The drop shot rig has created a lot of buzz over the past ten years particularly for bass over deeper structure. No surprise that the drop shot is quickly crossing over into the toolbox of walleye anglers. The drop shot is starting to get a lot of praise and accolades from walleye anglers, and I predict that the drop shot will become one of the hottest presentations in the walleye fishing world over the next handful of years. Easy to fish and versatile, the drop shot simply catches walleyes.
What is a drop shot? There are a few different ways to rig a drop shot but essentially, you are taking an octopus or live bait rigging hook and tying the hook above the weight. The weight is placed at the bottom of the line. Many weights designed specifically for the drop shot rig have a modified eyelet where the line can be wedged into the wire so the length of line between the hook and weight can be adjusted. I personally use a size 4 to size 1/0 octopus hook depending on how big of a soft plastic I am using. Also note that you can also use live bait like leeches on a drop shot rig for walleye. For weight, I typically use either a cylinder or round tungsten drop shot weight that is anywhere from a 1/8th ounce to a 1/4 ounce depending on the depth. One aspect of the drop shot rig that I really appreciate is that you can use a heavier weight for casting and because the weight doesn’t affect the ability of a fish to inhale a soft plastic or really affect the action, you can error on the side of heavy and be extremely versatile. In other words, you can take a quarter ounce weight and fish a drop shot in three feet of water or twenty feet of water. For line, I prefer to use an eight- or ten-pound thin diameter braid like Nanofil with a twelve-to-twenty-pound fluorocarbon leader that is about five feet long and often fish a drop shot on a six and a half to seven-foot medium fast action spinning rod.
Something I have been experimenting with is using a baitcasting rod and reel that is seven feet medium action spooled with twenty-pound fluorocarbon for fishing around snags as I don’t have to retie leader material onto braid after breaking off.
Something worth mentioning from my own experimentation, I started to catch many more walleye with drop shot rigs when I increased the amount of line from the hook to the weight… best overall distance I have found is about two feet. Not sure if the increased success is because the bait can drop further and have more hang time or because fish can see it from further away when the bait is further off bottom.
For soft plastics, there are endless options to experiment with and that is the big alure of the drop shot rig. You can use Gulp! Leeches, soft plastic fluke style baits, grubs or even worms. I prefer a bait that is elastic and about three to five inches in length. Usually, I nose hook the soft plastic, but you can also whacky rig hook the bait as well.
Fishing the drop shot is simple. You can drift or fish below the boat, but I usually cast the drop shot and often use the drop shot in conjunction with forward facing sonar where I am casting at fish. The beauty of the drop shot with forward facing sonar is that you can work the bait in one place by twitching the bait and letting it fall without moving the weight. You can fish the drop shot fast and pull the bait away from fish or you can slow down and fish the bait in one place. All the while, the drop shot follows the contours of the bottom and fishes above scum and weeds on the bottom.
The drop shot is deadly for catching walleye and honestly, we have had success with the drop shot wherever we fish it. We have used the drop shot on tough bites where the general opinion of anglers we encountered believed you had to use live bait. Especially as transport laws making live minnows in particular more difficult and expensive to find, I predict that the drop shot rig is going to become a staple with many walleye anglers.