Drop shotting is a finesse lure fishing technique that has taken the UK lure fishing scene by storm over the last few years. This is a method that can be applied across various species from freshwater to saltwater.
This buyer’s guide will give you a general overview of the tackle required to get out there on the banks and try it out for yourself.
The set up is simplicity itself, a non-toxic lead-free drop shot weight, a fluorocarbon leader, a hook attached halfway up the fluorocarbon leader and a soft plastic lure! Then you’re ready to fish!
Drop Shot Rods
Rods best suited for the job are generally between 6ft 5in to 8ft in length and with a casting weight of up to 0.5 to 12grams. This is generally a good casting weight to start with and will cover most situations.
Solid or Tubular Tip
When looking at drop shot rods. You will encounter different rod tips. You have the choice of a solid or tubular rod tip. Below we look at the difference between the two.
Tubular rod tips are integrated into the rod blank. They provide increased sensitivity as takes can be felt throughout the whole rod blank, they are more durable and offer better sensitivity when using resistance-based lures like blade baits. Tubular tips are great for casting accurately and at a distance as the rod blank compresses throughout its entirety.
Solid tips are solid carbon that is spliced into the rest of a rod blank. Although they do provide a great deal of sensitivity. This sensitivity does not resonate down the rod blank as it’s dampened by the transition from the solid tip to the tubular blank of the rod.
Where solid tips become advantageous is when targeting wary fish. Solid tips are very soft and are ideal for detecting slack line bites. They also allow fish more time to take a lure without detecting something is not right as the softer solid tip accommodates the take.
Solid tip rods are not great for distance casting as the energy from a cast is quickly absorbed by the softer solid tip. This evaporates the energy transfer and reduces the overall casting distance. Solid tips are great for vertical work and for transmitting the subtlest of takes.
Skeletal reel seats
Some modern dropshot rods now come with skeletal reel seats. These increase the sensitivity of the rod blank by giving you direct contact to your fingertips. This allows you to feel every bump of the lure and every nip of a take.
When it comes to the length of a drop shot rod. It comes down to the venues you will be fishing. If you primarily fish small canals or river systems, then a 6’ rod would be a good choice. It provides you with better casting accuracy and overall control and that’s what rod length comes down too. It’s all about controlling all aspects of the lure from casting distance, accuracy and the complete control and contact of the lure.
An overall good go-to length for someone fishing medium to larger waters is 7-8’ in length.
Feel & Balance
As you’ve probably guessed by now, the key factors to a dropshot setup are ‘feel and balance’. A well-balanced outfit will allow you to cast light lures easily and effortlessly. While the feeling aspect will provide you with greater control and sensitivity when working a lure.
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Reel wise, we recommend anything from a 1000 size reel to a 2500 size. The reel size will be determined by the rod length itself.
As we mentioned earlier, balance plays a vital role in your drop shot setup. So it’s important to match the right sized reel to your drop shot rod. Going back to our 6’ drop shot rod example, we would match this with a 1000 size reel. We don’t require a large line capacity as we will be casting short distances. The smaller sized reel is also lighter which is perfect as this makes for an overall light outfit for better casting control.
For rods of 7’ plus in length, a 2500 size reel would provide a balanced setup.
Reel drag system
Like any ultralight or light lure fishing application, it’s important to have a very reliable and smooth drag system. This is due to the use of lighter breaking strain braided mainlines. Opting for a front rag fixed spool reel will provide you with more of a refined and controlled drag system.
This helps reduce the chances of losing a specimen sized fish. An unreliable drag system can stick and this can result in the line breaking.
The way your lighter breaking strain line is managed is crucially important. Poor line management will affect drag performance as well as casting distance and accuracy.
Modern reel spools now contain features that are beneficial to light lure fishing applications. Such as shallow spools to accommodate lighter lines, tapered spool lips for reduced resistance and even longer spools to provide increased casting distance.
These are all things that worth considering when purchasing a spool.
These are just some aspects to consider when looking for the right reel for the job. For more information on choosing the right reel. Check out our blog post here.
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Braided lines are highly recommended due to their low stretch properties, with the benefits of a low stretch line and sensitive rod tip you will pick up the subtlest of bites. We recommend using 8 stranded braided lines between 6-10lb breaking strain or 0.06mm to 0.10mm in diameter. If pike are present in the waters you fish, it is worth looking at higher breaking strains. The advantage of using braided lines is it allows you to impart more action into the lure.
