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The Carolina Rig

By Nic DiGravio

carolina rig - bass fishing tackle

The Carolina rig is one of the most versatile and fun ways of getting Bass on the end of our lines.  And it’s not just limited to Largemouth.  Smallmouth are just as willing to take a bait Carolina rigged!

By versatile, I mean many different fishing situations can be fished Carolina style.  From shore, for example, a Bass angler could use it to cover a lot of real estate in deep or shallow structured water.  As a matter of fact, deep water is a Carolina Rig forte!  Weights of 1\4 oz. up to and over 1oz. can be used to get the offering out there and down deep.  So obviously, a longer rod and a heavier weight can give a shore angler quite an advantage.

As a young shore Bass angler the Carolina rig put many Bass in my ‘bucket well’.  And I still use it today whether on shore or on the boat.  It is simple tactics all packed into one basic rig.  All we do with it is rig our weights and hook sizes according to conditions and baits used. 

The Carolina rig is made up of 3 components, the main line, weight and a fluorocarbon leader.  The main line is threaded through an egg sinker then through a bead and tied to a swivel.  The bead ensures the swivel and weight doesn’t bind for smooth flowing line; not to mention noise which can be tuned with many different ideas to get the fish’s attention. The fluorocarbon is then tied to the swivel with the hook completing the rig.  When a Bass takes the bait it shouldn’t feel resistance because of the line traveling through the weight as opposed to a stationary weight.  This works especially well with fussy Bass.  A full-bellied Bass can’t resist an easy meal, but if that easy meal comes with restrictions, they will let it go quickly.

In order to achieve no restriction for the Bass a long rod combined with a flipping switch on a bait casting reel is warranted.  The longer rod gives us more lineal footage so that when a Bass takes the bait one simply has to drop the rod for that added slack.   The flipping switch on bait casting reels such as Quantum’s Accurist PT or Shimano’s Castaic 200 SF have easy spool disengaging capabilities.  Every little thing helps in putting fish in the well.

The technique that goes with Carolina rigging is as basic as the rig itself.  Cast it out as far as you can and with the spool still disengaged, let the rig fall vertically to the bottom.  Once it reaches its end, engage the spool and start to work the bait home ever so slowly dragging it in and around structure.  We should be able to feel every single piece of debris in the baits travel including, the slightest nudge from a Bass.  When you feel the Bass, give it slack with either the rod or the reel and then set the hook hard.  Smallmouth is the aggressive one of the two species so sometimes there is no time for slack.  When you feel the pull set the hook hard and fast. 

The best part of Carolina rigging is the fact that there is virtually no plastic out there that can’t be fished this way.  Also, structure of any type can be fished with total confidence in knowing hang ups are very minimal by rigging the bait Texas.  The other advantage is the use of fluorocarbon leaders which is practically invisible to the fish.  To the Bass, no strings attached means an easy meal especially when it happens to crawl in front of its face.

Carolina rigging in general is a good all around technique for versatile shore or boat angling.  Spooked Bass, finicky Bass, cold front Bass or just leisure Bass will take it.  It is the ‘cats meow’ of Bass catching methods. 

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