Justin Kerr Fall Dropshot Bridge

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Lake Havasu, Ariz. pro Justin Kerr loves to target bass with reaction baits whenever he can. When he can cover water with topwater baits or crankbaits in the fall and catch aggressive bass, the man is in hog heaven. However, even when he can find a bite on moving baits, the bite doesn’t always work all day long.

That’s often the point that Kerr uses a technique that bridges his midday bite gap.

“The middle of the day can be a difficult time for a power fisherman,” Kerr said. “Fortunately, I’ve spent lot of my career with a finesse rod in my hands, and fishing a dropshot rig is one of my strengths. When I find the fall reaction bite slowing down, I can turn to finesse tactics.”
When the day gets tough, that’s precisely what he turns to.

The Difference
Kerr said that because fall bass tend to be so scattered, and because they can be receptive to a number of different techniques, it makes fishing from top to bottom an option. “Because baitfish move so much, and also because of the fall turnover; bass will be anywhere,” he said. “To be able to catch bass all day, you have to be able to do a number of things, and a dropshot rig is a great way to catch them shallow, deep or in between.”

What to Look For
Kerr said that when his reaction bite slows down, he searches the water column near obvious fish holding structure like points and bars. What he is searching for are clouds of bait with arches that let him know that bass have followed the bait deeper into the water column and are schooling deeper.

“We are all used to seeing schooling activity on the surface, but it continues even when they are deep,” he said. “They can be pretty easy to catch if you present things to them properly.” How he presents the rig to them depends on the conditions.

Dropshot Variables
He has several options that he considers when deciding what his setup should be. If he is fishing brush, or near grass edges, then he uses one type of rig, but if they are suspended in open water, then he uses an altogether different rig.

All of his rigs are tied to a 7′ medium-light Evergreen Kaleido Spin Cobra spinning rod and Opus-1 spinning reel. He uses Bass Seil Hard R fluorocarbon line in six or eight-pound-test, depending on the type of fishing he is doing. If the water is clear, or he is fishing for bass that are suspended in open water, then he leans towards the lighter line; he turns towards the heavier line around any kind of cover, or if the water has color to it.

He prefers Kanji Tungsten Drop Shot weights because of their fast sink rate, but he still chooses them carefully, with the wind conditions in mind. “I want to be able to get away with the lightest weight possible,” he said. “I usually start with a 3/16-ounce size if there is average wind, go down to 1/8-ounce for little to no wind and up to 1/4-ounce in heavier winds.”

He also chooses his worms and hooks with the same care. If the water is clear, he uses straight tailed Roboworms in either People’s Choice if he is fishing around cover or Prizm Shad if the bass are relating to baitfish. If the water has a little stain to it, then he opts for the 4.5″ curl tailed Roboworm so that he has some action to the worm. If he is around any type of cover, then he goes with a size 1 or 1/0 Rebarb hook, if he is fishing in open water, then a size 2 Gamakatsu Split Shot / Drop Shot hook gets the nod.

Cast or Drop
Kerr said that he prefers to stay off of the fish and make casts to them to avoid spooking them with the boat. however, even if he is catching bass on a reaction bait, he has a Dropshot rig at the ready at all times. That way, if he comes across likely looking fish on his fishfinder, he can quickly make a drop on them.

How he retrieves the lure varies depending on the season. “In the cold weather; from winter to spring, I prefer to sit on top of the structure, cast out over the fish, and retrieve it uphill,” he said. “But from postspawn through the early fall, then I retrieve the bait from shallow to deep.” He said the reason for that difference is because that is where bass seem to be expecting their food sources to come from at those times of the year.

One unique retrieve that he likes to employ is to cast his lure over the top of suspended schools of fish and allow the lure to pendulum through, and to kind of swim the worm through the school. “I get a lot of bites this time of the year that way,” he said. “Either way, I always have a dropshot rig ready, it’s a great way to fill the boat, or pick off those extra fish that can make a difference in your final weight at the end of the day.”