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I am keen to extend my knowledge of lure fishing (primarily for bass) and I believe (!?) that I understand the basic set up for drop shotting and carolina rigs. My questions are:

What are the circumstances that I would select a drop shot rig over a Carolina rig?

What dictates the hook length/drop shot length and how long should that be?

I am guessing that you would one of these rigs when the SP is too small/light to give adequate casting weight but are there other circumstances that you would use it?

Many thanks in advance!
 

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andrew have a look at jerseybassguides blog for rolling dropshot in current and bassdozer(usa) theres loads on there, i dabbled this year for bream(to no avail!) just to put the sp at the right depth and to try and keep it fixed a bit rather the light jighead rolling in current, dont think size comes into it you can dropshot most sp's i think, im no expert tho, good luck
 

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I would say drop shooting is more for vertical fishing I.e "deeper" water close in where a Carolina rig can be trotted through or worked retrieve style in shallow water
 

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My limited understanding of dropshotting is that its a method designed primarily to let you present an SP in the strike zone for longer. You can fish the same spot whilst imparting action into the lure through subtle twitches that work the SP without moving the weight on the bottom, then maybe flick it out and drop it further downstream before repeating. I have used Carolina a few times, and when I have it is for more sink and draw style fishing, or straight retrieve, keeping the lure more active and searching fish out.

As I said, I'm not experienced at either technique, so someone may be able to provide further information.
 

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Drop shotting helps fish a (roughly) set distance of the bottom normally vertical or close to. The drop shot weights are designed to be moveable with minimum fuss. It is used a lot for clearing bottom weed or to fish for suspended fish.
 

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Quickly:

Both systems are very different.

I drop shot for wrasse but, strangely, we discovered that deep water is the last productive place to search for them generally. You can drop shot at any reachable range. Only the actual presentation of the SP changes and, go over vertical or near vertical and, the best, most natural way to present the SP is wacky because, no matter the rod:line angle, the lure is level orientated and shakes greater wacky rigged anyway IME. Shake slack line, not a tight one. At no time should the line go tight (well, it can on cleaner ground) or you risk pulling the weight under any obstacles etc.

Carolina:

Sink and Draw ? Yea, It does work but, the takes are indirect. I:e, the weight and lure/weight are not inline.
Japanese carolina: very short link length, weight is maybe 3 " from the lure (better a floating or mobile one) for our HRF due to the fish type.
We utilise glass beads in the line up to generate sound. I think it makes a difference. Again, quick taps without actually moving the weight activate this clacking.
I mostly use a carolina 'ground based'. Weight maybe 18" away from the lure which, in the case of an xlayer will NOT be level rigged. I might do this from a beach as an example.
Basically, you JERK the weight OUT of the bottom. This, NOT the weight landing, makes the sand puff up. Shrimps etc live in the sand. They emerge at night in the shallow surf just as sandeels bury themselves at similar times. Move the weight that 18" and, the 'just offset rigged' lure, like an xlayer, flat side down and slightly banana rigged will plane UP and fall right over the sand or mud disturbance. You JERK and 'release'. Let the lure fall on a semi slack line, hold the line in thumb and forefinger and wait for a draw or pull. Push the rod forward slightly before setting the hook if using 'braid'. Mono usually has a built in timing.

If you refect on 'Jerkbait' style lure fishing, you JERK the lure down making commotion and then, the lure comes to rest in that very same commotion zone. Lure and commotion are in the same spot. Bass, drawn to it should find the lure immediately.

With a bounced jighead over sand this isn't the case. We have to consider a few aspects.

Jighead hits bottom. (sound), lure is where the sound or bottom tap is made. Great for hard bottoms where both noise and visual presence are in unison.
Use a Carolina over hard ground and the carolina weight sits where the sound emerges and the visual 'lure' is way behind. Not in unison.

Add sand or actual bottom disturbance into the eqaution and it becomes muddied.

Jig head leaves the bottom creating a 'puff' or cloud of mud/sand but.....
The lure has moved AWAY from the disturbance and is not in unison. Bass moves to the sand puff and the lure isn't there.

