With this crazy spring we're having summer might seem far away. But nows the time to start planning and brushing up on your deepwater tactics. There are many ways to fish deep water from crankbaits to Carolina rigs. But there's one that consistently produces for me in even the toughest conditions. The dropshot is an extremely productive and versatile rig. Here are some tips and tricks to help you out during those tough conditions on the water.
The dropshot is a simple rig. A hook tied to your mainline with a polomar knot and a leader down to a weight. There are so many types of dropshot hooks I won't go into them all. Your looking for an octopus style hook. I prefera 1/0 or 2/0 gamakatsu but there are several brands that make a quality hook. For a weight I like tungsten, they are smaller and it seems like to can feel bottom contact easier. Weight always varies for me, I try to use the lightest weight while maintaining bottom contact anywhere from 3/16 to 1/2 ounce. Length from hook to sinker also varies for me. I'll usually start off with about a 2 foot lead and change from there as needed. Line size also changes with conditions. I'll use 12lbs fluorocarbon as long as I can get a way with it. But I will downsize as far as 6lbs if water is super clear or fish are heavily pressured. Finally I use a 6'8 medium to medium light extra fast action spinning Rod. Pair it with a good spinning with with a quality drag, you're gonna need it!
This is an easy one, I use the 3.5 free minnow in SF from 412 Bait Co. 95 % of the time. It's an awesome dropshot bait that mimics the size and shape of a bait fish. Add to it the buoyant properties of the standard formula and you've got yourself the perfect bait! "smoke on the water. Poppin Purple and Blue shad" are my best producers.
The biggest mistake I see people make fishing the dropshot is overworking the bait. Especially with a bait like the free minnow that is buoyant.The bait has a natural wiggle to it while at rest that triggers tons of strikes. Some days I don't even need to work the bait at all. Just a slow drag with long pauses other days I'll give three light twitches followed by pauses. The key is to always maintain bottom contact and not be afraid to slow down. Another thing I like to do if I find the fish are stacked up is switching out my weight with a 412 tube in green pumpkin special or copperhead on a 1/2 ounce tube jig. I fish it the same way dragging it along the bottom. It will usually pick up the fish that miss the dropshot. Or even the occasional double!!
Fishing open water and big water was very intimidating the first time I tried it. Because well...its a lot of water! But there are many options to ease your way into it on most bodies of water. Causeways hold a ton of fish and are a great place to start dropshotting. Breakwalls and riprap banks are other great options especially in the spring. And finally open water structure, this is where understanding your electronics really comes into play. Drop offs, deep grass edges, ledges, humps, contour changes, channels, Docks and rock piles are where the fun is at.
Shallow Water shotting
Everyone associates the dropshot with deep water. And I will spend a large majority of late summer in 20-30 foot of water fishing it. But it's a very overlooked shallow water bait as well. Especially in the spring and when there's clear water and rock involved. I usually downsize line to 8lbs and make long casts and drag it back over the area where I think fish are. Rip raps banks, breakwalls and floating docks are great places to try this time of year.
The dropshot is such versatile rig when paired with the right bait. I've caught fish from 3-45 foot of water on it. I hope you'll give it and the 412 Free Minnow a try. Good luck and thanks for reading!
See you on the water -Jake