When wagering for food, count on the drop shot rig
Mike Norris Outdoors - August 20, 2003

When it comes to horse racing, wagering bets is a daily event at tracks throughout the nation.

So it seemed natural that Buzz Oros, a saddle shop proprietor in Batavia, and I wage a bet with St. Charles based horse racing jockey agent Jay Fedor and jockey Justin Vitek from Texas on which twosome would catch the heaviest six-fish limit of bass when fishing Wisconsin's Geneva Lake recently. At stake was which twosome would pay for lunch at Papa Corey's, a local eatery located across from the lake on Hwy. 120.

Our fishing contest began at 8:30 in the morning and we scheduled our weigh-in for noon at Van Dyke's pier at the southeast corner of the lake and across the street from Papa Corey's.

Both our teams brought in a six-fish limit and we weighed each bass one by one on a hand-held scale and tallied the results. Oros and my six-fish limit weighed in at 14 pounds, while the six-fish limit caught by Fedor and Vitek fell short at 10.75 pounds.

We released the bass and walked to the restaurant. Oros and I secured our victory drop shot rigging and I can tell you with certainty the food always tastes better when one is not paying for it.

Drop-shotting is the method of placing a hook and plastic worm (or live bait) approximately one to two feet above a weight which is attached to the tag end of one's fishing line. By doing so, an angler suspends his lure above the bottom in a fashion that is extremely tantalizing to gamefish. More importantly, since the drop shot hook and lure is above the weight, it provides a direct link between the angler's rod or finger and what's taking place below.

Drop shot rigging is relatively easy to master and doesn't require a lot of expensive fishing tackle, but it can sure fool fish. So much in fact, that the State of Michigan has banned the placement of a hook above a weight unless the hook is attached to a tag line of at least three inches in length.

I've written about drop-shotting before but it's so effective it needs to be repeated. Here's the lowdown on how to rig and use the drop shot:

I drop shot with eight-pound moss green Berkley Sensation monofilament (six-pound diameter) in conjunction with spinning gear because light line spools off the reel easier and I can detect bites easily by placing the line over my index finger.

Hook size varies depending on the thickness of the soft plastic lure. For plastic worms like the four-inch Berkley drop shot worm, I'll use a red-colored No. 2 Gamakatsu Octopus hook. For larger worms like the Roboworm Buzz Oros uses, a No. 1 hook is a better fit.

To rig the drop shot, tie the hook approximately 2 to 3 feet up the line with a Palomar knot. Place the hook upside down when tying it to the line, and once you pull the line tight the hook will ride upright.

A bell sinker will do, but the advantages of the special designed drop shot sinker cannot go unnoticed. Drop shot sinkers have a line-gripping swivel on top. The swivel grips the line tightly, and allows you to adjust the height of the weight in relation to the hook and lure while reducing line twist. In most situations, Ill use a quarter ounce drop shot sinker, though I may go to a heavier weight in windy conditions.

I recommend using a four- to six-inch plastic worm for drop-shotting. Worm color choices include natural pumpkin or watermelon colors for clear lakes and darker purples or black colors for fertile or stained lakes.

Rigging the worm is simple. Nose hook the worm making sure not to penetrate the worm too far back so as to interfere with the hook set.

The object of drop-shotting is to shake and shimmy the lure while not moving the weight. This enticing action will draw fish to the lure and eventually the fish will inhale the worm.

You may feel small panfish pecking at the worm at first, but you must resist setting the hook. When a bass or other gamefish inhales the worm, you'll feel the heavier weight at the end of your line. Quickly set the hook.

Try vertically fish a drop shot rig in deeper water or cast it out when fishing shallows and under docks.

On our Geneva Lake outing, Oros and I targeted weed edges and deeper water ranging from 20 to 30 feet. Our catch included a mixed bag of both largemouth and smallmouth bass.

With lunch completed, Oros and I headed back out unto Geneva Lake where we continued to catch bass drop shot rigging until hunger overtook us again. We only wished we had found two more willing partners who wanted to place a wager on dinner that evening.

Outdoors with Mike Norris is heard every Thursday from 3-4 p.m. on AM1280 WBIG. Mike Norris can be reached at wallimike@aol.com