How to Fish the Drop-Shot Rig: Bass Fishing

bass drop shot rig

There’s a lot more to fishing than just casting out a lure and reeling it back.

Fishers have to use their imagination and take steps to make the lures they use look alive.

This form of creativity is essential for professional fishers.

Fish species like the spotted bass or the smallmouth bass are highly coveted by all amateur and experienced anglers.

These types of fish species can be very elusive and hard to catch unless fishers use their imagination to outsmart them.

Fishing rigs are products of this imaginative spirit.

Creating a fishing rig is the art of assembling your baits, leaders, sinkers, lures, bobbers, flashers, hooks, swivels, dodgers, and other items that you attach to your fishing lines in a very specific way.

Sounds complex, right?

Don’t worry.

Just because fishers can tie various things to their fishing lines, doesn’t mean that they do. Most fresh and saltwater fishing rigs are very simple, especially in the world of catching bass.

Sometimes a basic bait hook and a simple water bubble are all you need.

Bass anglers try not to waste their days rigging up complex setups.

They use specific rigs for specific fishing purposes and techniques.

Here are some of the most popular types of rigs professional anglers use:

  • Dropper Drifter
  • Spinner and Minnow
  • Carolina Rig
  • Fillet Strip
  • Popping Cork Rig
  • Sabiki Rigs
  • Three-Way Swivel
  • Bait & Bobber
  • Wacky Rigging
  • Flicker Rig
  • Jig and Bait
  • Double-Bait
  • Drop Shot Rig
  • Weed-Less Rig
  • Texas Rig
  • Lindy Rig

Of all these rigs, drop shots are the most popular in the world of professional bass catching.

Also known as “drop shotting,” this technique helps fishers catch bass and other elusive fish species when all other techniques fail to produce.

Unlike Texas rigged setups or Carolina rigs, these are extremely versatile rigs.

Drop shot fishing works in all types of scenarios and conditions – be it clean shallow waters or muddy deep waters.

Let’s learn everything about drop shot fishing and its special significance in the world of bass catching.

What is a Drop Shot Rig for Bass?

drop shot rig fishing

A drop shot rig is a fairly simple arrangement. It must consist of the following components –

  • A fishing cord with a hook tied at its tag end
  • A leader trailing from the tied hook
  • A drop shot weight is attached at the end of the leader (this component will hang below the bait & hook)

A drop shot rig for bass is the same device.

But since bass fish are heavier, the drop shot weight in bass drop shot rigs is usually heavier.

The art of catching fish with this type of rig is called shot fishing or drop shotting.

Unlike other forms of catching fish, with shot fishing, all fishers need are light rods and reels, a few small lures, and some terminal bits.

They can easily store these pieces of equipment in the back of their cars and go shot fishing wherever and whenever they want.

However, drop shotting is way more technical than most methods.

Professional bass fishermen use special knots to create the perfect drop shot rigs.

They also have to use a unique retrieve style to find success with this technique.

But, having a technique that’s as effective as drop shot fishing in your repertoire is absolutely worth your time and efforts. Here’s why.

Why is Drop Shot Fishing Important?

According to MLF pro and one of the greatest bass fishers of all time Aaron Martens, the drop shot is the most effective rig in the world of bass catching.

“It’s always the way to go,” – claims Martens.

According to him, drop-shotting is a technique that works everywhere, almost all the time.

That’s why during fishing events, Martens and other professional anglers usually have multiple drop shots knotted, tied on, and ready to be deployed at any given.

Where do anglers use drop shot rigs?

Mainly in clear waters.

Since these shot rigs only suspend in water (and don’t hit the bottom), maintaining their visibility is crucial.

In muddy lakes with dirty water, it’s harder for fish to spot these unique shot rigs.

So, for modern-day fishers drop shot rigs are primarily Northern-style baits.

But, that wasn’t always the case.

Like Texas rigging or Carolina rigging, the art of drop-shotting was invented by commercial saltwater fishermen.

They used drop shot rigs to keep their best baits and hooks safe from thieving crabs.

Since then, all bass fishermen have adapted this technique for freshwater catches.

Overall, this super-efficient technique can be applied anywhere from pits & ponds to lakes, rivers, & reservoirs. You can use your drop shot rigs to fish for all species of fish – not just bass.

You can use these rigs in deep & shallow waters all year long no matter what the weather condition.

Drop shotting works when you’re catching fish from shore or a boat. It works whether you use artificial baits or natural lures.

This technique is the best “arrow” fishers can add to their quivers.

Drop Shotting Explained

In drop-shotting, you basically have to make your sinker and hook swap their traditional positions.

Then, you have to attach the shot weight at the very end of the line.

This shot weight will act as an anchor for your drop shot bait or lure. It will hold the bait in a specific position for a long time.

You won’t have to impart much action on the semi-slack line to disrupt the water and attract fish.

Once the bait is positioned at a particular level in the water column, you can keep it there (static) without requiring any additional jigs or weights.

There’s nothing that can obstruct your direct connection with the drop shot hook and the lure’s actions.

Now imagine the prospects. Your sinker is resting at the bottom of the water column.

