Although drop-shot rigs are nothing new, they have slowly started pushing aside the venerable Carolina rig from its place as the most relied-upon rig for fishing live bait in saltwater.

The biggest advantage of a drop-shot rig, according to Joey Hedrick, is that it keeps his live bait off the bottom whereas a Carolina rig drags the bait toward the bottom.

"Some people don't realize that when you pull the weight on a Carolina rig it draws the bait down to the bottom," he explained. "Well, that has two negative consequences in my eyes. First, your bait is going to stay hung on bottom. Second, you're going to catch a lot more catfish."

But the design of a drop-shot rig puts the bait above the sinker rather than below it.

With a three-way swivel at the heart of his drop-shot rig Hedrick ties about a 3-foot leader tied to a No. 6 treble hook to the swivel's middle ring. He ties a No. 10 snap swivel to one end of a 2-foot length of line and a bank sinker to the other, and then snaps that to the swivel's bottom ring.

"All you've got to do is tie your main line to the top ring of the swivel, and you're ready to go," Hedrick noted. "I think I get a lot more bites with a longer hook line than the sinker line because it allows my live bait to move freely in the water with a lot more action up off the bottom."

As is obvious from Hedrick's explanation, a drop-shot rig gives an angler more direct contact with his live bait since the weight is below the bait and not above it.

"It gives you a lot better feel because you almost have direct contact with your bait," he said. "With a Carolina rig, the only way you know a fish is there is if he hits your bait hard enough to move your sinker.

"A drop shot gives me so much more feel that I can actually feel the shrimp kicking and trying to not get eaten."

Rather than drag his weight across the bottom, Hedrick likes to slowly lift the weight off the bottom and ease it back down, and he feels the shape of the bank sinker keeps him from getting hung in the shells as much.

"With every lift and drop, my shrimp is just easing through the water at the perfect depth where hungry trout patrol the reefs," Hedrick said. "There's no doubt you can catch fish on a Carolina rig, but for me and a lot of other folks I know, the drop shot has replaced the Carolina rig as our go-to rigs for live bait."