Drop Shot Fishing for Sea Bass

Drop shot fishing started in the US with anglers after freshwater bass, it then came to Europe and produced good catches of perch, zander and pike, now it’s a firm favourite with anglers after sea bass and it’s proving highly effective too.

Drop shotting is basically a method of vertically working a small soft plastic lure or shad up and down off the seabed in a natural manner simulating the way a small fish rises up off the seabed to intercept passing food, then drops back down again in to cover.

Rods are typically about 9ft, the ABU Garcia Ruby Crest 15/40gr is a popular choice as is the Berkeley Skeletor 9ft, both matched to a 4000 sized fixed spool reel such as the ABU Cardinal or Soron’s, or Penn Sargus loaded with 20lb braid.

A drop shot rig is simple to make. It’s made from around 4-feet (122cm) of 20 to 25lb Fluorocarbon. At the bottom end you tie on a small ¼ to ½oz lead, or as light as you can get away with in the tide. 18ins (46cms) above the weight tie in a short 9in (23cm) length of 20lb Fluorocarbon using a 4-turn water knot to form the lure trace and add a size 2 or 1/0 hook depending on lure size. Finish the rig by adding a small size 6 rolling swivel at the remaining free end of the rig.

This method works well with a wide variety of soft plastic/rubber lures, but excels with lures that best simulate sandeels and small prey fish. Ones that I’ve had great success with are the Gulp Paddle Tail Shad 10.5 in Molting White and Boji Blue, the 7.5 and 10.5cm Gulp Alive Minnow and the Gulp Alive 15cm sandeel in all colours.

Here are my methods for drop shot fishing from both a boat and from the shore.

When fishing from a boat, look for water about 5-metres or more deep over weedy, broken rocky ground, ideally with a light wind that will let the boat drift gently to cover the ground slowly. Release the drop shot rig to the bottom until you feel the weight resting on the seabed. Lift the rod tip upwards, using just the wrist, no more than 40 to 50cms, then drop back until you feel the weight tap bottom and repeat. The fish will often hit not as the lure rises, but when it drops. Some days the fish want the trace to the lure just 10 to 15cms long, on other days up to 30cms long, so experiment.

This same technique I’ve found works from the shore too. Look for deeper estuary channels that carry a little tide run. Cast slightly in an up tide direction, so that would be slightly left of you if the tide is flowing left to right, feel the weight to the seabed, then allowing the tide to trot the lure around, again lift at the wrist to induce that up and down action in to the lure. If you look directly in front of you and call that point 12-o’clock with 3-o’clock to your right, the most likely area you’ll get a take is in the 1-o’clock to 4-o’clock arc as the lure comes round to your right.

You can also use the vertical drop shot, much the same as we described for the boat, from jetties and from breakwaters. Always fish the side the tide is flowing away from and pick a weight size that just lets you keep in touch with the seabed. Again use the wrist to lift the rod and lure, then drop it back. This style sees the lure and weight bounce on the bottom and work slowly away from you covering a lot of ground.

Drop shot fishing will become one of the most used methods in summer bass fishing over the next few years. After a slow start due to the long winter past bass fishing all around the

UK is just starting to take off now with good numbers of fish feeding tight in to shore. Don’t miss out, try it, and you’ll enjoy some fantastic sport!

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