New technique for the drop-shot rig

For years, finesse-type tactics and techniques were viewed with a certain degree of suspicion by anglers unaccustomed to light line and small baits. But as the "Western Finesse Wave" has swept the nation, so too has the willingness of power fishermen to adapt their methods to the other side of the ledger.

 In the 20-year history of modern finesse techniques, perhaps no tactic has gained more interest so quickly as drop-shotting. Spurred by tournament victories, the simplicity and versatility of this method struck a chord for those who had longed for an effective way of placing a lure at various depths in the water column.

 From the beginning, drop-shotting has been viewed as a vertical or near-vertical presentation for bass suspended generally at depths 15 feet or deeper. While the similarities between deep-water finesse techniques and short-line flipping tactics have been few, one of the most significant has always been the emphasis on a vertical presentation.

 Since the vertical nature of the drop-shot rig fits the shallow-water approach perfectly, it was inevitable that some enterprising anglers would explore the possibilities. What they've discovered is that an upgraded drop-shot rig (one that employs a standard flipping stick, 20-pound test line, 3/8-ounce weights and hooks large enough to accommodate whatever lure is being used) not only solves many flipping dilemmas, but it actually expands the usefulness of this short-line method. Perhaps most significant is the power of the drop-shot rig during times when bass are suspended off the bottom and are unwilling to hit lures on the fall. By adjusting the distance of the lure to the weight (sometimes referred to as the "leader," although it is not a leader in the traditional sense), an angler can hold a bait at these middepth levels indefinitely. With the hook tied directly to the line using a Palomar knot, the length of the drop-shot "leader" is dictated by the distance of fish above the bottom, as well as by the height of the cover. Although this method works well in most all of the traditional flipping situations, it is particularly effective over submerged reeds or trees where the usual "thump" of a strike is often replaced by a noticeable building of tension on the line.

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