Night time Bassin’ in July, on a full moon, is a great time to be out on the water. Myself, and two other did just that Saturday night from a bit after midnight until about 5:30AM. And, for some of us, it was a great fishing adventure. We fished a clear and deep pond and focused our casting around offshore humps and points with a water temp of 76F under a clear, moonlit sky with a zero to 4 mph wind.
My first choice of lures on this type of water is a single Colorado blade, War Eagle spinnerbait, in black/blue, with a Zoom swimmin’ chunk for a trailer. No trailer hook needed on this bait. When they eat a spinnerbait at night, the largemouth usually don’t mess around. Our first spot of the trip kind of set the tone for the night. A few shorts, a few 13” fish, then, a 4 pounder. The only issue was, I was doing most of the catching. Turned out to be a good thing because, Jon would continue to experiment most all night long by throwing not only his trusty 4” green pumpkin grub on an 1/8’th ounce ball head, but mixing in a Lucky Craft, Real California swimbait, a Smithwick Rogue jerkbait, and a Zoom Brush Hog, along with a few other items. Seth started off throwing a white Mann’s Classic spinnerbait and got only one keeper and a short before he also started switching out lures, Seth tried a Popper and a shallow square bill before he finally accepted the same spinnerbait as I was throwing. I continued to catch largemouth on my bait while the other two guys tried to make something else happen. I likely had 10 in the boat while Seth and Jon were practicing casting in the dark. Though the action was not crazy fast, my spinnerbait rod was the ONLY rod I had on deck all night because it was appearing obvious, that’s what they wanted. After I had gotten my second good fish around 4 pounds and he had an 11” trout in his belly with the tail hanging out his gullet, yet he still ate my spinnerbait, it definitely said to not put that bait down.
When fishing for largemouth at night with the spinnerbait, I use a lift and drop retrieve, or “helicoptering”. Though I did get a couple on a steady retrieve, most fish came while the bait was falling. Once I taught Seth this retrieve, he got one on his 3’rd cast. Largemouth like this type of retrieve. As it was starting to get light, I suggested to Seth that he should tie the white Mann’s Classic spinnerbait on again. He took that advice but tied on to his 6’-6” ML rod with 6 pound test. And, fortunately luck was on this beginner’s side as he connected with a very nice 5 pound largemouth that proceeded to drag him into some weeds. He got lucky in that the bass made some strong surges to get out of the grass and eventually freed himself up at a lengthy battle. When I lipped that big fish for Seth, he was ecstatic! A new personal best for the guy.
Seth scored only 3 keepers and a couple of shorts for the night but, a five pounder sealed the deal for him as he proclaimed it the best night fishing ever. Jon played around all night and did about the same as his buddy Seth, minus a big fish, while I landed around 25 bass with my best five going about 14 pounds.
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.