Carolina Rig vs Texas Rig to Catch Big Bass

By | June 18, 2016
Carolina Rig vs Texas Rig to Catch Big Bass
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Catching Big Bass in the Summertime!

Seasonal Changes and How They Affect Bass Fishing

Carolina Rig vs Texas Rig to Catch Big Bass

Keep catching big bass!

Even here in New Hampshire, and despite evening temperatures of 50 degrees, spring is leaking into summer, and summer brings warmer weather and warmer waters.

Will the same lures, the same techniques, the same strategies, used during the spring still catch bass? Of course. But the seasonal change will generate adjustments in bass behavior, and an alert BassHole can use knowledge about those bass behavioral changes to locate and catch big bass.

One tip is to understand some of the different ways to rig your plastic creature baits (aka, worms).

Carolina Rig vs Texas Rig to Catch Big Bass

To best understand when to use a Carolina Rig vs Texas Rig to catch big bass, it’s important to understand how the two techniques relate to where the bass have located themselves.

Where do the Big Bass Go?

Well, that depends.

According to an article at BassMaster.com (terrific site, by the way, which I recommend highly), after the bass have completed their spawn, they feed in 2 different ways:

Ambush Feeders

Stumps, dock pilings, rocks all make great cover for ambush bass

Stumps, dock pilings, and rocks all make great cover for ambush bass

Ambush feeders pick a spot to hide, and then spring on prey as it presents itself. What kind of bass are they?

  • Loners: They hunt for themselves, and protect their territory from other fish.
  • Sprinters: These bass use short, powerful bursts of tremendous speed to capture prey.
  • Settlers: By that I mean they will stay in a specific place until the food supply dries up, or they are chased away.
  • Bruisers: They tend to be short, stocky bass.

Schoolers

Stripers and bait

Schoolers work in groups to catch their food

Schoolers are bass that work together in a group to feed on baitfish. So how would I categorize these bass?

  • Educated: Well, by that I mean they swim in schools, which is a smart way to gang up on the bait fish (hint: figure out what the bait fish are in your area, and use a lure to mimic them).
  • Cooperative: OK, I can’t know that the bass actually plan to work as a group, but that’s what happens (perhaps because they all went to school together? Oops, couldn’t resist that one). And that means if you catch one, there are more around eating the same kinds of bait.
  • Fit: These bass tend to be longer and leaner than the “bruisers.”

So where can you find each type?

Ambushers

Look for the ambushing bass around structure. And structure can be a lot of different things.

Above Water:

  • There can be bass everywhere around docks like this one!

    There can be bass everywhere around docks!

    Tree stumps: Sticking up out of the water (like the photo above).

  • Trees that fell into the water: Here you can often find many ambushers.
  • Docks: Try to “skip” your lure right under the dock, and knock it into the pilings; docks can also provide cover for multiple ambushers.
  • Rocks: I’ve caught a lot of nice bass by casting right next to, or even onto, rocks sticking up out of the water.
  • Weeds: If you can get your bait right into the weeds, that’s even better! Otherwise, get as close as possible to the edge. If the weeds are submerged, then you want to get your lure through the weeds.

These are all visible with the naked eye, and you want to target them. Put your bait as close the the structure as possible, or just past it, and then try to hit the structure with the bait. That will often produce reaction strikes from ambush bass.

Underwater

  • All of the above but SUBMERGED: Sometimes the structure is under water, and not sticking up above the surface. Hopefully not the case for the docks!
  • Humps and Depressions: Bass will relate to practically any kind of structure. A study once showed that with no structure at all, bass fry dispersed evenly throughout a fishbowl. Add a small stone, pile of pebbles, stick, or treasure chest (this was a fishbowl, after all), the bass would all group around the available structure. The researchers even painted a black line on the bowl, and the bass lined up around that.
  • Creek or Road Beds: Any depression or rise can provide bass with an ambush area.
  • Drop-offs. Any change of depth is a likely spot for bass.

