The drop shot rig or “drop shot rigging” is widely known among angling circles.
It’s a common setup to target bass and many other species of fish. You’ll find that the drop shot rig is a popular method of fishing for many species but drop shot fishing is not commonly discussed in catfishing circles.
The drop shot rig is not one of the “all around catfish rigs” like the Santee rig and slip sinker rig that you’ll use on a regular basis but there’s some specific applications that make this a very effective way to setup when targeting catfish.
It’s definitely a great catfish rig to learn and have in your arsenal in case the right situation presents itself.
I’d never used this type of setup for catfish before and I ran into a particular problem. Years ago I was catfishing on one of the north Texas lakes in a place we like to call “Bob’s Hole”. There’s a number of very large trees in this deep water are and I could see catfish on my fishfinder hanging very tightly to cover and all around it.
I made several attempts using a slip sinker rig and santee rig to catch these fish by dropping baits to the depth the catfish were holding in the timber.
Every single time we would hook a catfish, we’d get hung up and break off.
Despite the frustration of getting hung up we’d drop a big chunk of cut bait down and would get a BIG blue catfish bite.
I was determined to figure out how to hook and land these fish in this tight cover.
I tied up with a drop shot rig like bass anglers use when they are targeting bass holding to heavy cover. I simply modified this traditional bass rig by adding a swivel and piece of heavy leader line and it was game on!
When To Use The Drop Shot Rig For Catfish
Again, there’s very specific applications that you’ll want to consider for using the drop shot rig:
- When fishing in and around heavy cover
- When catfish are holding right on or in that cover
- When you need to get right on top of fish (vertical presentation)
Flathead catfish love to hang out around (and in) brush piles. Areas that hold crappie are often flathead hotspots but they can also be difficult to fish. You either fish the general area and attempt to coax a flathead catfish out of the cover or you get the bait right on top of them and knock them in the head with it.
I’ve used this rig extensively for fishing right up against (and even in) these brush piles in the past to target flathead catfish with great success.
If you’re going to target heavy cover and fish right up or in it, this is certainly a good option for setting up in attempts to reduce your snags and break offs.
How To Tie A Drop Shot Rig For Catfish
- Cut a piece of leader line about two feet in length.
- Add an egg sinker at the bottom of the line. I use egg sinkers or no roll sinkers for almost all of my catfish rigs because I don’t keep casting sinkers around and it minimizes tackle inventory.
- Twelve inches above the sinker and add your hook using a dropper loop.
- Attach a circle hook or your preferred catfish hook to the dropper loop.
- Six to eight inches above the hook and add a barrel swivel to the rig
- Affix the open end of the barrel swivel to the main line.
When fishing in or around tight cover you will find this to be a very effective setup, minimizing snags and hang ups. It’s not something you’ll use with other catfishing techniques like drift fishing or targeting shallow water catfish for example but in the right circumstances it’s a great rigging option.
Want More On Catfish Rigs?
Check out all of our tutorials on catfish rigs covering everything you need to know and more. You’ll learn the essentials of rigging for different species of catfish and different catfishing techniques here at the catfish rigs page.