How do you drop shot for bass?

Can you explain how the drop-shot technique works?

I would be glad to explain the Japanese finesse drop shot (or “down shot rig”) technique, perfect for calm-watered freshwater fishing (or even saltwater fishing in some situations). However, the Ben Franklin Technique can show you much better than mere words could explain. This simple exercise requires a small, lightweight kite. That’s right, I’m telling you to go fly a kite. With this exercise, you will see firsthand from the point-of-view of the weight itself how the drop shot technique really and truly works. This technique, passed on to me from an old friend, has helped me to greatly improve, and I am happy to share it with you, but you need to keep safety in mind at all times by paying attention to your surroundings and by obeying any local kite-flying laws. Originally, this exercise involves a metal key, but I’ve altered the instructions for better and safer results and highly advise not to tie metal to kites. First, you need a 4″ section of some straight, light wood (1/2 – 1/4 ounce) with a hole drilled through at 1/4″ away from one end, a 6-inch section of lightweight foam plumbing insulation (1/2″ or 3/4″ will do), brightly-colored duct tape, 40′ of very light fishing line, a wide, open outdoor space with no one around, and a lightly-windy yet clear day. If the wind is more than 15 MPH, then don’t try this exercise. What you need to do first is unwind all 40′ of line without tangling it. 10′ away from what will be your kite end I want you to tie the stick with the hole onto the line with a palomar knot, except with a variation essential to the drop shot technique: feed the tag line back (all 30′ of it) down through the top hole of the stick. Pull the line hand tight from above and below the knot, and the stick should stand straight out from the line. If the stick just falls limp, then you need to retie the knot or try drilling the hole closer to the end of the stick. Once you’ve gotten the stick tied on correctly, go ahead and tie the line to the kite at that end (you need to have about 10′ between the kite and the stick), and then wind the rest of your line onto your kite reel up to the tied-on stick. Now, slip the insulation section over the stick, leaving about 1″ between the insulation and the string. Secure the insulation to the stick carefully with the duct tape, and you’re ready to fly. I strongly advise wearing thick gloves just in case that line gets looped around a finger. Again, paying careful attention to your surroundings, go ahead and get the kite up in the air. Once you get the kite flying at a stabilized and tight position, you should notice the movement of the insulated stick. There won’t be a whole lot that you can do to alter it’s dance, but watch and pay close attention to how it jumps up there with every pull, turn, and relaxing of the wind’s erratic coaxings. Whenever you decide to stop playing around with kites and go drop shotting for fish, you will be acting the part of the kite, only much more gently. Actually, if you instead decide to up things a notch and visualize yourself playing the part of a gentle breeze itself with the drop shot, you may find yourself one step closer to mastering this technique. As you can see from this exercise, it doesn’t take a whole lot of jerk or spin to send the bait into a wild, exciting dance, as again, this is finesse fishing. Now, the specific conditions will vary a little depending on where, when and for what you are trying to catch, but typically, all you need to adjust when actually using this technique is to make that tag line as high off of the bottom of the water as you want to be (try somewhere in the range from 1′ to 2 and 1/2′), you need to use a light (under 1 ounce) sinker with heavy drag, you should keep that line a light 10-14 pounds, and for best results try to use a short-shank nose-hooked (or long-shank threaded-on) soft plastic lure with the hook being thin and light. Just rest that sinker on the bottom, tighten up that line, and bring it home with any suspicious movement at all. You can also practice up close in clearer water to learn more about how your rod movement affects the lure, such as in a deep, unused aquarium at home. Good luck, and hope this answers your question!


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow bass fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on bass fishing since 2004.

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