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drop shotting


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Boy do I love the MN seasons. The next one can never come quick enough for me. Anyways there is still plenty of ice fishing to do before the bass opener. In the meantime I have been thinking of new techniques to add to my arsenal. One technique I have never tried and don't know much about is drop shotting. How is this done actually? From what I heard it is a good technique for those lethargic bass.

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I did a seminar on dropshotting about 6 years ago for the Minnesota State B.A.S.S. Workshop, when drop shotting was first becoming popular. This is the transcript of that seminar. Hope it helps you out.

The Dropshot Rig

Hello, my name is Deitz Dittrich, and I have a problem. I am addicted to fishing. Not only that, I am addicted to bass fishing!

Understanding that you have a problem is the first step.

We as bass anglers don't need a 12-step program. Think about it, many of us have boats worth over $20,000, filled with 10-30 of our best rod and reel combinations and enough tackle to sink your normal aluminum boat.

At the end of a great fishing trip, we can pull up to the boat landing dock and see the guy reeling a spinning reel upside down on a bait casting rod fishing for pan fish.

He would say as we pull up. "How was the fishing?"

I reply "Oh, not too bad caught quite a few, was a fun day."

"Mind if I see any of them?" He says.

"Well, err you see, um, I didn't keep any of them." I say and as we walk by we notice the bucket full of sunfish the guy caught from the boat landing dock.

So, we have the boat with the GPS, 3 depth finders, temp gauge, 20 rod and reels, and enough tackle to fill fort Knox. Yet no fish,


I'm also a teacher. I work in the Chicago Lakes School District in the Primary Building. There are 3 full time men teachers and about 40 female employees. Let's just say life isn't always easy! I'm one of those people that like to get to work early and finish all my plans so that when I have a break during the day, I can do something not related to teaching. Usually it's spent looking around the Internet trying to find stuff related to fishing. It was one of these times about 2 years ago that I found an article written by Terry Batisti, who started and owns a small Hand Pour Plastic company called Snakebite Tackle.

The article was on a deep water fishing technique called Dropshotting, and explained a finesse technique that was becoming popular in the very deep reservoirs of the west.

After reading the article I realized that we here in Minnesota don't fish 80 feet of water to often like the article stated, yet the rig fascinated me. I e-mailed Mr. Batisti and told him I enjoyed the article and then told him how I thought that the rig could easily be adapted to our waters and the way we fished here. We sent a few e-mails back and forth giving each other ideas on how, and where this rig could really shine.

The undershot rig is not new. Very seldom is anything totally new invented, we have just found different ways to use them. That is what has happened to the Dropshot rig. From the research that I have done it began as a river rig for fishing live bait off the bottom without using a floating jig head. Also believe it or not many years ago it was used for ice fishing. The basic rig is very simple, and you probably will not need to run to the store and get anything. That is the beauty of this rig. It's simple, simple to use, and catches loads of fish.

You begin by tying a Palomar knot on a hook with a long tag end. Then run the tag end back through the hook eye, and fasten a sinker to the bottom somehow. There are 3 different styles of hooks that I know of that people have been using.

One is the simple, light wire, straight shank hook.

The other is like the Gamakatsu octopus hook.

And companies like owner have thought that this rig is good enough that they have invented hooks solely for this rig.

The sinker is easy too; you can peg a sliding sinker to your line, or tie one on. Companies have invented sinkers for this rig also.

Typically the rig is fished on medium action spinning gear and 6-10 pound test mono line. The plastic used is usually a 4" finesse style worm or something like that. I like the Exude 4" finesse worm. It's a very basic presentation, yet the possibilities for the way that it can be fished are only held back by your imagination.

Again-The rig began as a deep open water technique for bass fishing. I am not going to talk about that much. I would rather talk about the ways in which that I think it would best be used in our waters a little closer to my home.

The typical presentation is to make a short cast in an area that you believe to be holding fish. The rig works best when fished near to vertical. Allow the rig to sink to the bottom and let it sit. Then allow a small amount of slack line and shake it. Move the bait a few inches and

repeat. It's that easy. The bite is on slack line so it will not

necessarily feel like a normal bite but like other rigs where the line is semi slack like a soft plastic jerk bait. Sometimes you may feel a tick, sometimes-just pressure. DO NOT SET THE HOOK!

