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south_metro_fish

dropper rig variations for crappies

25 posts in this topic

I have been having great luck ever since I discovered dropper rigs, and was wondering what variations others have used and had luck with. The one I have been using with the most luck is a glow green forage minnow with a plain hook about 8" down. I have tried a flying raddler with out much luck and I have tried putting a small jig at the end. The plain hook with a minnow at the bottom seems to work best. These rigs are great they seem to attract the fish in and get them interested when nothing else is working. They also allow you to get your bait back down to the right level fast for that fast bite. There has been a couple of times that I have caught fish because I got my bait down during a bite, that there is no way I could have gotten just a jig down in time.

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My favorite droppers are the Hali chains either plain hook or the ones with the multi colored beads. I use them under forage minnows, demons and frotee spoons tipped with single piece of Gulp! maggot. "Shacky-hand" lift method works great for light biters.

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you can run a dropper with a tiny jig off a chubby darter. that works pretty good.. but leave the tail hook on, becasue sometimes they hit the darter

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Recently, well crappie fishing I have noticed a few things about dropper rigs. I have noticed how placement in the water column seems to be key. I have noticed that you have to find that sweet spot where it entices them the most and it never seems to be in the same spot. You could be catching fish on the top and bottom with a jig and minnow but if you place the dropper rig there it gets very little hits, but if you move to a different level like the middle they seem to hit it none stop. But if you put a jig there it seems like they wont hit it as much. There have been times when it is the bottom and times when it is the top that the dropper works well and jigs don't. Some times it just wont matter if the bite is real hard. It just seems like there is that perfect level, that's never the same, when you are on a school of crappies that the dropper works best. I really like how it seems to bring the fish in too.

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I have noticed that you have to find that sweet spot where it entices them the most and it never seems to be in the same spot. I really like how it seems to bring the fish in too.

I've seen this as well. I think it all depends on where the fish are holding. Sometimes you have the tight school that's suspended up and roaming (my favorite scenario) and other times they'll be scattered along the bottom. In either instance getting your bait to the spot where they chase, moving your bait at the right speed and being able to keep it in their commit zone is key to triggering even the tightest lips to bite.

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you can run a dropper with a tiny jig off a chubby darter. that works pretty good.. but leave the tail hook on, becasue sometimes they hit the darter

I think this would be illegal as you would have 2 jigs on one line....(chuby darter w/ hooks and whatever is on the dropper) no different than having 2 hooks set at different depths only legal in Minnesota with flys..(which makes no sense)

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I don't get why you can't use two jigs on one line ice fishing either if you are only using one pole and not two. Wouldn't that be the same as fishing with two poles?

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Originally Posted By: tacklebox7FF
you can run a dropper with a tiny jig off a chubby darter. that works pretty good.. but leave the tail hook on, becasue sometimes they hit the darter

I think this would be illegal as you would have 2 jigs on one line....(chuby darter w/ hooks and whatever is on the dropper) no different than having 2 hooks set at different depths only legal in Minnesota with flys..(which makes no sense)

I was just looking at the regs, but didn't see where it says you can't have 2 jigs one line. It just says you can have 2 lines while ice fishing under angling methods. Is it written somewhere else in the regs?

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yes it is stated that you cannot have more than one jig tied to a line...unless they are flys...not sure what page but this is what I found out after some research on a multiple jig rig that I saw on TV.

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• Anglers may use only one hook. An artificial lure is considered one

hook. A treble hook, when not part of an artificial lure, is considered

three hooks and is not legal. The exception is three artificial flies may

be used when angling for trout, crappie, sunfish, and rock bass.

• Anglers may use only one line during the open water season and two

through the ice (other than on designated trout lakes and streams)

unless otherwise noted.

This is probably what you mean. Not worded really well when applying to ice fishing though. If they added one hook per line it would be more specific.

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So I was wondering because some guy out on the lake was telling me about putting the treble hook at the bottom of the dropper. I have not done this because I have questioned the legality of it all but was wondering if it would be ok to do. I would think it would be considered part of the artificial lure kind of like having to put a spoon on a tip up when you use a treble.

But beyond that I have tried a orange colored buckshot spoon with even more success. I don't know what I would do with out my droppers. My dropper out performed my jig 4 to 1 last night.

