Rigging live bait on a slip sinker rig has long been a dominant walleye fishing technique, but the drop shot rig has been growing in popularity thanks to its efficiency, fish-triggering ability, and flexibility to experiment quickly with various live baits and soft plastics. Pro walleye angler Mark Courts shares the benefits of the drop shot rig in walleye fishing and why he’s shifted from live bait to soft plastics much of the time. He shares his favorite scented Berkley soft baits for the drop shot technique and a few rigging tips to help you catch more walleyes without the inconvenience of live bait.
TACKLE USED (retail links)
- Berkley PowerBait Twitch Tail Minnow
- Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Flatworm
- Berkley Gulp! Crawler, 4-inch
- Berkley PowerBait The Champ Minnow
So why would you use a drop shot rig over a jig or slip sinker setup? For Courts, it’s about getting the bait down to the fish fast and keeping it in the strike zone. Generally speaking, walleyes prefer hugging the bottom and feeding in this zone. A drop shot rig keeps your bait at a set distance off of the bottom. Now, pair your drop shot hook with a realistic and scented plastic. Courts shares his favorite baits from Berkley’s scented lineups: PowerBait, MaxScent, and Gulp!, and when he uses each.
As he notes, walleyes rely heavily on their sense of smell and color. He shares a few proven soft bait colors. Get these two attributes right, and you’ll be in the fish. A drop shot rig also provides rigging flexibility with a hook swap. While nose-hooked plastic on an octopus-style hook is the most common, Courts ventures into bass territory by Texas rigging walleye plastics using a small offset worm hook when fishing around snaggy cover like grass and wood.