Flip-Shot for Pressured Bass
DROP SHOT HISTORY
Flipping was made popular by California’s Dee Thomas in 1975 when he won the Arkansas Invitational on Bull Shoals Lake utilizing a flipping technique derived from “tule dipping” in the Delta. The drop-shot technique was made popular when Seiji Kato, famous lure designer and professional bass angler, pulled out what he referred to as the “every time lucky rig” and began to catch bass after they had stopped biting his jerkbait during the 1998 Bassmasters tournament on Elephant Butte Lake in New Mexico.
Combining the drop-shot with flipping has slowly gained ground in the bass angling world as more presentations emerge to keep the bass off guard. It is a great way to present your bait to passive bass that remain shallow but just won’t bite a fast falling bait on the bottom. Flipping the drop-shot is also a great way to keep your bait above soft mud where bass will cruise in search of crawfish during early spring.
DROP-SHOTTING HEAVY COVER
The drop-shot has become predominantly a deep clear water tactic but flipping the drop-shot into heavy cover in stained or muddy water can be deadly. I like to use this technique when fishing in rocks as well. The line below the bait takes the abuse as you flip to tight strike zones in the rocks. Flipping the sinker to the target and then allowing the bait to fall will help keep your line abrasion free by allowing you to ease the bait out of the strike zone and clear of sharp rocks without the pressure of the weight.
Flipping the drop-shot rig is a power finesse technique best used when you know the bass are in shallow heavy cover but the bite has slowed. You can rig a small finesse type worm or go with a giant creature bait depending on what the bass want that day or hour. I like a small finesse worm when fishing brush piles just so I can maneuver the bait through the tangled limbs without hanging up.
RIGGING THE DROP-SHOT
Rigging the drop-shot for flipping is a little different from rigging it for deep open water which usually means a wide gap finesse hook in the nose. Flipping a drop-shot in heavy cover usually requires your soft plastics to be rigged weedless. I almost always go with the Texas rig extra wide gap Gamakatsu but sometimes a wacky rigged Senko using a Falcon Lures weedless wacky hook is what the situation calls for. The wacky rig requires a little more patience working it through the cover to keep it free of hang-ups but this patience will only help when flipping the drop-shot.
A conventional drop-shot rig utilizes a special drop shot sinker made to cut your line when it snags on the bottom saving your hook and bait. When flipping the drop-shot it is best to tie your drop down leader to a bell sinker with a palomar knot three to six inches below the bait. This secures the sinker and allows you to pull the it through heavy brush without worrying about it cutting the line every time you apply a little pressure to dislodge it from the brush or free it from between two rocks. Moreover, it is much easier to free the sinker from hang-ups in shallow water.
BAITS FOR FLIP-SHOTTING
There are many choices in soft plastics out there and anyone will work when flipping the drop-shot but I like to use the Gary Yamamoto Senkos because of the great action in these baits. The Senko will jiggle with the slightest of twitches of the rod tip and if there is any current you can just let it sit and the current provides enough action to this bait to drive bass crazy. I use the 5 inch Yamasenko when the water is clear to stained and the 6 inch Yamasenko when the water is murky to muddy.
The six-inch Yamasenko isn’t just longer it is fatter and will move more water so the bass can zero in on it. I will also add a rattle either embedded in the plastic or just threaded on the line before the hook. Sometimes a rattle can dramatically increase reaction strikes from inactive bass by stimulating their lateral line which can generate a strike. This can be important in dirty water and heavy cover where the Largemouth’s preferred sense; sight, is limited and the bass utilizes its vertical line to home in on potential prey.
The set up for flipping the drop-shot is essentially the same as when flipping any other rig. A seven to seven and a half foot, heavy-action rod, will work for most conditions. However, I prefer a medium action rod when water is clear and lighter line is needed. Heavy braids and monofilament lines work fine when the water is muddy. However, when you start flipping the drop-shot it is usually because the bass are being picky either because of weather conditions or from fishing pressure, and when this happens lighter monofilament and fluorocarbon lines will outperform heavier line. It might be difficult for you to use lighter line in heavy cover but there are times when it will help trigger more bites and worrying about fighting a bass out of thick cover with light line is better than wondering if you’re going to add a keeper to the box.
The two techniques alone may be more famous than combining the two but flipping the drop-shot is gaining popularity and will continue gaining ground as long as the technique helps anglers land more bass and win more tournaments. Many lakes are seeing increased pressure and this pressure creates smarter bass and the angler must come up with new techniques or in some cases use some old ones to catch these bass. Something as subtle as a color change or as drastic as pulling out the old Hula Popper can trigger bites from picky bass. These bass have seen every jig and jig trailer zip by them in the brush and when they tire of being hooked by them it is time to change things up. Flipping the drop-shot just might be the answer on your lake to help you catch more pressured bass in shallow cover.