Of course to find these areas, you will most likely need some type of electronics. If you, like me, don’t have a bass boat equipped with a fish finder, try using one of the portable fish sonar devices available.

==> Click here to read Part 1 of my review of the FishHunter 3D Sonar fish finder <==

Schoolers

Diving Comorant

Birds don’t dive for fun, they dive for food!

To catch schoolers, you want to find where the bait fish are. If you don’t have some type of electronics to guide you, look for:

  • Leaping fish. Not just jumping bass, mind you. If you see lots of small fish “boiling” the surface of the water, something underneath them is feeding on them, and once they reach the top, they don’t have anywhere to go but into the air!
  • Diving birds. Birds dive into the water to eat, so if the bird is diving, baitfish are near the top.

If you don’t see either of these activities, you’ll just have to try “search baits” to find where the bass are located. And once you catch one bass, you can either switch to a different type of bait, or just keep casting to the same area (after all, if you caught one, then the bait is working).

Underwater ledges

Find ledges to find bass!

If you DO have electronics (YAY!), then you can use it to search for the same types of underwater structure mentioned above:

  • Humps.
  • Creek and Road Beds.
  • Rocks.
  • Weed beds.
  • Drop-offs.
  • Ledges. Underwater ledges are areas that many professional fishermen seek to fish during tournaments. They provide cover for both the bait fish and the predator bass, and often many schooler bass can be caught once you find the right ledge!

So what should you use to catch each type?

There are 2 techniques, both similar but slightly different, that you can use to catch these bass.

The Texas Rig & the Carolina Rig

Texas Rigged Worm

Tungsten Bullet Weight

Tungsten Bullet Weight

First up is the Texas Rigged Worm. Most BassHoles, myself included, use the term “Texas Rig” to refer to a worm threaded weedless on a hook, with a bullet weight in front.

However, thanks to BassResource.com (another awesome site!), I’ve learned that the “Texas Rig” refers to how the plastic worm (which can be a worm, crawfish, fish, creature bait, lizard, etc.) is threaded onto the hook. It’s done in such a way that it’s weedless: the hook goes through the head of the weight, then is threaded back into the body, with the hook buried in the body of the plastic worm. The technique was invented in the great state of Texas, and hence the name.

Texas Rig Combo

Everything you need for Texas (or Carolina!) rig

I use tungsten bullet weights because lead weights are no longer allowed in New Hampshire (to help protect the Loons and other aquatic birds and animals), and because they are more eco friendly than lead. Tungsten is also superior for sending information back to the BassHole about structure it hits, and if you use glass beads, it creates a louder click.

You can buy Texas Rig combo kits that include the weights, hooks, beads, and everything that you need to setup the Texas Rig.

The Texas Rig is perfect for casting to visible structure, as the weight is right up next to your hook, and so casts more accurately. Therefore it is a great technique to use when fishing for those Ambush Bass. It will work on Schooling Bass too!

Here’s how I fish the Texas Rig:

  • Cast out.
  • Let the weight sink to the bottom (the line will go slack).
  • Reel up the slack, and lower the rod.
  • Raise the rod tip slowly, feeling every rock, stick, etc. on the bottom.
  • Repeat step 2 (reel up slack while lowering rod).

If you feel weight on the line, or the line moves to either side, pull your rod to the side to set the hook.

Here’s a couple videos about how to fish the Texas Rig:

BassResource

Jimmy Houston (a legend!)

Carolina Rig

VMC Carolina Rig Kit

VMC Carolina Rig Kit

The Carolina Rig (so called because it was developed in the Carolinas?) is similar to the Texas Rig, except that the weight stays at a fixed point above the hook.

This is accomplished by threading the weight onto your line, often adding a glass or plastic bead (for clacking), and then tying a barrel swivel. Then, adding a length of line to the other end of the swivel, with anywhere from 1 to 3 feet (or whatever length is necessary) of leader, ending in the hook rigged with the soft plastic bait.

