From the St Lawrence River to Saskatchewan, from Smallmouth to Largemouth, the Dropshot method will work just about anywhere you are willing to throw it. The two fish pictured above were taken by Dropshotting and were done so thousands of kilometres apart.
Sponsored By: Ram Trucks
Dropshots have certainly claimed the finesse fishing thone over the last couple of years – and for good reason. With its simple rigging and fishability in a wide range of conditions, the small, light baits that these rigs allow to be fished so effectively have begun flooding the market and have proven productive for everything from Bass to Walleye to Brook Trout.
However, although dropshot fishing has only recently taken its spot in the worldwide rotation, the technique itself is far from new. I mean, let’s be honest, we have probably all, at one time or another, rigged something similar just out of necessity and improvisation.
Many years ago, both Pete and Ang would tie a bell sinker to the bottom of their line and simply tie a hook with live bait above that sinker just to keep the bait up off the bottom.
“I remember going up to the Griffith area of Ontario,” says Pete “and my dad, brother, some buddies, and I would fish off a big bridge over a current area on the Madawaska River for Walleye. Our best fish-producing method was to take a heavy ball sinker under a live minnow (about a foot above) and drop that into the current. Staging Walleye would come up and eat our live bait. That rig was, essentially, a modified heavily-weighted dropshot rig.”
“Getting the fish up to the top of the bridge,” continues Pete “now that was another story!”
Those days for Pete were some 40+ years ago. Dropshot style fishing really has been around forever.
Modern-day dropshot fishing, however, has built some refinements. Mostly catering to light-line on spinning gear, however, as you will see below, we won’t neglect to talk heavy as well.
Here are our top 10 favourite dropshot baits:
1) Live Minnow
Bet we surprised you with this one, eh?? The live minnow is an extraordinary dropshot bait. Come on, let’s be honest, what fish, at one time or another, won’t eat a minnow. The reason we chose this in the #1 spot is that it works equally as well in the winter as it does in the summer… and fall… and spring! Catch our drift???
2) Live Leech
Yep, this top 10 is starting out with a pattern, and justifiably so. A live leech is a fantastic late spring and through the summer dropshot bait. This is one of Angelo’s absolute favourite ways to catch Walleye, as he did on a past trip to Esnagi Lake.
“Gimme’ a dropshot rig and a leech,” says Ang “and I’ll be a happy camper on any Walleye water. Doesn’t matter where because I absolutely love this rig.”
3) Live Worm
Okay, you knew it was coming (don’t worry, no more live bait to come) but honestly, just think about it. Live bait is the be-all, end-all in fishing. Many times while fishing, we really do not want to be bothered dealing with live, slimy creatures unless they are on the end of our hooks. However, when it comes to selecting a productive bait, live options can often be worth the dirty hands. This live worm dropshot rig, in particular, is a Brook Trout trick we have used in pretty much every Brookie water we have fished. Give it a try… you will not regret it.
4) Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm
NOW we are into the plasticky, artificial stuff that people love to use. The SS Worm has been Ang and Pete’s favourite dropshot bait since what seems to be the beginning of their dropshotting career. At first glance, it is an admittedly odd-looking bait. However, do not underestimate the effectiveness of this little deal.
“We have caught so many big Smallies on the Shad Shape,” says Ang “that it is a hard choice not to make when we are into a dropshot bite.”
The beauty of a Shad Shape Worm is it works almost everywhere, even during the craziest of TV shoots.
5) 4” MegaStrike Mega Stick, 4” Yum Dinger, and/or a 4” Senko
A four-inch soft stick worm is a deadly bait on any rig, dropshot rig included. Although some of the remainders on this list could be ranked higher than this suggestion, we put it here because not as many anglers use this bait in this situation and rather favour the traditional finesse style baits so often viewed as synonymous with dropshotting. Sometimes different is better!
6) X Zone Slammer
This bait has been around for a while and has steadily gained in popularity. The original Slammer design was created by Mark Kulik. This bait was (and still is for many) the Lake Simcoe Smallie killer. It is another bait that at first glance poses the “really???” kind of response, but drop it in front of a big Smallmouth and hang on!
7) Roboworm 3″ Alive Shad & 4.5” Straight Tail Worm
Roboworm is a US company that has been producing hand-poured plastic baits for years. The quality of these baits is second to none! As from the Roboworm site, they say “The Roboworm 3″ Alive Shad is a great tool when a finesse application is required. The slender, minnow-like body excels on a drop shot. Made with Roboworm’s triple-layer colouring and “Salt Release Technology”, this is a go-to bait for Pro Staffer Aaron Marten’s when the bite gets tough.”
As for the 4.5 straight tail worm, this is another bait that, when nose hooked or wacky rigged on a dropshot, is deadly!
8) Strike King KVD 4” Dream Shot
With the array of both hard and soft baits that Strike King puts out, it’s no wonder they make this list. The Dream Shot is an extremely popular bass tournament bait, especially in the USA. When pros like Kevin Van Dam swear by this bait, its gotta’ mean something!
9) Powerbait MaxScent Flat Worm
We pretty much cannot go without giving you a “scented” option here. After all, so many people highly depend on scented baits in this modern era of fishing. Powerbait pretty much changed the fishing world with scent infusion, and they do not seem to be slowing down. The Flat Worm is a solid choice for any dropshotting application.
10) Any 5”, 6” and 7” soft stick bait, cut tail worm, straight worm along with a 3-4” creature or craw
“Wait what???”, is the question you surely just asked.
Here you thought this was a finesse dropshotting piece, right? Well, you are half right. Dropshotting, however, can be done with heavier gear. This is often called Power Shotting and is usually executed on Largemouth Bass. Power Shotting is a whole other ballgame that is a subject unto itself for a future article. In the meantime, this summer, set up a dropshot rig with a medium-heavy baitcaster, 17-20lb Fluorocarbon line, a ¾ ounce dropshot weight or bell sinker, a powerful offset worm hook, and any of the above bigger-than-normal power shot bait suggestions. Rig it weedless and plunk it everywhere. FUN!!!
Dropshot fishing is such an effective method of catching a multitude of fish species. Both Ang and Pete use this technique throughout the season. It is a definite go-to for their Smallmouth fishing, and heck, they’ll try it for pretty much anything that swims.
Have fun Dropshotting, we know you will love it!