The technique of drop shotting a small plastic worm has been around for well over a decade and Brent Ehrler has used it frequently in FLW bass tournament competition, but the Yamaha pro admits he’s still astonished at how productive the technique can be.
“Whenever I can’t get a bite by fishing a worm or jig on the bottom, I’ll try drop shotting because it suspends my lure above the bottom, and I can keep it in one place as long as I want to,” he explains.
“It works anywhere and at just about anytime. I’ve caught bass as deep as 90 feet with a drop shot on Lake Shasta in California, and as shallow as one foot on Lake Norman in North Carolina.”
Drop shotting originated in Japan as a light tackle finesse presentation for heavily fished lakes where largemouth bass were extremely reluctant to hit lures. A hook is tied to the fishing line 12 to 15 inches above a sinker, which is at the end of the line; Ehrler prefers six to eight pound fluorocarbon line and a 3/16 or ¼-oz. sinker.
With the sinker on the bottom, the lure, usually a plastic worm four to seven inches long, wiggles and vibrates freely above it.
“One of the real keys to this technique is shaking your rod with a slack line so the sinker never moves. All the action the worm makes helps draw bass to it,” con tinues the Yamaha pro, winner of the 2006 Forrest Wood Cup FLW championship.
“Most of the time, I’ll make a cast, let the sinker touch bottom, and gently start shaking my rod. If I don’t get a strike, I’ll reel slowly to drag the sinker along the bottom just a couple of feet, then shake my rod again.
“When I’m fishing boat docks and piers where this is an excellent tactic, I can cover an entire side of the pier with a presentation like this.”
Ehrler prefers deeper docks, but he’ll use the drop shot technique around practically any type of cover and structure when he thinks bass may be suspended above the bottom. Sometimes he’ll vary his presentation by lowering his rod so the worm actually falls right beside the sinker; then he’ll raise his rod so the worm swims back up. He’ll repeat this several times in the same spot before reeling in for another cast.
“Even though the drop shot technique was developed for light tackle and fairly small lures, it will certainly attract big bass, too,” he notes. “I’ve caught nine and 10-pound bass at Clear Lake and in the California Delta, and I know other anglers who’ve caught larger fish,” he says. “It’s just such a natural presentation.
“There are a lot of variations to drop shotting, too. You can ‘walk’ your lure by raising your rod and reeling so the sinker comes off the bottom, then lowering your rod so the sinker and worm fall again. If bass are hitting your lure as it falls, then you can create multiple falls this way.”
The easiest way to start drop shotting on any lake, however, concludes the Yamaha pro, is probably by fishing visible structure like a boat dock and just shaking your rod as the sinker and lure fall beside a corner piling.
“If you do this,” says Ehrler, “chances are you may not need any other type of presentation.”