Drop shotting for perch is basically a finesse way of accurately presenting a soft plastic bait and being able to fish one spot as long as you need to or as slow as you need to on or near the bottom of the water. This technique can prove deadly when you are after a really slow retrieve that you just can’t achieve with most other lures. The drop shot can really prove beneficial in the colder months when the Perch are less active and want a slow moving bait.
In the right conditions this technique can prove to be highly productive when all other techniques have failed. One of the main advantages is that you are completely mobile and can cover a lot of water whilst seeking the fish. Once you find one Perch the chances are there will be more. You can then work that swim plucking the fish off the shoal with minimum of disturbance.
Once you master the drop shot there really is no going back, you WILL be hooked (excuse the pun).
Top tip: Keep mobile, once you find the perch stay there til the bites dry up then move on
The Right Tackle for Drop Shotting
Like with all methods of fishing you need the right tackle for the job, drop shotting for perch is no exception. There is plenty of drop shot tackle available nowadays some of it reasonably priced and some at the higher end of the budget. I would certainly suggest spending a good few quid on your rod and reel if possible. You want something that is built to last and nice and light for your money. That rod and reel is in your hands the whole time you are fishing. There is nothing worse than getting an achey arm whilst out on the bank.
1. The Rod
One of the main things to look for in my opinion is the weight of the rod. This rod will be in your hands the whole time you are fishing. Believe me, they can soon start to feel heavy after a few hours of being on the bank. Drop shot rods generally have a stiffer midsection and an extra-fine tip. With this, it should have enough backbone to strike the hook into the boniest of mouths such as zander, yet sensitive enough to register the slightest of bites.
My main drop shot rod is 7ft 6 inches. I find this length is good enough for accuracy and does well on the rivers and lakes that I fish. The ideal kind of casting weight for a drop shot rod is around 0g -15g. The one I use for perch is 0g-7g and I find this to be more than adequate on the venues that I fish.
2. The Reel
Ideally, the reel needs to be light with a good smooth drag. Sizes can range from 500 which is the smallest up to 2500. I find when it comes to your rod and reel you tend to get what you pay for. Not all of us can afford the more expensive stuff but spend as much as your budget will allow.
3. The Landing Net
Like with all the tackle for drop-shotting the landing net wants to be nice and light, the lighter the better. I would also highly recommend getting a rubberised net.
It really does make getting snagged hooks out a damn site easier. Especially if you end up using it for pike fishing at some point in the future and get some trebles tangled up in it.
A lot of the top names now produce some nice light compact landing nets that are foldable and will clip onto your belt or luggage with ease.
This makes it easier for your travels up and down the bank in search for the perch. The length of the handle should be determined by the venue that you are targeting the perch on.
Canals and venues like an average commercial fishery you will probably get away with a smaller handle around a metre long.
For lakes and rivers with high banks and reed beds etc maybe target a telescopic handle that reaches about 2.1 metres.
4. The Luggage
Again make sure it is light and definitely not too bulky or to big. You will be putting in a lot of miles on foot with this attached to you. As the day goes on, what seemed fairly light early morning can soon start to wear into your shoulder and start aching your back.
Backpacks are a no-no for me, they cause to much strain on my back. Instead, go for an over-the-shoulder type bag or bumbag style , these tend to cause less strain on the back and are easier to access whilst on the move.
5. The Line and Braid
Regarding your leader, keep the fluorocarbon as light as you can get away with. This will ensure that you will get the most out of the action of the lure you are using. I use 6lb drop shotting for the perch, and 8lb if it is a bit snaggy.
The braid should be slightly heavier than your fluorocarbon. This will ensure that the leader snaps if you do get snagged or snapped up and will minimalise the amount of line that is lost or left in the water.
6. The Hook
There are a lot of drop shot hooks available on the market nowadays. I use a size 2.0 VMC, personally, I find they are a good strong hook and stay fairly sharp. A good sharp hook is vital.
Always give your hooks a good once over, especially if you have hooked into a snag such as a branch.
If that hook straightens out even very slightly it is surprising how many fish you could lose because of it.
7. The lure
Drop shot lures come in all shapes, colours, and sizes. Worm, grubs, fish, and creatures to name just a few of the popular patterns available. Most are available in different sizes, different colours, and different tails, etc. All these lures will catch perch, it just depends on what they want on the day.
