Dropshot and shaky heads are two of the most effective finesse tactics for bass fishing present lures differently but produce similar results. A shaky head jig and a drop-shot rig both catch lots of bass on pressured waters but present lures differently in the water column. Here’s a look at when and where to use each finesse tactic on your favorite bass waters.
Shaky Head Vs Drop Shot
The basic shaky head setup is a lightweight jighead (1/16 to 1/4 ounce) matched with a finesse worm or other soft plastic baits. This setup works best for bottom-hugging bass but you should use as light of a weight as possible to keep from snagging on the bottom yet it is heavy enough to keep contact with the bottom.
I favor using a shaky head any time bass are shallower than 10 feet. The soft plastic lure can be rigged on the jighead with either an open hook or weedless with the hook point buried in the body of the lure. So it is a great lure for shaking in a spawning bass’ nest with the hook exposed or for flipping with a weedless setup into shallow cover in the fall after a cold front. I also catch post-spawn bass suspended under docks with a 1/8-ounce shaky head and a beaver-style bait. The slow fall of the shaky head keeps the lure in the strike zone of the suspended bass longer to trigger more strikes.
Drop Shot Vs Shaky Head
The basic drop-shot rig consists of a mainline tied to a small hook followed by a small round or cylinder weight at the end of the line. A finesse worm or other small soft plastic minnow bait is usually impaled on the hook.
With this setup, you can tie the hook at various distances from the weight, which allows you to fish your lure closer to or farther from the bottom depending on the depth of the bass you are targeting. A drop shot with a round weight is ideal for fishing along sand or gravel bottoms, while the drop shot with the cylinder weight works best for rocky or weedy bottoms.
I prefer fishing a drop shot when bass are deeper than 15 feet along ledges and dropoffs. If I am fishing crystal clear water I will cast and present the rig horizontally to bass less than 20 feet deep. I will present the rig vertically when fishing for deeper bass.
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