Drop-shotting is a fishing technique developed out of necessity – necessity to finally get a bite! Considered one of the most effective methods to target finicky fish, drop-shotting is generally associated with fishing for bass, however today, this fantastic technique can be used for most any species that tend to relate in the water column near the bottom of the lake or river. It’s proven such an effective finesse technique for near-bottom bass, wouldn’t it transfer to one of our favorite near-bottom dwellers? YES! Drop-shotting is PERFECT for … wait for it… walleye!
So what exactly is drop-shotting? Simply put, a drop-shot is a technique used to keep your bait a pre-determined distance off the bottom, ideally right in the strike zone of the fish you’re targeting. For walleye, more often than not, that means within the first few feet of bottom.
Equipment: Drop-shotting is a relatively inexpensive way to target fish. All you require to be able to deploy a drop-shot rig is a hook, a weight and the bait of your choice. Drop-shot kits are available, however you do not need to specifically purchase one.
This is what you need:
Leader: If you’re fishing with braid, it’s a good idea to add a length of either mono or fluorocarbon to your main line. You can add your leader using a simple small barrel swivel (prevents having to tie a double uni knot). Length of leader is angler dependant but it’s recommended to be at least 4-6 feet in length. The leader is where you’ll set up your drop-shot rig. If you’re fishing with straight fluorocarbon or mono, you can set up your rig directly to the mainline.
Hook: Though any hook will do, it’s generally recommended to utilize an octopus style drop-shot hook and for walleye, a 2-O hook will suffice. Depending on bait size, you can adjust your hook size. Circle hooks can also work for drop-shotting walleye and are perfect for getting kids used to feeling the bite.
Weights: The weight of the drop-shot rig is the secret to its effectiveness. Without weight, you’re just fishing normally. The weight allows for a few things to happen: 1) It provides the angler with constant contact with bottom. 2) The weight allows the angler to detect the bite and 3) The weight allows you to reduce the number of snags and reties in a days fishing. You can either use ready-made drop-shot weights (which are designed to detach from your line when hung up) or really any weight you have in your box including bell weights or shot. Drop-shot weights also allow you to slide the weight up and down the leader to constantly adjust depth based on what the fish are telling you.
Fishing a drop-shot rig: It’s imperative, when fishing a drop-shot rig that the hook is pointing up. Drop-shotting techniques include vertical presentations as well as your basic cast and retrieve presentation. The key is to keep your line tight throughout the entire process. This is how you remain in contact with the bottom, and will feel the fish pickup of the bait. Though you can jig a drop-shot, since it’s considered a finesse technique, a gentle wiggle of the rod tip is generally enough to impart some slight movement on the bait seducing the fish to eat. Dragging the weight across the bottom will also help and may even bring fish to the rig because of noise or the bottom stirring up.
Drop-shotting is a fantastic technique to present live and soft plastic baits right in the wheelhouse of finicky fish. It’s an angling method every angler should have in their arsenal when the fish aren’t on the feed. With a little bit of practice, this technique could very well be your go-to technique for Wilderness North Walleye.