I had a few hours to get out on Saturday so decided to hunt some smallmouth bass on Colebrook Reservoir, in August. The deep of summer, on one of the most mysterious smallmouth waters in the state. Fished from about noon till 4 but actually spent the first hour to get some waypoints on my new sonar units. One spot I checked out seemed to have some fish on it but it was really deep. Like 45 feet deep, so I headed off to a known good spot. A point that usually good for a few. After throwing a ¾ oz. Kietech around a bit, it was time to pick up a drop shot. Got my first smallmouth from about 20 feet or so. Not much of a fish but 13 inches anyhow. A short while later, I lost another fish in the same area but that deep spot I had marked was on my mind.
The only thing that kept me in this area perhaps longer than I should have stayed, was a family of eagles practicing their stuff, generally right over my head. One adult with two immature birds were having a great time just sailing and screeching away. The adult bird took a short time out in a nearby tree but quickly became bored and started a loud, different screech than earlier. It soon lit off the tree and set itself up for a swooping attack on something in the water while the two young ones watched. As soon as the adult snatched a small panfish, one of the young ones gave chase and attempted to steal the snack. A neat, short dogfight took place before the adult screeched off down the wood line leaving the young fighter to land on a nearby rock and rest a bit before continuing on his chase.
Off to this deep area that had cover on it and topped off at 45 feet while being surround by 60+ foot of water. I had re-tied my drop shot with a 3/8 oz. weight versus the ¼ oz. I typically throw, and it still took forever to hit bottom. But, once it hit bottom, it was game on. Unfortunately, most everything the Down Imaging was showing were rock bass. Figuring there HAD to be a few smallmouth mixed in, I continued to drop and catch. Every vertical drop was resulting in a fish. Being they looked to be stacked almost ten feet thick, it didn’t really matter if my weight was on the bottom or suspended 10 feet off, I was catching a fish on every drop. And, sure enough there were some smallmouth mixed in. I ended up getting another 5 keeper size fish up to 15 inches and a couple of undersized bass also. Besides for the 6” Roboworm in Sexy Shad, I also got a couple on the 3.8 Fat Kietech. Was hoping to find a jumbo smallmouth in the mix but it didn’t happen. Though none of the bass were large, it was fun to fish that deep. Those were probably some of the deepest drop shot bass I’ve ever got. I can only imagine this spot getting better as the water level drops and the water cools off.
July 18, 2017
Summertime! My most productive time of the year. Generally, from late July through August there is a good population of bass that have moved off of the bank and onto and into some deeper water. During the daylight, give me two rods. One rigged with some kind of jig type bait, and the other being a dropshot rod.
Once the fish get out to 13 feet or grater in our area waters, they become easy targets for the drop shot technique. The overall set up is relatively simple. You have a weight attached to the end of your line with a small, thin wire hook attached about a foot above the weight. Attach a numerous array of soft plastic worms, minnow imitators, or crawfish and, you are going to get bit. If not by bass, nearly all other fish see your bait as a feeding opportunity. If you like fishing a Senko weightless, wacky style, the drop shot may be right up your ally. As there are many methods to fishing (i.e.) retrieving a drop shot, the majority of your bites will come as the bait is sitting still. Just as the Senko works best allowed to fall on a free line, the drop shot can often be at its prime while sitting still.
For me, a good drop shot bait has to float. Or at least not sink fast. A bait such as a 4” Roboworm will generally float the light wire hook off the bottom weed or muck. The 4” Lunker City Ribster, and Gary Yamamoto, Shad Shape Worm are also good choices as well as the Z-Man Finesse Shad. All of these baits have a tendency to float and imitate a small baitfish almost perfectly. Enough of the baits. I’ll leave that to the marketers who. By the way do a great job offering us very style and color imaginable. I’m nor sponsored by any of them.
What is the perfect rod and reel for dropshotting? Everyone has their own preferences but, I want a high speed spinning reel (6:1 or greater) in the 200 class paired with a lighter rod in a Medium action with a moderate power, around 7 feet long. I first started dropshotting using 6# P-Line Flouroclear line (which is outstanding light line for ANY application) but moved to 10# Power Pro braided line. This year, I moved to the same line but in yellow. Due to eye sight and many missed fish on the drop I made this adjustment and so far so good. With the braid, especially the yellow, I am tying on the 6# P-Line Fluoroclear as a leader, about 8 feet long, using a simple and fast Uni to Uni knot. I use a Gamakutsu #2 Split shot/drop shot hook. The next size up moves to a heavier wire and changes the presentation. It is absolutely amazing on how well this tiny hook sticks the fish. And lastly, the weight. I prefer the ¼ oz. Linker City Bakudan SKINNY” OR “PENCIL” WEIGHT. The thin cylindrical weight MAY come through the cover better. After the uni to uni knot, and about 8 feet of leader, I tie the small Gamakatsu hook about 1 foot of the end of the line using a Palomar knot. The tag end of that knot will be re-inserted through the eye of the hook dropping downwards and the weight simply pinches to the bottom of that line.
The retrieve, can vary from a slow pull to sitting absolutely motionless. Sometimes they want that bait quivering which you can do by shaking the rod tip on a slack line, while at other times they may want you to cover some ground and pull it slowly across the bottom. The retrieve largely depends on the mood of the fish so let them tell you how they want it. All fish seem to want this bait, it takes a bit of time to figure out what type of bite is a bass bite and which are nuisance fish. Either way, in the summer time this rig will get enough bites to keep your interest level up.
The hook set. Due to the nature of that small hook, and if you are using braided line, your hook set does not need to be violent. Contrary to the typical rubber worm hookset, most times with the drop shot it is no more than a “Lift and reel” situation. That tiny light wire hook often stabs them itself as soon as you put pressure on the line. From then on through the battle is usually up to your drag, and the rod. Crank when the fish is not pulling, and let the rod absorb the shock when they are pulling. Even using a light monofilament line, you usually do not need to give the hook a monster hook set.
The great thing about the drop shot is that it can be used not only in the summertime but the spring in shallow water can be pretty productive as well as the fall and winter when the fish get grouped up on points and sharp drops. All the modern electric sonar units on the market now may give you an opportunity to “video fish”. In the late fall/early winter time, you can mark individual fish on your sonar and drop you rig on top them and most likely catch that same fish. Myself and others have also used the drop shot while ice fishing. It works! Not all the time, but enough to keep me coming back to it but, in the summertime when the bass are setting up on their deep stuff, it is definitely one of my preferred techniques.