A drop shot rig for bass suspends your hook above a weight. It’s a simple idea with some profound consequences.
Unlike standard worm fishing, the weight–rather than your line–is taking the abuse of the bottom. Right there, you’ll find this yields more bass, more often. But the drop shot rig’s advantages don’t stop there.
Since you can run as much distance between the hook and the sinker as you wish, you can adjust the height of the hook for weeds and other vegetation. That allows you to target your depth precisely. And because the weight is attached to the line and not your hook or bait, the worm is free to do its thing.
This results in an ultra-enticing action, whether you nose hook, Texas rig, or wacky rig your soft bait. If you’re not sure how to set up a drop shot rig for bass, watch this short tutorial. It’s as easy as tying a Palomar knot!
Drop Shot Tips
To make the most of this technique, you need to keep in mind that it’s all about finesse.
- Line selection – While you might run a big jerkbait with a heavy-weight braid, it’s important that your drop shot line combine sensitivity with subtlety. You want a strong, sensitive mainline, and we recommend Suffix 832 in a 10-20 pound test. In combination, we like to run a 6-10 pound fluorocarbon or mono leader from there to provide a touch of shock absorption and provide lessened visibility near our terminal tackle.
- Hook selection – We strongly recommend Gamakatsu drop shot hooks in size 1-1/0. They’re quite simply the best hooks on the market. If you want to run this rig weedless Texas-style, take a look at their offset hooks. See our full guide on hook selection for bass.
- Soft bait selection – Drop shotting really lets an excellent worm strut its stuff. I particularly like the 5-6 inch Yamamoto Senkos and Zoom Trick Worms and Brush Hogs.
- Weight selection – Use the lightest weight you can, starting at 3/16 to ¼ maximum. We like cylinder weights, as they bust grass better than other styles.
- Technique – The idea is to twitch your rod tip, very gently dancing the soft bait to really work its action in a way that looks natural. A touch of slack in your line is essential here, as you want to leave that weight where it is. You’re not trying to work the water column–keep that weight on the bottom!
The Drop Shot Rig For Bass, For The Everyday Angler
Let me tell you the first thing you need to know about the drop shot rig for bass. It is easy. I know. I know. But hear me out. Most fishermen have it in their heads that it’s some kind of hoodoo, voodoo way to catch a fish. They think it is hard to learn, hard to do, and only works in those clear lakes out West. But they are wrong and, most of the time, they won’t have any fish in their livewells because they are too stubborn to learn.
If I were you I wouldn’t pay a bit of attention to these guys. Follow me here and I’ll have you catching good sacks of bass while they complain about everything under the sun.
When I first started to use a drop shot rig for bass there was really only one way to do it. We would look for deep-water fish on our depth finders then drop the rig right in front of their noses. Either they would eat it or not but most of the time we would catch them.
The hard part was finding the deep fish that would hold on the cover long enough for us to catch them. All that has changed over the years. Now we know that you can use a drop shot rig to catch almost any fish including bedding fish, post-spawn fish, and even stubborn winter fish. We catch them out deep and we catch them shallow. We catch them suspended and we catch them in deep cover.
Allow me to run through my basic tackle and explain just how simple I keep this tactic. Most of the time I use a seven-foot spinning rod. And all the time I use a fluorocarbon line. The best is Berkley ® Vanish ®.
Most of the situations I get into call for six to eight-pound test. I use a number one or a 1/0 hook and I use Gulp! bait from Berkley. That’s it. Sure there are variables. Dirty water or heavy cover will cause me to use a bigger line and a baitcaster but most of the fish I catch come on my go-to spinning rod and reel.
Here’s why I think it works so well. Prior to the spawn, most bass are more bottom-oriented. They live on crawfish as much as anything. After the spawn sunfish and shad become more of a mainstay in their diet. Consequently, the bass will suspend more so they notice a drop shot better than a Texas rig or even a Carolina rig. They may only suspend a foot or two off the bottom but they are looking for baitfish more than something crawling on the lake floor.
Generally, I like to suspend the bait about 14-inches or so off the bottom and the drop shot rig makes it easy. Simply tie the hook on leaving at least a foot and a half from the tag end. Use a Palomar knot. You always want the point of the hook up so it will stick the fish better and won’t get hung up as much. To make sure it’s up run the tag line back through the top of the eye of the hook.
Drop shot weights are available everywhere now. I only use 3/16-ounce tungsten most of the time. If the water is deeper than thirty feet I’ll use a 3/8-ounce just because I get tired of waiting for it to sink. These drop-shot weights just clip to the line. Run the line’s tag end through the eye of the weight and wedge it in place at whatever depth you want.
Bait selection is important but it shouldn’t give you a headache. Here are a couple of rules I use. Nose hook baits three inches long or smaller with a number one mosquito hook and with baits any larger than that rig weedless on a 1/0 straight shank hook. I use Berkley Gulp! exclusively because they catch more fish. I can’t make it any more simple than that. I like green pumpkin and watermelon colors best. The size and shape of the bait takes some experimenting and even guessing but mostly I use Gulp! Wacky Crawlers and Shaky Worms. Fish bite them and I set the hook… simple.
When I first started doing this I would drop the bait vertically to something on the depth finder that I thought was a bass and lightly shake it but not anymore. I sometimes still do that particularly in colder water but now I use a drop shot anywhere I think there is a fish. Across points, river bends, docks, grass lines, anywhere I think there might be bass I can catch them on this rig.
I sometimes still cast it (or drop it) and lightly shake the rod but I find myself more and more using a dead drag just like a Carolina rig. More often than not dragging will get more hits. This is particularly effective with Gulp! baits because they disperse scent and flavor better than anything we can buy. Fish will travel to get to these baits.
This whole drop-shotting technique is not rocket science. Don’t make it that way. Keep it simple and pay attention to what the fish are telling you. Drop-shotting fishing will open up a whole new way of catching bass while adding some weight to your catches. It sure as heck has mine.