7 Best Drop Shot Rods: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

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From deep river beds to shallow lakes and anywhere in between, anglers have fallen in love time and time again with drop shot fishing. It's quickly becoming one of the most essential rigs for bass and walleye fishing.

You can choose from many hooks, weights, and bait options for your drop shot rig, but all of the elements must work together for a smooth and sweet sailing day on the water. If you want to find out all you need to know about drop shot rods and which rod to choose from, then you've come to the right place.

Preview

Product

Rod Length

Line Weight

Check Price

Dobyns Rods Fury Series FR 702SF Medium/Light...

Dobyns Rods Fury Series FR 702SF

7’0”

6-12 lb.

Fenwick Elite Tech Bass Spinning

Fenwick Elite

Tech Bass

7’0”

6-12 lbs

G. Loomis NRX 802S JWR 6'8'' M Jig/Worm Spin...

G.Loomis NRX Jig & Worm Rod

6’8”

8-14 lbs

G. Loomis E6X Spin Jig Bass Fishing Rod, E6X...

G. Loomis E6X Spinning Rod

6’8”

8-14 lbs

Penn Squall 30 Level Wind Fishing Rod and...

PENN Squall

6’6”

20-30 lbs

St. Croix Premier 2-Part Graphite Spinning...

St. Croix Premier

2-Part Gr

5’6”

2-6 lbs

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 7' - Medium...

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod

6’6”

8-17 lbs


Why Use A Drop Shot Rod?

Just like trolling or jigging, drop shotting is a high finesse technique for a variety of baits, and it requires some specific features in a rod for your fishing trips to run successfully. As you're letting the weight hit the bottom and then twitching and shaking the rod to move, you'll need a rod that's fast in action, and that has a ton of sensitivity. 

Using the wrong action and power will ultimately determine whether or not you’ll be successful catching any bass or walleye that day. So make sure you’ve got the best drop shot rod that fits your needs and environment by knowing what kind of rod you’re looking for.


What Kind Of Rod For Drop Shot Fishing - Buyer’s Guide

Angling Requirements

Drop shot rigs can be fished effectively on almost any type of structure or cover, making it one of the most versatile technique-specific forms of fishing. You could drop shot a rig in one foot of water or deep at the bottom of lakes and rivers.

You can drop shot a rig vertically too. Some areas that aren't so well suited for drop shot fishing is through matted vegetation or tall weed beds.  As you're able to use a drop shot rig in almost every fishing environment, you'll be able to nab bedding fish, post-spawn fish, and even strong winter fish at the end of your line.

Rod Material/Composition

A high-quality rod that's suitable for drop shot fishing needs to be sensitive at the tip but still needs a good backbone. Many manufacturers created this rod type using several different materials. These rods are generally made from graphite, carbon fiber, or fiberglass.

Some manufacturers have composed a blend of two or more materials to achieve an even stronger rod. The strength of a rod can be measured by modulus ratings, and a rod with a high modulus rating can be made using less material. This simply means that the rod is lighter in weight and more sensitive.

Rod Length & Weight

Fishing rods can range in length from 5 feet to 12 or more. Finesse specific fishing like drop-shotting tend to stay within 6ft 5 inches to the longest sitting at around 8ft long. This length is great for novice anglers as 6-7 ft rods are a good size to start any type of fishing.

As for a rods' weight, you'll want a drop shot rod that's lighter in weight as you'll be continuously moving your bait, so it's not just sitting at the bottom of the water. Luckily, new technologies and materials are being used by manufacturers to decrease weight, yet increasing their durability.  So drop shot rods can weigh as little as 4 ounces.

Rod Action

A fishing rods action describes how much of the rod deflects (bends) when you put pressure on the tip. The best drop shot fishing rods tend to be either fast or extra fast in action. This means the rod will bend only at the top third part of the blank and allows you to feel every movement under the water.

A medium (also known as moderate action) will bend in the top half and can work for some drop stotting applications. Stay away from slow action rods as they will only bend in the lower third section of the rod, so you'll lose all of the sensitivity when tackling a bass or walleye. 