You can hover all types of baits in the water. Your floating lure will always remain in full view of the fish, irrespective of what depth they’re swimming in.

How to Use a Drop Shot Rig for Bass Fishing

drop shot

The idea behind this vertical fishing technique is simple:

  • You drop the drop shot weight vertically to the bottom.
  • You suspend a live, dead, or artificial bait just off the bottom of your fishing line.
  • Suspend the bait to a level where it is not surrounded by the gunk at the bottom of the water body.
  • Now, the bait is at a level where it is visible to the fish in the water. The drop shot weights are at the bottom of the line, helping the bait maintain its position.
  • Once the shot weight is on the bottom and the rig is completely in the water, you’ll get total control over your bait.
  • You can now lightly shake the bait to attract the attention of the fish. The rod tip has greater sensitivity. Just by delicately flicking your rod, you can impart movement to your tiny bait.

You can buy specially designed drop shot weights for bass from any angling equipment store.

With these weights, you can adjust the depth at which your bait or lure sits. For bass fishing, the optimal depth is six to eight inches from the bottom.

Rigging your fishing cord is only half the battle. The other half is mastering the art of drop-shot fishing.

Unlike normal techniques, with drop-shotting, the trick is to move the lure softly to induce a take.

This action will enable you to lure fish into tight areas where other techniques fail.

But, more on the art of drop shotting later.

First, let’s explore what types of equipment you’ll need to go for fishing bass with a drop shot rig.

If you’re a seasoned fisher, you probably own most of the gear already as they’re basic angling tools.

1) Rods and Reels

If you want to go for bass catching with drop shots, you’ll need top bass fishing reels.

These rods are designed for bass fishing They have stiff mid-to-butt sections and light rod tips.

These features allow fishers to impart the all-essential actions into their lures.

Most rods used for drop-shotting weigh around 12 to 15 grams.

The rod must also have a small and comfortable spinning reel.

Anglers typically use spinning rods and tiny reels in the 1000-2500 size range to perform this finesse style of angling.

That’s why drop shotting is also known as “finesse fishing.”

2) Lines

Thin lines (anywhere between 0.06 to 0.10 mm braid) are ideal for drop shotting.

These lines have low visibility.

They also allow anglers to impart the right movements on their lures very easily.

3) Leader

A small (less than two feet in length) fluorocarbon leader is ideal for drop shotting.

Tie the leader to your braid with a tight knot.

Determine the breaking strain of your leader based on the size of bass fish you expect to catch.

4) Hooks

Regular angling hooks are different from drop shot hooks.

They’re fine wired and different in shape and size from normal match hooks.

Their unique shapes allow lures to sit horizontally, at 90-degree angles to the leader.

5) Sinkers

The purpose of your drop shot sinker is to keep the bait in place a few centimeters off the bottom of the water.

So, you’ll need sinkers that you can tie or clip to your line.

Also, avoid using weights that are lighter than 0.75 oz. Lighter sinkers don’t perform well in choppy waters and windy conditions.

6) Drop Shot Worms

You can use all types of bait in drop shotting – from soft plastic bait to bigger plastics to rubber minnow.

Most professional fishermen use rubber minnows because they look just like sea worms – a food item that bass fish love.

Make sure that the drop shot bait you use mimics the natural prey of bass fish.

Now that we know what type of gear you’ll need to perform drop shot fishing, let’s review the tying instructions you’ll have to follow to create a drop shot rig :

  • Tie a Palomar Knot with a long tag end to attach the hook. The Palomar knot is one of the most secure knots in the world of fishing.
  • Double 15-30 inches of line and pass the end of the loop through the eye the of hook (the hook eyelid).
  • Tie a knot with the hook suspended from the bottom of the loop formed after the previous step. This knot should be loose.
  • Hold this knot between your forefinger & thumb. Pass the end of the loop over the hook. Slide loop to above hook eyelid.
  • Pull on the tag end and the standing line to tighten down the knot onto the hook eyelid. Feed the tag end back through this hook eye from the top.
  • Attach one/multiple small weights to the end of the line and attach your bait to the hook.

Follow these steps and you’ll have a hook tied about one foot up the line.

You’ll have much of the line on the other end free.

Us it to tie the drop weight and set up your drop shot rig.

Now, Texas or wacky rig the bait and attach the weight to the end.

There you have it – a simple but effective drop shot rig.


There are many fishing techniques you can use to catch bass with your drop shot rig.

From “dead-sticking” in ponds to current fishing in rivers to fishing bass in shallow, heavily covered waters – drop shotting works everywhere.

Try out this fishing technique in your local canals, locks, and marinas.

Then, move on to slow-moving rivers and other bass hotspots.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you rig a drop shot for bass?

Use the right gear. Tie the right knot. Use hooks, baits, lines, reels, and rods that are designed for finesse fishing.

Is drop shot good for bass?

Yes, it’s the most effective rig for catching bass.

How do you set up a drop shot rig?

Follow the instructions mentioned in the article.

What do you use a drop shot rig for?

A drop shot rig is used to ensure that the bait you use is clearly visible to the fish you’re trying to catch.