http://www.fishtacochronicles.com/drop-in-on-bass-by-bill-schafer/ http://www.fishtacochronicles.com/drop-in-on-bass-by-bill-schafer/ A sensitive rod like the Daiwa Tatula and running braid to the fluorocarbon leader can help you feel the subtle bite on the drop-shot rig.
The Southern California lakes are waking up and bass creel numbers are rising for all the local waters. Water temperatures are rising and male largemouth are roaming the banks by the hundreds looking for that perfect place to make a nest for themselves and that giant female mate. It is a time of year when the bass are scattered from the shallowest shoreline to the deepest point on the lake.
The author’s son Bricen shows off a nice El Capitan bass that fell for a drop shot rigged Yamamoto Kut-tail worm
So often largemouth fishermen look for that perfect bait for this time of year and that search sparks a lot of debate amongst us all. Which bait or set up is the best? Jigs, various plastics, spinnerbaits, or crankbaits, which one will draw the most bites this time of year? Well, it may be that plastics have the edge over the other baits most of the time. But, it is not so much the plastic baits themselves, but the technique used to fish them that can make a difference.
There is the Bubba rig, Carolina rig, Texas rig, split-shot set up, wacky rig, as well as a few more locally named rigs in your area. But, the rig that swept the nation’s bass fishermen off their feet and has become the go to rig over the last several decades is the drop-shot rig. This set up can be used from the shallowest shoreline to the deepest point. Sure, you can use some of the other rigs that will work this time of year, but the drop-shot rig can produce in any situation.
The drop-shot rig is most often fished on a spinning rod with a lighter action and soft tip. The line or leader is kept down in breaking strength as well, usually 4 to 8-pound test, with 6 pound being the most popular. I like to line my reel with Daiwa or Maxima braid and go with some Maxima fluorocarbon line for my leader, taking every advantage of new technology. A sensitive tip is the key to drop shot fishing. It takes some practice to detect a bite, but once you have it down it will be hard for you to put this setup away. The braid and fluorocarbon help transmit the bite as well.
The hook is tied to the main line with a palomar knot. The tag, or the end of the line not attached to the reel is left very long, so you can cut it down to size after tying the hook on. Hooks can vary with the bait being used, but usually run small. There are even specialty drop shot hooks. You will leave that tag line anywhere from 12 to 18 inches long and attach the weight to the end of it. The weights will vary with the depth being fished. There are also drop shot weights that can be changed quickly if more or less weight is needed. I still go with the old method of a large split-shot at the bottom.
So, what are the advantages to having the bait above the weight? Well, a lot of the southern California lakes have some type of moss or vegetation growing on the bottom. This rig helps you keep the bait above the bottom. Even if the fish want the bait presented right on the bottom instead of up off of it, the weightlessness of the bait lets it settle on the moss or weeds without being pulled down into it by the weight if it were right against the bait, such as with a Texas rigged worm.
Twitching this bait in almost any situation lets it dart and flutter without being hung up. Even if you hang the weight up on some bottom structure, it will just pull off and you can just quickly put another on without losing a lure or having to take a long time to retie. This set up can be fished around any type of structure there is in your local lake. Right now, the bass are on the cruise looking for nesting spots, but once they lock onto a bed this setup can be deadly as well.
Think about it. The sinker is on the bottom, below the lure. If the bass picks up the bait to take it out of the nest, she doesn’t feel the weight of the sinker as she starts off. This can give you an extra second to detect the bite and set the hook. A lot of the time the female largemouth will just suck the intruder in and blow them off the nest. But, again, this lighter object may stay in her mouth longer giving you extra time to hook her.
Sometimes the males are locked on the beds and the females are hanging off in deeper water, say out on the points leading into the spawning area. This bait still lets you fish deep as well. You may have to put a slightly larger weight on, but the effect is the same. A darting, fluttering, swimming lure looks much more natural to those big wary females.
There are companies that specialize in drop shot weights, hooks, and baits. That is how popular this method has become. Your local tackle shop will have an assortment. Usually, little smaller plastics are used, but almost any type of plastic lure can be put on your drop shot rig. Worms, creatures, grubs, or small shad type plastics, they all work with this rig.
This is the right time of year to gain confidence in a new technique. There are so many males roaming the banks that it is pretty easy to get bit. Once you gain confidence in this setup you will not put it down. It will become your go to rig and you will end up using it all season long. So, get out there and drop in on some bass!