Field and Stream - - THE MIXED-BAG CHEAT SHEET - —M.M.

When an­glers hear drop shot, they most likely think of bass fish­ing. The sim­ple fi­nesse rig has right­fully earned its rep­u­ta­tion catch­ing large­mouths and small­ies, but its util­ity doesn’t end there. Drop-shot­ting works for cat­fish, pan­fish, and trout and even ex­cels for fall walleyes.

To rig a drop shot for walleyes, start with a medi­u­mac­tion, 7-foot rod. Match an ap­pro­pri­ately sized reel and spool it with 6-pound, low-vis­i­bil­ity monofil­a­ment. Tie on a No. 1 Oc­to­pus or drop-shot hook with a Palo­mar knot, leav­ing 12 to 16 inches of tag end. Next, with the hook point fac­ing up, bring the tag end down through the hook eye; this causes the hook to stick out per­pen­dic­u­lar to the line. Fin­ish by fix­ing a small drop shot, or a 1⁄2- to 1-ounce bank sinker, on the tag end. The weight should be as light as pos­si­ble, just enough to hold bot­tom.

You can use a wide va­ri­ety of ar­ti­fi­cial and live bait. Any fa­vorite soft plas­tic, curly­tail, min­now, nightcrawler, or leech will work. This rig is ef­fec­tive in shal­low wa­ter, but its prow­ess lies in tar­get­ing deep struc­ture. Po­si­tion your boat ei­ther di­rectly on top of or a few yards off rock­piles, ledges, and humps in depths of 20 feet or deeper, then cast to the struc­ture. When you feel the weight hit bot­tom, take in the slack. Pro­ceed to move or twitch the rod tip slowly. This will keep the weight in place and make your baited hook dance for at­ten­tion. Pe­ri­od­i­cally move the weight and con­tinue to work the bait, cast­ing re­peat­edly to the same area. This will al­low you to cover wa­ter ef­fi­ciently.

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