I had heard of dropshot for years in sea fishing but had never considered using it within my freshwater fishing. That all changed after various conversions a couple of years ago now with a predator angling friend Ant Glascoe Jr before dropshotting came into the public spotlight.. Now Ant had given me lots of good advice through several conversations about dropshotting and it had made me interested enough to give it a try.
So what exactly is dropshotting? Well there are actually a couple of versions of dropshotting and I will try to do my best to explain my interpretation of them both. Before I get into how to fish the dropshot method I wanted to show you a couple of ways to tie a dropshot rig, the first of the rigs is tied using the palomar knot, see the picture below.
To tie the palomar knot take around 36″ of fluorocarbon and then double it over, passing the loop through the eye of the hook. (if your struggling, pass the line through the eye before doubling it over and then just thread the line back through the eye creating the loop.)
Fold the loop back against the main line and tie a simple granny knot (overhand knot) using the loop. Make sure the loop is big enough to allow the hook to be passed through it.
Pass the hook through the loop, lubricate the line with saliva and carefully pull the two tag ends, which will tighten the loop down. (make sure the loop goes over the eye of the hook)
Finally take the bottom tag end (you want the hook point at the top) and feed it back through the eye of the hook giving it a gentle tug to tighten it all up.
Well that is the palomar knot, it is one of the first knots people are taught to use when dropshotting although it isn’t my first choice as the hook doesn’t always stand proud of the line.
Next is the dropshot knot which is to be honest the one I use the most, I was shown this knot by Carl Peake another good friend of mine. Tying the dropshot knot can be tricky to start with but once you’ve done it a couple of times it becomes really easy to tie.
Firstly take a length of fluorocarbon I usually use around 18″-24″, next slide your chosen hook (I prefer using the Kamasan B983 in size 4) on to the fluorocarbon so that it points upwards on your rig.
Create a loop in the fluorocarbon so that the bottom of your line goes behind the hook.
Rotate the hook four times through the loop you have now created.
Now holding the hook, carefully pull both ends of the line so that it tightens up around the hook.
Okay the next part is attaching your rig to your mainline. For my mainline I use a good quality braid such as Savage Gear Adrenaline, as it is a similar diameter to the fluorocarbon I use for my rigs I like to attach the two lines together using a double uni knot as shown in the photo below.
Your rig is now attached to your mainline and you need to put a weight on the bottom of your rig. This can be as simple as crimping a couple of swan shots on to your line, to using dedicated dropshot weights. The important thing about your weight is how far you have it from your hook as you want to try and get your lure where the fish are.
I try to start off with my weight around 4″-6″ from the hook as I mainly fish canals that are between 1ft-2ft deep and find that is where the fish mainly seem to be. You can leave a tag end on so that you can make the depth less but I tend to find if you have too long a tag it puts the fish off.
Next you need to decide what lure you are going to use. As you can imagine there are absolutely thousands of lures available and at the end of the day it is personal choice as to which ones you use. I would like to tell you about a few of my favourite lures so that you have an idea of a few lures that work but as I say find what works for you.
The first lures that I want to tell you about are my all time favourite lures and they are by a company called Relax, I would say that 80% of my predator fish have fallen to Relax Lures. I always have some Relax Kopyto shads in my bag in sizes 1″ and 2″, I have done that well using these lures in various colours that some of my friends say why do I even bother packing any other lures.
However, there are days when the Kopyto shad doesn’t catch me anything so I also carry a selection of Relax shrimp, crawfish, kingshads and more. You can see their full range through the Relax Online Catalogue www.relax.com and some of them are available through www.agmdiscountfishing.co.uk and with the results I’ve had on these I can’t recommend them enough.
I do use other lures and have very successfully caught fish on them, there are the Ecogear Grass Minnows which have caught me a personal best zander and also a personal best chub, then there is the hart lures available from Specimen Fishing in Coventry.
I for example use a rod that a lot of people find too stiff which is the Savage Gear BushWhacker XLNT 10-30g 7ft rod, coupled with a Fox Rage Ultron 1500 reel and it is the perfect set up for me. One of my friends uses a rod that is that light that I can hardly feel it in my hand and he catches lots of fish on it but I just can’t get on with it and that is the new Wychwood Agitator dropshot rod.
You now have a basic idea of tackle, lines, lures, etc so now it is time to describe the methods themselves. I would like to point out here that this is my interpretation of dropshotting and although I do very well on it, others may argue it’s incorrect or there are other ways to do it. This is meant to be a guide to get you started not to cause arguments so please take away from this what you would like to, also don’t forget that this is one method to add to your fishing arsenal and not necessarily to be used all the time as different circumstances will need different styles of fishing.
The first method is vertical dropshotting which is usually done from a boat and literally you put your rod out over the edge, let your rig drop to the bottom and gently lift the tip of your rod so that you feel the tension of the weight on the lake bottom and then lower the tip slightly to relieve the tension on the line, this creates a movement in your lure which any predator fish near find hard to resist. With the vertical lift method it isn’t unusual to have longer tails to your rigs as it is often fished in deeper water and you want your lure higher in the water.
The second method is horizontal dropshotting and is very similar to jigging in the sense that you cast your lure out and then holding your rod tip quite high slowly retrieve your lure giving the rod an occasional twitch to lift the weight off the bottom (instead of your jig) again creating a movement in your lure that predators struggle to leave alone. The big advantage of this method is that you can stop your retrieve at any time if you think you are in an area where there are a few predators, then simply adopt the vertical method of tighten and loosening your line against the weight to create movement in your lure.
This method is more often used on canals and small lakes from the bank and is ideal for placing your lure at a certain depth instead of bouncing it off the bottom. Obviously you can use the vertical dropshot method in the margins which will quite often produce a bite. The areas where I fish are not known for producing massive fish but as you can see from the photos I have caught plenty of fish and had a great time in the process.
Travel as light as possible as a roving method works best with this style of fishing but make sure you have a suitable landing net, an unhooking mat (I’m not getting into the unhooking mat argument but if your roving a canal there will be areas you come across that are just concrete so an unhooking mat is needed for fish safety) and a pair of long nose forceps incase you need to remove a deep hooked lure. Here are a few fish I’ve caught on the dropshot…
As a last note if you aren’t confident about tying your own rigs there are a few companies now who are starting to produce dropshot kits which include a few ready tied rigs, some suitable lures and a few dropshot weights. These kits are perfect for instantly having everything you need for the rig, Fox and Korum are two companies who have produced these rigs and the kits look very good.
Whether dropshotting is a fad/craze or here to stay, it is a fantastic weapon in your fishing armoury and whilst it is popular, you will see more and more dedicated dropshot products so keep an eye on your local shops shelves. Remember though, dropshotting has been around for years and if you look around there are some fantastic lures available at very reasonable prices.
Above all have fun, stay safe and I hope you have enjoyed my article.
Tight lines & happy dropshotting.