Split-Shotting for ultra light lure fishing

Jamie Sandford
  · Jamie Sandford  · July 14, 2016

Lure fishing takes many forms within modern day angling. Saltwater and Freshwater the scene is booming and becoming ever more popular, you only have to read the weeklies to see the words L.R.F and Drop-Shot. So this brings me to write about what I’ve been doing recently, ‘Split-Shotting’.


I was introduced to this technique by my Dad, an avid lure enthusiast who often sets goals season to season to catch as many species as he can (Salt+Fresh) on Plastic. Like myself he is also heavily influenced by the anglers in the U.S.A and the techniques and methods they incorporate into their own lure fishing.

Dad with a Perch. Caught on a 'Split-Shot' rig and a White Bait Lure.

Dad with a Perch. Caught on a ‘Split-Shot’ rig and a White Bait Lure.

So what is Split-Shotting !? Well firstly and most importantly for me it’s not about ‘specimen hunting’, and an attitude I’ve taken from the L.R.F scene is that it’s meant to be fun, simple and a style of fishing anyone can get into without needing bags of money or mountains of gear. The Split-Shotting setup itself is nothing too sophisticated, a braided mainline (6lb will suffice) tied to a small swivel, An inch above the swivel pinch on a Split-Shot, that’s the hard part done. Now depending on how far you want to cast or how quick you want your lure to sink, choose a shot to suit accordingly. As for most of mine and my dads fishing it’s a AAA or an SSG.



As the fish we are targeting are small Rudd, Roach and Perch and the odd bonus species like Sticklebacks and Skimmers then 2-3ft of 3-5lb monofilament will do just fine as a hooklength. Tie this to the swivel and it’s as simple as that. Next, the Hook!

Rudd on ISOME.

Rudd on ISOME.

Again like in all fishing, matching the hook size to the bait is very important and as we are using tiny plastic lures or pieces of ‘ISOME’ then the hook needs to aid hooking without being masked, so choose the hook size to match appropriately. Hook sizes I wouldn’t be without are sizes 14-18 and we have found through using the ‘CRAZY FISH’ white baits which can be bought from ‘AGM tackle’ (Google it – it’s a superb online shop) nose hooked on a Sz 14 fine wire hook work great and a particular favourite pattern is the ‘Kamazan B525’. Marukyu’s ISOME worms also play a big part in our Split-Shotting, they come in various colours and thickness and can be cut down to any shape or size you wish. Just recently I bought a packet of ‘FLADENS VERMZ’ these are also proving to be very effective!

Basic components for making up a 'Split-Shot' Rig.

Basic components for making up a ‘Split-Shot’ Rig.

In addition to the Micro-Lures and ISOME we also use gel scents. By adding a smear for some extra attraction it proves to be really effective. They come in a variety of scents and at an affordable price too! These can also be purchased from AGM.

A little bits goes a long way - a current favourite of ours is the Garlic.

A little bit goes a long way – the current favourite of ours is the Garlic.

Let me touch on the gear we use. What with so many models of UltraLight rods on the market anything that’s labelled for U.L.-L.R.F is ideal. Rods rated 1-8gr are perfectly matched with a small 1000 size reel and theres plenty of quality rods and reels out there without having to break the bank.

Roach on a Micro Lure.

Roach on a Micro Lure.

I’ll finish on an overall rundown of the casting and retrieving techniques we incorporate into this style. Firstly when making casts feather the Shot as this helps keep the long fine hooklength from tangling.


If there are Rudd or Roach present just under the surface retrieve slowly making constant positive twitches with the rod tip. Keeping the rod up will in turn keep the shot higher in the water and in the target zone of the Fish present. Bites can be anything from subtle ‘plinks’ to solid ‘taps’ as fish follow and grab the ISOME or micro lure.

If there are Perch present these will often follow whatever your retrieving, and by alternating the speed and the depth at which you let the shot sink you can pick up these Perch. This is also where the long hooklength comes into play. For example – If a Perch has followed the micro lure or ISOME on the retrieve but has been reluctant to grab it, stop retrieving and allow the shot to sink to the bottom. (the margins of our local ponds allow this as they are shallow and clear) Due to the slight degree of bouyancy in the lure or worm it will flutter down slowly under the weight of the hook/hooklength and sometimes this is just enough movement to spark the Perch to have another go and take it.

