The Carolina Rig

The Carolina rig is a more elegant style of rigging for bass fishing, but has a different appeal to fish. Because the weight is placed well above worm on the line, the worm has more freedom to move in the water, and also appears more like a worm, than with the Texas rig. The issue with the Carolina rig is that there is just more “stuff” on the line, and therefore when you are working thick cover areas, you have more of a chance of getting snagged on trees, grass, and rocks…With that in mind, let’s look at the method of gearing up for a Carolina rig:

The Step by Step Guide to Carolina Rigging

1. First, you’ll need to ensure that there aren’t any tangles, tears, nicks or binds in your line. You don’t want to hook the big one, only to lose him due to a line break that could have been avoided.

2. Get a bass casting or other type weight. This weight need not be cone shaped, but can be an inline weight. Use the following guide for weights and depths:

  • < 6 ft — use 1/16 to 1/8 ounce weight
  • 6 ft to 12 ft — use 1/8 to 1/4 ounce weight
  • 12 ft to 18 ft — use 1/4 to 3/8 ounce weight
  • > 18 ft — use 3/8 to 1/2 ounce weight

3. Place the weight on the line.

4. Put a bead on the line next, and place directly below the weight.

5. Tie a barrel swivel to the end of the line. This will serve to keep the weight and bead at a consistent distance away from the worm. I like to use a palomar knot for all my light fishing needs, instead of an improved clinch knot; I find that the knot is just much more sturdy.

6. Tie off a leader line of about 18 to 24 inches in length, depending on your preference. I like the leader to be a little shorter, just to make casting a little easier.

7. Attach the hook. My preference right now are VMC hooks with offset shanks.

8. Hook the top 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the worm and push it all the way through the worm. Then push the worm all the way up onto the top of the hook, so that the offset shank is buried right at the top of the hook.

9. Lay the hook along side of the worm, giving you a good idea how far down to hook the worm the second time. The goal is to hook the worm so that it will lie straight from the offset shank down to the barb. Push the hook all the way to other side of the worm, but keep the barb right at or below the outside edge of the worm. This will ensure that the worm is weedless, and you’ll have far less snags.

10. Check the worm to ensure it isn’t twisted or bound up in any way on the hook. It should be straight and true on the hook from head to tail.

So there you have it, your 10 step guide to the Carolina rig. I’ll point out again that the Carolina rig’s distinct advantage over the Texas rig is that it displays the bait to the fish without the fish picking up on the weight (as it is 18 to 24 inches higher than the worm). It will also produce a little bit better action on the worm. So if you are in a spot that isn’t in deep cover, or you are just good enough on the cast and retrieve not to get tangled to much, the Carolina rig is for you…

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