Carolina Rig

By: M. Spencer

The has been around for many years but is still a big producer for anglers all over the world. It serves many purposes that we are going to cover in this article. We will cover the different areas for fishing this technique and also the many different lures that you can utilize. Here is a step by step format you can use to load your boat with good numbers of bass.

First, we will cover the components that are required to get this rig set up. The first component is the weight. You will have to determine a depth and structure type you are fishing. This will determine the size of your weight. You want to always try and get by with the smallest weight possible. I would recommend a 1/4 oz. to a 1/2 oz. size. This enables you to get better hook sets. If the water you are fishing is relatively deep you may need to go to a 3/8 oz. or 1 oz. weight. There are many weight types such as egg sinker, bullet weight, weights with rattles in them and so on. They come in different composites such as lead, brass and tungsten. I would recommend using a bullet weight for getting through the vegetation a lot better. I also recommend using a brass or tungsten weight since many states have outlawed the use of lead.

The next component that will go on the line after the weight are the beads. There are two main reasons for the beads, one is to protect the line tie so the weight does not damage your knot. The second reason is to add a clicking sound when moved along the bottom. This sound mimics craw-fish or shad feeding on the bottom. Most anglers use a glass bead for this application. Thus far we have a weight followed by two glass beads. Let's move on to the next component.

The next thing you will need is a swivel tied directly to the line below you weight and beads. The swivel of choice is normally a crane swivel. The reason for the crane swivel is to prevent line twist. I try and stick with smaller swivels usually in the 20 to 30lb range.

We are now getting down to the length of leader you will need to use for the type of cover or fish that you are targeting. From the swivel that is tied on the line you will attach a leader. I normally use fluorocarbon line for this application, this makes the bait seem more natural. Although you need to remember that fluorocarbon does sink a little faster than mono-filament. The line spooled to your reel will be heavier than that of your leader. Here is an example, 17lb spooled on your reel and 14lb leader. You may need to use heavier line when fishing abrasive cover. This technique is usually used around grass vegetation which lets you get away with lighter line.

You will want to pay attention to the length of the leader you use. A leader may be from 12 inches to up to four feet. I normally keep my lengths from 24? to 36? this will normally cover the water column well. The shorter the leader the faster the bait will fall to the bottom. The longer it is the more natural it will look on the fall. It will also flutter from side to side a little better with a longer leader.

The hook size is up to the size of bait you are using. I like Owner or Gamakatsu 2/0, 3/0 and 4/0 hooks depending on lure size. I will use a variation of lures with this technique. My favorite choice is a Zoom trick worm. This bait looks extremely natural and pulls through almost any type of cover. I also like using a Senko on this rig, it seems to have a motion that you cannot get from other baits. These are just recommendations on lure choice. I am sure you will have many that you can experiment with and try on your next trip to the lake.

Let's talk about rod and reel choice. I like using a 7? 6? rod that I can really feel subtle bites with. Pinnacle makes a great rod for this called a Matrix. It is made from Kevlar and is very sensitive and strong. I also prefer a Pinnacle Pro Select reel for my Carolina rig fishing. This reel is very sensitive and is made with an all metal frame which helps you feel those light bites. A gear ratio of 6.2:1 is a good choice also.

One of the many ways to use this bait is to utilize it as a search bait. This let's you feel the bottom with you weight and determine the type of structure there. This lets you narrow down bait choice and presentation. The thing that can be challenging at times is setting the hook on long casts with this technique. I prefer to use a sweep hook set by reeling up the slack and sweeping the rod to the side, not up. This usually drives the hook into the corner of the fishes mouth for a good solid hook set. The great thing about the Carolina rig is that it can be fished shallow or deep depending on where the fish are you are targeting.

If you have not tried this technique before or just gotten away from using it you may be missing out. The next trip you take to your favorite fishing hole have one of these rigs tied on. It may just save the day!

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