Instead just begin to reel fast till the rod loads. Then if necessary you can set the hook. If you set the hook to begin with because of the way the rig is set up you can pull the bait out of the fish's mouth without a hook up. Because most of the time you are using a light wire hook and many times an exposed hook a boat rocking hook set is not needed. I like to compare the hook set to how the great crank bait fishermen do. More of just added pressure than a hook set.

Areas that you can fish this rig are endless. It can be used anywhere where you would normally use a Carolina Rig or Texas Rig. And areas in which you wouldn't fish those rigs. Think of a time in which you were fishing a Carolina rig, and on every cast you would bring gunk up on your sinker and lure. Yet on times you could keep the bait clean you felt a bite. Because the lure itself never comes in contact with the bottom on the Dropshot rig, this is perfect. Your sinker still collects and stirs up the bottom yet the lure is allowed to work naturally. Or let's say you have found fish on the very edge of a deep weed line. The fish seem to be positioned just inside the short weeds and the only way you can get them to hit is by using a very light weight sinker on a Texas rig. Yet you feel like your wasting time to let your bait sink slowly down to the depth your working. Again the dropshot rig is perfect. Set the leader length to the depth needed and fish as heavy a sinker as you want. The lure its self is weightless, a suspending soft plastic lure. You control the speed at which it sinks or rises with your rod tip.

Another situation where the dropshot shines is if you are fishing over lure stealing rocks. You know what I am talking about. No matter what you throw down there it gets hung up. You can use one of the New No snag sinkers on this rig or get some environmentally safe split shot and pinch them on the end of your line. Then when you get stuck just pull the sinkers off, instead of having to re-tie you just need to add new sinkers.

Heavy vegetation is also a great place for the dropshot. With the onset of Eurasian Water Milfoil in many of our states' lakes, we have needed to adapt to fishing heavy vegetation. You know the bass are there. Typically many people fish these areas successfully with heavy jigs. However there are day in which it seems if you could get a smaller finesse rig there you could catch more fish. Use as heavy a sinker as you like. Put as small a piece of plastic as you want, you can get it threw the carpet of weeds and fish it weightless beneath.

Have you ever fished a dock or laydown to find a very skittish fish that will follow your bait along the bottom but you can't get it to hit? If only you had a lure that would sit in one place and entice the fish to strike.

Use as long a leader as you want. I have heard guys use 5-foot leaders and cast past an area. The sinker stays past the area yet the bait just hovers next to the cover. I'm not saying that this rig is going to replace the Carolina rig or Texas rigs. But I do believe that it deserves a spot in your repertoire.

Give it a try. The worst thing that could happen is...

You could catch more fish to not bring home!

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again great info deitz ! i have been missing a number of hits with this rig, but your point on how to set the hook mite be my problem. ALSO ; i have used this type of rig, ( only downed sized ) many times for panfish too. grin.gif

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Thanks del- and your right it can be a great panfish rig as you say... I have also done pretty well fishing bass on deep weedlines and picking up walleye... Del- on the lost fish deal... make sure you are usuing the sharpest hook possible and then loose the hookset.. just start reeling fast.. them needle sharp hooks will set deeper in the mouth that way. When you set the hook hard on a dropshot you end up usually catching just the edge of the lip and a fish can pull off. Just what I have had happen to me.

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This is the deadliest rig you can fish right now!!! I caught every species possible on this rig, from Muskies to dogfish....

The craziest thing about this rig is that you can experiment on the various plastics that you can use on the rig.....

I personally use a baitcasting outfit...a 7 ft. medium/medium lite rod...a high speed 6.2:1 ratio reel...spooled with Spiderwire Fusion...10lb test/6lb diameter....i then attach a flourocarbon leader with the dropshot rig made-up of the flourocarbon.. this allows me to feel everything that is happeneing at the end of my line...i was able to use a 1/4 to 3/8 oz sinker in various styles, depending on the wind...this rig is also very weedless even with an exposed hook....i also had one set-up with a red hook and one non-colored hook....i found that the colored hooks did get more bites on some days..whereas some days it didn't matter!!!

