A drop shot is rapidly becoming the go-to fish catcher for scores of anglers across the country. By suspending the bait off the bottom and above the weight, it has a more natural, subtle action that quickly gets attention from even the finickiest bass.
Although there has been much written about the best baits, locations, and techniques for drop shotting, there has been precious little written about leader length – which can be critical to success. Too long a leader and the presentation becomes unwieldy, too short a leader and it will get obscured by the bottom.
Here’s a quick guide to leader selection – when to use a short leader, and when to go long.
When To Use A Short Drop Shot Leader
There are several times you want to use a shorter (6-12 inch) leader on your drop shot. The first is whenever you are fishing it vertically. In this case, you want the whole presentation to be as compact as possible, so that the bait gets to the fish about the same time the weight does. The second is when you upsize to a ‘bubba shot’ or heavy drop shot. Rig a drop shot on casting tackle, with a larger bait and flip or cast it around cover. The shorter leader length is necessary to keep it from snagging as much.
When To Use A Long Drop Shot Leader
Longer leaders (18-36 inches) are best whenever you are making long casts with the rig. On a long cast, the line will be coming off the bottom at an angle to the boat, and a longer leader is necessary to keep it up off the bottom. Another scenario where a long leader is ideal is when you’re in especially snaggy cover like rocks, so the bait is visible above the cover. Long leaders are also common on the Great Lakes, where round gobies can drive anglers nuts with their constant pecking. Bringing your bait up to 24 inches or so greatly reduces the amount of goby bites.
Great Baits For The End Of A Drop Shot Leader
Here are some of the best soft plastics featured in recent Mystery Tackle Boxes that are ideal for a drop shot rig:
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