A lot of people were surprised to see me finesse fishing when I won at Cayuga.
That was a very satisfying win because it proved that I can do well fishing other techniques as well.
Don’t get me wrong – put me on a spinnerbait or crankbait bite and I’m in my element. But I’ve also learned how effective drop shot fishing is north to south and year round. I’ve caught fish on that rig from Florida to Toledo Bend, at Kentucky Lake and, of course, the smallmouth lakes of the North.
Several of the fish I caught at Cayuga came on a drop shot rig with Strike King’s new KVD Half Shell finesse bait that was introduced at this year’s ICAST Show.
I fell in love with it immediately and for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is because the bait and its unique action allows me to cover water a little faster. I can cast it out, hop it a few times, swim it and then let it fall back to the bottom. The bait looks like a minnow in the water and will stand horizontally on your line regardless of how you rig it. That’s what it was designed to do.
It has a lot of action, and when you shake it, it darts like a jerkbait. You will notice that the moment you rig it and drop it into the water.
In fact, at Cayuga, I used it to sight fish for smallmouth I saw cruising the flats. I could cast it toward a cruiser, get the bait up off the bottom and make it dart and glide. The bass ate it well when I had to work harder with other presentations in that situation.
I rig it with a No. 2 Mustad Double Wide drop shot hook through the nose with the flat side down; that’s critical to get it to dart and swim. If fishing around brush, rig it Texas-style on a 1/0 Mustad Grip Pin Edge hook.
Strike King’s Dream Shot, which was the company’s first drop shot specific bait, is another excellent drop shot bait, but I’ve found it more effective when you have located a school and you have to keep the lure in the strike zone longer and antagonize the fish into striking.
I also will use standard drop shotting baits like straight-tail worms when the water is a little dirtier and I need a bigger profile bait.
But for clear water, I like the smaller, more subtle baits that still have a lot of action and can trigger finickier fish. The Half Shell is about the same size and profile as the Dream Shot.
Both baits come in diverse colors for ultra-clear and stained water applications. Strike King plastics now come in three-color laminates made through a new “Open Pour Technology” that produces soft, lively baits in realistic baitfish colors that are critical for different water clarity applications.
Like I said, I’d rather be crankin’ but there are lakes and conditions where finesse fishing is the better way to catch them. The key is pick the tactic that best suits the mood of the fish, match it with the appropriate bait style, and give ‘em what they want.
Remember, it’s all about the attitude.