Drop Shot Rig Fishing: How to Setup & Fish

While fishing rigs such as the Texas and Carolina rig have a lot more popularity, there is nothing better when the fish are not biting than a simple drop shot rig fishing. This rig is quickly becoming one of the most important rigs in bass fishing and will help even nocive fishermen find and catch bass in all different types of water!

What is a Drop Shot Fishing Rig?

So what exactly is a drop shot rig? The drop shot rig is a simple fishing rig that is used to target freshwater fish like largemouth bass. It consists of a fishing line that is tied to a hook that features a leader with a weight. The weight falls to the bottom, leaving the hook and bait above it. This suspends the bait off of the bottom, where it is more visible to fish. 

Drop Shot Rig Setup

Assembling a drop shot rig is very easy to do, and only requires a few basic steps. It is so simple, that you really only need four basic items in order to create a drop shot rig. If you have some fishing line, a hook, a weight, and a plastic lure, you are ready to assemble a drop shot rig! To get started, you will want to attach the end of your fishing line to your weight. 

Drop Shot Rig Fishing Setup

Next, tie your hook 12 to 24 inches above your weight using a palomar knot. The distance between your hook and the weight is how high your bait will be suspended, so you can make it as long or as short as you need it to be. Lastly, attach your bait or lure to the hook and you have successfully assembled a drop shot lure! You are now ready to start fishing with it. 

When to Use a Drop Shot Rig

The drop shot rig is a versatile fishing rig, and can be used just about anywhere. There are, however, a few different examples of when you might want to use a drop shot rig. This rig is generally considered a “finesse” technique, so it will work great if the bass are being very finicky or refusing to bite on anything. When nothing else seems to be working, assembling a simple drop shot rig can literally change the entire course of your day. 

Another great time to use a drop shot rig is when there is brush, rocks, or grass along the bottom of the water. If the fish are in this deeper water, they will not be able to see your bait or lure with other rigs. A drop shot rig will allow your bait to be suspended above this cover on the bottom, making it much more visible to nearby fish. If the fish cannot see your bait, they cannot bite it!

Why the Drop Shot Rig Works

The drop shot rig is so effective thanks to a number of factors. First, it is a very subtle and simple technique. Pressured fish are used to seeing a large number of crankbaits and plastic worms drug along the bottoms, stirring up sediment and dirt. When a drop shot rig is used, it gently touches down and stays there, subtly presenting the bait. 

A drop shot rig presents your bait very different from other rigs. Not only does it suspend the bait above the bottom, but it allows it to move much more freely. This gives it a more lifelike look and appearance. Lastly, you can more easily control a drop shot rig when compared to other fishing rigs. The drop shot rig is the only rig that you can move the bait without having to move the weight that is also attached to your fishing line. 

How to Rig a Drop Shot

What are the Best Hooks for a Drop Shot Rig?

The drop shot rig has become so popular, that many companies now sell drop shot hooks that are specifically designed for this rig. In reality, you can use any type of hook that you already have with a lot of success. The hook size should correspond to the species of fish and size of fish that you are targeting. Bass anglers will usually use a hook size of 2 to 4, while other species of fish will require much smaller hooks. 

What are the Best Weights for a Drop Shot Rig?

The size of weight you use will depend entirely on your setup and personal preference. Many anglers will opt for a weight that is anywhere from ⅜ of an ounce all the way to 3 ounces. The deeper the water you are fishing or the bigger the lure, the heavier weight you should be using. For smaller and lighter setups, you can use a much lighter weight with the same results. 

What are the Best Worms for a Drop Shot Rig?

The great thing about a drop shot rig is that you can literally use any type of bait or lure with it. The most popular, however, are plastic worms. These can be of any design, shape, size, or color, depending on what the fish are biting on in your area. The most popular brands include Gulp, Zoom, and Yamamoto. Because the drop shot rig is most commonly used as a finesse technique, the smaller sizes of these great brands will generally be used the most. 

What is the Best Line for a Drop Shot Rig?

Because a drop shot rig does not make use of a leader, it is important to use a high quality fishing line when using this rig. The actual size and diameter of the line will vary depending on the species of fish that you are after, but because this is a finesse technique most anglers will use a fluorocarbon line. For bass fishing, a quality fluorocarbon line in a 6 to 8 pound test will be perfect for most situations. For smaller fish, you can go even lighter. 

How to Fish a Drop Shot Rig

Now that you know how to set up a drop shot rig, how exactly do you use it? Not only is this rig extremely easy to assemble, it is also very easy to fish with. There are many ways to use and fish a drop shot rig, but the easiest and most commonly used is simply allowing the rig to sink to the bottom. Once it is there, you will want to pull up on the line and jump it along the bottom. A quick little “pop” or jerk will give your lure some life, and attract a bite. 

Another technique that you can use is to cast out your drop shot rig, and slowly retrieve it once it reaches the bottom. With this technique, you can change up the speed of your retrieve in order to entice a bite. You can also shake or jerk your line to make your bait appear as if it is an injured baitfish that is trying to escape. 

Drop Shot Rig for Bass

The drop shot rig was originally designed for bass by anglers on the west coast. As you can imagine, it works extremely well for all types of bass. Whether you are using a dragging, shaking, or vertical technique, the drop shot will catch bass in any type of water and at all times of the year. The drop shot works best for bass when used in conjunction with soft plastic lures such as worms, lizards, and crawfish. 

Drop Shot Rig for Walleye

A drop shot is the perfect rig for walleye, especially when ice fishing. Because of how simple and versatile it is, it will catch walleye at the bottom of lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Walleye are a very visual fish, so larger baits and lures are a must. Many avid walleye anglers will opt to use live bait (such as minnows) with their drop shot rig, as these give the most action and motion to the rig. Other popular artificial baits include plastic worms, minnows, and leeches. 

Drop Shot Rig for Trout

Many anglers are unaware that the drop shot rig can be used for trout. In fact, it can be one of the most effective rigs for these sometimes finicky fish. The only difference between this rig when it is used for trout verse bass or walleye is the size of the hooks, line, and weight. Trout can be caught using much lighter equipment. For bait, a favorite drop shot option is live bait such as night crawlers. Trout also love to eat crickets, powerbait, and salmon eggs. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the drop shot rig is one of the ultimate fishing rigs no matter what species that you might be targeting. If the fish in your area are heavily pressured, you may want to try out a drop shot rig on your next fishing trip. Now that you know what the drop shot rig is, how to make it, and how to fish with it, you can find a lot more success out on the water!