Best Drop Shot Hooks: Pro Guide to the Leading Brands

When fishing, you obviously won’t catch much on your drop shot rig if you aren’t using the right hooks. With a drop shot rig, you have a variety of options …

When fishing, you obviously won’t catch much on your drop shot rig if you aren’t using the right hooks. With a drop shot rig, you have a variety of options when it comes to the best hook available.

In this article, we will dive in and take a detailed look at the various drop shot hook options anglers have to choose from depending on which fishing method and drop shot rig techniques they use most often.

Best Types of Drop Shot Hooks

Drop Shot Rig 01
The best drop shot hook for you will depend on the type of fish you are targeting, the type of bait you are using and your own personal preference.

Nose Hooks for Drop Shotting

Nose hooking is a very popular way to hook your stick bait when drop shot fishing. In fact, it’s one of the most effective ways to get an accurate and natural movement from your soft plastic baits on a drop shot rig. This style of light wire hooking is simply done by running your hook through the tip of your soft plastic minnow, rubber worm, or stick bait.

Many anglers will reach for a few different single hooks with a lighter profile when wanting a nose hook, especially if they will be using a more finesse type drop shot worm or narrow stick bait. Owner, also known as Owner American, is a very popular brand to use, as is Gamakatsu. 

Eagle Claw, despite being an extremely well-known drop shot fishing hook manufacturer, is usually not reached for unless the drop shot fishing angler is a beginner or is lacking another hook brand option.

When using a drop shot rig, I personally nose hook with a light wire exposed hook, so it doesn’t drop like a stone with my bait. It’s not uncommon to get the majority of your drop shot bites as your bait is sinking as opposed to when it’s already on the bottom, so you will rarely run into a time when you need to use drop shot weights.

Our Best Nose Hook for Drop Shotting

Aaron Martens G-Finesse from Gamakatsu
Aaron Martens G-Finesse from Gamakatsu
Aaron Martens G-Finesse from Gamakatsu
Our Score

While it was a close tie with the Mosquito Light from Owner American, the Aaron Martens G-Finesse from Gamakatsu is an extremely versatile drop shot hook that is perfect for nose-hooking your minnows, shad, worms, or stick baits.

Since nose hooking leaves your drop shot hook exposed, it’s perfect for more open water where vegetation is kept to a minimum. However, the Gamakatsu drop shot hook is slightly thicker and more robust than the Owner American which is why it took the number one spot in my opinion.

In the event that you are drop shot fishing in and around vegetation, you’ll be able to drag your hook through without worrying about bending the tip or thinner wire shaft. When it comes to drop shot hook durability and the confidence it provides, I have nothing but good things to say about the Gamakatsu drop shot hooks.

Weedless Hooks for Drop Shotting

Drop shot hooks that are rigged to be entirely weedless, or those that have weed guards, are extremely useful in areas with heavy vegetation, sunken branches, weed beds, or forests of lilypad stalks. 

While most of these drop shot hooks are not going to prevent 100% of weeds from getting caught on your hook, they can absolutely prevent your hook tip from being hidden and still ensure a good solid hookup on any fish that strikes.

Weedless drop shot hooks are perfectly usable for both beginners as well as advanced anglers, and while they can be used in open water, they are much more effective around heavy plants, sunken trees or logs, rock beds, and tree roots.

Our Best Weedless Hook for Drop Shotting

Gamakatsu’s Robo Worm Hook
Gamakatsu’s Robo Worm Hook
Gamakatsu’s Robo Worm Hook
Our Score

When I reach for a weedless hook to attach to my drop shot rig, I have no hesitation in grabbing the Robo Worm drop shot hook from Gamakatsu. This brand has been a tried and true hook manufacturer for many years, and they have created some of the most versatile and reliable hooks for a multitude of situations, from bass fishing to Texas rigging and everything in between.

This straight shank drop shot hook will not only help your stick baits and soft plastic worms look more realistic but will also help give you a vertical presentation when fishing at the bottom of the lake. The hook will roll and pitch to the side, letting your drop shot bait stand vertically in the water column and wiggle with the current.

This Gamakatsu drop shot hook is great for most small to medium-sized baits and can even handle some larger drop shot fishing worms and stickbaits, especially if you decide to O-ring them. However, for body or nose hooking or standard rigging to catch fish, this weedless hook is the way to go with worms, sticks, and creature baits.

