Catch More Fish Drop Shotting

Several years ago I met Brad Wiegmann at an Association of Great lakes Outdoor Writers Cast N Blast on Table Rock Lake.   I've never fished there before and was anxious to catch some of the quality fish that the lake is so well know to have.  

I wanted to tape a segment for my Illinois Outdoors TV show and Brad was right on the money.  He was not only good in front of the camera but also knew how to catch fish.

Recently Brad shared one of his articles with me on how to catch more fish using the drop shot method.  I've done this before and found Brads story useful.  Like catching fish on Table Rock, Brad nailed it again with this educational piece.

Brad was more than willing to share it with my readers here at ChicagoNow.

Even though you may be one who had drop shot fished before, read this story anyway.  You'll find it very informative and may help  you improve your drop shotting technique and catch more fish...

More and more fish are being caught by anglers drop shotting. The rise in popularity and success anglers are having catching fish is the direct result of advancements in electronics. Pioneering the way is DownScan, SideScan and Spotlight Scan allowing anglers to see cover and structure with picture-like images.

No longer is offshore structure and cover off limits. A new breed of anglers have embraced this advanced technology where fishing resembles a video game. All an angler has to do is let his drop shot down to the arch to catch a fish.

However, it is not just young anglers embracing the offshore video fishing technique. The old regime is quickly catching on to sonar gaming and capitalizing on advance sonar technology.

There are several popular ways to catch fish offshore including cranking, stroking or spooning. Unfortunately, some require the strength of Hercules to do them all day long. The exception is drop shotting where the lighter weight spinning tackle is preferred.

"On Lake Pickwick in Alabama (www.colbertcountytourism.org), I like to drop shot to get the school fired up and then use a big spoon or crankbait to catch the bigger bass on a reaction lure," said Captain Gary Harlan, Associate Guide-Roger Stegall Professional Guide Service. Harlan admitted few lures fire up a group of big bass more than a drop shot when it comes to fishing ledges.

"When bass first move out to the ledges in June, I focus on fishing 15- to 23-feet deep. In 20 foot or less, I like to cast to the structure. When the depth is over 20 feet deep, I will fish directly overhead and dropping the drop shot rig straight down."

Harlan focuses on drains or creeks connecting to the river. He finds them by looking at the shoreline for a valley indicating a creek would be close by along with utilizing his GPS map. The key area to fishing is the points created where the creek flows into the main river channel.

"I usually will find the fish in 17- to 22-feet deep next to 40 or more feet of water. It's really amazing how many bass will stack up on a place that like," said Harlan.

His sonar units play a critical part in the number of bass he catches. "I use my sonar to locate and see fish. Often, I see guys with their sensitivity way to high or have the sonar unit on auto," Harlan continued, "it's best to adjust the unit as needed and you will be able to see fish, cover, structure or bottom composition better."

When drop shotting, Harlan uses a spinning reel rigged with 10 pound test Vicious braid to a  8- or 10-pound test Vicious Elite fluorocarbon leader and a 7 foot Falcon rod.  He ties a swivel to connect the braid to the leader line to reduce line twist. What size drop shot weight depends on current and depth.

"In shallow water or when there is little current, I like to use a 1/8-ounce weight. However, if I go deep or there is a strong current a heaver 3/8-ounce weight is better for keeping the weight on the bottom," said Harlan. Harlan likes to work the rig using soft pulls and so slow that he can count every rock the weight hits or goes over.

Spinning reels play a major part when drop shotting. They allow the angler to quickly let out fishing line without casting or feather the speed of the lure as it descends. The other advantage of using spinning reels is they perform better  than baitcasting reels when rigged up with light fishing line.

One drawback to spinning reels are loops that form on the spool when there is no tension on the line. Conventional spinning reel spools are not designed to deal with loops and no matter how good an angler you are, you will end up with loops forming on your spinning reel spool.  Truth is loops are often the reason anglers will not fish with spinning reels.

The best way to eliminate taking time to clear tangles, loops and increase casting distance when drop shotting is using WaveSpin Reels (www.wavespinreel.com) with the patented WaveSpin Spool. Here's how the WaveSpin Reel works to keep you from ending up with a bird nest and increase casting distance.

First, unlike traditional spools, the WaveSpin Reel spool has teeth all slanted in one direction and angle with gaps between the teeth. When the lure is cast or bail opened to drop a lure and you have a loop on your spool, the following cast the loop will go between the teeth allowing the line to go harmlessly off the spool eliminating a tangle or bird nest.

Secondly, on a traditional round spinning reel on a cast, the fishing line is being pulled up and over the lip at a high rate of speed creating friction decreasing casting distance. With a WaveSpin Reel, the fishing line actually skips off the teeth reducing friction and increasing casting distance.

As for lures when drop shotting, Harlan likes to use either the Strike King Elaztech 7-inch finesse worm or Strike King super finesse Worm in KVD magic, candy craw, red bud, plum or watermelon. For a hook on the worm, Harlan uses a 1/0 or 2/0 offset, light wire Mustad hook and Texas rigs the worm on the hook.

Another lure Harlan likes to drop shot is the Strike King Elaztech ZULU. The minnow shaped, extremely buoyant ZULU stands out parallel from the hook and looks lifelike when twitched. On the ZULU, Harlan uses a Blakemore Standout Drop Shot Hook and nose hooks it.

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