How to Tie Bass Fishing Rigs
Fun to Catch
Best Set Ups for Large Mouth Bass
There are a few basic rigs that every bass angler should know to how to tie and fish with. The most popular fishing techniques include: Texas Rig, Carolina Rig, Drop shot. These are used for fishing with a soft plastic worm or other styles of creature baits or stick baits. Each technique offers anglers a wide variation of applications, depending on the location in the river, lake, or reservoir, time of year, and types of structure or cover that is present in the water. Every bass fisherman should master these basic fishing rigs and incorporate them into their fishing routine, regardless if they pursue large mouth, small mouth, or spotted bass. Casting and retrieving reaction lures is a popular method of fishing, but for consistent action throughout the year and across the country, these basic rigs catch a large majority of the fish anglers catch every single year. The best part about using these set ups is that they utilize the same components: soft plastic lures, hooks, and lead weights.
There are specialty products for each presentation, but a beginner can use the same equipment for all three if just starting out and still get lots of strikes and fish landed.
Tips on T-Rigging Plastics
The Texas Rig is the most basic of bass fishing set ups used by professionals and amateurs alike to present a wide variety of plastic lures. The most traditional, a plastic worm works anywhere in the country that has a body of water, that large or small mouth bass call home. The Texas rig is also the most versatile of the basic rigs, that can be customized to fish in every type of situation an angler may face.
The Texas rig is simply a bullet weight sinker that is either free or fixed to the line right above the hook and a hook. Some anglers like to place a bead in between the hook and the weight, but this is not a requirement for the presentation.
The most common presentation for this rig is to cast, pitch, or flip the set up next to likely fish holding cover. A lot of the bites will happen on the fall, so many anglers like to have two rods set up for fishing to alter the weights since sometimes a fast fall will make the fish react and a slow fall will entice their curiosity, and instinct to feed when an easy meal presents itself.
Once the lure hits the bottom, then start to slowly retrieve the bait all the back by slowly lifting the rod and dropping the bait to maintain contact with the bottom. Shaking the lure, making it hop and pop off the bottom can also be productive. When the water is really cold or the fish are not very active, simply dragging the rig with slow pulls with the tip of the rod, matched with numerous pauses and get a fish to strike.
The selection of weight is the biggest way to alter the Texas rig. If you have multiple rods ready for fishing this presentation, make sure one is a heavy weight like 3/4 oz or more and another with a light weight like 1/4 oz. If fishing with just one size weight go with a 3/8 oz weight. Every soft plastic bait can excel on the end of a Texas rig. Creature baits are perfect for targeting fish looking for feeding on a crawdad to bulk up before spawning. When fish are on beds many anglers use a Texas rig for targeting the nests with repeated casts due to the accuracy and control that can be executed with a T rig set up.
Cover More Water
The Carolina Rig is a favorite of anglers that fish lakes & reservoirs, and rivers that have lots of deep water structure and contour lines that naturally position the fish into general feeding areas. This technique is used to cover larger feeding flats and deep water structure versus the precision focus on individual pieces of cover.
Use a heavy rod with 15 - 20lbs test mainline. Thread a heavy bullet sinker 1/2 oz - 1 oz in size, a bead and then tie on a swivel. Depending on the cover, using 10-12 lbs test leader is ideal coupled with a hook that matches the type of soft plastic lure.
The Carolina rig is perfect for presenting a lure slowly along a deep water ledge or through rock piles or other underwater structure. Using this technique is generally best when done from a boat, it is often more about boat position and location then precision casting. Identify likely fish holding structure using a depth finder and slowly drag the rig and bait through the strike zone.
A popular weight that many anglers are using instead of a traditional bullet shaped weight is to use a lead weight in the shape of a football head. Similar to the football jig, this unique weight variation allows the rig to be fished in chunk rock and heavy gravel and reduce the chance for hanging up in the rocks. Instead of just dragging a soft plastic worm consider using baits like brush hogs and lizards to change up the look the fish see.
Finesse Fishing Tactics
The Drop Shot Technique
The drop shot is the most popular finesse fishing technique and excels in presenting smaller plastic lures, predominately soft plastic worms with light line. The technique though has evolved from its early use by anglers that fished deep clear water reservoirs that needed to present small 3 inch baits to very wary fish with 4-6 lbs. test line. There are other varieties of the drop shot such as the Bubba shot that uses traditional heavy flipping rods, braided line, and over sized plastic creature baits to flip around heavy cover.
Traditional drop shot techniques are used with a 6 - 7 foot medium light fishing rod with 6 - 10 lbs test line. Fluorocarbon is the preferred line for most drop shot fishing as it excels in deep clear water and is very responsive to every twitch that the angler imparts into the lure through the rod. Use lightweight leads under 1/4 oz for most presentations and use a small circle hook from Gamakatsu or Owner.
Anglers fishing the drop shot are generally targeting underwater structure and want to present their rig directly on top of the fish holding structure. The fish sometimes will bite on the fall and other times while just holding the bait very still and occasionally shaking the lure so it wiggles and seduces the fish into biting. When sitting on top of schools of fish that are visible on a depth finder, it is possible to target individual fish and put a lure such as a small plastic worm directly in front of them and get them to take the bait all while watching the action unfold on the screen of the fish finder.
The most popular variation of the drop shot is the bubba shot which is a shallow water technique using heavy lines, hooks, and bigger baits. This technique is best used when pitched and flipped next to heavy cover and through matted vegetation and grass beds. Drop the whole thing through the holes in the grass and shake the bait until a fish strikes or you pull it out and move down the bank to the next one. Flip the bubba rig into every grass hole, fallen down tree, and other cover until a fish takes the bait.