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Don't Just “Drop” A Drop Shot

A dropshot is the face of finesse fishing, but consistency hinges on a handful of variables.

Don't Just “Drop” A Drop Shot

It’s one of the most widely-used rigs in bass fishing; a real go-to, standby, safety valve kinda deal that’ll get bites in the toughest of conditions. No doubt, a dropshot is the face of finesse fishing, but consistency hinges on a handful of variables.

How To Hook It

With small worms, leaches or minnow shapes, the most common dropshot arrangement finds a short shank hook set through the bottom of the bait’s head and exiting the top. Resting in the hook bend, the bait enjoys maximum freedom of movement, so if it’s action you want, this is the way to go.


Option: For a tighter connection between bait and hook, insert the point beneath the head, but rather than bringing it out the top, angle the point toward the nose and push just barely the tip out the bait’s front end. This minimizes bait spin, gives the rig a modified weed guard and positions the hook for direct connection.

Gilly Style: Coined by finesse wizard Aaron Martens, the name refers to a rigging style places the hook through the side (gill area) of a small worm’s head. Set perpendicular, rather than parallel to the bait’s natural orientation, the Gilly style adds a different kind of shiver that might push a stubborn fish over the edge.

Wacky Style: For a different kinda dance, move your hook from the bait’s head and run it through the center; maybe little forward for a two-ended wiggle that displaces a lot of water, creates a load of vibration and mimics a struggling baitfish.

Threaded: Running an appropriately sized worm hook or flipping hook through the bait’s body moves the business end closer to the bait’s terminus. When a cold front, fishing pressure, slow current, etc. has the fish in a non-non-committal mood, this rigging beats those short strikers that like to nip at baits without committing.

Bear in mind that, while threading works fine for open water, vegetation, stumps, laydowns or any other ensnaring habitat can turn the advantage into a liability. Texas rigging the bait allows it to slip in and out of cover.

The Weighting Game

When fishing in and around vegetation or any other type of cover, you’ll appreciate the in-and-out ease of a cylindrical weight. For more prominent bottom contact that produces more fish-calling sound against rock, shell, or gravel, go with tear drop or round weights. The latter drags well, while the former tends to hold its ground best.


Whatever shape you choose, you’ll often have to decide whether to directly connect to a closed line tie or use the tension clip style. Both perform the same task, but the latter minimizes rigging time, by allowing you to slide your leader through the clip for a higher or lower presentation. Also, if your weight snags, you can typically pull the leader free and salvage your rig.

Conventional logic says the lightest weight that efficiently reaches bottom is best; however, upsizing addresses a couple particular needs. First, a heavier dropshot weight better traverses rough water and ensures a targeted descent. Similarly, when casting or pitching a dropshot, a little more weight helps you hit the bullseye.

Leader Length

Normally, a 6- to 8-inch leader serves most scenarios, but a shorter leader fits best when fish are pinned to the bottom. Elsewhere, you’ll want a longer leader for holding your bait above rocks or weeds.

If you’re casting and retrieving a dropshot, consider bumping up to a 2-foot leader. Dragging decreases the angle between your bait and the bottom, so you need that extra length to maintain the proper presentation height.


Tackle Up

With the exception of a heavier version known as the “power shot,” or “Bubba shot,” dropshotting typically works best on spinning gear. In most cases, you’re literally dropping right off the bow, but a 7 to 7-4 medium rod gives you the right balance of castability for longer presentations and sufficient strength for putting the brakes on a mean one.


Braided main line in the 10- to 15-pound range offers superior sensitivity for bite detection, while a fluorocarbon leader provides the stealth. Savvy anglers find that rigging several feet of leader affords them a time-efficient option for re-rigging if they break off or need a different setup.

Last consideration — leader management. We’re used to securing lures or bare hooks to a rod’s hook keeper, but with a dropshot, you still have a dangling weight that can bounce around and chip rod or tangle with adjacent baits while you’re running.

Some, like the Cashion Dropshot Rod include a weight keeper toward the butt end. Otherwise, secure your weight with a rubber band, pipe cleaner and Velcro strip.

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