DROP SHOT FISHING
Finesse fishing is a concept, not a specific technique. Its a strategy that requires a fisherman to see the big picture. Drop-shotting is an excellent method and perhaps the gold standard of finesse, but its not the only answer. Sooner or later, a one-dimensional finesse angler will discover that drop-shotting is like owning the worlds best screwdriver and then having to pound a nail with it. Other tools in the finesse toolbox sometimes are required.
Originally designed to present a lure off the bottom for suspended fish, the standard format for drop-shotting involves a No. 2 to 1/0 hook attached to a main line (6- to 8-pound-test) anywhere from 6 to 12 inches above a small sinker.
The distance from the sinker to the hook is generally referred to as the leader.
In a vertical or near-vertical presentation, a Texas-rigged or nose-hooked plastic bait will dance or dart in the water column with little input from the fisherman.
In fact, deadsticking drop-shot rigs has become a popular presentation.
As a coverage method to locate bass in a general area, however, drop-shotting is not the most efficient technique.
Although a drop-shot rig can be retrieved in a move-and-stop method, it is better suited to situations where the position of bass can be determined with some degree of certainty: around bridge pilings, over a submerged rock pile or along a grass edge.
The power of drop-shotting is in its ability to coax strikes from mid-depth fish. Its a largely vertical presentation that works under tough conditions. One exception to the rule is in steeper, sloping shorelines where walking a drop-shot uphill or downhill can cover more ground, more effectively, than almost any other method, notes Rojas. The same holds true for bottom conditions where grass or cover may swallow up other rigs. The drop-shot rig has also proven effective in solving specific angling problems, such as fishing the shallows for cruising bass in the spring or targeting bare spots in grass beds.
The Tools Of Dropshotting
Hooks: In my mind, choices are a function of fish activity.
Basically, you are choosing between a short-shank, bait-style hook used for nose-hooking and a longer-shank hook for Texas-rigging.
My theory is that you start with an exposed-point hook because of its better hookup percentage, if the cover allows.
Knots: I like Palomars with Texas rigs because they have that 90 percent line-strength reputation.
However, to get a perpendicular rigging out from the main line with short-shank hooks, always use knots like the Trilene or Improved Clinch.
Sinker: The weight is only relevant in keeping the line taut. The clip-style sinkers are quicker to rig, but an inexpensive bell sinker does the same job.
Leader Length: The distance between the sinker and the hook depends on the situation and water conditions. Four to six inches is standard, but longer lengths up to 18 inches can be used.
When Fishing Gets Tough,Downsize and go slow the Finesse' way
During the past few years, the success of bass pros employing drop-shotting techniques in tournaments has generated renewed interest in the subtle art of finesse fishing.
While big baits may catch the biggest bass, that approach isnt nearly as productive as using small baits to catch quantities of fish of intermediate size.
As some pros have proved lately in stunning fashion, finessing bass is a good approach any time of year and wherever bass swim.
It also reminds us all that finesse is perhaps the best bacon-saver when conditions turn sour, especially later in the year when bass want their food in small bites. As the season shifts to fall and beyond, finesse is often the fail-safe mechanism against abject failure.
While drop-shotting has grabbed center stage of finesse-fishing presentations, it is only part of the mixed bag.
Drop-shotting will shine on occasion and amaze you with its remarkable ability to produce fish when nothing else will, but it wont cover all the finesse-fishing bases.
As with any tactic or lure, drop-shotting is limited by its own design. Even though bass anglers are dragging drop-shot rigs around in more horizontal presentations these days, drop-shotting is not the one-method-fits-all answer to bass fishing. Depending on prevailing conditions, bass want baits delivered in different ways: vertically, horizontally, quickly, slowly and so on. Any angler who cant cover the finesse spectrum is going to experience long, fishless days.
One of the few professional fishermen versatile in the finesse arts is Dean Rojas, the same guy who shattered the one-day, five-fish limit (45 pounds, 2 ounces) and four-day tournament record (108 pounds, 12 ounces) early in the 2001 BASSMASTER Tournament Trail.
Although he now lives in Texas, Rojas learned his craft on heavily pressured San Diego reservoirs, places where finesse is virtually mandatory for success.
I have learned there is a big difference between a finesse fisherman and someone who fishes finesse once in a while.
Right now in the pro ranks, just about everyone has embraced drop-shotting, and why not? Its easy and often effective, observes Rojas.
The problems arise when bass wont hit a drop-shot rig. At that point, these guys run out of options-at least finesse options.
In bass fishing, it is a proven fact that an angler expands a lakes potential by expanding the techniques employed. Then, too, while there is no documented proof of bass becoming lure- or technique-shy, thats exactly what happens.
Or at least there is some factor at work that makes fish progressively less susceptible to even the most productive new lures and methods-even drop-shotting.
So in order to be truly versatile in finesse, a fisherman needs to learn three basic techniques: drop-shotting, shaking / doodling and split-shotting/Carolina-rigging.
Although their applications may overlap somewhat, each approach is very efficient at specific tasks.
How to tie on a dropshot hook using a swivel:
Slide swivel over hook point and down to spot shown in photo, then tie on line to rod using a palomar knot and then attach desired length of line below hook to dropshot weight.
Highly suggested is using a flourocarbon type line for greater feel. The difference in my opinion , is the difference between night and day with approximately 25% or more greater sensitivity.
Flourocarbon line will transmit the feel 25% more than monofilament line and has the same strength, ( Special care must be given to flourocarbon lines when tying to the lure...... extra moisture is needed to cinch the line knot to the lure to prevent overheating of the line )