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How to Catch Spotted Bass | Drop Shot Rig Steep Walls

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)

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.


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.