If you know anything about me or my style of fishing, you probably don’t associate either with dropshot rigs. I built my reputation around giant swimbaits and super heavy tackle—but I knew that wasn’t going to cut it with 224 pro anglers all around me on the James River in Virginia. Every piece of cover was getting covered, so I had to figure out how to catch fish behind other anglers to conditioned fish.
In my last video I showed you how to set up and fish a Bubba Shot rig—a heavy, weedless combo meant for punching creature baits through heavy cover while maintaining the ability to get the bait back out. In this video I demonstrate a lighter adaptation of that rig with a worm—coming into this famous East Coast fishery with a little West Coast finesse.
When you hear words like “finesse” and “dropshot,” you’re probably imagining spinning rods and 6- or 8-pound test. Well, there was a shift in my fishing a long time ago, and I decided I’d rather not get bit than get bit and lose the fish that really count. For the barnacle-covered James River, I was running 50-pound braid to a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader on a heavy baitcast rod.
With a ½-ounce dropshot weight and a weedless wide-gap hook, I ran a large purple worm through the nose and sent it into heavy cover. Often, instead of hopping or twitching it back like you would a Texas or Wacky rig, I just let it sit there on a tight line. There’s such a thing as overworking a bait, and that worm will wiggle really seductively in the current without any help. When a fish does grab, I try hard to avoid throwing a monster bass pro hookset with this rig. Instead, it’s better to simply lift and reel.
This might not seem like the big bass dreams tackle, but watch the video and you’ll see Riley boat an 8-pound, 8-ounce beast on this same rig. Check it out.