Naturally, you can buy these components individually, or purchase Caroling Rig kits like that shown above. With the kit, you would simply tie your own rig, either before you leave, or while on the water.

Quick Tip on C-Rig Leader

It’s best to bring some extra line to use for your leader. Why?

You will want to adjust your leader length depending on the conditions you are fishing in.

  • Of course if you one a shorter leader, you can simply chop some off the end.
  • But should you want a longer leader, then you don’t want to have to cut off your entire C-Rig, pull line off your reel, and then retie the entire rig.

So bring a spool of fishing line with you while you’re fishing, and you can easily adjust the leader to the perfect length to catch fish!

Pre-Set Carolina Rig

Vicious Bass CR34 Carolina Rig

Pre-Set C-Rig

You can also get a Carolina Rig setup that is almost done. I just bought one of these last year before that slip on a river bank that ended my 2015 fishing season.

I’m going to try this rig next time I go fishing (which hopefully will be in a couple of days!).

Pros

  • The main advantage of this setup is it’s quick to apply. Simply tie it on to your line, and attach the leader. No need to thread the weight and bead.
  • You can tie on a leader in advance (complete with hook and even plastic worm!), then attach the barrel swivel to your line when you’re ready to fish the C-Rig.
  • You can attach a swivel with a snap clip to your line, and quickly switch from one bait to the C-Rig.
  • Sometimes the weight on a C-Rig will abrade your line, so this setup avoids that problem since it’s sliding up and down a wire.

Cons

The down side is the short wire length holding the sinker.

  • With a normal C-Rig, when the fish takes the bait, it won’t feel any weight; the line slips right through the sinker. But as you can see, with this pre-set rig, the weight can only move a couple of inches.

I’ll give it a try and let you know how it works out!

How I fish the Carolina Rig

The technique for fishing a Carolina Rig is very similar to that of a Texas Rig:

  • Cast out.
  • Let the weight sink to the bottom (the line will go slack).
  • Reel up the slack, and lower the rod.
  • Raise the rod tip slowly, feeling every rock, stick, etc. on the bottom.
  • Repeat step 2 (reel up slack while lowering rod).

You can also pull the rig quickly a few feet, and then stop.

With the Carolina Rig, your bait can rise up in the water column (with a Texas Rig the weight keeps it near or on the bottom). And then you can let it sink. So if the fish are 2 feet off the bottom, a 2 foot leader will put your bait right in front of their noses.

Here’s a couple videos about how to fish the Carolina Rig:

Wired2Fish (another great website!)

Jeff Kriet’s Carolina Rig Tips

Try ’em both!

So, in short, bass fishing is rigged.

Carolina and Texas Rigged!

Try these out, then come back and let us know how you fared.

And I’ll do the same!

Tight lines!

Roger, The Smiling BassHole

27 thoughts on “Carolina Rig vs Texas Rig to Catch Big Bass

  1. Arief

    This has been a fun reading. I know that I have to learn about the fish habits during a certain season.
    I have to improve my fishing technique. I rarely catch any fish when I go fishing with my friends.

    Do you have any tips on that? How should I improve my fishing technique?

    Reply
    1. Roger Ford Post author

      Thanks Arief!

      What IS your fishing technique?

      PLASTIC WORMS
      This post was about 2 ways to fish plastic worms. How heavy a weight you use will determine the fall rate. You can also control how fast you drag or swim the bait. Essentially, if you aren’t getting bites, try slowing down or speeding up. Once you start getting grabs, you’ve found the best speed.

      CRANKBAITS
      If you’re fishing crankbaits, you have a choice of lipped or lipless. As well as with or without propellers. Try different types until you get some hits.

      SPINNERBAITS
      The speed and depth of spinnerbaits, including a stop and go retrieve, letting the spinnerbait sink as far as you like before resuming your retrieve, can also be adjusted. You can also keep it up on top, let it sink, and so forth. Figure out what depth the fish are and put your lure there.