Rod Power & Flexibility

A rod’s power will ultimately decide how much flexibility the rod can endure without snapping. Heavier action rods require more pressure to bend, whereas light action rods bend much easier, giving more flexibility. The line and lure will also affect your rods’ accuracy if it’s not matched correctly with the power rating.

For drop shot fishing, a lighter power rod allows you to make good hook sets on light wire hooks without breaking your line. It will also give you more flexibility so you can move and feel everything under your lure and leader.

Tip Sensitivity

The drop shot technique is all about sensitivity. Unlike power fishing techniques, fish that commit to drop-shots are often missed because many fish will strike at the end of the lure rather than the hooked head. To maximize your chances of catching more fish, you'll need to have a tip that's sensitive to increase the sheer number of strikes it can make.

A good drop shot rod needs to feature a nimble tip to deliver quality action to the bait, and have plenty of power in the bottom section of the rod for heavy lifting. To increase the sensitivity throughout the whole rod even further, it's a good idea to use as light a line as possible. This is especially true in clear water conditions.

Other Features

A durable fishing rod will have some key features that can help when drop shot fishing. Always check the rod material, guide material, handle composition, and tip sensitivity before you purchase. These features will determine a quality rod over a basic, cheap one.

Often or not, reputable brands use their new technologies in testing even the cheapest rods to try to increase performance as much as possible. Once you’ve got the rod that fits your needs for drop shot fishing, you can get the hang of casting and reeling in an open space to get the grips of how it works. This will make it easier to use when you get the open water.

Price & Warranty

Nowadays, it's rare to see rods without a warranty of some sort. Manufacturers have warranties on many of their rods and reels, and they also state exactly what it's covered for. It could be a replacement or refund if there is an evident defect created during the construction of the product.

Other warranties will cover any issues that arise when you've ownership of the rod for the period of the warranty. Your new walleye fishing rod could be covered for 1 year or for life, so be sure to check on our list before you buy. 

You'll also see from our list that walleye rods can range in price from budget-friendly price points to higher, more expensive price points. There's bound to be a fishing rod that will suit all of your walleye fishing needs on our list so you can get out to the waterways in no time at all.


7 Best Drop Shot Rods Reviewed

1. Dobyns Rods Fury Series FR 702SF

Our Top Pick!

Rod Length

7’0”

Line Weight

6-12 lb.

Handle Type

AA Grade Cork

Primary Material

Graphite

Rod Action

Fast

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

The best drop shot fishing rod has to be well-balanced, flexible with maximum sensitivity to feel every bite. Dobyns Rod Company has created and perfected the Fury Series that delivers technique-specific performance at an affordable price. The FR 702SF has a power rating of medium/light with fast action, making it a perfect spinning rod for drop shot fishing in almost every environment.

This rod boosts all of the main features a top pick should have. It has a high modulus graphite blank with premium quality Fuji reels seat for ultimate comfort in the hand. It’s finished in a Kelvar wrapping and AA cork handles. Couple this handle with a hi-density Hypalon butt, and your hand will feel supported and comfortable for long days by the water. 

The Fury Spinning Series is perfect for a range of finesse applications, whereas the size and style that's chosen here are great for drop shot applications with a line weight of 6-12 lbs for drop shot rigs, Shaky Heads, tubes, and Gitzits. Whether you are looking for a budget-friendly option, or to simply add an extra rod to your arsenal, the Dobyns Fury Spinning Rods are the best drop shot rods you can find.

Pros
  • High-quality components
  • Perfect action and power for Drop Shots
  • Suitable for many fishing applications
  • Good Value Rod
Cons
  • Not well suited  for species over 12lbs

2. Fenwick Elite Tech Bass

Best Drop Shot Rod for Bass

Rod Length

7’0”

Line Weight

6-12 lb.