Top tip: If fishing deeper water, try and keep a low diameter braid. The thinner braid cuts through the water easier and this will allow you to present a bait more accurately in deeper water.
There are specialised drop shot hooks available and it comes to personal preference on the style of dropshot hook you choose to use. We recommend the following hook sizes: 2, 4 and 6. These sizes will cover most lure sizes from 1 – 3 inches. Remember to match the hook size to the size of the lure.
You can nose hook a lure which can increase overall movement. Or you can thread it along the shank of the hook. This will reduce the overall movement of the lure (depending on the size and style of lure). But can prove to be an effective method when hook up ratios are poor due to wary feeding fish.
Top tip: Pay attention to the gauge of wire of your hooks. Fine wire hooks tend to penetrate a lot easier with a minimal amount of force. A thicker gauge hook will require a bit more force to set the hook effectively.
Fluorocarbon is the recommended leader material, with its nearly visible refractive index, abrasion-resistant and great knot strength. Using a leader of about 2ft in length, the leader is connected straight to the braided mainline, using a double uni knot or similar.
Same as your braided line, the breaking strain will be determined by the waters you fish and what species are present. A good starting point is 6lb – 8lb breaking strain.
There are various lures available on the market and they all have their given day. Ideally, lures between 1 to 3 inches in length are a good starting point, ensure you have brighter fluorescent patterns for those dull days and more natural patterns for brighter days.
Top tip: Imparting the action into the lure does not have to be aggressive, try subtle and small movements to mix things up.
Lure styles come in the form of paddle tails, fork tails, worms, grubs and more. It’s good to have a various selection of lures as different styles of lures will produce different actions and vibrations in the water. These subtle changes could be the game-changer on the day.
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Drop shot weights come in 2 different styles.
A pencil/cylinder weight, which is the most commonly used drop shot weight. These weights are used on snaggy or rocky bottoms.
The other style is a ball weight, a denser weight due to its shape and allows you to feel the lure more easily. Drop shot weights connect to the leader via the pinched swivel connected to the weight. You simply put the leader through the swivel and pinch it in at the desired depth you want to fish, allowing you to change your fishing depth quickly and easily. A good rule of thumb on choosing the right weight for the venues you are fishing is 1 gram for every foot of water your fishing in.
Most drop shot weights are designed from non-toxic lead materials. However, tungsten dropshot weights are now readily available on the market. Tungsten weights provide you with a smaller weight for its size. Thanks to its dense nature as a material. Tungsten weights provide better contact with the bottom providing you with a better composition of the loch/lake bottom.
Click here to view our range of drop shot weights!
How to set up a drop shot rig
1. Take 2 arms length of fluorocarbon or 2ft in length.
2. Then take a dropshot/octopus hook and tie it in halfway down the fluorocarbon using a Palomar knot or similar.
3. After the hook is tied in, it should sit out at a 90-degree angle from the fluorocarbon. Ensure the hook point is facing up the way. Then take the top end of the fluorocarbon and tie it to your braided mainline. We are using a double uni knot but you can use a knot of your choice.
4. Take a pencil drop shot weight and thread the end of the fluorocarbon through the pinch swivel and slowly and gently pinch the fluorocarbon into the narrow point of the pinch swivel to lock the line into place. This unique swivel allows you to alter the lure depth easily and quickly.
5. Now take a soft plastic lure of your choice and nose hook (as seen in the picture below)
Top tip: Experiment with different lure hook arrangements. Some lures will work better nose hooked. While others lures will work better when slightly threaded onto the shank of the hook.
How To Fish The Drop Shot Method
Drop shot fishing is unlike conventional spinning tactics. When the lure is in the water, tighten down to the lure, while holding the rod relatively high; impart the lure action by using the sensitive tip of the rod.
You want to aim for only imparting action into the lure and not lifting the weight off the bottom. The weight should be slowly dragging along the bottom on the retrieve.
Experiment with subtle movements of the lure and quick erratic movements to see what the trigger on that day might be. Allow the lure to sit static on the bottom too, it’s not a race to bring the lure in and usually fish will hit the lure on the drop or static on the bottom, so it is vital to keep that line taut to pick up indication of the subtlest of bites.
Top tip: Keep a finger on the rod blank, this allows you to feel for the subtlest of bites.
Top tip: Allow the bait to sit statically on the bottom from time to time. Sometimes larger fish can be quite wary and overworking the lure can turn fish away.