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In the latest issue of Bassmaster, there is an article that describes what Aaron Martens uses when drop shot fishing. He prefers 6# test or less, lower ratio reels and lighter action rods. When fishing heavy cover he will go with 16# test and a light sinker. The lighter line (fluorocarbon only) necessitates backreeling to prevent line snaps. (How many of you backreel?)

He only uses ultrasoft plastics for the most 'wiggle'.

Another unusual idea was his use of a 3" leader-to-sinker when bass are in spawn, though his leader range is from 8" to 3'.

The reasoning behind using light tackle and soft plastics is the benefits of a slow fall, maximum finesse action in one location on bottom or letting the rig hang vertically under the boat without the sinker contacting bottom. This last idea reminded me of the time last year when I was trying out a new drop shot bait I made and swam the lure towards me with the sinker hanging about a foot down. I saw bass and panfish follow and then strike the bait just as if there was no leader and sinker beneath.

I am also a big believer in going with the lightest line possible for the best action though at times heavier line has a certain effect on the lure that warrants it. Are bass line shy?
It's possible at times, but I tend to think of test in terms of how it affects lure speed and action depending on depth.

Martens is a successful pro and one to take seriously (unlike Bill Dance or Roland Martin). My experience with drop shot fishing coincides with his other d.s. tips, so I know the article is not just filler to push lures or tackle that Bassmaster is so well known for. There are slow many bottom searching techniques and d.s. is one of the slowest and best!
 

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i use it a lot here in east tennessee in winter. find school of shad on 45 degree bank with suspended fish nearby. sometimes will use a small jig or spot remover with small craw instead of weight. after water temps bottom out i focus more on sunny banks. still like the shade till it drops below 43-45. sometimes instead of splitshot/weight i will pre make up several leaders with 2-4lb line on weight and tie double overhand knot on leader and tag end below dropshot hook. generally don't go below 6-8lb even though i will use 4 to f-n-f or tightline. reason for this is these lakes are full of rocks and shale and on cold days its easier on hands to slip a new leader and weight through the loop and get hands warm again than it is to retie hook and all. less is more in the winter. you may feel a light tap but usually it will go weightless or heavy. keep drag loose and sweep rod tip to set hook
 

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I use d/s a lot but after reading what Martins said I'm going to have to do a lot of experimenting. The article was a good read.
Rodney
 

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Aaron learned to trout fish as a teen Agee before he started bass fishing with ultra light tackle.
Aaron was a split shot and dart head angler before trying the drop shot and used the same light tackle he was using medium light and light action rods with 4 to 6 lb line back in the early 90's.
He didn't mention the soft plastic back then were Flutter Craft 2" screamer and 4" curl tails he learned to fish from Dick Trask.
5 lb FC line is as light as I will go, prefer the 6 lb, we have too many big bass to fool,around with anything lighter.
Back reeling takes a lot of practice, good to know when a big bass is near the boat on light spinning tackle. A little trick we us out west when casting a drop shot is letting your index finger hit the line when reeling slowly, this makes the split or drop shot worms make erratic jumps.
Tom
 
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