Handle Type

TAC & Cork

Primary Material

Graphite blank, Titanium Frames

Rod Action

Fast

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

If you’re looking for a drop shot rod that’s perfectly in tune for catching bass, then the Fenwick Elite Tech Bass Casting rod could be your rod of choice. When you’re out catching bass on drop shot rigs, you may come into trouble with some trying waters. The Elite Tech casting rod gives enough flexibility yet steadiness when you’re tackling a heavy bass fish.

This 7 foot- fast action casting rod has a hidden handle design reel seat, which allows function and comfort to co-exist. Fenwick has designed this handle, so anglers have ultimate comfort without feeling the threads of traditional reel seats.

It has a TAC and cork handle, which provides a steady grip even if the handle is wet from the splashback of water. Its titanium frame guides and graphite blank are incredibly lightweight and are virtually bulletproof, so you can heavily rely upon this rod through the harshest weather conditions. 

As it’s a casting rod and not spinning, it may take a little getting used to. Novice anglers may find casting a steady but long cast hard at first, but over time you can achieve that and more once you get the grip of it. The Elite Tech Bass Rod is one of the lightest, most comfortable series of poles ever created by Fenwick, so you'll it's sure to be a great piece of equipment to practice with.

Pros
  • New ‘Hidden Handle’ design
  • Titanium frame guides are extremely durable
  • Perfected action designs
  • Great Warranty
Cons
  • A great choice for experienced anglers

3. G.Loomis NRX Jig & Worm Rod

Top of the Range

Rod Length

6’8”

Line Weight

8-14 lbs

Handle Type

Split-grip Cork

Primary Material

GLX Graphite & High-modulus Blend

Rod Action

Medium to Medium-heavy

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

Our pick for the top of the range rod is the G.Loomis NRX jig and worm rod. It's at a higher price point and comes with all of the important features for drop shot fishing. This 6'8" spinning rod has an incredible level of sensitivity. Anglers can feel everything from fluttering from your bait to your worm dragging through eelgrass. They're designed specifically for fishing jigs and soft plastics, making them extra-fast in action and insanely light in weight. 

The NRX Spinning rod features a split-grip cork handle with Fuji Titanium SIC stripper guides. There are also ultra-lite, ultra-strong RECOIL guides the rest of the way on the blank. The two guides combined are G.Loomis' new and unique Hybrid Guide System. The Company has also used stiffer, lighter, and higher density carbon married with Nano Silica resin systems on the blank to make this rod lighter - yet more durable, extremely sensitive, and stiffer.

G.Loomis has never made a rod quite like this before. It's construction method and materials used has made the NRX series at least 15% lighter than similar GLX rods, and up to 20% stronger and more impact resistant as well.  If you're looking for a drop shot rod that will make any other angler jealous, then this top of the range rod is worth considering, especially if you're considering a spinning rod.

Pros
  • Increase in strength and decrease in weight
  • Ultra sensitive
  • very durable
  • Lifetime warranty on all NRX models
Cons
  • high price point for novice anglers
  • May not cast as accurately in mid-distance casting

4. G. Loomis E6X Spinning Rod

Best Spinning Rod for Drop Shot

Rod Length

6’8”

Line Weight

8-14 lbs

Handle Type

Cork Grips

Primary Material

Graphite & High-modulus blend

Rod Action

Extra Fast

Warranty

2 Year

Another spectacular rod created by G.Loomis is the E6X Spinning rod. This rod is at a mid-price point, so it's a little easier to afford or invest in over the NRX model, but with less money comes less high-tech specifications. Overall, this spinning rod works a tad over most of its competitors at this price point and still is made with killer materials, making it the best spinning rod for drop shot rigs.

G.Loomis E6X rods fuse other proven, high-performing G.Loomis materials to form the blank. These materials with low resin content, reduced scrim, and a greater ratio of high strain rate carbon fiber blend together, creating a lightweight fishing rod that delivers tremendous overall strength and fantastic sensibility.

