Bass Fishing With the Carolina Rig
By Iain Loveman
Bass fishing with the Carolina Rig should be one of your first choices because it can be used as either a very simple rig or one with a multitude of rigging choices and because it is uncomplicated in nature.
VMC Carolina Rig Kit Assorted
There seems to be a lot of controversy and mystery about this rig but as far as I am concerned as long as it works and catches bass or any fish for that matter I will continue to use it as one of my top choices in rigs.
Now, there are a couple of areas where I would not recommend using this rig because of the difficulty in getting this rig through the cover and along the bottom and they are:
- bottom areas made up a very close boulders
- areas covered with dense brush
- areas of heavy vegetation
Otherwise, the Carolina rig is extremely adaptable for use in all other areas.
The simplest Carolina Rig is a line with a weight and a bead attached to a barrel swivel than a leader and a hook. Now the fun part is that you can dress it up as much or as little as you like. So let’s take a quick look at the parts.
The type of line you use will vary depending on where and how you fish, so you should start by using a good quality monofilament line with enough strength to handle the abuse you are going to inflict on it. This could be as little as 8lbs. or up to 15lbs. but in the end it all comes down to personal preference.
The whole idea behind the Carolina Rig is to fish the bottom and that the weight should be in constant contact with the bottom. So in order to just generally get your weight to the bottom you’re looking at about 1/4oz. of weight for every 10ft. of water.
The style of weight whether it would be a bullet or egg type will be determined by coverage and type of bottom.
If you are using a fish finder and you notice that the fish are 3 to 6ft. off the bottom and you are using a floating worm, mathematics say that an 18in. leeder will not get you into the strike zone. The general recommendation is to use 18in. of leeder for every 10ft. of water.
Generally the purpose of the bead it is to protect your knot but some will argue that it also creates noise which will attract bass. The general rule is to use no beads with bullet weights and only one bead if it is an egg weight.
The function of a swivel is three fold, first to reduce line twist, second and of more importance is as a stopper for the weight and third to be as unobtrusive as possible. They should be small and of good quality.
P. S. there are several weights stoppers on the market which are being used in place of the swivel.
Working Your Rig:
It has been my experience that bass or basically any fish have the three types of fishing modes which are aggressive, opportunistic or force fed.
Aggressive usually comes into play in the springtime when water temperature rises and shortly after mating season. Opportunistic is when baitfish or food is place in front of them and they have a taste before they actually swallow.
Force fed is simply that you have irritated the fish enough for a strike and this usually occurs in very cold water.
So imagine in your mind a somewhat weedy bottom and that you are slowly retrieving your rig. You see the weight being drawn across the bottom while the leader and the bait float gently above at a preset height.
Your weight meets some resistance from a weed and then launches itself left, upward, or forward and in doing so gives your bait some great action.
This little dance most likely will make the bass react. However, it cannot be stressed enough that you must give me your fish enough time to react. Slower is better!
So if you’re imagining yourself slowly cranking on your reel as you retrieve than you are doing it WRONG so STOP!
You should be using the rod in a dragging motion from side to side to move your bait. If you get a strike halfway through your drag then return to where you started at the same time keeping the line tight and set the hook.