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Top 10+ Drop Shot Mistakes To Avoid! [Easy Fix]

Are You Having Trouble With Drop Shot Fishing?

Here’s a huge problem you face right now. It’s getting the hang of all drop shot fishing strategies and understanding all the gear that’s needed to be a successful drop shot angler.  But that’s not the end of your problems...

What makes this even worse is the fact that without the right tools and knowledge, you’ll just keep coming up short! Which means you probably have been wasting countless hours and throwing away a ton of money. Am I right?

And, worst of all, many people who are struggling with drop shot fishing can’t get past the idea they have to fully commit to learning the right techniques and have to you the right gear.

All this can make trying to catch fish with a drop shot rig a nightmare! But luckily for you, there’s now a solution!

Key Takeaways

Many anglers swear off drop shot fishing because it can seem too hard. 

Are you making any of these mistakes?

  • Shaking the bait it too hard just ends up spooking the fish.
  • Straight lines are not the answer.
  • You’re rigging the bait the way the fish want it.
  • The bait you choose is not appropriate for the location or time of year you’re fishing.
  • You don’t know what the bait actually looks like under water.
  • Misinterpreting your electronics can cost you fish.
  • Using the wrong gear will prevent you from detecting bites.

Truth be told, I was like you. I really didn’t like the idea of fishing with such a finesse rig on a thin diameter line. It wasn’t until I met up with a buddy of mine (whom I haven’t fished with in over a year) show me some of the best tips, strategies, and really explain why I sucked at drop shot fishing. 

So in the post below, I’m going list the most common reasons anglers like us have been failing at drop shot fishing and what we can easily do to fix it to quickly become successful on the water. 

Fail #1) Don’t Shake What Yo Mama Gave You

The first skill I would like to stress would be to not overwork your bait!

We see a lot of people overthink how much to move the lure.

By shaking it violently it makes the drop shot lure look like it’s having a seizure underwater, Don’t do It! It spooks the fish.

So instead of shaking it just keep your rod as still as possible for two reasons…

First, let the current move your bait.

Secondly, the subtle fascinations in your arm or hand will make the lure undulate and appear more like a real baitfish.

If you are certain that you want to impart more life into the lure think about not trying to shake the lure but gently shaking the slack in the line.

Fail #2) Hate The Straight

The second biggest mistake that we observe is anglers new to drop-shotting straighten their line, making it very tight.

Long story short is the line must always have a slight bow.  

Don’t go to the extreme and leave a ton of slack in the line…again, keep a slight bow in the line.

This will give it a natural appearance and allow the bait to flow freely in the subtle current.

If you keep the line completely straight you will have a stiff appearing bait that is hovering in the water column. And to bass this looks incredibly unnatural.

Fail #3) You’re J-Point Is Not On Point

The third biggest mistake to avoid is fishing with the hook upside down.

Having an inverted hook will result in many missed fish as a result of the hook being yanked out of their mouth!

As you can see in the above picture, the drop shot rig should have the hook point and the hook gap should be facing up.

If you’re still having trouble with this, read the report, about the best drop shot secrets for newbies. The detailed guide will show you everything that you’re lacking. I strongly encourage all readers to read that report at least a couple tomes, practice and then come back to the article to see what else you can improve on.

Read more: 15 Best Drop Shot Fishing Tips For Beginners (That Actually Work)

Fail #4) You Chose The Wrong Bait

Over the years I’ve helped dozens of anglers answer the question, ‘what lure should I use for drop shot fishing?’

It all comes down to that age-old saying of “match the hatch”.

Use the style of bait that closely mimics the stuff the bass are eating…

The majority of the time if you’re not giving the bass the type of bait they want to eat they will refuse once it’s in front of them.

For example; If its a summer morning and the bass are up shallow chasing shad then you would use a shad-style fluke bait or a worm that has shad colors (ie; transparent, silver hologram, some blues and purples in it).

On the other hand, if its winter time and weather is cold and the bass are hugging the bottom then a drop-shotting a small brown or black craw chunk bait may be the ticket to catching a lunker.

