The Most Effective Finesse Tactic for Catching Bass
Kevin VanDam is the winningest angler in the world, having earned more than $6 million fishing for bass.
The drop-shot rig is one of the most efficient finesse tactics that a bass angler can use. When you have a hook attached to your main line above a weight, the line stays tight, and whenever you shake the rod tip, whatever bait you have on your drop-shot rig will produce a lot of action. Because the bait on a drop-shot rig is held up off the bottom, the bass easily can spot it. A drop-shot rig is known primarily as a clear-water technique, and that’s where it really shines. It’s highly visible, and you can give the bait plenty of action, which means the bass can see the drop-shot rig from greater distances.
However, if you’ve located a school of bass, even in stained water, this method is efficient at triggering non-active and non-aggressive bass to bite. Another advantage to the fishing the drop-shot rig is that you can use a wide variety of baits with it. For instance, if you’re fishing for big largemouths, you can use a large bait that’s Texas-rigged and fish it even in cover successfully. The drop-shot rig is far-more versatile than most anglers give it credit for being. Day in and day out, when the situation calls for a finesse rig, I primarily fish the drop-shot rig.
I fish the drop-shot rig on a spinning rod with either 8- or 10-pound test line with a Strike King Tour Grade tungsten drop-shot weight that’s just heavy enough to keep tension on the line. My number-one bait to rig on a drop-shot rig is a straight-tail plastic worm like a Strike King Dream Shot that’s flat on one side. This worm comes in two sizes – a 4- and a 5-inch. This Dream Shot is a fatter worm than most other straight-tail worms and features a narrow, tapering tail that’s flat on the end. The Dream Shot resembles a rattlesnake kind of worm. I try to match the profile of the bait fish that the bass are feeding on in the lake at the time of year I’m fishing. Whether you rig the Dream Shot Texas style or put the hook in the middle of the worm, it has a tremendous amount of action.
Another lure I use on a drop-shot rig is the Strike King Half Shell, a small, minnow-imitating kind of bait that’s 3-inches long and has a forked trail. This lure has a lot of erratic darting action when you shake your rod tip. Anytime I have a tough bite or need to fish a finesse bait, the Dream Shot and the Half Shell are my go-to lures for my drop-shot rigs. Regardless of the mood of the bass or what they’re feeding on, I usually can get a bite on these lures fished on a drop-shot rig.