How to Drop Shot for Bedding Bassby: Jeremiah T. Bagwell
Sight fishing during the spawn can make your emotions work overtime. Just being able to see that big spawning beauty is enough to drive any sane person crazy. When nothing else seems to work, drop into bed with them.
Drop shot fishing is not a typical sight fishing technique but, being typical doesn't make you a champion. In order to rise above your peers, often times you need to go against the grain.
Let's think about the basics of fishing during the spawn. First, you need a subtle presentation that can stay in the beds for a long period of time. In addition to just simply staying in the bed, you need to have movement.
While a jig or a Texas rigged worm can fulfill your needs for a short period of time, after a minimal amount of moving, the bait is no longer in the strike zone. However, if you pitch a drop shot rig into a bed you can literally move it for hours in the same exact spot.
Some creative anglers are fishing a drop shot in the beds on standard baitcasting equipment. This is another variation to the normal method of using this technique. You are now able to use 14+ pound test line and also have a rod with enough backbone to get a good solid hook set.
It is not uncommon for the anglers using this technique to have hooks up to 2/0 in size on their lines. The increase hook size will allow a much deeper penetration and more holding power.
Bait selection is a very important aspect of bed fishing. During the spawn bass are not in the feeding mode. Their only priority is keeping predators out of the nests to prevent the eating of newly laid eggs. In a nutshell what this means is that you must choose a bait that resembles a natural predator to the bass.
Bluegills and lizards are perfect bait selections for sight fishing. Both creatures in their natural environment are notorious for destroying thousands of bass eggs in a very short period of time. If you can pitch a bait that resembles a small bluegill or lizard into a nest and keep it moving for an extended period of time, a bass will surely annihilate it.
When I fish a drop shot rig during the spawn, I prefer to use a MB704C rod from Rogue Rods. The rod has just the right amount of stiffness to get a good solid hookset. My baits of choice are either a 3 3/4" curly tail drop shot minnow or a 5" salamander from Worminator Lures. The lifelike appearance and soft texture make these baits unbeatable. I always coat all of my baits with MegaStrike fish attractant because, in all conditions it causes the bass to hold on longer giving me more time to set the hook. The majority of the time I will use either a 1/0 or a 2/0 Daiichi hook. If you use an inferior hook, the lack of penetration will result in a lot of missed fish. This particular combination is what works best for me in most spawning conditions that I encounter.
Using a stealthy approach is still going to improve your odds, as with any method of sight fishing. Try to sneak up on the beds as quietly as possible. Once a bass gets spooked and leaves the area, you should do the same. Move up the shoreline a short distance trying to locate more bedding fish. After you have allowed things to calm down, revisit your original area because the bass will not vacate its nest for an overly extended period of time.
When zeroing in on your target you should always aim for the back side of the nest. This will allow you to slowly work the lure into position without spooking the fish. Once you are perfectly aligned in your target zone, allow your bait to fall to the bottom. After a brief period of rest, give the rod tip two to four quick twitches followed by a short pause. This will cause an erratic movement and then allow the bait to descend into the nest. The beauty of the drop shot rig is that although you are moving the bait, your weight is staying stationary. This will provide you with the ability to repeatedly move your bait without leaving the crucial strike zone.
The bass is going to get the impression that this predator is here to eat their eggs. Often times it will not take to long before the bass decides to eliminate the threat.
It is very important that you are quick on the draw when setting the hook. Generally speaking, the bass has no intentions of eating your bait it simply wants it gone. Therefore, the amount of time you will have to set the hook will be limited. Many times the fish will either, carry the predator to an area outside the bed or they will simply try to crush it and spit it out. This is precisely why I mentioned coating baits with MegaStrike fish attractant, to give you a little more time to get a good hookset.
Keep in mind that every time you pull a fish off of its bed, you are opening the area up to potential predators. If you do chose to fish bedding bass, try to release the fish as rapidly as possible. By doing so you will help protect the fishery and allow other anglers the option of catching quality bass.
Added: Thu Oct 09 2008