Call 2020 whatever you want, but with the Bassmaster Elite Series it was the year of the drop shot. Normally confined to use on the Northern Swing, where smallmouth is the quarry, the drop shot proved its versatility in some unlikely places.
That happened at Santee Cooper, the land of cypress tree forests and gnarly backwater swamps more suited for winching in largemouth with big reels, stout rods and big baits. On Championship Sunday, Brandon Palaniuk called an audible and made a game-changing move that earned him a second blue trophy of the season. Fishing in shallow water filled with submerged trees and brush, he pulled out the very same drop-shop setup that won for him on Lake Champlain. This time, a 7-pound, 2-ounce largemouth took the bait, rigged on light spinning tackle with 10-pound line.
That was just one notable circumstance in which the pros taught us all how to catch more and bigger bass, using baits in places and with techniques we’d never think of using them.