What Is Drop Shot Fishing? A Comprehensive Guide

what is drop shot fishing

Are you an angler looking to up your fishing game? If you’ve ever wondered about the best way to target those elusive fish, it’s time to introduce yourself to the world of drop shot fishing. 

This technique is a game-changer that has been gaining popularity among both beginners and seasoned anglers.

 In this article, we’ll dive deep into drop-shot fishing, exploring what it is, how it works, and why it’s so effective in catching fish.

What Is Drop Shot Fishing?

Drop shot fishing is a finesse fishing technique that originated in Japan but has since spread to various parts of the world. 

It’s a method designed to target fish species that often hang around in deeper water or are more lethargic, such as bass, perch, walleye, and even panfish.

The term “drop shot” refers to the rig itself. 

It consists of a weight (typically a sinker) at the end of the fishing line, with the bait suspended above it. 

The bait can be an artificial lure or a live bait, such as a nightcrawler, minnow, or soft plastic bait.

 The bait is usually presented at a specific depth above the bottom, depending on where you think the fish are located.

How Does Drop Shot Fishing Work?

The drop shot rig is highly effective for a few key reasons:

Lifelike Presentation: One of the primary advantages of the drop shot rig is that it offers a natural and lifelike presentation of the bait. 

The bait is suspended above the weight, allowing it to move freely and mimic the movement of prey. This entices fish into striking.

Versatility: Drop shot fishing can be used in various water conditions, from clear to murky waters. It’s also effective in both shallow and deep water.

Minimal Snagging: The rig design minimizes the risk of snagging on underwater obstacles like rocks and debris. 

This means fewer lost lures and more time fishing.

Finesse Approach: Drop shot fishing is a finesse technique requiring a gentle touch and precise control of the bait’s depth. This approach allows you to target even the most cautious fish.

Why Is Drop Shot Fishing So Effective?

Drop-shot fishing is so effective for several reasons:

Subtle Presentation: The technique is perfect for finicky or pressured fish that may be wary of larger, more aggressive presentations.

 The bait’s subtle and realistic movement often triggers strikes when other methods fail.

Year-Round Success: Drop shot fishing works well year-round, making it a go-to technique for anglers looking to catch fish every season.

Varied Species: While drop shot fishing is most commonly associated with bass, it’s versatile enough to catch a wide range of species, from small panfish to larger predator fish.

Control and Precision: Anglers have precise control over the bait’s depth, allowing them to adjust to the fish’s location and behavior.

How to fish with a Drop shot?

Setting up a drop shot rig is relatively simple and effective for catching various fish species. Here’s how to set up a basic drop shot fishing rig:

Materials You’ll Need:

Fishing Rod: Choose a medium-light to medium-action spinning rod and reel combo. 

This rod type provides the sensitivity and flexibility needed for drop-shot fishing.

Fishing Line: Use a quality monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line in the 6-10 lb test range. 

Lighter lines suit smaller fish, while heavier lines work for larger species.

Drop Shot Weight: You can use specially designed drop shot weights or a regular egg sinker (1/8 to 1/2 ounces, depending on your target species and water depth).

Drop Shot Hook: Opt for a drop shot or finesse hook, often in the size range of 1/0 to 2.

Bait: You can use soft plastic, live bait (such as nightcrawlers or minnows), or artificial lures. Worm-style soft plastics are famous for drop-shot fishing.

Drop shot fishing Setup:

Tie the Main Line: You can use the improved clinch knot or the Palomar knot to attach your main fishing line to the reel.

Attach the Drop Shot Weights: Slide the drop shot weight onto your main line. You can pinch the line onto the weight or use a specialized clip-on weight. Leave a tag end of about 6-12 inches below the weight.

Tie the Drop Shot Hook: Tie your hook to the tag end of the line, leaving enough space between the hook and the weight. 

The distance can vary depending on your target fish and water depth, but a good starting point is 12-18 inches.

Bait Your Hook:

  1. Attach your chosen bait to the drop shot hook.
  2. For soft plastics, thread the bait onto the hook, ensuring it’s rigged straight and lifelike.
  3. If you’re using live bait, hook it carefully to keep it alive and active.

Adjust the Length: If you’re not getting bites, experiment with the distance between the weight and the hook.

 Make subtle adjustments until you find the most productive length.

Cast and Retrieve: Cast your drop shot rig to your target area and allow it to sink to the desired depth. 

Once it’s on the bottom, gently lift your rod tip and create a subtle shaking or wobbling motion to make the bait appear more enticing. 

Retrieve slowly and maintain contact with the bait.

Feel for Bites: Drop-shot fishing is all about sensitivity. Pay attention to any subtle nibbles or changes in tension on your line. 

When you feel a bite, give a slight tug to set the hook.

Remember that drop shot fishing is a finesse technique, so you’ll need patience and a gentle touch. 

Practice and experience will help you refine your skills and increase your success. 

With the right setup and perseverance, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a proficient drop-shot angler.

How to tie a drop shot

Tying a drop shot rig is a straightforward process, and it’s essential to have a secure knot to prevent the rig from falling during your fishing endeavors.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on tying a drop shot rig:

Materials You’ll Need:

Main Fishing Line: Use a monofilament or fluorocarbon line with a breaking strength suitable for your target fish species and fishing conditions.

Drop Shot Hook: Choose a drop shot or finesse hook, typically in the size range of 1/0 to 2.

Drop Shot Weight: You can use a specially designed drop shot weight or a regular egg sinker, depending on your preference.

What Is Drop Shot Fishing

Steps How to Tie a Drop Shot Knot:

Thread the Main Line: Start by threading the main fishing line through the eye of the drop shot hook. Pass the line from the hook’s front (pointed end) to the back (shank side).

Create a Loop: Form a small loop with the tag end (the part of the line that came out of the hook’s eye).

Wrap the Tag End Around the Main Line: Take the tag end of the line and wrap it around the main line. Make four to five wraps around the main line while keeping the loop intact.

Thread the Tag End Through the Loop: In Step 2, ensure that the tag end goes in the same direction as the loop you created.

Moisten and Tighten: Moisten the knot with saliva or water to reduce friction and heat during tightening.

 Now, carefully pull the tag end to cinch the knot down snugly. Ensure it’s secure but not overly tight, as you want to protect the line.

Trim the Tag End: Trim the excess tag end with scissors or line cutters, leaving a small tag for added security.

Attach the Drop Shot Weight: Slide your chosen weight onto the main line, either by pinching the line or using a specialized clip-on weight.

Adjust the Tag Length: Determine the desired distance between the weight and the hook. 

This distance depends on your target fish species and the water depth. Start with 12-18 inches as a general guideline.

Tie a Knot Above the Weight (Optional): You can use an improved clinch knot or Palomar knot if you’re using a drop shot weight that requires tying.

Your drop shot rig is now ready for use. 

Cast it into your target area, let it sink to the desired depth, and work it gently to entice fish.

 Always maintain a sensitive feel on your line to detect any bites, and when you feel a nibble, set the hook with a slight tug. 

You’ll become proficient at tying and using the drop shot rig for successful fishing adventures with practice.


In the world of angling, adaptability is key, and drop shot fishing offers just that. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned angler, this finesse technique opens up new possibilities for catching fish. 

The lifelike presentation, versatility, and precise control make drop shot fishing a game-changer in the angling world. 

So, equip yourself with the necessary gear and skills, and try your hand at this innovative and effective method. 

You might be surprised at the results you’ll achieve with drop shot fishing. Happy fishing!

See the Fishing Ned Rig on our website.

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