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so what would be the difference. if I tied a small jig instead of the trebble hook.. I would have two less hooks on there

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south_metro_fish-

I've never fished a dropper rig before, but I'm trying to visualize what your describing. You have taken a forage minnow(1/16 oz, 1/8 oz?) and removed the treble hook. You tied the forage minnow onto your line and then tied an 8" dropper line with a plain hook onto the other end of the forage minnow.

Is this correct?

The reason I ask is I recently read an article on dropper rigs and the way they described the set up was just the opposite. The sinker was tied at the bottom and the hook/jig was tied 16" to 20" above the sinker.

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blush ahhhhhh....I see. "Drop Shot Rig" and "Dropper Rig" Now I understand.

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tacklebox7F I would think that you would hook a few more fish with a treble with crappies having that paper mouth. You have 2 more prongs to get a good hook. Still wondering if it is legal though, I have not tried this till I know for sure.

Any one use droppers in open water? This is my first year trying them so I am wondering if they are just as productive in open water?

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Chip Leer has a nice article on dropper rig fishing that I came across while trying to find a nice photo illustration for this thread.

Dropping Those Mid-Winter Ice Fishing Blues

by Chip Leer

WALKER, Minnesota -- Mid-winter got you singing the ice fishing blues?

Are you ready to fold up the Otter, store the StrikeMaster and curl up in front of a crackling fire because your last ice fishing outing didn’t provide you with a torrid bite?

When the going get’s tough…..the tough get dropping. “Dropper rigs”, that is.

Let’s consider the ecological changes that take place as winter's grip tightens across ice fishing country. At first ice, oxygen levels are high because of the mixing that takes place throughout a body of water in late fall and the presence of vegetation.

During early winter most of those aquatic plants are only beginning to die off and decay, so they still attract aquatic insects, invertebrates and other forage that give game fish a virtual smorgasbord of dining opportunity and we find lots of very active fish.

As winter progresses, green plants continue to wilt and rot in ponds, lakes and river backwaters; a process that consumes oxygen. Furthermore, with a cover of ice and snow on a body of water, there isn't any new oxygen being added in the system. Only areas with springs or current such as inlets, outlets or sloughs enjoy consistent oxygenation throughout the winter. These can be great spots to fish, but they can also be the most dangerous areas on a body of water with extremely thin ice even when the main lake has a three-foot lid on it. Eventually on most of the lakes and ponds we favor to ice fish, the fish will settle where the remaining oxygen is. This area is usually in the deepest portions of the lake. There the fish will be forced to conserve energy with depleting oxygen in the lake making them very timid and sluggish. As ice fisherman we are faced with a challenge, sluggish fish in deep water.

It may seem like an impossible task to entice these stubborn mid winter fish, yet if you drop-in on them carefully you can have them eating out of your hand, well you would need a long arm, but you know what I mean.

Keep in mind fish must and will continue to eat all winter to survive. As fisherman we must know that they will however severally reduce their effort put forth to consume a meal. So we should offer them something that they can consume with a minimal amount of effort, while keeping the offering heavy enough to reach the depths and attract fish. So how do you get a smaller offering to deep water with a lure large enough to attract fish? It’s called a “Dropper Rig” and it catches fish, lots of fish, most of all stubborn, less aggressive fish.

I first started using dropper rigs when fishing for tullibees and whitefish and quickly learned adaptations of this rig were extremely effective for walleyes, perch, crappies and bluegills. The dropper rig is simple and very effective because when fish are sluggish or negative they do not inhale volumes of water to eat their prey. The dropper rig allows fish to inhale very little and still end up with a hook in their mouth.

What is a Dropper Rig?

Basically, a dropper rig consists of three elements: 1. A “dropper weight” (such as a jigging spoon with no hook that the dropper line can be tied to). 2. A “dropper line” (a piece of fishing line that connects the “dropper weight” to the “dropper lure”). 3. A “dropper lure” (historically a small ice jig or hook). Sizes of these elements will vary depending on the species you are targeting.