Regardless, if you don’t know what the bass are feeding on, call or ask the tackle shop owner who you’re buying from…

You can also ask members of local bass angling groups will quickly answer your question. It’s not like you’re asking them to tell you what their favorite secret fishing spot is.

If you’re still having trouble finding the right drop shot bait, read this post I wrote for you. It’s called, Top 10 Drop Shot Fishing Baits You Don’t Know About.

Read more: Top 10 Drop Shot Fishing Baits You Don’t Know About

Fail #5) You’re Not “One” With Your Bait

The fifth biggest mistake that beginners make is they do not know what their bait looks like underwater.

Take the bait to your swimming pool, bathtub or a clear/shallow part of the lake and take note of what is looks like.

Remember, if you cast a drop shot rig far out in front of you versus dropping it underneath you it will look completely different because of the angle of the line.

Fail #6) You Don’t Know Your Electronics

Whether you’re fishing from the bank, or off a boat, it’s imperative that you become familiar with your sonar.

Doing this will take lots of time and practice…but that means you get to go fishing more!

If you have a sonar that has side scan or 360 imaging it can help identify the best locations to deploy your drop shot rig.

If you’re bank fishing there are some awesome new castible portable sonars to help you find the bass fast.

Read more: Best 6 Fish Finders For Any Bank Fisherman

Once you identify the fish you need to know what your rig looks like as a sonar image.

You then can observe what it looks like when fish follows it down or goes to inspect it.

This skill has won tournament anglers thousands of dollars.

Fail #7) You’re Using The Wrong Drop Shot Rod


In the beginning, many anglers just use their standard spinning rod just to try out the drop shot fishing. Unfortunately most are quickly disappointed because their rods fail to tell them they have a bite!

Drop shot fishing is a specialized technique requiring a special rod, reel, line and terminal tackle.

With drop shot fishing steadily popularity over the last 10+ years, more and more companies are forced to come up with new and better ways anglers can catch more fish.

Previously, companies were forced to make rods made from only graphite. However with advances in technology and innovation those companies took what was working and integrated new proprietary manufacturing processes to give you a drop shot that is not only super sensitive, but is also Hulk strong, and feather light.

But that is just the tip of iceberg. There are many other factors that go into determining what a great drop shot rod should look and feel like. Some of those factors include style, material, length, sensitivity, durability, cost, and warranty. Fortunately you in luck because I made a complete report where I give you the best drop shot rod for your budget and more!

Read More: Best Drop Shot Rod for Bass Fishing [Review Guide]

Fail #8) Wrong Weight…

Using the correct weight is just as important as using the correct bait!  But there are several factors you need to consider.

Weight style…

Nothing’s more frustrating than having your fishing weight get snagged on the bottom! So make it easier on yourself by using these Mythik Lures Skinny Lead Finesse Drop Shot weights when you are fishing from shore and/or fishing around rocks and cracks.

These resist snagging since the skinny shape tends to slip through better and can really make a difference between having a fun day or a frustrating day!

Round weights are used when you’re fishing over sandy or clay bottoms.

Weight Size…

A good rule of thumb is to start with the lightest weight available until you feel the bottom but without getting snagged.

When choosing a weight make sure you choose the lightest weight possible to get the bait to the bottom and keep it on the bottom, all while not getting hung up.

If fishing from shore, choose a 1/8 – 1/4 ounce weight.  Fish will also have a harder time “feeling” that there is a weight attached to the bait the lighter it is.

Under normal circumstances, if you’re fishing 1-6 feet a 1/8 ounce weight will work great.

If you’re over 6-12 feet a 1/4 ounce weight is preferred. And finally, if you’re fishing in 12-20 feet of water a 3/8 ounce weight is great.

Weight size can affect lure action…

Using a lighter weight will also give your bait a slower fall.  If you are fishing in clear water or fish suspended fish this can be invaluable because it gives the fish ample time to see and react to your bait as you cast it out and let it pendulum through the school.

Fail #9) Wrong Leader Length…

The shallower you fish, the shorter the leader length should be, versus the deeper, you fish the longer-length it typically will be. However, if you notice the fish are suspended off the bottom this will help you determine what that leader length is going to be.

