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Yet Another Choice

 

Last updated 11/10/2020 at 12:39pm



My thoughts were somewhere between wrestling the remaining two broken

4X4 fence posts out of the ground in the back yard and purchasing

tickets for Friday’s game when my slow retrieve came to an abrupt

halt. The only question as I reeled down to set the hook was, “What kind

of fish will this be?” When the tug of war ended I released another undersized red and replaced

the badly mangled Gulp shrimp with a four inch Lil’ John.Having already

caught fifteen to twenty fish on that same Lil’ John, I had switched in

hopes of catching a larger fish. It didn’t happen, but it didn’t really

matter. Of those fifteen undersized fish, two were trout, three were drum and

the rest were redfish, save one small bass that threw the hook. What is

most notable about my good fortune was not that I was catching fish, but

how I was catching them. When Harvey roared through this area it washed away a successful guide business in the process. I built it in the early 80’s on the backs of an

incredible flounder bite, but the last twenty years were all about

locating and catching big trout! During that stretch, I continued to book a few clients content to catch anything that would pull on their line, but any free fishing time was

spent learning the habits of big trout. Those coveted trout have now

virtually disappeared and I have yet to solve the mystery. When that long-cultivated program dried up, I just could not get into chasing the remaining small trout for a check. While I am too old to seriously entertain rebuilding the business, I have since enjoyed

exploring new techniques and water without the pressure of having to

catch fish. The afore-mentioned trip was the result of fishing a technique that I

would have never even tried with clients. I was fishing a drop shot, the

same technique that wins a lot of bass tournaments, but I was fishing it

in less than three feet of water! I have caught my fair share of Toledo Bend bass vertically fishing the rig in much deeper water, but I never even considered using it in

shallower water and I certainly never entertained the thought of fishing

it in saltwater. That all changed one morning when using it to avoid

hanging up on deep shell back in the summer. We had switched to fishing a protected shoreline when I picked up my drop shot rod only because I had just pulled off a red and could see

them moving down the bank. Much to my surprise, the half-ounce sinker

didn’t bother them at all and the leader of the pack immediately sucked

up the trailing plastic tail. We fished it the remainder of the trip and caught a variety of fish in

less than five feet of water. I left the lake that afternoon amazed that

the heavier sinker did not seem to bother those shallow fish. If

anything, I am now convinced that it helped. That has indeed proven to be the case and I now fish the heavier weight exclusively. I also now fish the drop shot probably more than any other

technique. It is at its best when fishing deeper breaks in the bayous,

but the mud trail the sinker kicks up in shallow water also attracts

everything from flounder to redfish. The rig is basically a Carolina rig in reverse, but the presentation and strikes are altogether different. I still prefer the Carolina rig for

fishing live bait as the minnow can swim more freely, but I have seen

hooked fish clear the surface without a client even feeling the

strike. Because the tail is rigged above the sinker that never happens

when drop-shotting. Any time your sinker is moving across the bottom you

are constantly in touch with your lure and most strikes are akin to a

train wreck! Drop shot weights are available at well-stocked tackle shops like

Rambo’s, but anything from an egg weight to a slip sinker will work just

fine. Unlike bass fishing, this is not a finesse technique. For that

reason, I employ twenty pound mono leader and a 2/0 hook. If you can tie a Palomar knot you are in business. Just leave about two feet of the tag end to tie on your weight and thread the hook through the nose of your plastic. I have had better luck not rigging it weedless.

Give it a try the next time nothing else is working for you!

 

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