Swivel Hook for Drop Shot Rigs

One of the biggest benefits of using a swivel hook with your drop shot rig is the increase in solid hookups you can get from even larger and more aggressive fish. With other drop shot hook options, your bait may be presented well, but your hook could be laying at an angle on the bottom of the lake, or you could deal with line twist and other fishing line issues.

With a swivel hook, you pretty much guarantee the hook will be able to rise up and assume a proper presentation that gets the sharpened tip pointed toward the fish that will be striking. This not only increases your hookup rate but also helps to reduce the chance of poor hookups and swallowed hooks.

Our Best Swivel Hook for Drop Shotting

Matzuo Standard Swivel Hook
Matzuo Standard Swivel Hook
Matzuo Standard Swivel Hook
Our Score

While not having a fancy custom name, this hook for a drop shot setup puts in some serious work for most anglers. It’s a finesse-type hook that can handle a decent range of stick baits, rubber worms, and soft plastic minnows, whether you are targeting big fish or simply testing the area for finesse fishing success.

The attached swivel bar and double beads help present your bait in a very natural way while it sinks and rests on the bottom. In fact, due to the barrel swivel and free range of movement, you’ll be able to get solid hookups on reaction bites from even larger fish.

Other Hooks You Can Use Drop Shotting

Being so versatile, a drop shot rig can be used with a wide range of hook types. Many anglers will focus on simple single hooks or straight shank hooks, while others will lean more towards using a jig head hook, octopus hooks, or even a treble hook for catching large fish or using bigger baits.

One of the biggest benefits of a drop shot rig is that you can experiment with different hook shapes, hook sizes, and hook brands. Many anglers will reach for Gamakatsu, but Eagle Claw, Owner American, and weighted Harmony Fishing brands are just as useful to consider for normal, or nose-hooked baits.

Choosing the Best Drop Shot Hook Size

Drop Shot Rig 03
Drop shot fishing hook size selection can be challenging and depends on the fish being targeted and the bait being used. Drop shot rigs are versatile and can be used with a range of hook sizes, making them suitable for catching a variety of fish.

With so many dozens of different hook sizes available, anglers may have a bit of trouble determining the right hook size to use for their specific situation of open water fishing or staying around sparse cover.

It may also be a bit confusing to determine how to figure out the right size for the fish you are targeting since bass are the most commonly caught fish on a 1/0 or 2/0 hook, while other species may need much smaller or even larger hook sizes when fishing.

For me personally, I will select my hook’s perfect size depending on the bait I will be using. The bait will determine the size of the fish I catch, so the hook itself is not the determining factor when setting up my rig. As long as I select the hook to not only handle the bait but also to still be able to get a solid hookup on fish in the area, I am normally confident in the size of the hook I have selected.

For other anglers, the size of the fish they are specifically targeting will be what they use to determine the best drop shot hook size. In this case, the fishing bait can be anything from a smaller grub to a thick nightcrawler worm or stick bait which bass love. 

Drop shot rigs, in general, are very flexible when it comes to the fishing hook sizes you can use on the end of your line, along with the size and style of bait that will work with them. Hooks from size #8 to 2/0 can be very useful on your drop shot rig, regardless of whether you are targeting bass, trout, walleye, or other common game species.

Drop Shot Hook Size Chart

  • Smallmouth Bass Size: #1 or 1/0
  • Largemouth Bass Size: 1/0 or 2/0
  • Panfish size: #8 to #4
  • Perch Size: #4 to #1
  • Trout Size: 1/0 to 2/0
  • Walleye Size: 1/0 to 2/0

Best Type of Baits for a Drop Shot Rig

While anglers across the country may have their tried and true favorite baits they prefer to use with drop shot rigs, one of the benefits of this rigging is that you can use a variety of different bait options due to its flexibility and versatility.

Some of the most popular choices are the Berkley Twitchtail Minnow, the Zoom Finesse Worm, and the Straight Tail Worm from Roboworm. All three of these options can easily lure out and catch timid and suspicious fish, as well as get reaction bites in short order, even if your bait is on small size.

Other highly effective drop shot rig bait options include the Cross Tail Shad from Jackall and the Dream Shot from Strike King. Both of these bass baits are very popular with more advanced anglers, but in the case of the Dream Shot from Strike King, beginners can have a very successful bass fishing trip too.

It’s not uncommon for many bass anglers to test out different baits and experiment a bit when drop shotting for bass or other fish species. One of the benefits of this rig is that it is very forgiving when using a less-than-ideal setup or presentation. If you’ve ever wanted to try a different bait type, size, or color in your favorite fishing spot, give it a try when drop shotting.

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AUTHOR
Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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