I take a selection of about ten with me, out of these there is usually at least one that will work effectively on the day. Some days they will take anything you put in front of them. Other days you may have to experiment a bit to see what they are after.
Top tip: Keep your lures in separate containers. They can have a chemical reaction when mixed together and can cause a melting effect.
The Rig for Drop Shotting
The rig for drop-shotting is surprisingly simple. Once you get the hang of tying the knots you can tie your rigs at home and have them ready-made for the bank, or just tie them off bankside.
To start off you will need to get yourself some fluorocarbon line. I use 6lb but use 8lb if you are in a bit of a snaggy area.
This will make your leader that will attach to your braid. I make my leader about 3 ft, but it really is up to you and depends on what venue you are fishing and what depth you have got.
I use 3 ft on a river that averages about 6 ft.
Use the Correct Knots
Halfway down your Fluorocarbon leader you then need to tie off your hook using a Palomar knot or one similar.
Learn how to tie your knots here. It is vital that the knots you tie are done right you really don’t want to lose a fish due to a dodgy bit of knot tying.
For me, the ideal hook size is a 2.0. But drop shot lures come in a selection of shapes and sizes, so match your hook to the size of your lure.
5 Gram Weights for Drop Shotting
Next, you will need some drop shot weights. I use 5 grams on a slow-flowing river but you can change the size accordingly. The weight is then slid up the bottom of the line and pinched onto the line at the desired distance from the hook. This determines how far your lure will rise off the bottom of the water whilst you reel in.
Attach Your Leader to the Braid
All that’s needed then is to attach your leader to your braid using an Albright knot or similar and place your choice of lure on the hook. Some people use a micro swivel instead of a knot.
Top tip: Once you are confident there is a shoal of perch, try upping the size of your lure to pluck off the bigger fish.
When to Use the Drop Shot for Perch
The good thing about drop-shotting for perch is that it can be a productive method all year round. In the summer months, you can speed the retrieve up a bit and bring the lure higher up in the water if needed. In the winter you can get the lure to hug the bottom to target the perch that are resting in the deeper holes.
Another good time to get the drop shot gear out is when you want to fish tight to the margins on the other side of the water. With this technique of lure fishing you can leave the lure tight to the other side, but still, put some movement into it to attract the fish. This also proves highly efficient fishing the far bank next to overhanging trees enticing the perch to come out and take a look.
The Retrieve is Vital Whilst Drop Shotting
The thickness of line, type of lure, size of hooks are all important whilst drop shotting. But to me one of the most important things to consider is the retrieve. One thing I have certainly learned is what works one day won’t necessarily work the next.
Don’t Twitch the Rod to Hard
The idea of the drop shot is to keep the weight on the bottom and very slightly twitch the end of your rod. Doing this will make your lure move around near the bottom of the water.
I usually set my weight between 6 to 10 inches from the lure, so the lure never goes any higher than 10 inches from the river bed.
Experiment With Your Retrieve
In the warmer months, I do a very similar retrieve drop shotting for perch but I just speed it up a bit. Obviously, this retrieve won’t work 100% of the time but it is a good tried and tested method. Don’t be afraid to experiment and come up with your own style of retrieve.
Slow down the Retrieve
In the colder months, it is worth seeking the deeper holes where the water is slightly warmer.
These deeper parts are usually where the perch tend to shoal up. In these colder months it is vital you slow your retrieve right down, then when you think you are going slow enough, slow it down some more.
The Perch really don’t like wasting their stored up energy chasing prey when it is cold.
Slow the retrieve to almost a standstill with a good few pauses. You may be surprised how many times they will take the bait while the lure is stationary.
Top tip: In the winter months slow the retrieve right down to almost a standstill, remember less is more.
There are many different ways of catching perch but to me drop shotting for perch is definitely one of the most productive. When all else is failing, you can get to hard to reach places and present your bait with precision and accuracy. This can certainly be the difference between a productive day and a fishless one.
So get out there get on the bank and give it a go, you could be amazed at the results. Oh and remember you won’t catch perch on the drop shot by sitting on your sofa.
Top tip: Try different things until you find what the perch want on the day. and just enjoy the experience.