Mini Monster!

Mini Monster!

My reason for writing about this style of fishing is purely because it’s fun and simple and for those that haven’t tried it maybe you might give it a go. If your not bothered about catching big fish then it’s perfect, and for someone like myself who likes a days float fishing with maggots for anything that comes along and also enjoys lure fishing then this style is the best of both worlds. Remember just because the fish are small doesn’t make them a push over, like any style of fishing on its day it can be easy to get it all so wrong.

So, a style of fishing that’s great if you’ve got a few hours spare inbetween of work and homelife, you don’t need mountains of gear and you can keep it really simple. If you fish ponds already that have a good head of SilverFish and Perch then hopefully your in for some fun Split-Shotting.

Tight lines and Thanks for reading, Jamie.

Adding a smear of Gel scent to the Lure adds that little bit of extra attraction!

Simple and Fun!







Fishing Tails > All Articles > Reports > Freshwater Fishing > Split-Shotting for ultra light lure fishing


8 Responses to "Split-Shotting for ultra light lure fishing"
  1. Avatar Patrick says:

    I take it that this will work fine in saltwater too? I can feel a session coming on next weekend….

  2. Jamie Sandford Jamie Sandford says:

    Hi Patrick, if you tweak and adapt the rig to suit the species you are fishing for then It will work just fine. If you really fine down, then Gobies, small Whiting and little Sandsmelt are species that can be targeted. Jamie.

  3. Avatar Peter says:

    I don’t use braid, I use the Dragon Millenium Perch mono all the way through. I’ve been using the 1″ AGM Curly Grubs and the Big Bite Baits Ballzy Worms on a split shot rig in the margin of my local canal, dropping it in holes in weed beds and just dibbling in the margin. The smallest hooks I use for the 1″ plastics is a #10 and I have been crimping the shot right up against the knot on my snap link so it’s similar to a cheburashka type rig. I guess the only problem with this is that it increases the profile of the lure in the water and as such it may put off finicky fish such as juveniles, so do you think I would be better crimping the shot a little way up the line instead? The only problem I can see with doing this is that it may negatively effect the swimming action of the 1″ grubs that seem to swim better when the shot is crimped right up against the snap link.

    Any advice on the subject would be much appreciated. Many thanks in advance.

    • Jamie Jamie says:

      Afternoon Peter – I personally don’t think you’ll put smaller fish off doing as your doing or what you want to do.
      Dependant on the size of the fish your targeting have you tried using the ‘Crazy Fish’ white baits.
      They are semi-bouyant’ so sink under the weight of the hook gently. Often this slow hang on the split-shot rig can entice a take at the end of the retrieve as I’m sure you’ll know 🙂
      The Crazy Fish White Baits work really well in conjunction with a Sz14.
      A Kamazan B525 micro barbed, These are a great pattern or the Maver ‘Match this’ wide gape in a Sz14.
      The beauty of the white baits is they are so supple and bend and can be twitched where as a grub needs to be moved to get the maximum potential out of the lure.
      I’d stick with what your doing but perhaps alter the size of the hook and the soft plastic to suit.

      Jamie 🙂

      • Avatar Peter says:

        Many thanks Jamie, I’ll check out the whitebaits, I know Allan at AGM sells them. I have some that are very similar to the whitebaits, Ecogear Meba’s, I think they are made from a similar buoyant material, but are almost twice the price of the CF Whitebaits. It looks very much like you are rigging these tiny plastics in the same way that you would rig a maggot or worm fragment, especially in respect of the size of hooks you are using. With this in mind, I think I definitely need to get me some smaller hooks, although I would be hesitant to go any smaller than a #14/#16.

        Many thanks for the info much appreciated.

        By-the-way, if you haven’t come across the Ecogear Meba’s then I think you would like them. On the face of it, they seem like a perfect bait to use for this method, I’ve just never had hooks small enough to use on them.

  4. Avatar gib says:

    Can you do this using a pole instead of a rod?

  5. Avatar Adam Rowe says:

    Hi, does the split shotting work in winter or should l wait until the weather warms up abit?

    Also, which colour CF Whitebait colours work best please?

    I have caught Roach split shotting with a gold headed hare’s ear nymph. I think the whitebait would work better because of the flutter though!

    Thanks for the great article!

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