Spotted bass are a sucker for shad and other minnow-imitating plastics, and a drop shot rig is among the most consistent lures for catching finicky spots in clear water. Nick Smith of the Informative Fisherman shares his unique system for drop-shotting spotted bass on steep structures, in this case, near-vertical bluff walls that extend from above to well below the water.
TACKLE AND GEAR (retail links)
- PLASTIC (finesse minnow)
- PLASTIC (worm)
- HOOK – size 2
- DROP SHOT WEIGHT, 1/4 ounce
- ROD – 7’6″, Medium Light, Moderate-Fast
- LINE – 6-pound
- FISH FINDER
- TROLLING MOTOR
SPOTTED BASS LOCATION
Western tactics for catching suspending spotted bass vary. Interestingly, Smith locates the bass suspended a good distance away from the walls but fails to generate bites when casting to these fish. Instead, he targets his casts on a 45-degree angle to the edge of the wall, methodically stair-steps the drop shot tight to the wall, into deeper water, and immediately starts getting bites. In this environment, he believes pinning the bait against the wall is a bass-feeding behavior and a key way to catch spotted bass.
DROP SHOT PRESENTATION
While there are nearly endless drop shot plastics on the market, Smith prefers finesse versions with a bit of mass for easier bait rigging and those with a neutral buoyancy to maintain a natural horizontal posture with tight or slack line working of the bait. Oh, and big eyes are an excellent visual enhancement too.
Catching spotted bass in clear water calls for a light line fished on a sensitive rod setup. Smith prefers a longer 7-foot, 6-inch, medium-light powered rod to detect bites and handle the light setup. Also, consider downsizing to a 6-pound fluorocarbon if the conditions allow. You’ll find that the line is less visible to the bass, and the bait also appears more natural.