Carolina weight leaves bottom, throws up sand or mud puff. You jerk 12 or 18" or whatever. Your lure falls slowly over the area of disturbance.
Yes, you weight has also hit bottom away from the lure and puff of sand but the 'luring' ratio is in favour of the lure AND puff of sand plus the pressure wave created by the movement of weight, lure and bottom debris.


Loads more to it but I hope that helps and makes sense.
 

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Quickly:

Both systems are very different.

I drop shot for wrasse but, strangely, we discovered that deep water is the last productive place to search for them generally. You can drop shot at any reachable range. Only the actual presentation of the SP changes and, go over vertical or near vertical and, the best, most natural way to present the SP is wacky because, no matter the rod:line angle, the lure is level orientated and shakes greater wacky rigged anyway IME. Shake slack line, not a tight one. At no time should the line go tight (well, it can on cleaner ground) or you risk pulling the weight under any obstacles etc.

Carolina:

Sink and Draw ? Yea, It does work but, the takes are indirect. I:e, the weight and lure/weight are not inline.
Japanese carolina: very short link length, weight is maybe 3 " from the lure (better a floating or mobile one) for our HRF due to the fish type.
We utilise glass beads in the line up to generate sound. I think it makes a difference. Again, quick taps without actually moving the weight activate this clacking.
I mostly use a carolina 'ground based'. Weight maybe 18" away from the lure which, in the case of an xlayer will NOT be level rigged. I might do this from a beach as an example.
Basically, you JERK the weight OUT of the bottom. This, NOT the weight landing, makes the sand puff up. Shrimps etc live in the sand. They emerge at night in the shallow surf just as sandeels bury themselves at similar times. Move the weight that 18" and, the 'just offset rigged' lure, like an xlayer, flat side down and slightly banana rigged will plane UP and fall right over the sand or mud disturbance. You JERK and 'release'. Let the lure fall on a semi slack line, hold the line in thumb and forefinger and wait for a draw or pull. Push the rod forward slightly before setting the hook if using 'braid'. Mono usually has a built in timing.

If you refect on 'Jerkbait' style lure fishing, you JERK the lure down making commotion and then, the lure comes to rest in that very same commotion zone. Lure and commotion are in the same spot. Bass, drawn to it should find the lure immediately.

With a bounced jighead over sand this isn't the case. We have to consider a few aspects.

Jighead hits bottom. (sound), lure is where the sound or bottom tap is made. Great for hard bottoms where both noise and visual presence are in unison.
Use a Carolina over hard ground and the carolina weight sits where the sound emerges and the visual 'lure' is way behind. Not in unison.

Add sand or actual bottom disturbance into the eqaution and it becomes muddied.

Jig head leaves the bottom creating a 'puff' or cloud of mud/sand but.....
The lure has moved AWAY from the disturbance and is not in unison. Bass moves to the sand puff and the lure isn't there.

Carolina weight leaves bottom, throws up sand or mud puff. You jerk 12 or 18" or whatever. Your lure falls slowly over the area of disturbance.
Yes, you weight has also hit bottom away from the lure and puff of sand but the 'luring' ratio is in favour of the lure AND puff of sand plus the pressure wave created by the movement of weight, lure and bottom debris.


Loads more to it but I hope that helps and makes sense.
Many thanks Keith.
Concerning Piers which have loads of pilings/structure/ironwork, underneath, (I am thinking of my nearest Pier The South Parade Pier at Portsmouth) strikes me as a likely venue to try some drop shotting. Or am I missing the point ? The depth is certainly less than 20'. When the tide is pulling it may take a couple of ounces to hold bottom, but I am sure that an ounce would usually be ample. All things being equal, there are fish around.
Simple question really, would this be suitable terrain?

