Drop shotting leaders – short or long?

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I remember a time when the drop shot rig was the hot new thing but these days it’s pretty much standard to have it on the deck every trip out.  Have you ever asked yourself, “how far should the weight be from the hook?”  Someone asked me this the other day.  For me, it depends on three things and I make my selection according to; 1. season, 2. size (of my bait), and 3. structure.

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  • During the Summer and Fall I like a small shad type bait like an Artifishable Fishy or a small worm.  I get more bites with a 24-30in gap between the hook and weight than a short rig.  During the Summer I fish grass or deep brush/trees where the bass will be positioned well off the bottom.  These are usually “school fish” holding around bait.  I often fish using a vertical approach in the Summer and Fall targeting bass (and bait) on my Lowrance unit and “dropping” down on them.  During the Summer and Fall Bass are on the move, suspended and roaming the shad schools so a bait well off the bottom works.  Perhaps this is because with the longer rig my bait appears to be swimming.

    If I fish a deep rockpile, channel, or a rocky flat with points I get bit better with a shorter rig.  I’ll cast the bait out and pull it across the bottom with a very gentle shake.  The fish on the rockpile or holding on flats are different and they like a bait that hugs the bottom…especially in the Spring.  In the Spring time I also drop shot with bigger worms; 6 and 8in.  The 8in worm on a short drop shot rig can be deadly and produce big bites.

    During the Spring spawn period (we have a while) a short drop shot wacky rig can be very effective.  There are many different applications to discuss with the drop shot rig but try and experiment with the length of your rig until you find what gets bit best.  Good luck!

    About Author

    Tom Lowery

    Tom Lowery is a local bass fishing guide that has over 20 years of freshwater bass fishing experience on the local lakes.

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