Twin Lakes on Sunday August 13 for a 19 boat club tourney fishing from 6AM till 3PM. Water temp 76-77 with typical clear water conditions. We had a cold front come through in the early AM hours and with it, it brought some 8-12 mph WNW winds. With years of experience on this lake, and having a good handle on seasonal locations, Kevin and I were armed to probe deep water haunts.
Kevin and I have been having some tournament success lately while we are in our summer period, hitting a second and lunker on the CT River 2 weeks ago and another lunker 4 weeks ago at our Candlewood event. This Twin event was going to be wide open to anyone as Twin just does not fish as well as it used to many years ago. We drew boat number 13 for our start and decided to head north to the Lilly pads for our start as only one other boat pulled up to them before us. After 40 minutes of throwing a Lunker City Salad Spoon and a LiveTarget, hollow belly sunfish with only two halfhearted, small strikes, we bailed on the shallow water and moved out to the tip of the island working jigs and dropshots out to about 35 feet without a sniff. I launched a 3.8 Kietech on a ¾ oz. head to deepish water and got all excited when a jumbo pickerel ate the grub. Probably a 5 pounder that I was able to shake off at the boat. With nothing there, and believing that we ought to be able to get a good bite from deep water, we hit another few spots of deep water adjacent to shallow flats. The panfish were stacked pretty well in about 19’ foot but no biting bass could be found amongst them.
About 4 hours into our event and without a fish in the livewell, we chucked the deep stuff (for now) in favor of shallow cover. We were hoping that with the wave action, there could be a couple hiding shallow. Kevin put our first one into the boat out of maybe 4 feet of water on a black/blue jig & pig. With a few more cover items on our bank, I imitated his shallow presentation and scored another decent fish doing the exact same thing. Two in the well and nearly noon, we continued to run this shallow pattern only to find out we had perhaps gotten lucky.
Needing a new option, we took a ride to find a deep weedline. Sure enough, it was just about where I had left it long ago. Driving over with the down imaging sonar it was clear to see a distinct weedline with a fair number of fish around. Rock bass, rock bass, and more rock bass but finally found one eating largemouth that took Kevin’s Roboworm on a drop shot. Not a giant, but it was number three. We likely worked this area a bit too long and only gave ourselves 50 minutes or so to make another run at the point of the island. This area was pretty busy but we eventually were able to get spot locked within casting range of the good stuff without being rude to anyone. Another time to get a bit lucky. The big one ounce jig with a 4 inch Strike King Rage Craw was dragged beyond the deep weeds when there was a slight “tap-tap” that produced another good fish. 4 in the well and 25 minutes left. Since we were spot locked, I asked Kevin to if we could trade places and I would go to the back of the boat. As I began to crank my jig in, there was a lot of weight. A good sweep set of the 7’-11” rod resulted in us putting our limit fish into the boat.
Though we had our five, and four of them were decent 16 to 18 inch bass, we never felt pretty good about our day. In retrospect, we had prepared mentally to get just 5 bites and that is exactly what happened. We were the last boat to get pulled from the water so ended up being near the last to weigh. The scoreboard was showing a bunch of weights at around ten pounds but our five fish hit the scales at 11.49 pounds. Our first win of the season. A mix of shallow and deep, along with the confidence to stick with “proven technology” worked out well in the end. Next stop on our trail is our annual two day event on Lake Champlain from Ticonderoga. As the summer has slid in, Kevin and I have slowly been creeping up the year end point standings. With three events to go, we are going to work the best we can to come out on top.
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.