Drop Shotting Summer Slabs With Kyle Shoenherr
Phillip Gentry
Crappie guide Kyle Shoenherr loves to fish a drop shot rig during the summer when slab crappie tend to orient to the bottom at specific depths.
Though considered a single pole tactic, Shoenherr isn’t above putting a rod in each hand and working two spots with the drop shot.
The drop shot is pretty simple – a heavy weight on the bottom below a length of heavy mono line, then a knotted loop rigged with a Tru-turn hook connected to a swivel. The rig is fished on braided main line with a sensitive jig pole to complete the outfit.
Decked out in his new B’n’M visor, Shoenherr says the summer time fishing is cool and easy.
Kyle Shoenherr, a B’n’M pro-staffer who guides on Rend Lake and Kincaid Lake in southern Illinois, claims fishing the drop shot is a favorite tactic during the summer when crappie tend to orient at specific depths.

Shoenherr, who owns and operates All Seasons Guide Service, indicates that he prefers to use a drop shot rig to catch crappie anytime the fish are holding close to the bottom. He finds his particular version of the drop shot, which he has modified to fit his needs, to be effective during the warmer months when a thermocline sets up, particularly at his home lake, Kincaid, located near Murphysboro, Illinois.

“Kincaid Lake is a deeper, clearer lake,” said the guide.  “In the summer it will develop a thermoclime.  The typical depth is usually about 18 feet so I like to look for points or drops that contains brush piles, stake beds, or other structure in that 18 feet of water. That depth puts the fish laying right on the bottom and that’s really a good place to use it in the summer time.”

The modifications that Shoenherr makes increase the sensitivity of the bite as well as allow him to use live bait in place of a typical plastic lure used by bass anglers. The drop shot originated as a light line tactic using a crimped end weight at the bottom of the rig. Shoenherr’s version keeps the weight’s placement but switches to something a little more practical.

“I’m going to use heavy line, 12 to 14 pound monofilament or lately I’ve been having success with braid,” he said. “Vicious makes a  high viz braid now.  I use the 15 pound, 4 pound diameter braid for my main line and then tie on a barrel swivel.  Then I drop about 8 inches below the swivel and make a loop in the mono by tying 3 or 4 overhand knots real close together -  that will help the loop stand out off the main line.  At the end of the rig, I’ll use a ¼ or 3/8 bank sinker. The heavier sinker gives me tons of feeling for the bottom or any structure near the bottom.”

Shoenherr doesn’t get fancy with bait. He prefers  a good #2 medium minnow hooked through the lips on either a # 1 or # 2 Tru-turn hook. Since the purpose of drop shotting is to maintain sensitivity to subtle bites, he fishes the drop shot rig on B’n’M’s premier sensitive jig pole-the Buck’s Best Ultralite.

“I like the balance with the back reel seat and the rod is un-matched in it’s sensitivity,” he said. “Because I can also use this same rig in the dead of winter when the fish drop down in Kincaid to the 40 foot depths, I’ll use a heavy bottom weight and go to a Buck’s Graphite jig pole to get more stiffness in the tip for fishing deep.”

Though his approach is pretty simple, Shoenherr adds that there are a couple of nuances that can help you catch more fish, generally in terms of cashing in on bites.

“I went to braid for two reasons,” he said. “First, when you’re fishing for crappie you’re fishing structure. Kincaid is full of black crappie and they love structure. If I get hung up, I can pull the hook and keep fishing. The second thing is that the loop will make a real subtle bite feel a little baggy. With braid, anything that gets the bait is telegraphed to the rod and with that built-in touch system on the Ultra-light pole, right to your hand. Just remember to keep a tight line, even when the weight is touching the bottom, that will keep you in constant contact with the bait and the fish.”

Winter, spring, summer, or fall…all you have to do is call…or better yet visit your local dealer or our website at www.bnmpoles.com. Where ever, and whenever, fishing takes you, B’n’M  has been there and we’ll continue to be there, just let us know what you need.

To schedule a guided crappie fishing trip with Kyle Shoenherr on  Rend, Kincaid, or Crab Orchard Lake in southern Illinois, give him a call at (618) 314-2967.