Here’s another tip…if you are pitching into vegetation such as fallen trees, Cypress bushes or Salt Cedars you’ll need to use a shorter length so you will have increased accuracy on your pitching. The majority of the time when pitching into vegetation the fish will be hugging the bottom and the large pieces of structure closely so you do not need a long leader.

Leader Length By Season…

Winter – The bass are typically hugging the bottom. Keep your leader length short… 4-6 inches.

Spring – If you’re bed fishing, then keep your leader 2-4 inches. You want it really short!  Make it look like your bait is trying to seal the bass’ eggs!

If you’re fishing pre-spawn staging areas, then give yourself a 6-8 inch leader.

Summer – The bass are active, their metabolism is going crazy during this time of year.  Keep your leader length 6-8 inches above the grass. Otherwise, I recommend giving your leader length 12-18 inches.

Fall – The bass are aggressively feeding in preparation for the winter months. A leader length of 10-18 inches works well.  Shorten your leader as the water cools.

Fail #10) Wrong Line…

Leader Line…

One of the most common fails for drop shot fishing is using the wrong leader line.

Many anglers make the mistake using monofilament or braided line as the leader line…

I know the big companies say monofilament is a good choice because of its cheap price, but nothing can be further from the truth.

I’m here to say that monofilament sucks for drop shot fishing for a number of reasons…

It’s not invisible like fluorocarbon, it floats and it’s super stretchy.  This makes it really difficult to detect subtle bites and you may actually lose fish!

I know other companies say that their state-of-the-art coated braided line can be used for drop shot fishing.

Again, that’s a load of BS.   It’s completely visible and it floats.

Yes, it doesn’t have any stretch, but that’s why I recommend it as a mainline.

I firmly recommend using fluorocarbon as a leader line, especially Sunline FC Sniper.  Definitely not the cheapest line, but easily worth the money. Start with the 7-pound test. 

It has some of the best abrasion resistance on the market and one of the most defining qualities is that it is nearly invisible underwater!

It also has very little stretch, meaning it increases the bite sensitivity factor when coupled with your braided mainline.

Regardless of what fluorocarbon line you buy, make sure you buy 100% fluorocarbon line and in a thin diameter.  You would be disappointed.

Main Line…

By now you probably can sense my hatred of using monofilament anywhere on your drop shot rig… RESIST THE URGE MAN, RESIST THAT URGE!

For all my finesse fishing needs whether its drop shot, shaky head, wacky worm fishing, I always have a braid to fluorocarbon line combo! It’s the preferred approach that will catch you more fish and avoid unnecessary headaches on the water.

Using braided mainline has many benefits…

First, it’s the best benefit is that it has no stretch in it, and is super sensitive. This is perfect for this type of situation when you want to feel the slightest of bites.

Braided line also offers an incredibly small line diameter so it’s very hard for the fish to see.

I recommend using 30-pound test line in a bright Hi-Vis Yellow color.

Equipping your gear with this size line on your spinning reels tends to lay nice and flat on the spool and does not cut into itself.

Using the Hi-Vis Yellow is also really easy to see if you have a subtle bite and you can really watch the line move!

Again… don’t worry…you’re not going to be tying directly to the braid, you’re going to use a fluorocarbon leader line! The fish won’t see this bright line at all! I’ve used this type of line for years and it’s never failed me.

Another thing, when using braided line, you need to make sure that your rod (like we discussed in the previous segment) needs to have an extra fast (extra flexible) rod tip. This acts as a shock absorber so you won’t pull out the hook when setting your hook!

Lastly, using a braided mainline it severely reduces line twist! You DON’T WANT LINE TWIST

Read more: 21 Tips To Choose The Best Bass Fishing Line

Alberto Knot – Combining Your Main Line To Your Leader Line…

BONUS Fail – You’re A Major Hooker

A lot of time you see pro anglers just swing for the fences when they hook up on a bass.  While it’s great TV footage, it’s totally not appropriate when you drop shot fish.

When you get a bite, neither jerk the rod upward or do a side-sweep hook-set (like you would a Carolina Rig)…It’s somewhere in between.

