Drop Shotting with Cody Barry
Drop Shotting with Cody Barry
- Posted by Cody Barry
- On March 21, 2017
TackleDirect Pro Staffer, Cody Barry, shares a few tips and his recommendations on using the drop shot technique to put more bass in your livewell.
Drop-shot fishing is normally known for deep-water applications and for using sonar to transmit what your bait is doing. I’m going to flip the table and explain to you the equipment, baits, and logic behind shallow water drop-shot fishing. I have always heard of how good of a technique the drop-shot is but living in New Jersey really limited its applications. After some time of messing around with this rig for about two years, I finally found the right system for success and found out how effective it is, especially in tidal situations. I learned how to fish this rig on the Hudson and Delaware River, so this is slightly more suited for tidal water; however, it is definitely a killer in lakes and reservoirs alike.
The rod, reel, and line are very critical for detecting even the lightest pick-ups. The set up I prefer is a Shimano Stradic 2500HGFK paired with a Shimano Zodias 270M Rod. This reel is very light but has an amazing drag and super smooth reeling, and the rod is a 7- foot, medium action with a moderate fast-tip. The tip allows excellent bite detection and accurate casts. The Zodias, even for being a medium action rod, has a great backbone for being able to turn the fish’s head away from cover. I believe the line is the biggest player, as is took me the longest to find a line that would allow me to cast, and relay what I want my bait to do in an effective manner. I use 15lb Diawa J-Braid in chartreuse. The chartreuse is huge for tracking your bait. A lot of my bites I don’t feel, but I see my line “pop”, which is very similar to jerk bait fishing. This braid is very supple but for the knots I use, it is the best I have found yet.
The next piece of the puzzle is the actual rig and knots I use. First off, I run a 3-4 foot leader of 12-16lb Sunlike FC sniper Flourocarbon. The Alberto knot was the strongest for me when marrying these two lines, as well as being extremely small. Because of the sleekness of the knot it runs through the guides nicely. When I first started fishing the drop-shot, I was doing what I read and nose hooked everything. Big mistake. I was hung up on every other cast and almost broke a rod over my knee because of it. I found the Owner Down Shot Offset worm hook is by far the best in terms of sharpness and perfect size for this. These hooks seem to run a little small, so I actually use a 3/0 hook for almost all the baits. You’ll notice it has a slightly odd shape to it, but my hook up to land rate is at least 98%. Besides line, the weight is the next most important factor. I use the absolute lightest pencil weight I can get away with because I want the current to move my bait very slightly. It makes for a super natural flowing action that smallies and largemouth cannot resist. This is a key factor in letting the bait work itself in current situations. I dead stick it 70% of the time, while the other 30% I’m slowly dragging it back to the boat while it is moving with the current. Also against the grain of conventional drop-shot fishing, I place my bait about 6-8 inches above the weight.
The baits I found most effective in this technique are the Lake Fork Ring Fry, Reactions Innovations Flirt, Keitech Easy Shaker, and the Big Bite Baits Coontail worm. Each one has a different application in which I’ll break down my opinions why. I use the Ring Fry almost all of the time in the 4-inch version. This is my go to bait in the Delaware because of its slightly bulkier yet compact style. This bait is very soft and has ribs for pushing a lot of water which helps in stained water. The Reactions Innovations Flirt is my Finesse, summer time, high pressure bait. It is skinny and does not have crazy action in the current. The Keitech is my grass fishing drop shot worm because it is sleek yet soft so it doesn’t pull up grass. The last is the Big Bite Baits Coontail worm. This bait is a good size but ribbed like the Ring Fry. As the name suggests, I use this bait when I’m at big fish places such as lake Champlain, or the Upper Chesapeake Bay. Finding your own confidence-baits is a big part of fishing, but just note that it is very important to find a bait that doesn’t spin, because your casting and retrieving this technique a lot. Even with braid, line spin can be a real pain that is easily avoided.
So now that the whole set up has been broken down, I’m going to give you different scenarios in which I fish it. First is around wood. This bait is absolutely deadly around wood. Pilings and laydowns are my main targets. It doesn’t get hung up you too often, so you can cast it into a nice tree and shake it until the cows come home without pulling it out of the strike zone. While fishing pilings, I use two tactics: 1) cast it right beside it and let it fall straight down; or 2) cast it upstream and let the current push it back to the cover. Both are highly effective. When getting a bite in wood, just keep pressure on it if it is hung up. It will eventually free itself and swim out. This rig is extremely effective in keeping fish attached so patience will pay off. When casting this rig you want it to fall straight down so slack line is essential. This isn’t a big bulky jig that if it gets hit on the fall you need to let them have it. That is why the bright line is a big player in this system. I’ve practiced for tournaments and sometimes cannot shake these fish off. All they feel is soft plastic, so it feels natural to them as well as in the Lake Fork and Keitechs case, taste natural too.
Grass would be my second favorite place to fish this. You pretty much fish this rig the same way as you would say a Texas- rigged bait. It is a finesse approach in a power-fishing environment. The only changes I’d make was a little heavier line say 30 pound test braid and a little heavier weight to make sure it gets through the grass. I also like to sometimes throw this on a bait caster for the gear ratios purposes. You can fish this rig just about everywhere, so don’t let normal drop shot theories determine if you use it or not.
Something I haven’t mentioned yet is the hook-set with this rig. You want to keep in mind you are using no stretch line with a sharp thin wire hook, so you don’t want to put them into orbit with your hook-set. I like to think about it like a balloon. If you take a fork and slowly press it into a balloon, it won’t pop. But if you hit it with a quick snap, the balloon pops. When I feel the bite, I give it a quick snap to drive that hook in and its buried. Let the fish run and tire itself out using the right drag and keep pressure on it. This will ensure you have an extra passenger in the onboard Jacuzzi (livewell).
I hope some of you will take this information and make shallow water drop-shotting another technique for the water. Remember confidence in baits and rigs are the keys to success in fishing.
ST2500HGFK Stradic FK Spinning Reel
The Shimano Stradic FK Spinning Reels are designed for anglers who demand toughness and durability in their tackle. Shimano’s Hagane reel design allows for these reels to be long lasting through your many fishing trips.
Super FC Sniper Fluorocabon Line
The Sunline Super FC Sniper Fluorocarbon fishing line is the number one fluorocarbon line in the Japanese market and gaining popularity in the US. This line is a great choice for all techniques with spinning or casting tackle. This fluorocarbon line featrures high specific gravity for super sensivity even in deep water.