Dropshotting for perch on reservoirs - Vidar Thomassen

UK reservoirs can be daunting places if you never fished them before. Even for a fairly experienced angler it isn't always obvious where to start if you are after some of the stunning perch that inhabit these places.

Grafham Reservoir Perch

So where do you start? Well, besides obvious areas containing man-made structures such as causeways, aerator towers, moored boats and jetties you are better off trying to find some underwater features or baitfish shoals. Now, finding these features and/or baitfish shoals on reservoirs that are generally between 20 and 50 feet deep, sometimes more, are virtually impossible without a half descent fish finder, and I would thoroughly recommend anyone who plans to fish these venues to invest in one. Currently, I run a rather high tech Lowrance HDS9 Touch Gen2 unit with standard 2D plus structure and side scan, but that certainly isn’t a requirement for effective reservoir fishing and there are some very good Lowrance units that can be had for a good deal less money. However, if you can stretch to a unit with built-in GPS and mapping function you give yourself a major advantage as you can easily find your way back to a productive spot after the boat’s drift has taken you past it.

Traditionally, based on overseas influences, Stillwater dropshot fishing has been in and around structure or weed lines but contrary to what seems to be popular belief I have at times found it staggeringly efficient to cast and retrieve a dropshot rig, or simply just drag it along the bottom whilst drifting in open water. The techniques ability to keep the lure close to the bottom for virtually the length of your retrieve allows for more water to be covered efficiently, and keeps your lure in the strike zone for longer, generally equates to more fish landed.

After you have decided what area to fish my dropshot cast & retrieve technique really is simplicity itself, you cast you rig out allow it to hit the bottom before you retrieve it slowly whilst ensuring the weight keeps in contact with the bottom. If the perch are feeding the hits are normally very positive indeed and you lose very few fish with this technique.   

Whatever reservoir dropshot technique I choose on the day my favoured weights are normally 7 or 10 grams depending on fishing depth. However, on those days when the wind is stronger and you’re drifting there are occasions when in order to hold bottom 15-20 gram weights are more appropriate.

In order to fish efficiently low line diameter is absolutely crucial and my current favourite is YGK Upgrade PE 0.6, combined with an 8Ib Sunline FC Sniper Fluorocarbon leader connected to the mainline via a back-to-back Uni-knots or a FG knot. Depending on the length and body size/fatness of my chosen lure I tie to my leader a no 2 or 4 quality dropshot hook.

I always use always attractants such Mega Strike or Trigger X on my lures. Now, I can’t say for certain that it attracts fish per say, but what I firmly do believe is that it hides some of the oily 'plasticy smells' that many lures have straight out of the packet, which can only be a good thing.   

Dropshotting in its nature is a very snag proof technique but in order to minimise any downtime I always carry ready tied rigs, with both hook size 2 and 4, in zip lock bags allowing me to be back fishing in less than a minute after any break off. Remember, if you don’t have a lure in the water you are not going to catch a fish.   

Although immensely efficient year round, dropshotting via standard method, casting or drifting really comes into its own when the water temperature is low, and I’ve experienced numerous occasions where it was the only way to get a bite. In the end though I can only recommended you to get out there and try it, practice makes “perfect” and you might well be surprised by what you catch.

An immaculate Pitsford perch caught end of May last year casting and retrieving a dropshot rig.

Pitsford reservoir perch


A Grafham perch from last autumn caught during a red-letter day that included five additional specimens over 3Ib plus a great number of high two’s, every single one on dropshot.

Grafham reservoir perch


My current favourite reservoir dropshot lures and from left to right you find Fish Arrow Flash-J split-tail 4 and 3”, Fish Arrow Flash-J Huddle 3”, Jackall Pin-tail 4”, Jackall Crosstail 3”, Keitech Live Impact 4”, Westin Mega Teez 3.5” and finally Jackall Flick Shake worm 4,8”

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