Techniques that don’t require a cross-their-eyes hookset lend themselves well to kayak anglers who fish from a seated position. While most modern rigs allow most anglers to stand if they choose, there’s a certain amount of stealth to be gained by keeping a low profile, along with the added stability.
If you’re wearing a life vest and sitting, it can be hard to efficiently drive those hooks home but when finesse fishing is the order of the day all you need to do is tighten up and let the fish hang themselves on light wire hooks.
Could there be a more appropriate technique for such situations than the drop shot? Extreme versatility and a reputation for producing big numbers of fish? Yes, please!
Whether bass in your zip code are still balled up offshore under the blaze of late summer heat or they’ve taken to the flats amid pumpkin spice weather, a drop shot is seldom the wrong answer, especially when bass become unpredictable as they tend to in September.
With that in mind, here’s a primer on throwing a drop shot from one of the best to ever do it. Hint: this guy has won a parking lot full of boats and the trucks to tow them with – due in no small part to his chops with the drop shot.
Two-time US Open Champion John Murray built his reputation in the clear, deep waters of the West though he now gets his mail in Spring City, Tennessee. An early adopter of the drop shot, Murray still loves the technique for its simplicity and its versatility.
“It’s just a weight with a length of line, usually 10-to-12-inches, and a hook,” emphasizes Murray. “Don’t get caught up in too many details when you’re starting out. People can make it more complicated than it really should be, but drop shotting is just a simple way to catch a lot of fish so it’s a great technique for people who are new to bass fishing or for a seasoned pro.”
Attach a weight to the bottom of that 10-inch drop line and you’re set. A quarter-ounce is common, lighter in shallow water, though 3/8oz. may be better for deeper dropping or if wind dulls your feel for the weight on the bottom. Fish will do most of the hooking themselves, but a gentle sweep set is usually needed at some point to button them up, so some measure of sensitivity is critical.
This tactic generally calls for spinning gear and fluorocarbon line testing between 4-to-10 pounds or 10lb braid spliced to a fluoro leader.
If the average angler is missing a trick with the drop shot, Murray says it’s this: “Rig it weedless, Texas rig style on a 1/0 straight shank hook. Use the same worms you would otherwise use and don’t be afraid to cast it into cover, the same places you would pitch a Texas rig. A lot of people think the drop shot is just for open water. It’s not. It’s versatile. It works great in heavy cover.
“And it’s not only a deep-water bait. It’s just like any other worm fishing technique. You can cast it to the bank, drag it out and follow the lake’s contours whether that takes you down 10 feet deep or 50 feet.”
Murray imparts minimal action. “Keep a fairly tight line and work it gently, not a lot of shaking, nothing too crazy with it. Picture the worm swimming like a minnow. Just a gentle pull is best.”
Less is more with the hookset too. “Tighten up and keep reeling. Use a small, sharp hook and just reel it into their mouth.”