter. This reel is packed with features, including the Paladin Gear Durability Enhancement, Fluidrive II System, Propulsion Line Management System, as well as the Aerowrap II Oscillation System. The Shimano Stradic Ci4 delivers unrivaled strength and lightweight precision. The drop shot is a light line technique, you want to go as light as possible, you will notice the best results with lighter line. You want to use a premium fluorocarbon line that offers strong abrasion resistance for fishing around rock and structure and low visibility in the water. The fluorocarbon line which I use is the Seaguar InvizX 100% Fluorocarbon in 6 pound test. With a reel like the Stradic Ci4, which features an extremely smooth drag, I can get away with using such light line without worrying about breaking off.
When fishing the drop shot, you want to keep your rod tip low and close to the water, I found this effective because it is easy to quickly set the hook from this position. It is important to have a quick hook set as the fish will pick up and spit out your bait in a matter of seconds! The key to dropshotting is keeping your rod still; most anglers think that to give the bait action they need to shake their rod. However, you would be surprised at the action you can get by just simply holding your rod still and letting the natural water currents do their job!