Drop shotting is fun, active and easy to master

by Angling Times |
Published on


If you haven’t already tried drop shotting, chances are you know someone who has! This style of lure fishing for perch is a tactic that’s sweeping through the fishing world quicker than a brush fire.

Drop shotting or light lure fishing for perch is active, dynamic, easy to master, great fun and best of all, you need a minimum amount of tackle to enjoy its rewards. Its also great in winter when perhaps you only get a few hours to go fishing at short notice.

Unlike other forms of angling with drop shotting all you need is a small, very light rod and reel, a pocket full of terminal bits and a few tiny lures. Kit you can keep in the back of your car!

Drop shotting or light lure fishing for perch is active, dynamic, easy to master, great fun and best of all, you need a minimum amount of tackle to enjoy its rewards. Its also great in winter when perhaps you only get a few hours to go fishing at short notice.

Venues like canals are ideal for trying out this deadly tactics but it also works on stillwaters and rivers too. Not sure where to go? Try our recommended venues


Drop shot fishing offers lure anglers a highly effective way of targeting smaller predatory species such as perch, zander and pike.

Unlike traditional lure and plug fishing, where a plastic or rubber bait is attached to the end of a wire trace before being cast and retrieved, dropshotting sees the lure being presented very differently. As it is primarily a tool for catching perch, the leader is a length of fluorocarbon, with the hook being tied around 12 to 20 inches up the line.

The casting weight comes in the shape of a special dropshot lead that is attached to the end of this fluorocarbon leader. The hook is then ‘baited’ with a 1in-3in rubber lure and the rig is cast.

Small movements on the lure attracts the fish when drop shotting
Small movements on the lure attracts the fish when drop shotting


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Rod: There are many dedicated dropshot rods on the market. They have a stiff mid-to-butt section, for setting the hook in to the very bony mouths of predators, while the tip is very light. This allows you to impart the all-important action into the lure. Lure rods are weight measured. For drop-shotting a 0-15 gram model is ideal.

Reel: Becuase you are holding the rod in your hand for long periods a small light reel is essential. Most tackle companies cater for this with tiny reels in the 1000 to 2500 size range.

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Line: A thin 0.06 to 0.10mm braid is ideal for drop shotting. With zero stretch it allows the angler to easily impart the movement on the lure and youll feel the often subtle perch bites more readily. It also casts better than mono.

Leader: As described earlier a flourocarbon leader is great for drop shotting. Around 2ft in length is enough. This is tied to the braid by knot or to a micro swivel. The breaking strain is determined by the venue you are fishing and the size of fish expected. A good starting point is 6lb.

Hooks: Drop shot hooks have a unique shape so that the lure will sit horizontally in the water, at right angles to the leader. The are also fairly fine wired but larger in size than ordinary match hooks although some lure anglers like to use match fishing hooks as small as a size 14.

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Weights: The actual dropshot is usually either a ball or a long pencil shape. The ball, being denser, enables you to ‘feel’ the lure easier. The pencil weights are generally used where it is snaggy, weedy or rocky. Use the lightest weight you can as you’ll feel the bites much better. A general rule is you use 1g per one foot of water on stillwaters and canals, 2g-3g per foot on rivers, depending on strength of flow. All dropshot weights have a pinched swivel, which enables the weight to be quickly and easily moved up and down the leader, which adjusts how far off bottom the lure will fish.

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Lures: The actual lure is what elicits the bite. The number now on the market is legion, but the one element they have in common is they are all small, up to 3in maximum, with most being between one-inch and two. Tail shape – whether pin, paddle or curly, and colour – can all affect the day. The type of tail gives different forms and strengths of vibration in the water, while colour-wise, a guidline to follow is bright in coloured water, muted in clear. Always carry plenty of different lures, changing them regularly until you find one that works better on the day.

Other kit: A small landing net is essential as is an unhooking mat as often you will be fishing on concrete banks on urban canals. Items like forceps in case you catch a pike and scissors are also handy. Dont forget some scales in case you hook a monster!


The best way to attach the hook is to use a palomar knot. this ensures that the hook also sits at 90-degrees to the leader. The quite often have either an out turned eye or a straight eye again to exaggerate this.

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The idea is that once the rig is in the water and the weight is on the bottom, the angler is able to impart movement into the tiny lure with delicate flicks of the rod tip working it in any area for as long as he chooses.

The trick is to not retrieve the lure like you would a spinner when drop shotting. Instead keep the weight on the bottom and move the lure gently to induce a take. The benefit of this is that it allows you to lure fish in really tight areas or tight up to feature where predators like to hide.

The special weights, which can be found at most good tackle shops or online, allow you to move them anywhere underneath the lure in order to adjust the depth at which the lure sits. A good place to start is around 6 - 8 inches from the bottom.


Canal Locks are perch magnets

Canals: Your local cut is ideal for drop shotting. They are full of features such as locks and marinas and these are the places to look for. Most predators like to sit very close to boats and the bank itself so target these when fishing.

Rivers: Slow moving rivers like the Thames, Soar and Weaver are ideal for drop shotting. You may need to take heavier weights to combat the flow. Slack areas, lock cuttings and islands re all hotspots.

Stillwaters: Its work checking your local commercials as some allow drop-shotting in winter. Other stillwaters such as park lakes are good and you never know what might be lurking in specimen carp pits too. Look for drop-offs and features like overhanging trees.

Check out this page for a list of top drop shotting waters near you.

Get it right and drop shotting can produce huge perch like this.
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