To Be Consistent, Fish Structure
The first time we fished with Marc must have been nearly thirty years ago! Arizona Lakes, Arizona Pros – Marc Townsend has been fishing Arizona lakes almost all his life, starting when he was just a kid going out with his dad. He’s particularly good at structure fishing, and that makes him really good on our desert reservoirs where the fish like to hang out around rocks and humps.
How He Learned To Drop-Shot
Marc told us a funny story about how he learned to drop-shot. Many years ago, he was drawn with a Japanese angler at a tournament at Lake Havasu. The man spoke very little English, but he certainly knew enough to get Marc to stop the boat at a nothing spot in the middle of nowhere.
Marc says he had no idea why the man asked him to stop the boat, and he just watched in silence as the guy jumped up and quickly dropped a rig over the side. Within moments, he was reeling in a nice bass. When Townsend saw that, he jumped up, ready to fish.
“Only one, only one,” insisted the Japanese angler as he dropped the fish in the livewell. Apparently that spot was only good for one fish a day, and the man insisted they go on. So go they did. But later that day, Marc took a good long look at the man’s rig.
A Simple Rig
The rig was very simple. A drop-shot rig consists of a small hook with the weight below it. The beauty of this is that most fish feed up, so a drop-shot rig keeps the bait up off the bottom where the fish can see it. It makes the lure look more like it is suspended in the water, just like real prey. The weight can go anywhere from six inches to four feet below the hook.
Since the drop-shot is a finesse technique, most anglers agree that it should be fished on spinning gear with 8- to 10-pound-test maximum. Fluorocarbon line is ideal because it virtually vanishes in the water, but any high-quality monofilament will do the trick too.
Quality Hooks Crucial
With this light line, quality hooks are crucial. The drop-shot hook needs to be strong but light. Most manufacturers make specialty drop-shot hooks now, so finding them is easy.
To fish a drop-shot rig, simply drop it to the bottom then reel up the slack. With the line taut, you just shake the rod tip gently to get the lure moving around. Keep the weight on the bottom, and watch your line. If it goes slack, set the hook.
You can even fish a drop-shot from shore. Cast it out and let it fall until the line goes slack. Reel the line up taut and shake the rig in place for a bit before moving it a little and trying again.
Bass Love This Rig
Bass love the drop-shot rig and it snags a lot less than a split-shot rig. Any good tackle shop can get you set up with everything you need, but chances are you’ve already got stuff in your tackle box that you can use to cobble a drop-shot rig together. On those days when you’ve thrown a spinnerbait until your arm is sore without a bite, a drop-shot rig can save the day.
At Bartlett Lake
Townsend is also good with a big jig. At Bartlett he targets rock points, especially those with a good drop-off. He likes the 1-ounce football head jigs with Yamamoto Hula Grubs.
Fish these on a good jig rod with lots of backbone. Just drop or lob them out, let them hit bottom, then drag or hop them over the bottom, pulling gently when you feel yourself crawling over a rock. When the bait starts to fall down the other side of the rock, stick your rod out to keep the jig falling as close to the rock as you can get it. If you keep the line taut it will pendulum out, and may sail right over a fish’s head, especially when they are holding tight to cover.
Tips From Marc
You just about have to be able to fish structure if you want to be a consistent bass fisherman on Arizona Lakes. These tips from Marc will help you get started.