Field and Stream - - CAST & BLAST - CHAD PIPKENS


When line-shy bass need to be fi­nessed into bit­ing, the drop-shot al­lows for both ver­ti­cal and semi-hor­i­zon­tal pre­sen­ta­tions with ex­treme sub­tlety. The weight an­chors the rig to the bot­tom, but the soft plas­tic sits above it, un­en­cum­bered and un­du­lat­ing se­duc­tively. If you’re deal­ing with pres­sured fish, es­pe­cially those in ul­tr­a­clear wa­ter, you’d bet­ter know how to drop-shot. Some­times this is the only tac­tic that will score when the fish are on high alert.


Find the “juice” and pre­pare to be pa­tient. Pipkens says that he doesn’t ex­pect to cover a lot of wa­ter with a drop-shot, not nearly as much as he would with a Carolina rig, and cer­tainly far less than he would with a crankbait. In fact, he most of­ten uses a drop-shot ver­ti­cally, which al­lows him to tar­get dis­crete spots di­rectly un­der the boat thor­oughly and goad neu­tral or neg­a­tive fish into bit­ing. By ad­just­ing his leader length—usu­ally any­where from 8 to 12 inches—he can sus­pend his bait above bot­tom-hug­ging al­gae or short strands of grass and keep it clean. Try­ing to keep a shaky head or a fi­nesse jig sal­ad­free while work­ing thick veg­e­ta­tion can be a real chore.

In an era when most “se­ri­ous” an­glers rely al­most ex­clu­sively on tung­sten weights with their drop-shot rigs, Pipkens says he still prefers to lean on lead weights. “Shape mat­ters much more than a weight’s ma­te­rial,” he says. “I’ll use a cylin­der weight around brush but a round weight in places with lit­tle bits of shell or rock on the bot­tom. The round weights let me feel the softer sweet spot bet­ter.”

Pipkens warns an­glers not to shake the lure too ag­gres­sively. “Some­times shak­ing it is the deal, but peo­ple of­ten overdo it,” he says. “I’ve caught more fish do­ing noth­ing with a drop-shot than by shak­ing it.” A straight worm like a Lunker­hunt Core Strength Limit Worm, rigged Tex­as­style, gets most of his bites. But when bass are keyed on smaller bait, he’ll down­size to a lit­tle Lunker­hunt Darter.


Wright & McGill 7' drop-shot rod, Abu Gar­cia Revo MGX reel (6.2:1), 8-pound-test Sun­line Sniper Flu­o­ro­car­bon

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