My buddy Bill and I visited Candlewood Lake on Friday April 14. The weather was cool and a bit breezy in the morning but the sun was quick to warm up the air temps and the wind eventually died off to about nothing, creating a comfortable day on the water for us, but not necessarily for the fish. We generally stayed on the south end of the lake and started out on a main lake point and found water temps around 48F.
Bill scored 3 average sized smallmouth bass on a deep diving Rapala Husky Jerk while I fished the “regular” Husky Jerk in the same color and had nothing but a follower. Bills’ retrieve was, 2 soft jerks, then a short pause of only a couple of seconds. My retrieve added a third twitch and a longer pause in between. We worked our baits in water ranging from about 5 to 20 feet deep and they seemed to much prefer the deep diving version of the Husky Jerk.
After wearing out this spot, we moved off to the back end of a cove but continued to throw the same baits. Keying on the shallower boulders in the back end of the cove I finally put my first of the day into the boat. A nice chunky largemouth that ate the Husky Jerk on the pause. Shortly after, from the same location, I hooked up again but, half way back to the boat, my 10# test line broke. This was a bad error by me, caused by not retying often enough. Bill scored the next fish though with a very nice, fat, pre-spawn smallmouth that was over 4 pounds.
By this time, the wind died to nothing and so did the bite. We managed to scrap together a few more fish through the day by fishing a small Lunker City Grub on a 1/8 ounce ball head and a black hair jig in 1/8 ounce around main lake gravel/boulder areas but that was generally it for the day. It was one of those days that we were really hoping for the wind to pick up again as a good chop on the water tends to increase the jerkbait bite.
In retrospect, we probably should have spent more time running the points of the lake, but none the less, even though the catching wasn’t that good, the fishing trip was great. Quite often, a good fishing trip is more than catching a bunch of fish.
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.