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Most anglers think a drop shot rod can be literally any type of spinning outfit. But if you ask the pros, you’ll find most have very specific criteria for their ideal rod for the technique. It’s arguably one of the most popular tactics for largemouths and smallmouths in northern lakes. Beyond just the best bass fishing rods, the drop shot has also been adapted for trout, walleye, panfish and more. Often, a drop shot will catch fish when all other tactics have failed to produce a bite.

There used to be no such thing as a dedicated drop shot rod, but the explosion in popularity has forced rod manufacturers to change that. Many now have offerings designed with input from pros who have used the technique to cash in big paydays at some of the biggest tournaments. We spent days fishing and testing a few from brands like Daiwa, Abu Garcia, and St. Croix to find the best drop shot rods right now.

How We Picked the Best Dropshot Rods

I personally tested many of the rods on this list. I used some of the rods from a kayak on the smaller inland waters around my home in southwest Michigan. Most of these lakes are shallow and murky, but still produce drop shot fish. I fished other rods while sharing a boat with pro anglers on a recent trip to the deeper and clearer waters of Lake Okoboji in Iowa. There we targeted fish using side scan and live view to pull hungry but lethargic post-spawn fish from depths of 18 to 22 feet using drop shots.

Fishing Rods photo
A typical drop shot setup. Note the cylindrical weight for weeds. Photo by Travis Smola

During my testing, I worked a variety of typical soft plastics with these rods including flatworms and minnows (mostly Berkley Powerbait MaxScents). I caught largemouths, smallmouths, and walleye on drop shot rigs during my testing. We carefully went over the specs and features of each rod to determine what works best for which scenarios. Some of the factors we considered include:

  • Length: Does the rod’s length make sense for drop shot fishing?
  • Power: Does the rod have the backbone for fighting larger fish without impairing the action of the lure?
  • Action: Is there enough flex in the tip of the rod to properly work the lure in a stationary position?
  • Ergonomics: Drop shotting is a very slow technique. Is the rod’s handle comfortable for long periods with few movements?
  • Value: Do the rod’s features and construction materials match the price point?

Best Dropshot Rods: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Daiwa Tatula Elite Series

Best Overall


  • Construction: Graphite/Carbon Fiber
  • Power: Medium-Light
  • Action: Fast
  • Length: 7’


  • Great ergonomics
  • Very sensitive
  • Good backbone for a lighter rod


  • Some anglers might not care for the color

There are few different variants of the Daiwa Tatula, but the one I tested was designed by MLF pro Cody Meyers and this rod has quickly become my new favorite. This is a slightly lighter rod than some of the other options on this list, but I really loved the ergonomics of the EVA split grips. They just felt incredibly natural in the hand and allowed me to make some surprisingly long casts despite using only 8-pound braid. The rod also has some excellent Fuji Alconite guides that I found to be very durable. The only real downside is that some people might not like the color, but I personally love the grey look. It might be the best-looking rod I own.

This rod really shines when your bait is in the water. The graphite and carbon fiber construction—which Daiwa refers to as “super high volume carbon fiber”—is incredibly sensitive. It let me feel the structure of the bottom better than any of the other rods I tested and light strikes were very easy to detect. Despite its light weight, I also found it has a good backbone. The second fish I hooked on it was a small northern pike. It wasn’t surprising when that fish promptly bit through my light leader, but I was pleasantly surprised at how it handled the pike just the same. This is a fun rod to fight fish with.

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The Tatula is a slick, and smooth casting rod. Photo by Travis Smola

Best Premium: Abu Garcia Fantasista X

Best Premium


  • Construction: Graphite
  • Powers: Medium-Light, Medium
  • Action: Fast
  • Lengths: 6’ 10”, 7’


  • Good sensitivity
  • Great guides
  • Long casting distances


  • Price
  • Odd ridge on reel seat

The Abu Garcia Fantasista was another rod I got the chance to test on Lake Okoboji in Iowa and I found it to be a solid drop shot rod. I caught not only bass, but a walleye, a pike, and a crappie on this rod as well, so it’s got the backbone to handle just about anything that’ll strike a drop shot. I have one minor complaint with the rod’s ergonomics, as there is an unusual ridge running down the back of the reel seat. It wasn’t super uncomfortable or anything like that, but it was an odd grip just the same. I think every angler’s mileage on that part of the rod will vary a bit.

Aside from that I found a lot to love about the Fantasista X. It’s well balanced and lightweight. I found the graphite construction delivers good sensitivity. I felt every single bluegill tap quite clearly as I worked the bait over some beds. I also liked the casting distance this rod provides, making it a good choice for skittish fish.