South Parade Pier - Southsea, HampshireSouthsea, Hampshire
South Parade Pier is one of the main landmarks on the seafront at Southsea. What’s more,
it’s the perfect place for youngsters to grab their first taste of sea fishing.
Situated between Southsea Castle and the boating lake, it affords a stable platform some 400 metres into the Solent. There are exquisite views across the Solent and to the Isle of Wight.
This really is a family venue where beginners are almost certain to catch fish. There are restaurants, toilets, a bar and an adjacent shopping centre. The nearby D-Day museum, Southsea Castle, Sea Life Centre and swimming pools really turn this venue into something special.
The pier is fishable at all states of the tide, but the best prospects are three hours up and three hours down from high water.
This is predominantly a summer venue, offering bass, pollack, smoothhounds, mackerel, garfish, wrasse, scad, bream and pouting. Big, thick-lipped mullet can also be seen here sucking at the algae on the ironwork. There is a good run of whiting and some codling in the winter.
To fish after 10.30pm you need to be a member of the Pier Fishing Club (details are available from the small tackle shop near the pier entrance). Day tickets will be brought to you by a steward and cost approximately £2 a rod.
Under The Pier
This is not strictly a pier mark at all. Approach the left-hand side of the pier, facing seawards, and walk down the shingle beach directly under the Pier Café. At times, the bass seem suicidal here and the surface can become alive with feeding shoals. Shrimps and prawns, available from the adjacent boating lake, are prime baits. Fish from three hours before high water and your baits will be taken under the pier stanchions. A bubble float offers the perfect presentation of small live prawns and pouts. Early morning and dusk are ideal times to target these close-in bass. Lures and plugs could be effective here when the bass can be seen shoaled up.
The Bay
This is the name given to the more open area directly outside the pub bar on the left-hand side of the pier. Feathers, artificial eels and float-fished strips of mackerel can take bass, mackerel, scad and pollack here. Let the baits/lures run under the fairly-clean area of ironwork of the pier. Three hours before high water sees the beginning of the westerly run of tide, and this is the best time to fish this mark. Baitfish form large shoals and the predators are never far behind. Quite frequently the pier can become alive with marauding bass on the surface; truly a sight to behold.
The Ironwork
This term refers to the iron cross-structures, which hold up the jetty at the head of the pier. Beware, as storms have given the pier a pounding over the decades, and countless piles and planks form a natural fish-holding reef in these areas. It is possible to lower small livebaits into the holes of these structures, but be warned, you are bound to lose some gear. Go for 30lb line straight through and use a rotten bottom to save on these losses. Besides the bass, which can run to 10lb, there are large scad, wrasse to 6lb and sizeable pollack to be caught. Youngsters can be assured of good sport here when lowering small baits on size 4 hooks straight down. Wrasse, pollack, pout and bream will be taken.
Top Left-Hand Corner
Go down the steps to the pier-head jetty and to the left-hand corner. Three hours before high water the tide will move quite gently from left to right, carrying float-fished baits into the structures. Float fishing is ideal here and many of the local anglers use a carp or even freshwater match rod, small fixed spool reel and 10lb line. A waggler or chubber-type float taking about 10 grammes is about right. Set the float at one to 2.5 metres deep and have a hooklength of approximately 75cm, culminating in a size 6 carp hook. A tiny strip of mackerel skin closely matches the small fry that can appear as ‘black clouds’ at times. Garfish are the chief quarry here, although quantities of mackerel, scad, smelt, pollack and bream will also be taken using this method. Pollack and bass can be taken using ragworm and strips of squid.
The Front Of The Pier
This is the seaward-facing part of the jetty. If you can cast towards Ryde Church (IOW), then you are in the right spot. There used to be extensive mussel beds 30 to 40 metres out, where giant plaice to 5lb were regularly taken. Sadly these beds have suffered from the effects of trawling, and the sea bed is now rather bare. Standard beach gear with flowing traces and paternosters will still take the odd plaice in spring and autumn, but the plaice fishing is no longer assured. Ragworm is the chief bait here, but peeler crab, razorfish and mackerel strip will take a variety of species. After dark on summer nights some very large smoothhounds are taken from the front of the pier on crab and ragworm baits.
The Right-Hand Corner
This used to be the prime big plaice mark and still produces some good fish in March right through till June. Aim your casts towards the old World War II fort. Bass and smoothhounds can be taken on peeler crab and ragworm baits, particularly early morning and dusk.
The pier-head sees a good run of whiting in the winter and occasionally codling or even larger cod. The best winter bait is lugworm tipped with squid strip or mackerel.
Tackle Shops
Lock Stock and Tackle, 26 Elm Grove, Tel: 02392 812 478.
 
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