Let's learn about the new 92T Tiny Ika today, okay? It was designed to excel in intense dropshot competition overseas, but it works well stateside too - splitshotting, dropshotting. After all, bass are, well, just the same bass everywhere. They don't have nationalities!
Dropshotting today means light tackle, thin lines, small lures. The best practitioners of it are in Japan, where light tackle and highly-pressured fish are the norm. There's limited bass water in Japan, lots of good anglers, and cautious fish! Skillful precision with delicate gear is taken for granted, and the Tiny Ika (series 92T) is the latest refinement for this.
Dropshotting tomorrow may mean something different than we know of it now. I would not be surprised if someday some savvy Southern pro catapults into the winner's circle by dropshotting "bubba baits" on heavy gear hovered over thick submerged weedbeds. Stay tuned for that one!
Until then, it's a new deal mostly done deep with light gear by Western pros. They're pioneers in reverse, spreading it back across the USA from West to East. They reached Chicago with it in July. On the Internet, a place that has no boundaries between bass anglers, they're spreading the dropshot gospel far and wide. One of the best places to go for information is the Northern California Bass Fishing Forum. It's only one quick mouse-click away. They do dropshotting there.
Terry Battisti grew up in Southern California. He was among some of the first US anglers there to get in on the dropshot method after it surfaced in Japan. An Idaho resident now, Terry owns and operates SnakeBite Custom Fishing Tackle, creating great custom baits for finesse and dropshot fishing. Terry is a sponsor of the Bass Fishing Home Page, and you can "click" with him there! Terry's written an awesome dropshot article for the Jan/Feb issue of Gary Yamamoto's Inside Line Magazine. You can click here to read it, Dropshotting...From A to Z.
Let's circle back to the 92T Tiny Ika and learning about it, okay? It's one of the smallest lures we've ever made, but that's what dropshotting calls for today - and why we made it. In its infancy in the US, we have so far mostly tried to dropshot existing lures designed for other applications. It is only recently that lures designed specifically for dropshotting - like the new Tiny Ika - are hitting the market.
Why does a dropshot lure need to be different than other lures? Okay, first it's often simply nose-pierced on a small circle-style hook. So, we made the Tiny Ika with a harder-than-usual plastic body - for it to stay on the hook longer. The "T" in 92T stands for "Tough". The Tiny Ika won't rip off as much as a typical soft-bodied bait. Second, a dropshot lure needs to exhibit subtle body movement as it suspends tied to the line above bottom. So, we made more than half the length of the graceful Tiny Ika as six delicate hair-thin tendrils that fan out and flutter in the water - even when the lure barely moves. Bass like that!
Some sizes/models for the 92T are: #7 Splitshot series 53; #2 Owner "J" hook; #2 Sugoi series 59; #1 Owner Rig'N hook series 58; #2 straight Gamakatsu series 54. These are all strong hooks.
Now, for the 92T, it works best with a Yamamoto "Split Shot" hook (made to Gary's design by Gamakatsu). There are tips how to use this Split Shot hook if you rummage through the "Ask The Pros" section of the Inside Line web site. The 92T is one bait where I do not hesitate to drop down to the very smallest size #7 Split Shot hook...smaller the hook, more unfettered the action...especially in a splitshot rig where you pinch the splitshot a foot or two above the bait. A dropshot deadens some of the "float" to the bait (there's no long leader as in splitshotting), so often no harm in using the slightly bigger #5 or so hook on the dropshot - you decide.
Use the SplitShot hook in open water or where you do not fear snagging. Where you're dropping the 92T into weedy or snaggy areas, use a thin wire round bend hook with an offset shank. Now, thin wire does not mean "soft" wire. Today's thin wire hooks are strong steel. The 92T is an extremely narrow bait - and a narrow gap hook is better (to me). You don't want a heavy wire extra-wide-gap on this 92T (at least I don't). As far as best hook sizes, just eyeball 'em up against the bait because all brands and models vary in size... somewhere in the range of size 2 or 1 depending on hook brand and model.
Now go drop a 92T Tiny Ika...and NOT through a hole in thick winter ice!