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The author caught this bass and a walleye on back-to-back casts with the Fantasista X. Photo by Travis Smola

Most Versatile: Scheels Outfitters Ebisu Pro

Most Versatile


  • Construction: Graphite
  • Powers: Medium, Medium-Light, Medium-heavy
  • Actions: Fast, Extra Fast, Moderate
  • Lengths: 6’ 6”, 6’ 9”, 6’ 10”, 7’


  • Great sensitivity
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Variety of powers and actions available


  • Hook keeper occasionally snags line

I fished this rod while angling with 2010 MWC World Walleye Champion Johnnie Candle in Iowa and was thoroughly impressed with the sensitivity. Most anglers might not think highly of a house brand rod from a big retailer like Scheels. But the Ebisu Pro is a key part of Candle’s arsenal. I found the graphite construction was highly sensitive and perfect for drop shotting, especially since a large part of the day involved targeting bass at depths of 15 to 20 feet. Because it was hot, a lot of the strikes were extremely subtle and perhaps because the bass were still recovering a bit from the post-spawn conditions. But this rod’s sensitivity allowed me to detect several lighter bites. I landed not only bass, but an unexpected northern pike and a crappie on this rod.

The only issue I had with this rod was that the hook keeper snagging the line after the cast a couple of times. But other than that, the rod performed flawlessly. Because I used it to fish other setups, it was easy to see the versatility. This is a great all-around finesse rod as we also used it work a Ned rig and weightless wacky worm. I also just liked the ergonomics of the handle, which was comfortable to hold all day in hot, tough conditions.  

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The EbiSu Pro has great looks for a store branded rod. Photo by Travis Smola

Best Value: Abu Garcia Veritas

Best Value


  • Construction: Graphite
  • Powers: Medium-Light, Medium, Medium-Heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Lengths: 6’ 9”, 7’


  • Very durable
  • Versatile beyond drop shotting
  • Great backbone


  • Some models are a little heavy for drop shot

I’ve owned a couple medium power Veritas rods for a couple years now, and they’ve become my go-to rods for a variety of fishing scenarios, drop shot included. These rods are a bit deceptive because they are so light, but at the same time, they have a great backbone for larger fish. I would go with the Veritas if you expect to catch bass over 5 pounds regularly. The big thing that’s impressed me about the Veritas is the durability. I’m rough on my gear and this rod has taken being slammed, dropped, and accidentally being bumped into a low ceiling when being put in storage with ease.

I really like the casting distance I get with this rod, which makes it versatile for many scenarios beyond drop shotting. This is my favorite rod for working a wacky worm. It also skips lures under docks like a dream. If you’re looking for a drop shot rod that can do a little bit of everything a spinning rod should do, this is a solid choice.

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Abu Garcia offers the Veritas as part of an excellent combo package. Photo by Travis Smola

Best Budget: 13 Fishing Fate Black

Best Budget

It’s hard to find a graphite rod for under $100 these days, but 13 Fishing usually offers the Fate Black for around $75. You can usually get it for even cheaper during sales at certain times of the year. For anglers on a budget looking for a quality one-piece spinning rod, this is one of the best options. And we dig the slick black look. The graphite blank delivers some solid sensitivity that’s needed for drop shot fishing.

Another reason we like the Fate Black for budget anglers is simply because it comes in several power and action variations at the same bargain price. This makes it easy for beginner anglers to get started with a dedicated light spinning drop shot rod setup. It’s ideal for the scenarios they most often fish and also won’t totally break the bank.  

Best for Walleye: St. Croix Tournament Walleye

Best for Walleye


  • Construction: Carbon fiber and composite
  • Powers: Medium-Light, Medium
  • Actions: Fast, Extra Fast
  • Lengths: 6’ 3”, 6’ 6”, 6’ 8”, 7’, 7’ 1”, and 7’ 3”


  • Extremely sensitive
  • Great cork handles
  • 15-year warranty


  • Price
  • Color scheme is a bit odd

Drop shotting for walleye is not nearly as popular as it is for bass, but there are some walleye setups that will work nicely for the job. The Tournament series is rather technique-specific, but versatile enough to work for drop shot. These rods are extremely sensitive and feature a great backbone for bringing walleyes up out of the depths. Especially during the heat of summer when the bite is slow. We also just like the cork handle of this rod that makes it extremely comfortable in the hand.

As if that wasn’t enough, St. Croix gave these American-made rods some high-quality stainless steel guides that are going to last season after season. My only complaint is that the color scheme is a bit odd. Otherwise, it’s a great rod for walleye that’s backed by a 15-year warranty, which is a nice peace of mind for an expensive investment.