The “dropper weight” gives the rig weight to reach the depths while acting as an attracting device to call fish to your offering. In clear water use a spoon with lots of flash and vibration, in darker or stained water use one with Super-Glo color. Regardless of water clarity, rattles will help alert fish to your offering. Below the spoon a “dropper line” is applied. For the “dropper line”, I prefer Berkley Vanish 100% Fluorocarbon line, because it is virtually invisible to the fish. I usually use 2- to 6-inches of line length for most applications, but the fun part is that you can customize the length to fit your situation. Then on the end of the “dropper line” tie a “dropper lure”. This lure is what the fish is actually going to eat. Small jigs like a “Bro-Bug”, “Jiggle Bit” or “Spider Ant”, work great for panfish. When targeting perch, walleyes or crappies the best solution is a plain hook.

I have had awesome success with the new Super-Glo Dropper Hooks by Northland Tackle, which were specifically designed for this fishing situation. I feel the main reason that they are so effective is the Super-Glo feature that allows each hook to glow in color: I.E. red glows red, chartreuse glows chartreuse, etc. The best part is that they’re simple too; simply snap the Super-Glo Dropper Hook onto the jigging spoon and you’re good to go. Northland has made it even simpler by offering the new Buck-Shot Dropper Spoon Rig. These are ready to fish, complete rigs that are now available in retail stores.

If you are creating one of your own rigs, keep in mind the small lure or hook on the business end of the “dropper rig” will be most effective when it is kept as small and simple as possible. You do not want to make it heavy or difficult for the fish to inhale. The “dropper spoon” will hold the lure in place and the small hook on the end will then “pendulum” into the fish’s mouth with even the most minimal amount of inhalation from the fish.

Here is where bait options come into play. You can continue to use your favorite bait or consider downsizing a bit. It often works to use a whole live minnow for walleyes or crappies, yet if the fish are still sluggish, try using just a minnow head. A great trick for triggering walleye strikes is to load the hook with maggots, wax worms or Gulp! grubs. For bluegills & sunfish, I usually use a mix of artificial bait like Berkley Gulp! maggots with one or two live maggots. The bottom line is to play around a bit and see what the fish prefer, both in terms of bait choices and “Dropper Rig” configuration. After all, this is fishing, playtime and fun. Why not experiment a bit? You just may find yourself with plenty more fish coming through the ice this winter.

Over the last five years or so the “Dropper Rig” has become a necessary part of my ice fishing attack. I know you will find that this simple rig will have you catching more and bigger fish this mid to late winter than you have ever caught before. So let everyone else pack away their gear and sweep the garage while getting the mid winter blues, because you’ll be catching fish they thought were “uncatchable”.

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dropper rig sorry.. just a different variation.. not a dropshot.. sorry if i confused everyone

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That was a great article. I think it describes them very well, it was interesting how it explains how you need your bottom lure to be very light so the fish don't have to inhale very hard to get hooked. It is kinda what I figured out on my own this winter with experimenting. It also brought up some good ideas for dropper variations. I am wondering if dropper rigs could have any open water applications. One possible application I could think of was to use them well fishing crappies in snags on the river. I would think you could make your dropper line lighter so if you got snagged you would only lose a hook. I am wondering if right now for the spring crappies if you put a dropper under a bobber with some sort of gulp or other plastic at the bottom if you would have any luck? I would think if you put a spoon on that didn't have as much weight as a buckshot like a spinner blade used as a spoon and put a plain hook at the bottom with a tube you would have a killer spring crappie dropper variation. I think I might just have to try this out today.

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it works great for picky fish in conjunction with my fish cam. center the jig-spoon in the screen and wiggle it to attract fish then when they appear raise your minnow infront of their nose. They usually gulp it up if theyre interested.

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I stopped at the bait shop on my way to lunch to get some ideas what to use to make this dropper. I think a small dare devil type spoon would be perfect for this situation. But now I need to figure out what size would work best and if I should get shiny metallic color like silver or gold or if I should get a painted one. Any suggestions? I am also trying to figure out how long of a dropper line would work in this situation? You want them to get attracted by the spoon but you want them to lose interest in the spoon when they get close and hit the bait, but like droppers in the winter time I would think you wouldn't want it to be too long or you wont know when they take it. I am also wondering for metallic spoons and spinners and lures if certain colors (silver, gold, copper) are better in certain water clarity?

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I gave it a shot with a silver dare devil and had a couple of bites. I need to play around with it a little, and try on a day when they are biting better. Any one ever have any luck with a rig similar to what I described?

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