The E6X rod creates a sturdy wall thickness and minimizes weak points in the blank, resulting in precise action and flex for each application. Couple this blank with strategically placed cork grips that balance it superbly in the hands of the angler. Line friction won't become an issue either when your drop-shotting rigs. The E6X uses Fuji aluminum oxide guides that run a dream and can be coupled with braided lines.

For novice anglers looking for a high-quality rod at an affordable price, then choosing the best spinning rod could be the best choice for you. And, the E6X spinning rod is easy to use with a lot of great features suited for drop shot fishing.

Pros
  • Fuji aluminum oxide guides work well against line friction
  • Affordable technique specific model
  • Cork grips
  • Good overall strength
Cons
  • Not as light in weight as its competitors

5. PENN Squall

Best Drop Shot Rod & Reel combo

Rod Length

6’6”

Line Weight

20-30 lbs

Handle Type

EVA Foam

Primary Material

Graphite

Rod Action

Fast

Warranty

1 Year

If you’re new to the game of drop shot fishing, or with fishing in general, buying a combo could be a good option that could save you some money, too. A perfectly matched rod and reel will complement each other, allowing you to enjoy what they both have to offer. This rod and reel combo is no different.

The Penn Squall Level Wind fishing combo is perfect for big game fish in a variety of saltwater conditions. It isn’t constructed with a ‘new hybrid blend’ like some of G.Loomis models, but it has a durable construction that will suit many anglers’ needs. It has a graphite frame and side plates with a tubular glass blank construction. The tip is solid too, so it allows the rod to feel ultrasensitive.

Inside the reel, you’ll have the HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers that really make the difference with the drag pressure and with overall smoothness. The main gear is extremely high in strength and has a stainless steel pinion gear. Accompany these features with 2 stainless steel ball bearings with instant anti-reverse, and you'll have yourself a sturdy and dependable reel that is also pretty easy to use. Pair this reel with the rod, and you'll have yourself a perfect rod for drop shot or trolling.

Pros
  • Perfectly matched rod and reel combo
  • High-quality tubular glass blank and frame
  • Reel runs very smooth
  • Has one of the highest line weight allowance
Cons
  • Shorter in sizes than a typical drop shot rod- may not suit all anglers needs

6. St. Croix Premier 2-Part Gr

Best Drop Shot Rod for Walleye

Rod Length

5’6”

Line Weight

2-6 lbs

Handle Type

Premium-Grade Cork

Primary Material

Premium SCII graphite construction

Rod Action

Fast

Warranty

5 Year

When you're hoping to catch a walleye with a drop shot, you'll need a rod that's sensitive yet powerful; the St. Croix Premier spinning rod is a great choice. Anglers appreciate its high-performance without the high cost. Casting is made simple on the Premier rod, and the sensitive tip ensures you’ll notice when there’s any inkling of a bite.

This Premier series by St. Croix's one of the most popular and beloved rod series year after year and for a good reason.  It's built with premium SCII graphite blanks and high-quality components. The SCII blanks feature mid-modulus graphite fiber with a higher strain rate than fibers commonly used by some of its competitors.

This graphite fiber increases sensitivity and power throughout the whole rod. It also has durable Batson Forecast hard aluminum-oxide guides with double-plated black chrome frames, making it quite beautiful to look at while still providing rugged performance.

Not to mention the Fuji TCS reel seats are of premium quality giving the rod a reliable, comfortable base for your reel. Finish this rod with a premium grade, full cork handles for comfort, and for plenty of fish fighting leverage. This rod is simply constructed, with premium materials and offers the ideal blend of durability and value in one package,

Pros
  • High performing rod without a high price tag
  • Suitable for smaller species of walleye fish
  • Available in a 2-piece
  • Cork handle tends to be very comfortable
Cons
  • Line weight is low if you’re hoping to catch large species

6. St. Croix Premier 2-Part Gr

Best Drop Shot Rod for Walleye

Rod Length

5’6”

Line Weight

2-6 lbs

Handle Type

Premium-Grade Cork

Primary Material

Premium SCII graphite construction

Rod Action

Fast

Warranty

5 Year

When you're hoping to catch a walleye with a drop shot, you'll need a rod that's sensitive yet powerful; the St. Croix Premier spinning rod is a great choice. Anglers appreciate its high-performance without the high cost. Casting is made simple on the Premier rod, and the sensitive tip ensures you’ll notice when there’s any inkling of a bite.

