By Capt. Chaconas
My shallow water drop shotting version is “reverse engineering.” Normally American technology goes to Japan and comes back smaller and more efficient. I’ve taken the Japanese style of drop shotting; fishing deeper, lighter line, smaller “eye-appealing” baits, nose-hooked with a small hook on spinning gear with flexible rods and “super-sized” it.
For the past 2 decades, I’ve fine-tuned my power shotting tackle and technique.
Starting with the line, I use a 15-pound Gamma Torque braid with a leader. The leader varies as to cover and conditions. In heavier cover, I use a 12-pound test Gamma Edge fluorocarbon and for cold winter fishing, I downsize to a 6-pound Edge.
I join the lines with a blood knot. I use 9 wraps with the braid and use 7 for the 12 pound Edge. For 6 pound leaders, I use matching 7 wraps.
The length of the leader is precise. It’s 5 inches from the rod tip to the reel handle. This prevents the knot from entering the reel spool and when pitching, the knot is past the rod tip to keep the knot from going through any guides, resulting in a smoother cast.
This line set up is always on spinning gear. The Quantum Smoke, size 30, has 6.0:1 retrieve. This is key in catching up for hooksets. My rod is a 7’ medium Quantum Smoke, with a soft enough tip to let fish load and enough backbone for reeling hook sets.
For terminal tackle, Mustad Mega Bite 1/0 hooks work well. I use Texas rig baits to keep them weedless. The rod and line set up enables hooksets with the hook point skin hooked.
Weights are simple. Water Gremlin makes a bullet shaped split shot. It’s easy to attach and since I don’t worry about line twist with the braid, doesn’t create line issues. I use 1/8-3/16 depending on current and wind.
Using a Palomar knot, start the knot from the side of the hook without the point. After tying the knot, pass the tag end into the hook eye on the side with the point. This will position the hook upright for better hooksets. Attach the weight to the tag and tie, and overhand knot on the bottom below the weight to keep it from slipping off easily.
The distance between the weight and the hook varies. For deeper and clearer warm weather fishing, I make it around 24 inches. For colder or muddier conditions, down to 4. Adjust accordingly with conditions with an average length of around 10 inches.
Bait selection includes just about anything. Keep in mind you might need to go to a bigger hook with bigger baits. Thinner baits have more action in clearer water as well. Soaking in garlic flavor Jack’s Juice Bait Spray also helps.
Cast or pitch the rig and allow to settle on the bottom. With a little bow in the line, gently and occasionally shake the line. Watch for line movement and feel for light taps. When moving the rig to another location, pay attention to the weight, as fish sometimes will take a bait and not really move much.
The hook set is easy. Reel, feel and pull. Reel the line to feel the fish and then pull. Do not yank! The line, rod, and hook will do the work.
For newcomers, once they learn this technique, they can feel the bottom and to feel what is a fish and what is not. This enables them to have a shorter learning curve on subsequent trips for crankbaits, Texas rigs, and other techniques. But, most importantly, they achieve success with the shallow water drop shot.
Casts don’t have to be accurate and can cover a lot of water. Detecting a bite is easier and the hookset is a bit more forgiving. All of these factors make shallow water drop shotting a preferred guide technique for me.