Carolina Rig Fishing: Make It Easy With Step By Step Guide


Carolina rig fishing

Carolina rig fishing is one of the most loved and at the same time hated fishing techniques. Many fishermen like it because it allows them to catch fish when others techniques don’t work. But they hate it because it is quite difficult to drag around heavy weights all day long. Well, it’s not as exciting as flipping a jig or playing with a topwater bait. But the result is worth it.

In fact, even kids handle this technique. Just some practice and you will fall in love with Carolina rig. It is so versatile that you can use it on any type of lakes or rivers, either in the north or south, in clear or dirty water and during all the seasons of the year. Some fishermen don’t use this technique because they think the setup is rather complicated. It is not really so. Yes, it involves more rigging but it is not as complicated as it seems. This guide will give you step by step instruction how to succeed in Carolina rig fishing.

How to setup Carolina rig?

Carolina rig

Carolina rig setup is quite easy. The basic setup consists of 3 sections. Here they are.

Section 1 – Rod, reel and main line

  • Rod and reel. It is important to choose the best rod and reel for Carolina rig fishing. The best rod is a Medium Heavy, Fast Action casting rod. The longer rod, the better. It allows you to make a long sweeping hook set that can take up any slack line and the fast action helps pierce the mouth of the fish. As for the reel, it is better to choose a baitcasting reel with a gear ratio 6.3:1 or 7.1:1. Such high gear ratio helps you reel the line up quickly when you make the sweep hook set.
  • Main line. You can choose any line that you use for your lures. However, the best ones will be a 15-20lb fluorocarbon or 20-30lb braided line. Monofilament is not good since it stretches while fluorocarbon and braided have low elasticity nature that helps when setting the hook.

Section 2 – Weights, bead and swivel

Weights. The best weights for Carolina rigs are made of brass and tungsten.

  • The most popular Carolina rig weights are ½ to ¾ oz. brass bullet weights. Most anglers choose brass instead of lead since it produces more noise. In addition, you can try lots of different variations, for example, a Mojo style weight. It is in the shape of a barrel and good for navigation through vegetation.
  • Weights made of tungsten have a few advantages. First of all, they are heavier and harder than lead, so when they hit the bead the noise is louder. Then, tungsten weights allow you to feel the bottom composition much better. In addition, such weights are smaller than lead and will hardly snag.

Bead. If you use a brass weight, then it is better to choose a red or black glass bead. It keeps your knot safe and produces a clicking noise against the weight. Such noise can interest and attract the fish to your lure. If you use a tungsten weight, keep in mind that it can shatter a glass bead. So you need to use durable beads that don’t break.

Swivel. It is quite easy to choose a swivel. Just take a barrel swivel with the size 6 or 8, or a ball bearing swivel with the size 2. These sizes are good for fishing a big bass and they allow you not to get snagged in cover or vegetation.

Section 3 – Leader and hook

Leader. It is usually a dilemma which type of line to use for the leader since they have their pros and cons. Some anglers say that they prefer fluorocarbon because it is invisible. But you should realize that it sinks very quickly and doesn’t float and glide your lure off the bottom. So use monofilament of 10-15lb.

Hook. The best hooks for Carolina rig fishing are the extra offset worm hooks and EWG worm hooks. Just choose the size you need for the lure.

What is the best Carolina rig lure?

Carolina rig lure

The choice of a lure depends on the place where you are going to fish. For example, if there is a lot of shad, you should choose a tube or super fluke. If you are fishing where the water is stained and dirty, it is better to take lures of green pumpkin, black and blue colors.  For clear water or if the bass is chasing the lure, a lure of shad colors will be the best option. A green pumpkin brush frog will be good if you think that the fish are on a crayfish diet.

If you are not sure which lure is the best for your fishing needs, you can start with the most common Carolina rig lures, such as a lizard, beaver, and finesse worms. They are good for any conditions.

Why do you need to use Carolina rig?

Why Carolina rig

There are several reasons why you should try Carolina rig fishing:

  • Easy to use. You don’t need any special skills. Just cast and drag. You can do it as you want: either slow or fast. That’s all you need to do.
  • Works on any depth. You can cast the Carolina rig at any depth: either at shallow grass bottom or deep lakes or rivers.
  • Keeps contact with the bottom. Since you use heavy weights for the Carolina rig, you have a good contact with the bottom. This allows you to feel the composition and hardness of the lake, river or wherever you are fishing. It is also great for fishing in strong winds.
  • Slow floating and gliding action. The bass likes chasing the lure, so its movement should be natural. Don’t do abrupt actions. Everything you do must be smooth. The clicking of the weight and bead attract the fish.

Where and when can you use the Carolina rig?

Carolina rig fishing spots

One of the advantages of the Carolina rig is that you can use it all year round. It will suit for fishing the pre-spawn bass or recovering post-spawn bass. Carolina rig works in extremely hot summer or cold winter.

Here are the places where you can use the Carolina rig:

  • Grass bottom. Keep in mind that the Carolina rig is good for the short grass beds, just a few feet tall and not abundant vegetation. All you need is to set the length of the leader for the lure to play in the grass and work the weight with a slow gliding motion.
  • Points and humps. Since bass love points and humps, dragging the Carolina rig there will attract more fish.
  • Ditches and drains. Fishing the Carolina rig in such places will be rather effective especially during the pre and post-spawn periods.
  • Good in the winds. If you are going fishing and see that the weather is windy, the Carolina rig will save your day. Thanks to the heavy weight, you can easily cast it in the wind and at the same time feel the bottom.
  • Transition banks. Such banks have some changing features like grass, rock, sand or wood. The Carolina rig helps you distinguish when the bottom changes from ooze to clay or clay to gravel. Bass love such places, so casting the Carolina rig there will be effective.
  • Don’t use it on rocky or rip-rap areas. Due to the bullet style weight, the Carolina rig can get snagged in the rocks. So don’t use it on rip-rap shores. However, parallel casting along the rock will be amazing.

So now you see when and how you can use the Carolina rig. It is not so difficult as may seem, so try it and enjoy fishing!

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