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SARLEY: Dropshot method with plastic worms as effective as wacky-style

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A few weeks ago, I explained the ins and outs of fishing wacky-style using plastic worms. It’s a deadly bass technique, especially in shallow water, 15 feet or less.

There’s another method that uses plastic worms that is just as deadly and it is made for fishing water that’s a little deeper, say 10 feet or more. It is the dropshot method.

Dropshotting is a technique that positions the weight below the hook and bait. Most fishing has the bait at the bottom of the rig. Dropshotting lets the fisherman use a weight to take the bait down, yet be able to fish with the bait off the bottom.

To dropshot, I like using a superline such as Power Pro or Fireline in a 10-pound strength. I tie an eight-pound Seguar fluorocarbon leader, about four feet long, to the end of the superline using a back-to-back uni-knot. This gives me a setup that is invisible to the fish, is strong and has no stretch so I can really feel the bites.

I use a sturdy St. Croix or Grandt rod designed for dropshotting. You need a rod that lets you set the hook hard, I mean really hard.

You can use a specially designed hook for dropshotting. This hook has two arms on it. The line runs through the eyes at the ends of both arms and this forces the hook to stand out perpendicular to the line at all times. I’ve used them and they work well.

You also can use a traditional long-shank hook, but practice your knots so the hook always stands out and faces upward.

Leave about 15 inches of line hanging off of the end and attach your sinker to the rig. There are special dropshot sinkers that attach easily and come off when you snag on something without breaking your line. This saves you on hooks and bait.

If it is legal to use more than one hook on my line, I’ll use a jig and twister tail as my sinker. Aren’t two baits better than one? I think so.

Select a plastic worm and thread it onto your hook and you are good to go. I really like the Jackall Flick-shake worms. They are soft and really wiggle in the water. You can use any type of plastic worm, but the ones with a ribbon-style tail work best, in my opinion. Four- or six-inch length worms are the perfect choices.

Cast your line out and let it settle to the bottom. Now, reel up so there is no slack in your line. You can either retrieve slowly or just drift. Lift your rod tip a few inches once in a while. If you feel weight on your line, set the hook.

The biggest bass often will hit the bait the least hard. You’ll just feel weight. You might think that you are snagged in weeds, but you’d be thinking wrong. Set the hook anytime you feel anything. Don’t expect a tug on your line. The little guys are more likely to give you a traditional bite.

Between dropshotting and wacky-worming, you’ll be equipped to catch bass from spring, through summer and on into the fall.

Fishing report

Northern Illinois: Dave Kranz from Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake reports: “Summer patterns start to produce fish as the water warms and weed growth forms. Docks, overhanging trees and slop fishing all are good shallow-water patterns. Deep weed edges using football jigs or Rapala DT10 sized crankbaits are great deep-water baits. Deep lakes that take longer to warm, like Lake Geneva, are in full spawn mode right now. Fox River catfishing has been great using cut bait. Three Oaks bass fishing using Senkos or dropshotting a Roboworm has been good. For northern pike, use a size No. 12 or No. 14 Husky Jerk. Look for sandy areas for bluegills and perch.” Call 815-455-2040 for updated reports.

Lake Michigan: Captain Bob Rossa of Migrator Charters ( says, “Fishing continued to be good this past week on Lake Michigan. While Coho salmon are the main fish being caught, king salmon and lake trout are starting to show up in Illinois waters to add to the catch. White flashers with white Siggs flies tied 24 inches behind them have been taking the kings and lakers down 50 to 90 feet in the water column. 00-sized orange dodgers with small Peter Flies tied 16-inches behind still are the best Coho bait. The Cohoes are mainly in the top 20 feet of the water column, while the king salmon and lake trout are deeper. Perch fishing is very slow.

Walleye tournament: The World Walleye Association held its first Illinois qualifying tournament Sunday. The team of Brian Wilson from Gages Lake and Bruce Cobb of Spring Grove took first place. Their six-fish winning limit totaled 15.55 pounds. Wilson and Cobb also had the big fish of the qualifier, weighing 6.98 pounds. Wilson and Cobb already are looking forward to the 2014 WWA Championship tournament on Green Bay.

Hunting: Duck and goose hunters will be able to enter drawings for upcoming waterfowl hunting blind site random drawings that will be at several public hunting areas in Illinois this summer.

Hunters must register in person for the drawings and must be present at the drawing to claim their blind sites. Blind allocations are good for one year, except on the Mississippi River Pools, and Meredosia Lake, which are good for two.

To participate in a drawing, applicants must present a 2012 or 2013 Illinois hunting or sportsman combination license and a 2012 or 2013 Illinois Migratory Waterfowl Stamp at the time of registration and be at least 16 years old by the date of the drawing. Registrants must also possess a current Illinois FOID card.

The drawing for blinds at the Chain O’ Lakes State Park and Redwing Slough/Deer Lake State Natural Area in Lake County will be July 27. The registration for both sites will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Oak Point day use area, one-fifth of a mile east of the Fox River on the south side of Illinois Route 173. Hunters will be allowed to register for only one of the two sites.

• Northwest Herald outdoors columnist Steve Sarley’s radio show, “The Outdoors Experience,” airs live at 5 a.m. Sundays on AM-560. Sarley also runs a website for outdoors enthusiasts, He can be reached by email at

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