This Premier series by St. Croix's one of the most popular and beloved rod series year after year and for a good reason.  It's built with premium SCII graphite blanks and high-quality components. The SCII blanks feature mid-modulus graphite fiber with a higher strain rate than fibers commonly used by some of its competitors.

This graphite fiber increases sensitivity and power throughout the whole rod. It also has durable Batson Forecast hard aluminum-oxide guides with double-plated black chrome frames, making it quite beautiful to look at while still providing rugged performance.

Not to mention the Fuji TCS reel seats are of premium quality giving the rod a reliable, comfortable base for your reel. Finish this rod with a premium grade, full cork handles for comfort, and for plenty of fish fighting leverage. This rod is simply constructed, with premium materials and offers the ideal blend of durability and value in one package,

Pros
  • High performing rod without a high price tag
  • Suitable for smaller species of walleye fish
  • Available in a 2-piece
  • Cork handle tends to be very comfortable
Cons
  • Line weight is low if you’re hoping to catch large species

7. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod

Best Drop Shot Rod Under $100

Rod Length

6’6”

Line Weight

8-17 lbs

Handle Type

Cork

Primary Material

Ugly Tech Construction with added graphite

Rod Action

Fast

Warranty

5 Year

The elite version of this spinning rod has been created by Ugly Stik and has been beloved by anglers all across the US. Not only is it a great all-round rod, but it’s also the best drop shot rod under $100. It's known for its lightweight features and elegant design, as it's composed of added graphite for lighter weight and increased sensitivity.

It's an extremely balanced rod, too, thanks to the full cork handle with a new guide system. Balance is particularly important as you may be sitting by the water for a long time with many bites or without a single one.

Casting is made simple on the Elite spinning rod, and the sensitive tip ensures you notice when there's any bit of a bite. The rod is also quite elastic, meaning that it can endure heavier lures while it still recovers quite fast, and the bending does not last.

The Ugly Stik elite rod is convenient and comfortable for anglers of all ages. The rod is known for catching big and small species, and bass fishes won't be a problem here, too. This means you will not have to buy different rods for each fish species, so it can be very versatile for many of your fishing excursions.

Pros
  • Ultra sensitive tip
  • Great for a range of fishing, specifically bass and walleye fish
  • Well-balanced
  • Comfortable to hold for long periods
Cons
  • Not suitable for turbulent weather

Tips & Tricks To Efficient Drop Shot Fishing

When it comes to drop shot fishing, there are some tips and tricks passed on from one angler to another. Some of these include the following.

  1. 1
    Pair your drop shot rod with a small, speedy reel, like a spinning reel.
  2. 2
    Allow your bait size to determine your hook size.
  3. 3
    Stay away from thicker lines if you’re new to the game.
  4. 4
    Loosen your reel’s drag is you’re using lines under 6-pound.

There’s one other thing to note when drop shotting; you can only learn so much from other anglers. Nothing beats getting a rod in your hand and trying it for yourself. You need to remember; the goal is to mimic a prey fish, so practice moving, casting, and know your tactic well before you get to the water will save you a lot of time and energy.


How to Rig A Drop Shot

Now that you’ve all the information you need on drop shot fishing, and you’ve found your number 1 pick from our list, you could be wondering if rigging a drop shot is an easy task. Well, the trick to successfully rigging a drop shot successfully depends on whether you’ve got the right equipment that compliments each other when it’s time to fish. Of course, you’ll need a rod, reel and fishing line. But the attention is in the smaller details.

