Drop Shot Rig Setup for Bass Fishing

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Written By Donny Karr

Donny Karr is a Tournament Angler with more than 20 years of fishing experience and a writer whose work has been featured in magazines for over a decade. He is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. He enjoys bass and crappie fishing in the lakes around the south-eastern United States. He also fishes for trout in the streams and rivers of the Appalachian mountains. Donny has written for Georgia Outdoor News, Paddling Space, Man Can Outdoors, Alabama Outdoor News, and Bassmaster.


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The best way to fish with a drop shot rig is use a soft plastic worm during summer and winter when bass retreat to deep 20+ foot water.

The drop shot rig has exploded in popularity in recent years as many anglers have started to realize that it has far more applications than many originally believed. Drop shot rigs have traditionally been used to fish deeper water where fish are suspended at or near the bottom. However, it’s come to light that a drop shot rig is an excellent option for shallow or deep water and fishing along channels, points or even spawning beds

In this article, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about the drop shot rig and how you can use it to increase the chances of catching fish in a variety of different scenarios. 

What is a Drop Shot Rig?

A drop shot rig is a fairly simple setup that involves the use of a sinker tied to the end of your fishing line and a lure tied above the hook. Some anglers use a leader line that’s tied to your main line to extend the drop shot’s position and give it more of a free-floating action. 

You can use a variety of different sinkers for the drop shot and any kind of sinker will work. However, it’s best to purchase sinkers that are specially-designed for drop shot rigs that feature a swivel ring that you can easily tie your line to and prevent it from twisting.

I like to use a sinker that’s just light enough to keep the lure on the bottom. Most professional anglers that utilize the drop shot recommend using a weight that’s as light as possible, but one that still lets you feel your lure. This will make it easier to detect bites and will also lead to less disturbance of the bottom, which can sometimes spook fish. 

Drop Shot Rig Schematic Illustration
Drop Shot Rig Schematic Illustration

Drop Shot Hooks & Knots

You won’t be able to get away with using just any kind of hook with a drop shot rig. If you want to have the best results, try using a split-shot hook or drop shot hook as these are designed to keep your lure upright and horizontally aligned instead of letting it hang down, which will look unnatural. 

There are a variety of different hook sizes you can use with the drop shot rig, but the saying that most anglers use regarding drop shot hooks is that “less is more.” This simply means that you don’t want to have a hook that’s too big or you won’t get the right kind of action out of the lure itself. 

The best knot for fishing a drop shot rig is always going to be a palomar knot. Be sure to study up on how to tie a palomar knot so you’ll maximize your chances of catching fish with this rig. 

Best Lures for Drop Shot Rigs

There are a few different kinds of soft plastics you can use for fishing a drop shot rig. The specific kind you need will depend on what type of fish you’re trying to catch with the drop shot. It’s an excellent technique for both bass and crappie fishing, as well as other freshwater or even saltwater species. 

For crappie fishing with a drop shot rig, I like to use Berkley’s Gulp! Alive! Minnows since they have a very lifelike appearance and contain a powerful attractant in the material as well. These come in different size and color options that range from 1 to 4 inches in length. 

If you’re going to be bass fishing with a drop shot rig, you can rely on a short finesse worm that’s about 4 or 6 inches long. You can use a longer worm for going after bigger bass, but the 6 inch finesse worm typically works well for catching largemouth throughout the year. 

Anglers also report having high success rates with flukes or any number of realistic minnow-like lures, or even creature baits that mimic the appearance of crawfish and other types of prey that bass like to eat. 

When and Where to Use a Drop Shot Rig 

Drop shot rigs have been the winning ticket for many professional anglers fishing in early-season tournaments. This is because most bass are moving up from deep to shallow water as the temperature begins to climb, but they usually stick to the bottom of most lakes and reservoirs. The drop shot rig puts your lure in the perfect section of the water column for pre-spawn bass fishing. 

Soft plastic crawfish are a popular pre-spawn drop shot rig bait while minnow-like lure or worms work well for post spawn fishing. You can also cast the drop shot directly into or near a spawning bass’ bed. The drop shot lets you keep the lure in the bed while you twitch it, which usually enrages the female bass that’s laser-focused on protecting her eggs. 

The drop shot rig works best in summer and winter when fish retreat to the comfort of deeper water. Extreme temperatures are usually what drives them down into the 20-foot depth and the drop shot is the best way to target deep-water bass during these times. 


I always use the drop shot rig with a 7-foot spinning rod and fluorocarbon line or leader line. The drop shot rig is an incredibly easy one to use and it works well in situations when fish are more lethargic or sticking close to the bottom. 

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