by Rick Lawrence, September 10, 2017
It was late Oct two years ago and the weather was fair, but a cold front had moved in and the water temps were dropping down into the low 50's. I was fishing a tournament with a buddy in one of the prettiest spots in all of N. Idaho, the Pend Oreille River. The smallies were banging craw colored crank baits pretty good and we had caught a few nice size fish in the 1 ½ to 3 pounds range when the bite just stopped. I knew the fish were still there, just not biting. So we switched it up and tried a few other things like spinner baits, different cranks and tubes, but got no more fish.
As we were getting ready to leave to try another area, we went over one of the many big truck size boulders that are in this stretch of the river. The fish finder lit up and showed a ton of fish all around it, so I told my partner why don’t we try dropshotting them. We had pre-fished this stretch the week before and done o.k. here with cranks, catching just enough fish to figure this was a good starting point.
The water along this bank had a flat that was only about 10 to 14 feet deep with a fairly slow current, but full of cobble with some large boulders ranging from about 2 feet to 10 feet across. It had just enough color that you could just see most of the bigger boulders and make out some of the bottom. So we cast out and let the boat drift with the current like we had been when throwing cranks here earlier in the day and we both nailed a fish within the first minute of that drag! Well we loaded the boat with some 3 and 4 lb.ers this way and I quickly perfected the technique.
You need a slow current with a rocky, gravel or sand bottom. Just drop the bait over the edge of the boat, don’t try to cast, as that will only get you hung-up if you’re in the rocks. I learned right away that you need to put on a large enough weight so the bait will stay almost right under the boat and not drag back, then put out just enough line to reach the bottom. Let the boat drift in the current and watch your rod as the weight bounces along the rocks. If you keep the line right under the boat the hang-ups are very few and the fishing can be fantastic. Bites can be very light though, so you have to lift on the rod tip a bit to feel for weight if the rod tip does something odd. The egg sinker or pencil lead on a wire is similar to a Walleye bottom bouncer without the extra arm. This setup works amazingly well through the rocks.
We ended up finishing 3rd and 4th in that tourney. So it was a good day. Since then I have used my “Drag the Drop Shot” method with great success, even on different sections of the river. This even worked in the main lake where there is no current, just a breeze to move the boat along. As long as you can drag the bait slowly with the boat and not with the rod it seems to work just as well.
I tie this rig up a little differently for this method and it has proven to be a fish killer. Here’s how I do it. I tie on a 1/0 Gammy finesse hook using the Fish-N-Fool knot that I invented or a double Palomar knot. Tie it on so the hook eye points up and you have about a 20? tag end. Then run the tag end back down through the hook eye. That will keep the hook pointing straight out. Then I run a hollow pencil lead about 2” long up the line and pinch it lightly in place with a pair of pliers. That does two things, it makes it easy to adjust the height of the bait off the bottom. I like mine about 8? to 16? off a hard bottom and if, or should I say when you get hung up the weight will just slide off and you won’t lose the whole rig. Just slide on a new weight, pinch it in place and you’re good to go. If you’re fishing the rocks the weighted bent wire rig works very well and is virtually snag proof. To make these up I used some old 10” spinner bait wires and the ¼” hollow pencil lead. Just run the wire through it and crimp in place, You could also buy Walleye bottom walker rigs and just cut the extra arm off the top if you didn’t want to make them up. Just don’t get to heavy of ones, about a 1 oz. weight works good.
This live well hatch cover was 20”, so the bass was well over 20” and over 5 lbs. That’s a toad for up here in N. Idaho. I got her dropshotting a Pearl White 5” stick bait. The rod is a 6’6” med. action spinning rod, mated to a Quantum Array 40 and spooled a with 6lb test Trilene mono.
Here is how I tie up my Drag the dropshot rig:
I’ve been using the tails off baits that have gotten to torn up after being fished Texas rigged and it has been a real killer. I just cut off about 3 ” off the tail of one of the used baits and nose hook it, by going in the bottom of the bait about 3/8 of a inch back and bringing the hook point right to the nose of the bait like it shows in the drawing above. If I don’t have any used baits I just use the whole 5” bait and they work just about the same. The hot colors around here have been Chartreuse Pepper, Rainbow Trout, Bubble Gum, Green Shad, as well as Pearl White. This has turned out to be one of the best dropshot methods I’ve ever fished.
So the next time you’re out on a good stretch of river give the “Drag a Dropshot” rig a try.