- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 17, 2002

Virginian Shawn Bevan is just one of many area anglers who want to know more about a style of fishing that the bass hounds from the clear desert lakes of California, Arizona and Nevada say they innovated.
"I have spring fever badly," writes Bevan, "and I need to get out and catch some fish this weekend. I have been hearing a lot about a drop-shot rig lately, but I do not know what it is."
You're not alone, Shawn, and to hear the Westerners describe it, you'd think they came up with a new style of catching bass. Folks, all a drop-shot rig looks like is a single-hook bottom outfit of the kind that old and young fishermen use all along the Chesapeake Bay's rivers from summer through fall whenever they're after a Norfolk spot, white perch or croaker.
Drop-shotting, as bass fanatics on both sides of the continent have come to call it, is so simple it's almost laughable. You take a spinning or baitcasting rod and reel, peel some line (usually about 6- to 10-pound monofilament) down from the rod tip, then tie the line into the eyelet of a small, short-shanked hook, anything from a size 3 or 4 up to a size 1. (Mind you, we said, 1, 3 or 4, not 3/0 or 4/0. Think small. The ones with the slash and the zero after the initial hook number point to big stuff.)
Tie the line to the hook's eyelet. Use a Palomar knot even a standard improved clinch knot will do but make sure that there is at least a 2- or 3-foot-long tag end of monofilament trailing down after you've tied your knot. At the very end of that trailing line, tie an overhand knot and now pinch on a size 1 (roughly 3/16 oz.) split-shot weight. A ⅛-ounce or even -ounce sinker or bullet weight also works. It doesn't matter all that much, but the less weight, the better it is, as long as it stays on the bottom. The simple overhand knot is intended to keep a pinched-on split-shot from sliding off.
You now have a hook and a piece of line under it with a weight that will hold the rig on the bottom. But instead of piercing a piece of bloodworm, shrimp, minnow or peeler crab to the hook as a Chesapeake bottom fisherman would, bass anglers normally insert the little hook into the head of an artificial 3-inch Berkley Power Pulse Worm or a short finesse worm of any sort, maybe something that looks like a slender minnow, or a small curly-tailed or fringed grub. Either way the plastic "bait" is hooked plainly through the head area, not hidden inside it. That's it.
Dab a little fish attractant onto the soft imitation bait, cast it out along a river or creek ledge, perhaps the side of a lake point, or a sunken tree and any other underwater obstruction that might hold a predator species waiting for unsuspecting minnows or grass shrimp to happen by. As they see the bait pulsating, moving slightly in a current, looking almost alive whenever you lift and lower the rod tip a bit, or simply begin reeling it back in super slow-motion, the bass and other fish who chase after bait will definitely be enticed by your drop-shot rig.
To prove the point, we engaged two of the best fishing guides in these parts for a morning of drop-shotting in a tidal Potomac River feeder creek.
Andy Andrzejewski and Dale Knupp, both of whom guide under the Reel Bass Adventures banner, agreed to show us how it's done. Andrzejewski and Knupp used light spinning tackle with 8 to 10 Trilene XL line, a short-shanked number 4 Daiichi hook, a 4-inch Berkley Bungee worm or a 3-inch Power Pulse Worm in blue fleck or emerald shiner colors.
"When I do the drop-shotting thing, I cast it out, then pick the bait up from the bottom without moving the sinker," said Andrzejewski. "All I want to do is remove slack line, but there might be some movement anyway. Sometimes I get a solid hit, or I feel weight at the end of the line. It'll be a fish. That's pretty much it."
We did just as the two guides suggested. At first, not much happened. Then along a ledge that fell from three to nearly nine feet, the drop-shot settled down and almost immediately showed some movement. It was a bass that wasted little time going after the fake bait. A little later, in the same vicinity, a yellow perch inhaled the offering, then a bass sucked in a drop-shot worm for Knupp. Finally, a snag claimed my entire setup. A new drop-shot rig had to be tied.
One thing, however, quickly became obvious: drop-shotting works.

Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Friday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]



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