Kevin Hawk

A vertical drop-shot presentation excels in pressured, clear bodies of water where bass feed mainly by sight, because the drop-shot rig allows the bait to suspend above the weight allowing it to move fluidly through the water giving it a natural, life-like appeal.

I probe depths ranging from 15 to 70 feet keeping my eyes fixated on my front sonar unit looking for cover like brush piles, standing timber, and boulders to drop my bait down to.  I also look for schools and individual fish, especially when fishing for spotted bass.  I keep my bail open with my index finger under the line and release the line when I see the target I want to drop down to.  My sonar unit is set no lower than 92 percent sensitivity so I can always see my drop-shot fall down to my target.  Once my bait reaches my desired depth, I experiment with shaking and dead sticking my bait and allow the bass to tell me how they want it.

My vertical drop-shot rig consists of a 7-foot medium action rod and a size 3000 spinning reel spooled with either 6 or 7-pound-test fluorocarbon.  I like a 3000 spinning reel because it has a larger diameter spool to help manage fluorocarbon line.  I tie a Palomar knot to either a size 1 drop-shot hook or a size 1 Roboworm ReBarb hook depending on whether I’m fishing open water or around cover.  When Texas-rigging,  I always make sure to push the hook point completely through my bait then draw the hook point back into the bait flush with the bait’s edge so I get a good hook set every time.   I like to drop-shot with 4 1/2 and 6-inch straight tail Roboworms because I have confidence in them.  Roboworms are soft and pliable which gives them great action in the water and allows for easy hook penetration when Texas-rigged.  My favorite colors are morning dawn, Aaron’s magic, oxblood light with red flake, and MM III.

I match the length of my leader to the length of the worm I’m using and increase from there if I’m not getting bit. I keep a small weight box in my boat with as assortment of drop-shot weights ranging from 1/32 to 1/2-ounce.  I let the depth I’m fishing and the amount of wind dictate what size weight I use.  Generally, the deeper I’m fishing the heavier weight I use.  There are a few different style drop-shot weights on the market to choose from.  The most popular shapes are a ball, tear drop, and pencil.  I like the Skinny Bear Thin Drop Shot Weight because it combines the tear drop and pencil shape to form an elongated tear drop.  The elongated tear drop shape comes through cover well and allows me to feel the weight at all times.

If you haven’t tried vertical drop-shotting already, give it a try.  Not only is it a fun way to fish, but it can put a quality limit of fish in the boat in a hurry.