Fishing a drop shot is an important technique in today’s fishing arsenal. Drop shotting often excels when other techniques go cold. We decided to ask Ontario angler Rich Faragher about his tips to fishing with a drop shot. Rich provides a lot of good information to get anyone started in adding a drop shot rig to their fishing options.
So what are the conditions and times that you feel drop shotting excels?
The drop shot really is a tool that I have with me at all times. There is many different times when I’ll use a drop shot rig but my favourite is mid summer. When the bite slows down and everything else seems to fail, drop shotting can turn finicky fish into bites with keeping a suspended bait in front of their noses.
What is your favorite drop shot rod and reel and why do you think this is an ideal setup?
When it comes to a specific rod for me that all depends on the time of year. If I’m fishing mid summer, I like a longer rod to absorb the lighter line down to 4lb test. So at a minimum I use a 6 feet long rod up to 7 feet for times when I need that light line. As far as action goes I’m looking for a medium to light action rod with a fast tip. You really need a sensitive rod for those soft subtle bites. This year I’m using an Enigma Phenom series 7 feet medium for most applications.
As for a reel I have used a Shimano Stradic for the last 8 or so years and now either the Ci4 2500-3000 series or the new FK 2500-3000 seems to get the job done. I really like the drag system on these reels as they are so super smooth with little to no hesitation.
What hooks have you experimented with for your drop shot rigs?
I have experimented with a lot of different hooks over the past few years. One specific hook I seem to keep going back to is a VMC drop shot hook. 1/0 or 2/0 depending on the typical baits. Reason being is first off, they are inexpensive but not cheap also. They don’t bend out, and they are sharp out of the package.
Now, when I said “typical bait”, I meant there are other applications and times when you need a different hook. Sometimes largemouth need a drop shot too or you want a bigger bait. I’ve used up to 4/0 worm hooks for drop shotting longer worms like an 8″ cut tail and even a 10″ ribbon worm.
What are your favorite drop shot baits?
My favourite baits include a crosstail shad style bait, but every now and then I’ll throw a Roboworm.
How do you choose which one you select for various conditions or times of the year?
I choose baits by the lake I’m fishing. Find out what the main forage is of that particular lake and replicate that species. As for time of the year, again if your fishing mid summer when the fish tend to be a little less motivated to eat, I use a smaller bait. I was once taught the theory by JP DeRose. If you just ate a big meal say like a turkey dinner, or just not in the mood to eat and someone places a bowl of M&M’s in front of you, you’re likely to have a few anyway.
How do you select the size weight you are using for your drop shot?
To me selecting the weight is easy. The main idea is to make contact with the bottom. However, unless you’re on a lake like Erie, or Champlain where you need a 1/2 ounce or sometimes bigger weight, I use a 1/8th. Reason for that is, I still want the bait to make contact but, I want the bait to fall as natural as possible.
A bite can feel different on a drop shot. Can you describe what anglers should be feeling when trying to detect the bite?
Typically you will just feel your rod tip bend and with the sensitivity of braid you will also feel the bump through the rod blank and set the hook. Now with a drop shot hook, these hooks are so sharp and small that you do not need to swing very hard at all when setting the hook. Instead simply pull the rod parallel to the water straight up and keep tension on the line. This is usually enough force for the hook to penetrate the lip.
A bite can be extremely light with a drop shot. Sometimes you won’t feel it but see it. I start with a high vis coloured braided line, braided for sensitivity, then tied to about 12″ of leader material. Keep your eye on the line and look for slack tightening.
Get a feel for rocks too. When your weight hits the rock you will feel a bump.
How important is boat control when drop shotting?
Boat control isn’t really that big of a factor when it comes to drop shotting for me. Once you find the school you can drop down directly on them and usually it doesn’t matter which way your boat is facing. As long as you get the bait in front of their faces. With that said, I hardly ever drop straight on top of them. Casting a drop shot rig or dragging it can be way more effective at times.
Lastly, tell us about your sponsors that you work with.
I’m with Mega Jigs, Enigma fishing, and Team Caliber Outdoors. As far as sponsorships go, Enigma fishing has offered me to be apart of their Pro Staff and become a dealer of their rods which pays for my tournaments. Without Enigma’s help and support for 2017, I wouldn’t be able to fish the BASS northern opens.
Mega Jigs is also a new sponsor. Along with the drop shot rig, I use a lot of jigs, tungsten and spinnerbaits! Their support is greatly appreciated as I used to buy a lot of jigs over the course of a year and as we all know, lures are not cheap! Steve at Mega Jigs is a great guy and will also answer any questions I or anyone else has for that matter about jig fishing.
Thank you Rich. Great information to help all of us become better anglers. To follow Rich, check him out on Instagram.