  1. 1
    Choose a line that is recommended for your reel. A solid 8-pound test braided or fluorocarbon lines are versatile and strong and can help with the sensitivity of the rod.
  2. 2
    Add backbone to your spool to save you using extra line and wasting money.
  3. 3
    Use fluorocarbon to start making your leader. Fluorocarbon fights line twists and is incredibly strong against breakages. You can then attach the leader with the braided line by tying a uni knot.
  4. 4
    To make your leader, use number 1 sized drop shot hooks along with 3-4 inch plastic bait, like a minnow presentation. You’ll add a line weight at the end of the fluorocarbon. A good weight that’s versatile is one quarter ounce drop shot weight.
  5. 5
    To tie the rig, you’ll connect the hook to the line using a Palomar knot. Start by going through the front side of the hook. Be sure to leave the tag line longer than average.
  6. 6
    Once you've your hook tied onto the line, front-facing, and with a long tag, simply hook the plastic bait onto the hook and add your weight to the end of the line to keep your lure low.

Once you've gone through each step, take it apart and do it again. You may think you've got it right, but with more practice comes better rigs. There are tons of helpful YouTube tutorials that can also help you rig the perfect drop shot rod.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long should a drop shot leader be?

Having the right length drop-shot leader should be decided based on your fishing environment. Usually, you'll use a short leader which is 6-10 inches in length with compact spaces or with heavy drop shots. A longer leader that is 18-30 inches in length tends to be used more for longer casts or if you're fishing in 'hard to see' areas. This may include areas with a lot of rocks.

What kind of hook should I use for a drop shot?

There are many specific drop shot hooks on the market today that can spin 360 degrees without twisting the line. These can really be great for novice anglers, so you won't need to keep retrieving the line. A good and versatile hook that works well in many water levels is the Size 1 Gamakatsu Wide Gap Finesse hooks that clip to adjust your leader length.

What kind of line do you use for a drop shot?

As mentioned above, braided or fluorocarbon lines are a great choice for drop shot fishing. If you decide to use a braided line on the spool, use a fishing knot to tie on a fluorocarbon leader. Fluorocarbon has low visibility but has impressive strength, so you won't have to worry about losing your bait.

A good rule of thumb for beginners, use a line that is around 8lbs or lighter, even if it’s a braided line. For more experienced anglers, you can use a 10 lbs line but make sure the water conditions are suitable for thicker lines.

What are the best brands for this type of rod?

From our list, you'll find some top of the line rods from several manufacturers. G.Loomis has been featured with two rods perfectly in tune for drop shot fishing, and at different price points. Penn is also a very well reputable brand, and the rod and reel combo is another great choice. Lastly, Ugly Stik releases new top of the line, high-quality rods at great prices, too. It's crucial to choose a rod that's best suited for your needs first. Then you can check which brands have which warranties to finalize your decision.

What is the best drop shot bait?

Your bait is one of the most important pieces of equipment when it comes to drop shot fishing, as it's what elicits the bite from the fish. Tail shaped, whether pinned or paddle or curly baits, can all affect your success on the water. A good guideline to follow is to use bright baits in colored water and muted in clear. Some of these could be  Jackall Crosstail Shad,  Strike King Dream Shot, or a Zoom Finesse Trick Worm.

Where can I find the best-rated drop shot rods and accessories?

There are many options for you when you're buying your new drop shot rod. You can check your local fish tackle shop and look at the models they have to offer first. There could be a suitable rod there that suits your needs. If you don't see something you like, then there's always Amazon. They can deliver to your door, and you can have a choice of any of the best drop shot rods on our list.


Conclusion

Whether you’re new to drop shot fishing or you're looking to add a new rod to your arsenal, knowing what’s on the market and what equipment complements your rod and reel is crucial to your success on the water.

The Dobyns Rods Fury Series has a ton of unbeatable features for an affordable price, whereas G.Loomis’s models are great alternatives. The NRX Series may be a little pricey, but it will have anglers turning their heads in awe by its design and fast performance. The E6X model has a lot of the same benefits in production but at a lower price point. Either way, if you choose from our list, you’ll be sure to have a great rod that should last you season to season.