The 'bite getter'

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Alan McGuckin

If  you followed the recent slugfest of a smallmouth bass derby better know as the Bassmaster Elite on the St. Lawrence River in New York two weeks ago, you probably know the drop-shot rig was the king daddy of all the lures the pros used to catch those giant limits of brown pigs.

As I watched it on Bassmaster LIVE, I could only grin and wish I was a part of that carnival full of 20-pound limits, because there is no doubt, the drop shot is my favorite lure of all time. It just flat-out gets bites, and it’s super versatile whether you’re chasing deep river smallmouths or using it to skip fairly shallow docks for largemouth.

Not just for smallmouth 

A drop shot works as a naturally effective tool in the deeper water and rocky bottoms that smallmouth often call home, but it’s also a great lure for largemouth around weeds too. My little brother and I compete in a little Monday evening jackpot tournament on Lake Chickamauga. One Monday night back in July we were struggling pretty bad, but we eventually used a drop shot to crack the code on a tough summer bite and caught a 20-pound limit of largemouth that included a 7.8 pounder to win.

My basic drop-shot tackle components

A drop shot is no different than a Carolina Rig in that you can vary weights, leader lengths, hook sizes and lures. If I had to rig my basic drop-shot setup for you, I’d use an 18-inch long leader with a 1/4-ounce cylinder-shaped weight and a size #1 drop-shot hook.

My all-time favorite drop-shot lure is a Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm in green pumpkin, but I’m also a big fan of Jackall’s Crosstail Shad in the color Morning Dawn, as well as a Tube X from Vertical Lures rigged with a slightly larger 1/0 straight shank hook. 

I always use a spinning reel, with the main spool consisting of 15-pound braided line tied with an Alberto knot to about 30-feet of 8-pound fluorocarbon. 

Leader length

As far as the length of fluorocarbon between the hook and weight, I use a leader as long as 2-feet if I’m in 30 to 50 feet of water, and to the other extreme, I use a super short leader of just 3-inches when I’m skipping a drop-shot rig under docks.

I will say this, it seems like the deeper the water, the longer the leader I use. For example, if I’m only fishing 15 feet deep, my leader will be about 12-inches – but if I’m fishing in 40 feet of water, then I’ll probably have a leader that’s 24 inches.

The biggest mistake with drop shots

The biggest mistake you can make with a drop shot is simply not throwing it enough. It’s that versatile. And it often times gets bites on the tough days when not much else is working. That’s why I call it my “bite getter.” 

And besides that, drop shots bring out the sentimental side of me too – I mean after all, it is the lure that allowed me to win the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Bracket Championship in Minnesota last summer to qualify me for the 2018 Bassmaster Classic.

See why I love it so much?