Lake Erie is such an amazing smallmouth bass fishery. There are a lot of ways to catch smallmouth bass on Lake Erie. In this interview we discuss drop shot fishing Lake Erie with New York angler Andrew Full. Andrew puts a lot of Lake Erie smallmouth bass in the boat with a drop shot. He discusses with us his favorite tips for drop shot fishing Lake Erie smallies.
First of all, congrats on getting married this year. How was the wedding? Was there any part of you that was tempted to try to figure out a way to get some fishing done in your suit before the wedding?
Thanks! My wife Amanda is wonderful, and she still lets me fish pretty much without a question. I would have loved to get in some fishing time while in the suit but didn’t want to smell bad for the wedding! Me and my friends were able to get a few cast in Braddock’s Bay the night of our rehearsal dinner that my dad graciously booked.
The wedding was fantastic. Couldn’t have asked for a better night. Honeymoon went so well that on our way home from Hawaii I told Amanda that I was going to fish a tournament on Saturday. We got home Friday night at 6pm. She called me crazy and said good luck.
Lets get into drop shot fishing Lake Erie. How long have you been drop shot fishing on Lake Erie?
Now this one is near and dear to my heart. I would say I have been drop shot fishing on Lake Erie for about 10 years now. I think what make it is so successful is the fact that you are using a little bait that mimics the baitfish in the lake. Our minnows are small, Emeralds and Smelt, plus the Goby. Smallmouth Bass like little things that are easy to feed on.
What are your favorite baits for drop shot fishing Lake Erie?
This one is tough for me to give up because I have a selection of baits that I rotate. I always have a Western Fishing Operations PD 3.5 worm tied on or a BPS 3 inch stick bait. Depending on time of year, depth, and even forage that is present.
My two top colors in the PD worm would be Green Pumpkin with a silver belly. Mimics gobies really well and can also pass as a bluegill when fishing beds, or even minnows depending on cloud cover. It’s an extremely vesitile bait. Neon Shad would have to be my 2nd favorite.
When I use the 3 inch BPS stick bait, it is going to be either green pumpkin or watermelon, two simple staples of colors that everyone owns.
What is your rod and reel selection for drop shot fishing Lake Erie?
First of all the reels I am using are Sixgill Dreadnoughts. I have two rods I like to use. A 7’2 ML and a 6’10 ML Enigma Aarons Edge spinning rods. The dreadnought is in size 3000. The bigger spool allows you to pick up line faster as the fish come racing to the surface from the deep and the different rod sizes depend on what weight I am using and how deep I am fishing.
How about line for drop shot fishing Lake Erie?
My main line is Berkeley Nanofil, in 10 or 8Lb test. I like how thin the diameter is. If it frays, I don’t have to worry about my main line breaking. For leader, I really like Seaguar finesse or Sunline finesse. I usually run 6lb no matter the situation when drop shot fishing Lake Erie. Thinner line gives the bait more action. If it is rough as it almost always is on Erie, your bait will get down that much more quick.
How much tag line are you using below the hook?
My tag line varies. I will run a leader of about 8 to 10 ft on average. Hook space from weight depends on conditions and what the fish are feeding on. If they are on minnows I will usually lift my bait up off the bottom a little more. So 12 to 15 inches. If they are feeding on Gobies or Craws then I’ll focus in on the 6 to 12 inch range. This allows me to trya and settle my bait more on the bottom.
What is your hook choice?
My hook choice is the Gamakatsu G-Finese. Size 1 or 1/0 depending on which plastic I am using. Since I switched to these hooks last year I have lost less fish. With how sharp they are, the hook up ratio is incredible.
I know you have started using Woo Tungsten. What have you liked about their drop shot weights?
First I still use lead when I am fun fishing. This is because tungsten is so darn expensive. BUT that said I LOVE TUNGSTEN and Woo is incredible with the chip resistance finish. The sensitivity of tungsten is what makes the difference. From the feel of the rod, I can tell if I am on gravel, sand, muck, or boulders. With lead you lose that sensitivity because it’s much softer and tends to bend and ding easily.
Wind often plays into fishing on Erie. How much wind will you drop shot in?
When its really windy I prefer to drag a tube or something along those lines. If I struggle to maintain contact with the bottom I will set the drop shot down. Usually a stiff wind over 15 MPH is when I’ll set my dropshot down unless I know I am on a big school, and I don’t have to worry about constantly staying over them.
Overall, what are some pieces of advice that are specific to drop shot fishing on Lake Erie that will help anglers improve their skill on this body of water for smallmouth bass?
My biggest tip is finding what you are confident in. Find a really sensitive rod with a reel that has extremely smooth drag. Do not be afraid to downsize line ratings. And practice.
Smallies are scavengers and if you put something close to them they usually will eat it. Over the years I have tried different plastics while drop shot fishing Lake Erie but what I have found is to pick 2 to 4 baits that you have the most confidence in. Stick to the basic colors, and you will put more fish in the boat. This is the biggest piece of advice I can give anyone because if you stick to the simple you will tend to get more bites.
I think we try to overthink and overcompensate when we fish for these fish because they can be fickle. For example, summertime smallmouth you may truly fish for 5 to 8 bites a day. Spring and fall is where the magic is.
My goal for Dock Talk 365 is for anglers to share information about how they fish. This interview is a perfect example of that goal! Thank you so much for that Andrew. I will be following on Andrew on Instagram @andrewfull_fishing. Andrew is pro staff for Western Fishing Operations, Woo Tungsten, Six Gill Fishing and Enigma Fishing.
Read More about Fishing Lake Erie: Fishing Lake Erie with LIVETARGET’s Morgan Trojner