With this rig you tend to number fish...but some of the largest fish i caught last year where on the dropshot!!!

So far this winter i have been searching for new plastics to throw on my dropshot rig....man can that be fun!!



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I think when your fishing the drop shot in deep water one of the reasons for a missed fish is the near vertical angle on the line on the hook set, combined with a small narrow gap hook. I've switched over to circle hooks when I have a novice angler (client) on both drop shot, split shot and bobber rigging, it seems to increase the percentage of hook-ups. Also, on children and novice anglers, I have found it wise to start them out on live bait, so they gain confidence in the rig and get the general feeling of a bite. Has anyone seen the new Gamakatsu weedless finesse wide gap hook, it looks like it could be a real winner for drop shotting in deep caggage or coontail, or wacky rigging shallow weeds.

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I was wondering if you end up getting a lot of panfish pecking at your presentation when you use finesse-type baits. I remember that Al Linder, when he was still with In-Fisherman, said that he liked to use bigger baits (i.e. a full sized craw or worm) to help minimize that problem when he was dropshotting.

Also, in reference to my myriad of questions from the summer deep or shallow posts, I'm assuming that this is one of your typical summer bass presentations ???? How much weight do you typically use for this presentation ??? Do you also use this method for smallies on Mille Lacs ??? Do you rig your sinker on lighter line so if you hang, you can selectively break off your sinker and get most of your rig back, or do you just let the whole rig go ??



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I use dropshot year round... I dont always use it deep, like I said.. I love to flip a dropshot around docks.. I will usually upsize the bait and line size for fightin a fish around cover...yes you do get bluegill bites.. but that comes with being a bass angler. I normally do not up size my presentation when dropping deep water.

I use the water gremlin bull shot sinkers... They clamp on like a split shot but pull threw weeds better than a split shot. here is a pict of them for reference.


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Once again mr deitrich comes through with a great post! I have used this technique in the river quite a bit when the fish are not hanging on the bottom. A good way to tell if this rig will work in the river is if the fish are hitting your worm or tube when it makes its sweeping turn past you and rises up off the bottom and gets buffeted around in the current then gets smacked by a smallie. The dropshot rig is the perfect rig when this is happening. With the ds rig in this situation pitch it up stream a short distance using a 7 foot or longer rod, and keep your line semi tight, as your line drifts back towards you keep your rod tip up and slowly reel in the slack line, (the long rod helps you keep the line semi-tight) as the tube or worm drifts past boulders in the water smallies will come out from behind the boulder and just smack it HARD, if the fish are a little bit neutral you will still feel a semi hard tap, very rarely will your hits be light! This works good for wacky rigged senkos cause of there action as they fall, and when fished with the ds rig in current you can give em that action through the whole cast, it also works good with tubes. One thing Ive thogught of recently is putting a barrel swivel in front of this rig and using a soft jerkbait like an assassin or something like that so it can swivel around and make it look like a baitfish fighting a losing battle with the current, I will have to give this a try when I can get out there and wade its a pretty hard presentation to use from shore in the winter

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Deitz thanks for the info. I am having a tough time visualizing this set-up. Do you have a diagram to offer? If not I can maybe talk to you out on Tonka tomorrow at the event.


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bk. think of it as the old bullhead fisherman set up. your hook tied on the end of your line then the sinker a ways up. just reverse the hook and sinker. you allow as much line below the hook to to the sinker to keep it above the weeds or just to control what depth you want to fish. hope this helps. del

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bklimek-I'm sorry I wasn't at tonka.. it was my plan to go... Insted Rick(owner of FishingMinnesota) pulled me away to shoot another hot bite fishing show up on the Red River.. we ended up catching some MONSTER walleye(11 lbs) here is the best diagram that I could find on the drop shot.


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Deitz thanks for the diagram. That helps out a lot. Sounds like you had a good outing. Look forward to watching that clip. It was a nice day on Tonka but struggled to find a good bite. Still had a good time none the less.

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