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Bass Fishing the Carolina Rig

Updated on May 13, 2012

Bass Fishing the Carolina Rig

Instructions on how to tie a Carolina rig used for bass fishing. This is one of the most effective fishing setups ever devised for bass. This rig is best used where the Bass have some cover, or around brush. Numerous fishing tournaments were won with this lurethroughout the years and it continues to be a favorite of many anglers.

Bass Fishing

The Carolina Rig

Bass Fishing Revealed

The Carolina Rig

The Carolina Rig is really just a fancy way of saying a plastic worm tied between 12 inches and 24 inches down the line from the weight. The worm is tied at the end of a “leader” which is just a length of the same weight line that you are using on your setup. A swivel is used between the weight and length of line you are using as your leader.

What you need to complete this setup:

  • Line – 12lb test + with around 14lb being optimum.
  • Weights – either bullet or bell. Your choice depending on what works best with the water you are fishing in.
  • Glass Beads - if you like that type of thing i.e. optional.
    • A girlfriend’s pearls make excellent beads in a pinch.

  • Swivel - you could rig this without the swivel in a pinch. The swivel is there for a reason though. That reason being better action.
  • Leader – just some line off your reel.

  • Length – 12”+, but don’t suggest you go much longer than 24 inches. The deeper the water you are fishing in, the longer leader you should consider.
  • If you think the fish are getting spooked by your line in clear water, you can go to a smaller line for your leader, but the trade off in doing this is obvious. You are likely to lose some fish.

Worm Hook – your choice, and the choices are endless.

Plastic Worm – again choices are endless.Sinking – good for all around fishing.

Floating – best when you think they are hovering say…around the length you chose for your leader off the bottom.

Order of tying this rig:

Weight >Glass Bead (optional)> Swivel >Leader Line> Worm Hook w/Worm.

How to fish it:

Cast your bait where you believe the fish to be. Hint – bass like cover. Temperature and time of the year are the considerations for how deep you should be fishing. This knowledge is beyond the scope of this article so I’ll keep that to myself.

A lot of your bites are going to come while your bait and line are falling towards the bottom. The bait is going to tempt the grouchy old man bass into a fit of anger by having the gall to enter his dominion. If you don’t get your bite on the fall, you have to “fish” it some.

To fish the bait after the weight is on the bottom move the tip of your rod just a bit to make it move. Be easy with it. Only use your reel to tighten up the line. You should only be moving the TIP of your rod around eight inches at a tug. Move it some, and then let it sit. Once you think things have settled down a bit, stir things up again with more movement.

Remember, you aren’t reeling in the bait, you are fishing it. Think, “I’m just going to drag the weight on the bottom a little to make the bait dance for old man bass”, because that’s what your goal is. If you jerk your pole 12 inches all at once, this doesn’t make for very realistic action on the bottom of the lake. The weight slowly making it’s way over obstacles on the bottom will give that worm plenty of action. You don’t need to create more with the end of your pole.

After you have fished your bait out of the area of the cover you can retrieve it and re-cast. Fish the area close, with each cast within a foot or two of your last. Thoroughness pays dividends here.

Images by New Sidons Photo

The Carolina Rig

Another Illustration of a Carolina Rig by Tom M Johnson

Another Illustration of a Carolina Rig by Tom M Johnson
Another Illustration of a Carolina Rig by Tom M Johnson

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Carolina Rig Guest Book

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    • nickirc lm profile image

      nickirc lm 

      6 years ago

      Another great lens, thanks!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      The Carolina Rig is my weakest technique. Bad part is I am from North Carolina. We have alternative techniques posted at BassRumors Bass Fishing Forum

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      great lens, when i started bass fishing 3 years ago i was advised to use a classic plastic worm, turned out to be one of the best bass fishing tips i got.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      good info!


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