      WATCH YOUR FRIENDS
      So you say YOU rarely catch any fish, but are your friends catching fish? If not, then you probably haven’t located fish, or they just aren’t biting.

      If they ARE catching fish and you’re not, try to mimic what they are doing. Have you tried asking them to give you advice? Maybe they can give you some tips to make you more successful.

      Most importantly, remember you go fishing to have fun. So enjoy the experience, and if you catch some fish, that’s a big bonus!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

      Reply
  2. kevin deaney

    Great article. Now I know why I never catch much fish LOL. I have been fishing here in Florida on and of for about 20 years. Moved here from UK. My wives family took me fishing and then I would go alone. But I never put much thought into the gear or bait I was using. And really the same went to location. But after reading this I now know it is more than just throwing a line out and hoping. Thanks for such an educational post. I will have to try out some of the things mentioned.

    Reply
    1. Roger Ford Post author

      Thanks Kevin!

      Well, you CAN fish by throwing out a line and hoping. But the more you know about what the fish are doing, what they are looking for, where they are, and so forth, the greater your chances of success.

      I’ve been watching and reading pro bass fishermen to learn how to be more successful, and basically the number one piece of advice is: FIND THE FISH!

      And so that’s what I’m trying to do this season!

      I hope you can learn a few tips, tricks, and techniques to improve your own fishing!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

      Reply
  3. Patty

    You have a great sense of humor Roger. I’ve learn a great deal about bass fishing through your website. In my area, people participate in a bass competition. These people are serious about their gear and love to debate who has the better bait. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Roger Ford Post author

      Thanks Patty!

      Yes, we have bass competitions here as well. In fact, I was fishing on my home lake one day when a fishing club from Massachusetts was having a competition there.

      I’m not really that competitive, I just love to fish and have a good time. But I realize a lot of guys are competitive, and believe THEIR way is the only way! Guys. Jeesh. No wonder they are such BassHoles!

      And certainly I do have some of my own favorites, though I don’t imagine it’s the only bait to use! Plus, how good the bait is has to do with how well the BassHole uses it! And I’m trying to improve my skills through research and practice.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

      Reply
  4. Cori Hudson

    Great article Roger. I have been fishing for bass for over 20 years and loved hearing your description about the ambushers and schoolers and how to find them. Interested to hear how the pre-set rig works out. I’ve never used one either. Great information, thanks.

    Reply
    1. Roger Ford Post author

      Thanks Cori!

      Well, 20 years of ripping lips certainly qualifies you as a BassHole!

      My research also explains why my buddy and I will have great luck in the morning casting to the bank (my buddy pretty much only “pounds the banks”), then suddenly no more bass. They’ve moved out into deeper water, possibly in a school!

      I would love to hit some of those schools before the end of this season! I need to make up for lost time!

      Thanks for the reply.

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

      Reply
  5. Mohammad Makki

    I love this article. This site is slowly getting me into fishing. You’re enthusiasm is contagious, I suppose. Your writing style is very engaging!

    I like your bass classification. It sounds like an accurate guide. You really went all in with the behaviors. Which of the rigs is best for total beginners? The article makes it sound like the C-rig is right for me, especially that pre-set one. But you’re the expert.

    Keep up the great work Roger!

    Reply
    1. Roger Ford Post author

      Thanks Mohammad Makki!

      Glad my enthusiasm is encouraging you to think about becoming a fellow BassHole! And thanks for the kind words about the writing.

      The Carolina Rig is a terrific setup, but the Texas Rig is a bit easier to start with. That’s because the weight is right up to the bait at the end of the line, while with the C-Rig, there is a long leader to contend with. But with practice you’ll be able to cast the C-Rig, just be careful you don’t mistakenly knock (or worse, HOOK!) yourself in the back of the head!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

      Reply
        1. Roger Ford Post author

          You bet, Mohammad Makki!

          And let me know how it works out for you!