Best Light: G Loomis GCX Dropshot

Best Light


  • Construction: Carbon
  • Powers: Mag-Light, Mag-Medium
  • Actions: Extra Fast
  • Lengths: 6’ 10”


  • Great reel seat and handles
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Amazing sensitivity


  • Cost

Drop shot fishing is a finesse technique, and it’s a ton of fun when utilizing lighter tackle. The excellent sensitivity of the extra fast action on this rod will help you detect even the lightest of strikes in deep water. This dedicated drop shot rod was also an easy choice thanks to the quality Fuji reel seat and cork handles. These rods have some excellent ergonomics and have the feel of a custom rod considering they’re handmade here in the U.S. This gives the rod a lofty price tag but the fine looks and finish of this rod make it worth the money.

Additionally, we like the fact that G Loomis offers a limited lifetime warranty on their rods. It makes it easier to justify upgrading to a high grade piece of fishing equipment like this.

What to Consider When Choosing a Drop Shot Rod

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The author with an early summer largemouth caught on a drop shot. Photo by Travis Smola

While some anglers think any old spinning rod will do for a drop shot scenario, it has become a much more exact science in recent years. Because this is such a slow fishing technique, the proper sensitivity is a must. Many drop shot strikes are very light taps. In some instances, the only indication of a strike might be a slow, steady pressure. That brings us to the first consideration for any drop shot rod.


Medium-heavy rods are often used for drop shotting, but may be too beefy for the technique. We recommend them only if you have nothing else on hand at the moment. Accordingly, a medium or medium-light rod is usually a better choice. Remember that we’re dealing with rather light lines and baits here. Most medium-heavy rods have a bit too much backbone for the task at hand. To the point that you could completely snap the line on a larger fish. If you do go medium-heavy, careful on those hook sets!

Consequently, medium or medium-light rods allow just the right amount of backbone for these smaller lures. The rods are also lighter in physical weight, which makes them more comfortable to hold for longer periods. Sometimes the best way to fish a drop shot is to let the lure remain stationary and let the current work it for you. A light and sensitive rod is a must in that situation.


Because drop shotting uses a single fishing hook, it’s best to go with a fast action rod that has a lot of flex at the tip. The upright nature of the hook in this setup leads to most sets being in the roof of the fish’s mouth. The fast action helps drive that hook home just a little quicker and ensures you won’t miss the bite. Fast actions are also good for longer casts, which are great for working long points and saddles underwater

Additionally, a fast action imparts a good deal of sensitivity back to the user. Some drop shot bites, especially those from walleyes, are very subtle. In deep weedlines, it’s sometimes hard to tell them apart from a snag. A fast action graphite rod delivers a lot of tactile feedback that helps the user identify those lighter strikes. It also helps when you’re working the bait slowly across the bottom. Use a tungsten sinker to deliver the most feedback on rocks and other cover in deeper water.


Q: What line should I use for a drop shot rod?

While many anglers like to use straight fluorocarbon line for drop shots, most of the pros use braid for their main line. This is because braid offers a little better sensitivity. Most drop shot strikes are rather subtle, so a sensitive line is a must. Braid is also much more durable in the long run. For the main line, go with 10 to 15-pound test. For the leader, go with a six to eight-pound fluorocarbon of seven to ten feet.

Q: What is the best drop shot rod length?

Almost every angler has a different preference on rod length. However, most of the pros seem to prefer a rod that is at least 7 feet. A rod of this length gives good casting distance while also providing excellent leverage for setting the hook on fish down at depths of 15 to 25 feet. We recommend using rods no shorter than 6’ 8” and no longer than 7’ 6” for best odds of success.

Q: What size reel is best for a drop shot?

Best is subjective, but opinions vary on the best reel size. Some anglers do most of their drop shotting vertically over the side of the boat. In that scenario, a size 1000 reel with a smaller line capacity will work. However, most pros do prefer to cast a drop shot. Subsequently, a size 2000 or 2500 reel is the best all-around choice.

Q: What is the best drop shot weight?

Drop shot weight choice is very situational. If the bottom is mostly vegetation, it’s best to go with a cylindrical weight that will slide through the grass. If the bottom is rocky, go with a round or tear drop shape that won’t get stuck in the nooks and crannies as easily. Start with 3/16 or ¼ ounces. If the fish are in water deeper than 20 feet, try a 3/8-ounce weight to get the bait down faster. Lead works for most scenarios. However, more expensive tungsten has become extremely popular because it makes more noise to attract fish.

Best Drop Shot Rods: Final Thoughts

There are plenty of rods well-suited for drop shot fishing. However, the Daiwa Tatula blew me away with its ergonomics and sensitivity, making it the best of the best drop shot rods. It just feels incredibly smooth and natural in the hand, especially when you’re poking a lure along the bottom slowly for long periods as is so common with the technique. Because of that, it’s probably going to be my go-to rod for drop shot for quite a long time.

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