Cooper Gallant’s hot new tactic is a winner

Canadian pro Cooper Gallant is winning big with his “speed-shotting” tactic. Here’s how to do it


Originally developed by Japanese commercial fishermen to keep their baits off the bottom away from crabs, drop-shotting took the recreational fishing world by storm in the early 2000s. While the tactic has become especially popular among bass anglers, it has also been embraced by walleye, trout and panfish fanatics. Regardless of the target species, drop-shotting is typically viewed as a slow and sedate way to catch fish.

There’s more than just one way to drop-shot, however. Just ask Cooper Gallant, the latest Canadian stick to tear up the Bassmaster Elite Series. Using a novel presentation that could best be described as “speed-shotting,” the 26-year-old finished fourth—and nearly won—last year’s Elite event on Lake St. Clair.



For this technique, Gallant cranks his electric trolling motor to full speed and pitches a nose-hooked X Zone Hot Shot Minnow to every fish he spots on his sonar screen—some as far away as 80 feet. Unlike the way most people drop-shot, he chases the fish down, never taking his foot off the motor.

“I am a maniac when it comes to being on the trolling motor,” Gallant says with a chuckle. “On St. Clair, I found an area the size of four football fields and none of the fish were stationary. They were all moving on clean patches of sand, where there was nothing else on the flat. It’s not like they were holding against a boulder. When I get in situations like that, I put the electric on 100 and go looking for them.”


Cooper Gallant’s hot new tactic is a winner

The way Gallant sees it, you have to show fish something different or fish in a different way when you’re among a group of boats, or in a pressured situation. Just like a bounty hunter from an old Western, he’ll chase a big bass (or walleye or lake trout) that he spots on his sonar, constantly pitching a drop-shot rig in its face until he gets a bite. Surprisingly, he does the same thing when he spots suspended fish hanging just under the surface in deep water.



In addition to Hot Shot Minnows, Gallant also likes fluke-style plastics that match the smaller profiles of the minnows, perch and crayfish that bass, walleye and trout target. And if you think he worries about the fish seeing the weight dangling from the end of his line, think again.

“It looks a little odd, but fish are so curious it doesn’t spook them,” Gallant says, noting that’s especially the case with big, unpressured fish out deep. “They see the sinker, check it out, spot the swimbait and eat it. If you put that same swimbait on a ball head jig, it won’t work the same way. It doesn’t have the same wobble.”

To perform similar feats of drop-shot magic yourself, Gallant says it’s essential to use a seven- to 7½-foot spinning rod with a parabolic bend. For example, he uses a G. Loomis IMX-PRO series rod when he’s fishing down to 25 feet and throwing weights as heavy as 3/8 ounce. If he’s fishing deeper, using heavier weights and making longer casts, however, he’ll switch to his Shimano Expride ML, which has more backbone and handles heavier half- and 3/4-ounce weights.

According to Gallant, the larger spool on a 3000-size spinning reel is also a must-have for making long casts and catching up to charging fish. “I don’t know what it is,” he says, “but when you hook ’em down deep, the first thing they want to do is race to the surface and jump. That 3000-size reel lets you pick up line quickly.” And with this innovative and effective way to drop-shot, speed counts.

Gord Pyzer is Outdoor Canada’s longtime fishing editor, and a member of three outdoor halls of fame.


“There are so many ways I’ll fish a drop-shot,” says pro angler Cooper Gallant. “When you have a technique that is so deadly and versatile, it is a fun way to catch fish.” At the Bassmaster Elite event on Lake Champlain last year, for example, he caught bass suspended in 50 feet of water by reeling a drop-shot-rigged swimbait through the upper column. Other times, Gallant will cast out a drop-shot rig, let it hit bottom, then reel it in at a constant, slow speed. And still other times, he’ll deadstick the rig on bottom.