          Roger, The Smiling BassHole

          Reply
  6. Sean

    Hi Roger, very informative post! I now know what a basshole is haha! Thanks Sean

    Reply
    1. Roger Ford Post author

      Thanks Sean!

      Well, now that you know what a BassHole IS, why not join the club! Always happy to have one more come aboard!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

      Reply
  7. Matt

    Wow Roger, you really really know your stuff. I didn’t know fishing could be so complicated! It certainly opened my eyes to fishing as sport. Very informative.

    Reply
    1. Roger Ford Post author

      Thanks, Matt!

      I’m trying to learn! I certainly have a long ways to go, but I’m glad my sharing what I’m learning has helped open your eyes!

      Yes, there’s a lot that goes into fishing successfully. And of course there is also a great deal to luck!

      Hope you have some good fishing experiences and then come back and share the stories here!

      Tight Lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

      Reply
  8. Ruben

    Hey Roger

    Nice article, you make fishing sound so easy and fun !

    I used to go fishing with my father back a few years ago and now that I think on it was fun.

    I will check your website more often so I can learn and surprise him next time we go fishing.

    Keep the great work and above else keep your passion when you write!

    Ruben

    Reply
    1. Roger Ford Post author

      Thanks Ruben!

      I hope you find tips and tactics that help you increase your fishing experience with your father. But of course just fishing with him is a great reward.

      Here’s a bunch of strategies for using plastic worms. They are often very effective!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

      Reply
  9. Pete

    I’ve never been bass fishing before, but after reading your post here, I have a hankering to go out there and try to catch a big one. The most luck I’ve ever had fishing was out on the Florida coast by the keys trolling out in the ocean. We caught a ton of fish out there. I even managed to nab a 30 lb dolphin fish. I’ll be going back down this year, so hopefully i’ll be able to catch something like that again. In the mean time, living here in land in North Carolina, I may have to just try out finding some bass. Thanks for the great info, and I loved the joke about the fish school!

    Reply
    1. Roger Ford Post author

      Thanks Pete!

      Glad you enjoyed the fish school joke! I try my best to keep them coming!

      After a 30 lb. dolphin fish, a big bass (say 6 lbs. is pretty large!), then you may be a bit underwhelmed. But there are certainly plenty of great places to fish for bass in North Carolina!

      But they are a blast when you can find them and catch them!

      If you do catch some bass, pease come on back and share your triumphs with your fellow BassHoles!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

      Reply
  10. Rachel

    Wow! Great information! I will definately be referring to your website when my son is ready to learn to fish…I will be learning right along with him! Thank you for your insight!

    Reply
    1. Roger Ford Post author

      Thanks Rachel!

      How old is you son? Fishing is a great way to get young people into the great outdoors and to appreciate nature. Which is one reason I try to include photos of some of the natural sights and sounds I am lucky enough to see. I especially enjoy seeing the ducks and geese. Though they were never as cute as when they were very tiny!

      Thanks for the comment.

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

      Reply
  11. Rachel

    My son is just about 9 and he has expressed interest in fishing! Thanks again for all of your great tips!

    Reply
    1. Roger Ford Post author

      Thanks Rachel!

      How exciting that your son wishes to go fishing!

      My recommendation would be to try and find someone who knows where there are a lot of fish that are easy to catch near you.

      Generally that means sunfish, pumpkinseed, kivvies, bluegill, or similar fish (what they are called is often a factor of where you are located – different regions use different names for the same types of fish). Those kind of fish are easy to catch. They are aggressive and very scrappy fighters. They can be a real blast! So if you can find a pond or area where they are available, that will really be a lot of fun for him.

      Remember to let him practice casting before he goes fishing, without a hook! Us something safe instead.

      And be safe out there! You can usually catch those kind of fish from the shore, but be careful about falling in.

      Be sure and bring plenty of snacks and distractions, in case the fish aren’t biting.

      But I hope they are!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

      Reply
    1. Roger Ford Post author

      Thanks, Ollie!

      So are “healthy worms” for bait? Or something else?

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

      Reply

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