What is a Drop Shot Rig?
The Drop Shot Rig is an effective method of fishing a soft lure whilst imitating a target fish’s food source. This could be a sand eel, small fish or even a shrimp. Once your weight has hit the seabed, you ideally do not want to move it again as this will spoil the effectiveness of this rig. Patience is the name of the game when fishing a Drop Shot. By having the hook tied 18 inches above the weight you have ample room to work the lure before picking up the weight. Quick movements of your wrist will cause the lure to dart up and down from the seabed. This can look ultra realistic as if the lure itself was on the hunt for food. The Palomar Knot further enhances the soft lures realism, as when the line is pulled taught the hook will stand off from the line presenting the lure with a more natural appearance and movement.
Originating from the USA, the Drop Shot Rig is one of the most talked about fishing techniques on the pro bass tour and widely out fishes popular rigs such as the Texas Rig and the Carolina Rig. Once introduced to UK anglers, the Drop Shot Rig became a firm favourite amongst freshwater predator anglers targeting species such a pike. Proving to be a killer technique, the Drop Shot Rig is now widely used by saltwater anglers and is proving to be an extremely effective method of catching sea bass and other predatory salt water fish.
Like many of the best fishing techniques around, the Drop Shot Rig is extremely simplistic and it’s this simplicity that makes this rig work.
How to Tie a Drop Shot Rig
1) Cut a 4ft length of 20lb Fluorocarbon.
2) Using a Palomar Knot tie a hook anywhere from a few inches to a couple of feet up the line. (How high you tie your hook will depend on the lure you are using and the depth of water you are fishing.) When tied correctly the hook will stand out horizontally when both ends of the line are pulled. You can choose to ‘nose hook’ your soft lure, in which case a wide gap, short shanked hook is preferable, or you can fish your lure weedless by using an ‘offset hook’ which is specifically designed for this purpose.
3) Now, at the tag end of the line, tie on a small weight. You can use a small Pear Lead for this or a Drop Shot Sinker which is specifically designed for this purpose. Depending on the strength of the tide you may need to use little or more weight.
4) At the other end of the line finish the rig by tying a small size 6 rolling swivel. This will stop your main line from twisting.
How to Use a Drop Shot Rig
From a boat, work the drop shot rig vertically up and down. Imagine a small fish such as a goby hiding amongst seaweed and rocks. As a tasty meal swims by. The goby swims up with lightning speed and takes the meal before retreating back to the cover of the seabed. Now imagine a hungry sea bass looking for its next meal. Up pops the goby, which by this time is now firmly centred in the cross hairs of the sea basses sights and BANG! The goby has fallen prey to the hungry fish. The purpose of the Drop Shot Rig is to mimick the action of the goby using a Soft Lure.
To work the Drop Shot Rig effectively there are a few guidelines that make this rig work:
1) You must use light tackle. For a soft lure to look as natural as possible light fishing lines are a must. Do not under estimate a fish’s ability to smell a rat. If it doesn’t look right, it probably won’t taste right and the fish will retreat. You must out-smart the fish.
2) Use a Spinning/Lure Rod of between 6ft and 9ft in length with a medium casting weight of around 15 to 35 grams. A fast tapered tip will allow you to inject lift into your lure at speed. If a rod tip is too soft your lure will work too slowly, resulting in your bait looking unnatural. Simple small wrist actions are all that is needed to move your bait. Spinning rods that are particularly effective are the Abu Garcia Vendetta and Revenge range of rods. These new spinning/lure rods are incredibly light and have super sensitive tips, while maintaining a fast enough action to work a lure.
3) Small sized fixed spool Spinning Reels or bait casting multipliers are also needed. The 4000 sized Penn Sargus Spinning Reel is perfect for this type of work, as is the New Cardinal 504i by Abu Garcia. If you prefer to use a multiplier reel the Abu Silver Max is also a popular choice.
4) When it comes to loading your reel, Braid is my number one choice. A breaking strain of 20lb is widely used and very effective. One great advantage of using braid is its ability to cut through the tide and transmit movement back to the hands of the angler. With absolutely no stretch, every little movement is picked up no matter how small. This allows the angler to react to what he or she is feeling immediately, thus presenting the lure more naturally.
5) In our efforts to outwit the fish, the Drop Shot Rig should ideally be made from Fluorocarbon, being virtually invisible underwater. A 20lb breaking strain is ideal and should not deter any fish. The soft lure and hook should also stand approx 18 inches above the weight. This will give you 18 inches of lure movement before picking up the weight. This method will make the soft lure look ultra realistic and is extremely effective.
Hooks and Sizes
When fishing a Berkley Powerbait Ripple Grub on a Drop Shot Rig, a popular method is to nose hook the bait. Mustad Circle Hooks are a great choice for this as they have a short shank and are very conservation friendly. You can also use a Mustad Crab Hook which again has a nice short shank.
Popular Hook Choices
8cm Ripple Grub: Mustad Circle Hook Extra Fine Wire Size 1/0, 2/0
12cm Ripple Grub: Mustad Circle Hook Extra Fine Wire Size 3/0
16cm Ripple Grub: Mustad Circle Hook Extra Fine Wire Size 5/0
It’s also a good idea to experiment how far up the rig, you tie your hook, some soft lures like Berkley Gulp Saltwater Peeler Crab for instance may require a more subtitle movement, while larger lures like the Berkley Powerbait Giant Ripple Grub may require more. However for the purposes of fishing a Berkley Powerbait Ripple Grub and targeting sea bass, the hook is best tied approx 18 inches from the bottom of the rig.
Of course this rig will also work using other Soft Lures too and can be used while fishing from the shore. Try experimenting with different lures and see what works best. Remember, it’s not just sea bass that can be caught with a Drop Shot Rig. Try targeting other fish species too. We now have a demo video of this rig is action. Take a look here: Soft Lure Fishing with a Drop Shot Rig