LeBlanc: Try a shot drop if you enjoy fishing soft plastics

You know, I can remember the time when I wanted to go fresh water fishing back in my hometown of Port Arthur. For bait, I would either set out the minnow trap the night before in the drainage ditch between our yard and the Texas Company reservoir and catch me a load of minnows or I would dig a mess of worms. The minnows would go in the minnow bucket to be placed in the water upon arrival at the appointed location and the worms resided in a #303 can with the lid off until needed.

One more bait that we had that worked equally well was shrimp. As there was a shrimp troll in our family for as long as I can remember we never had a shortage of shrimp and crabs. I have spent many an hour on Sabine Lake with the motor running about five miles per hour dragging the troll. While the motor did the work of pulling the troll we in the boat would sort the last runs catch. My father had a habit of throwing the crabs into the bottom of the boat, so soon I was standing on the seat with a sea of pincers cocked and pointed in my direction looking for a place to express their displeasure.

Once home, a few pint jars were filled with shrimp, salted down real well and placed on a shelf in the garage. It did not take too long for them to become pretty ripe, but the salt kept them firm so they would stay on your hook extremely well. The perch and catfish loved them. Those salted shrimp were also excellent bait for saltwater fishing.

In the bayous we caught crappie, blue gill, catfish and large and small mouth bass. It was many years before we had any sort of artificial bait. Then it was mostly because my father became interested in fly fishing and naturally I did also. Those lures we seldom bought but we made ourselves.

I remember the first lures I came on for bait casting and they were a Hula Popper and a Lucky 13. When I lost the first one to the water lilies I thought I would never recover because of the expense of the lure and how easily it was gone.

Well today it is a whole different ball game. If I don’t have at least $500 worth of lures in my box at all times it only means I have gone out ill prepared. That selection will only include top water, crank baits and spinner baits. I haven’t even started on the soft plastics yet and all of the different rigs involved with them.

I believe every bass angler in the country knows the value of fishing with soft plastics. They are versatile and they can get you some action when nothing else will. Most of the information we hear about in the great state of Texas is either Texas rigged or Carolina rigged worms. The worm size and action may vary but these are the Texas basics. Occasionally you will hear of someone using a Whacky Worm and they too can be successful at the right time of year. One of the soft plastic rigs that you don’t hear too much about is the drop shot.

A Drop Shot works well in any depth of water you choose to fish in and is designed for fishing in cover without snagging up like the conventional nose hook rigs. To make this rig I will start at the bottom of the line and work upwards toward the rod.

On the end of the line tie a 1/16 or 1/8 ounce sinker. Bakudan weights are more efficient than traditional bell or pegged slip sinkers for this type of rig because they have a unique swivel system that allows the weight to spin freely from the line to prevent line twist.

Then go up to the depth at which you would like your lure and tie on the hook with a Palomar knot. Choose your soft plastic, keeping in mind that the smaller the better, like a shad or small worm. Light line, like eight-pound test is also advantageous as it allows better lure action.

In order to get the most action from a drop shot you need a small hook yet one that is strong enough to take the strain of an eight-plus pound bass. So the best hook I have seen to accomplish that is a hook made by XPoint and is a #4 or #2 in their X15 XGap hook. These hooks are made form 110-Carbon Steel and will take about anything you hang onto in our lake. It is also stepped so a weedless hook-up is possible that still allows good lure action.

To fish this rig cast near or under docks, surface growth or other like environments. When the line goes slack you have reached the bottom. Lift the rod tip to the 10:00 o’clock position. With a small bow in the line twitch the rod tip for 2 to 3 seconds while the weight rests on the bottom. If nothing happens move the rig over a few feet and try again. When you feel a soft tap or a heaviness, set the hook.

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