It's All About Finesse

Adapt this proven rig to fool pressured largemouths just after the spawn.

Field & Stream Online Editors

During the heat of midsummer, anglers often go to a drop-shot rig to take spooky bass in deep, crystalline waters. But this same low-profile setup works just as well in the shallows on lure-shy postspawn bass, even the big females.

Bass are in transition between shallow and deep areas right now, and it can be difficult to keep track of them. But many of the larger females, though they've left their nests, stay shallow for a while, feeding in the grass flats nearby. These bass are active but rarely aggressive. As a result, a finesse drop-shot rig commonly gets bites when larger baits go untouched.

**The Setup **Start by matching a stiff 7-foot spinning or baitcasting outfit with 12-pound-test fluorocarbon line, which is tough, sensitive, and invisible to fish. Tie on an offset 2/0 worm hook, using a palomar knot and leaving a tag end that is at least 18 inches long. Then run the tag end of the line down through the hook's eye and affix a 1/4- or 3/8-ounce drop-shot weight to it, 12 to 18 inches below the hook.

A standard round drop-shot weight will do the job, but I prefer to use a Tru-Tungsten bullet weight, which has a removable "no-knot" line-keeper clip. Its pointed nose slides through vegetation more easily than round sinkers. Finally, Texas-rig the hook with a thin finesse worm, such as Yum's straight, 5-inch Shakin' Worm. Another good option is a small soft-plastic crayfish imitation, such as Lake Fork Tackle's Baby Fork Craw.

The Technique Use your trolling motor to zigzag over the flat while casting or pitching the rig to the edges of grass clumps and into holes in the vegetation 2 to 6 feet deep. When the weight touches down, allow a little slack so that the worm can sink slowly to the bottom. If you don't get a bite, pull up until the line tightens, then let the worm fall slowly again. Also try shaking it on a semislack line before you reel in and cast to another target.

Don't spend too much time in one spot until you start getting bites. When you do, fish the area thoroughly. Isolated hotspots can hold several good bass, all of which could be very willing to nab your drop-shot bait.