Many bass fishermen have good success by raising the rod tip up until you feel pressure, then give it a slight yank up and start reeling down.

The small drop shot hooks will essentially set themselves.

So there you go you have it… the Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Catching More Drop Shot Fish.

I know I put in a ton of information in this post and I hope I didn’t overwhelm you…

So I hope you’re not mad that I over-delivered just a little bit.

Let me ask you a question…do you want to learn even MORE secrets about drop shot fishing?…

Well, I have you covered. Click here to be taken to our free report: 15 Best Drop Shot Fishing Tips For Beginners (That Actually Work)


Can you drop shot fish in saltwater?

Yes it does! Drop shot fishing acutally was invented as a saltwater application.

Is drop shot fishing useful for other species of fish?

Sure is! You can fish for crappie, bluegill, stripped bass, perch are some freshwater fish just to name a few.

Is it possible to drop shot fish in cold water?

Absolutely. It’s actually one of the best ways to catch bass in the wintertime.

Read more: How to Catch Drop Shot Bass in the Winter

Can you drop shot fish using live worms?

You so can! It works sooo go. The only problem is keeping the worm on the hook. This problem was solved by using Magic Thread for fishing. Check it out on Amazon by clicking here.

Accessories You'll Need

Reel – Having the correct reel to match with your rod is just as important.  A good reel should be light and have a buttery smooth drag. There are several great reels on the market, but I recommend the Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Reel (TALT25000D-XH). It’s a great reel packed with great features. So much so it could easily be priced in the mid $200 range. 

Fishing Line – Having a good line is just as important as having a good rod. I recommend fishing with a good fluorocarbon line. Furthermore, it’s super sensitive because it has little to no stretch and underwater it’s invisible to the bass!  If pride or money is on the line I would use Sunline Sniper FC.    

Drop Shot Baits – Not all drop shot baits are created the same. There are many great drop baits to choose from, however many companies will classify their baits for drop shot fishing and have horrific action.  To help you avoid making a huge mistake, I wrote the report, Top 10 Drop Shot Fishing Baits You Don’t Know About, where I break down the best baits for drop shot, some of which you know about and some you may not know about and much, much more! Click here!

Tackle Bag – You can’t carry all your gear in your pockets, so you need reliable tackle bag to transport it. I wrote a complete review guide, Best Tackle Bag for Fishing, check it out be clicking here.   But if you don’t have the time to read the fill guide then let me tell you I recommend the Lunker Bag by KastKing

Fishing Pliers – Nothing will ruin a day quicker than getting a hook embedded in your hand, or worse your eye.  That’s why I always recommend have a good set up pliers that wont rust and won’t slip out of your hand.  I recommend that KastKing Cutthroat 7” Fishing Pliers.  

Landing Net – As you are reeling in that monster fish, you don’t want to injure yourself or knock the fish off the hook by trying to grab it. That’s why I recommend a dependable telescopic landing net

Fishing Weight Scale – Whether if you’re going to keep your catch or just take a photo of it and brag to your friends it’s important to have an accurate scale. I recommend a scale that has a large LED display like this one fishing scale here

Wide Brim Fishing Hat – Nowadays, you have to protect yourself against the sun’s harmful rays. Wearing a wide brim hat not only give you UV protection, it also keeps you cool.  I recommend the Columbia Unisex Bora Bora Booney hat. It fits any size head and it feels really comfortable. 

Fishing Sun Shirt – Don’t you stop at only getting head protection, you also need to protect your chest, back, arms and torso. According to the researchers finding skin cancers on the shoulders and forearms rank within the top-5 locations to get skin cancer*. Avoid any unnecessary UV exposure and stay cool by wearing a UV protective PFG Fishing Shirt by Columbia.

Fishing Gloves – Fishing gloves allow your hands to stay covered from the suns harmful rays and stay dry by using special material. These gloves by Fishaholic offer UPF50+ 

My name is George and I'm been fishing my entire life and love all things outdoors. My passion is helping anyone catch more fish. The newest things I've been doing lately is learning how to break down and clean all my reels, teaching my boy how to kayak fish, and bushcraft wilderness survival.