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Split Shot Techniques for Finicky Fish

By Kastking | 22 January 2018 | 0 Comments

Split shotting can open a new area where other techniques  wont work.


Fishing techniques come and go.  It seems like every time a new technique gains popularity with anglers, another falls by the wayside.  Split shotting seems to have fallen out of favor, replaced by the Carolina Rig and others, but it can be a deadly tactic for getting finicky fish to bite.


Much like Carolina Rigging, Split Shotting keeps the weight away from the bait.  It is a different technique, however, in that it uses light line and a light wire hook.  A medium or medium-light fast action spinning set up, spooled with 6- to 8-lb test mono or fluorocarbon line is the preferred set up.


Split shot weights are also lighter than traditional Carolina Rig sinkers.  They tend to be in the 1/8 oz. to 3/16 oz. size.  These crimp-on weights, in the past, were made out of lead.  Now, however, there are some great tin options on the market.  Some anglers believe the unique sound of the tin on rock and other bottom structure helps get a fish’s attention.  In other areas, lead tackle has been banned for environmental reasons.  The tin sinkers are a great option in those regions.


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Split shot sinkers for split shotting

The lightest possible split shot  sinker should be used based on the prevailing wind speeds and bottom composition as well as depth.  The sinker should keep in contact with the bottom as the rig is worked back to the boat.  Many anglers prefer weights that are simply pinched to the line.  Others choose Mojo-style sinkers.  They are cylindrical weights that are pegged to the line with a Peg-It or other T-stop, similar to what one would use on a Texas rig.


With a split shot rig, a hook is tied to the line much as with any other application.  The most commonly used hook sizes are size 2 to 1/0.  Smaller hooks are needed for most finesse presentations.  A Palomar knot is a good knot to tie for this application.  Once the hook is tied onto the line, the sinker can be pinched to the line at the desired length.    Care should be taken with the line, however.  Split shots that move, or are not tight on the line, can wreak havoc on an angler’s day.  Even the smallest nick is the line can cause it to break and could result in losing fish.


Many smaller soft plastics are used to split shot..  Smaller, thin worms really shine with this rig.  4” – 5” worms seem to work very well.  Robo Worms ™ are perfect for this application.  Small creature baits can be used with good success, too.


Spit shotting works very well in 20 feet of water or less.   The length of the “leader”, or the distance of the bait from the sinker, depends on the clarity of the water.  The clearer the water, the longer the leader, as with many other finesse types of fishing.  In clear water, many anglers will move the weight up to as far as 36”, but use a 12” leader in dirty water.  Most commonly 12” – 18” will work well for most water conditions.


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Split shot rig for split shotting



This presentation is great for water that is “beat up”, or heavily fished.  While other anglers are casting at visible cover, the split shot can be fished, very effectively, in less attractive looking areas.  This is a great search bait for points, large flats, and gently sloping banks.  These areas are less targeted, but they do contain fish, sometimes in good numbers.  This presentation allows the bait to float above any cover such as grass or other vegetation.  It provides an entirely new look, which can trick fish that might not otherwise bite.


The split shot rig is also great to cover an entire area from all angles.  Fan casting a point or flat will bring the bait through the water at many different angles.  This can lead to more strikes, and more fish in the boat.  The bite will often feel mushy, or the bait will simply feel heavy.  Many times there is no tell-tall “tap-tap” as in other forms of fishing.  As the old saying goes, hook sets are free.  If something feels odd or different, set the hook.  A sweeping hook set should be used, just as with other finesse techniques.


The split shot is a presentation that will bring not only good numbers of fish to the boat, but it is a big bass killer, too.  It is easy to adjust the weight needed throughout the day by simply adding weights or taking weight off depending on conditions.  And, in heavily pressured water, there is arguably no better technique to try to land fish while others are struggling.


— By Beckie Joki

Beckie Joki is an avid bass fisherman in Northern Wisconsin. She has an eye on conservation and the environment as it relates to all types of fishing. She is a member of the Hodag Bassmasters, and is a member of the Shawano Red Nek Bass Busters. She understands the importance of maintaining fisheries and looks to get younger generations into the sport of fishing. Beckie writes regularly for the Northern Wisconsin Fishing Examiner




Eposeidon (www.eposeidon.com ) is an e-commerce company (Eposeidon Outdoor Adventure, Inc.) that brings a fresh, innovative approach to anglers by offering quality fishing tackle products at the best prices and no cost, or low cost shipping. Eposeidon’s goal is to exceed expectations through outstanding customer service and superior product value to their customers. Eposeidon is continually expanding its product lines, which include KastKing(r) fishing line, fishing reels, and fishing rods, MadBite fishing lures, Ecooda reels, and other fishing tackle products, to meet individual fishing equipment needs. Eposeidon is headquartered in Garden City, NY, USA and sells fishing tackle products globally. Eposeidon is the sole North American Distributor for Ecooda fishing reels.

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