The Drop Shot: Another Angler's View
Coming of age as a professional bass angler in the West, Berkley Pro Byron Velvick is also no stranger to the light-line finesse tactics that trace their domestic origins to the region. It was on these gin-clear western lakes that Velvick developed his own preferences for the all-around and more situation-specific drop-shotting setups, the same setups that he said he has employed in every CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series event this year.
Just like Skeet, I think the drop shot is versatile enough to be used anywhere all year, Velvick said. When you need to catch fish, grab a drop shot and go drop-shotting.
Velvick's drop-shotting setup is a bit different from Skeet Reese's and starts with a 6-foot spinning rod with a light action and a very sensitive tip. When drop-shotting, Velvick prefers a palm-sized spinning reel spooled with Berkley ® Vanish ® line. In shallow water, a 3- or 4-inch leader is standard for Velvick; deeper water calls for six inches.
I use Berkley Vanish exclusively, Velvick said, adding that fluorocarbon line is a must when employing this presentation. I prefer 6- and 8-pound but in extremely clear water, I might even drop down to 4-pound.
When choosing a bait, Velvick said he likes a Berkley 4-inch Bungee ® Power Hawg, and will also use any and all of Berkley's small, straight finesse worms, like the Gulp! Shaky Worm and Sinking Minnow. When drop-shotting in cover, Velvick rigs his bait with an off-set hook matched to the size of the bait. When fishing open water, Velvick said he prefers an open, nose hook. In situations where the presentation calls for a craw instead of a worm, Velvick said he likes the Berkley Gulp! Nuclear Nellie, rigged on either 8-, 10- or 12-pound Vanish spooled on a baitcasting reel with a sensitive, 6-foot rod.
I base my weight selection on the depth of the water, the amount of wind and what the current is doing, said Velvick, who uses only tungsten weights. 1/8-ounce and 1/4-ounce are universal, but as small as 1/16-ounce can be used under calm conditions.
Velvick said drop-shotting is not just for pressured, post spawn fish. This is one of my favorite tactics for catching bedding fish. I also like ﾑpower drop-shotting' where I rig the baits
on 65-pound SpiderWire ® Stealth with a 1/2-ounce weight and flips boat docks, trees, openings in the cover and other areas with that structure that are likely to hold fish.
These fish see a lot of Texas-rigged worms and jigs, Velvick added. With a drop shot, all of a sudden there's this bait that dances on the bottom and that really seems to fire them up.
There's no wrong time of year to drop shot, according to Velvick. From conventional drop-shotting with light tackle to power drop-shotting with heavy braid, he said that anglers shouldn't be afraid to experiment with line and bait sizes whether trying to catch fish suspended in deep water or in shallow water near beds and cover.