The Carolina Rig: Irresistible to the Bass

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The Carolina rig, commonly referred to as the C Rig, catches a lot of bass and is easy to use. For some reason, it remains a method of last resort for many fishermen when it could be first choice. Possibly, it remains a last resort because it seems complicated and there are so many variations to rigging it; however, it is actually quite simple and straightforward. The C rig is worth explaining what makes it up, how to use it, and where to use it. It is a worthwhile method of bringing in a lot of bass.

About the Carolina rig

Fishermen with more experience have no trouble with the Carolina rig. Perhaps they already know it just is not that complicated and is really worth the effort when a fisherman wants to catch a lot of bass. Using the C rig is actually rather simple. Most of the time, bass feed when the opportunity presents itself. In other words, they eat when they feel like it. The C rig takes advantage of that. The rig puts your bait on the bottom right in front of the bass and as your weight slowly moves on the bottom kicking up small puffs of debris your unweighted bait will dance around enticingly behind it, looking all for the world like a creature looking at the weight. Bass are stimulated by the appearance of a distracted prey and sneak in and attack your bait! The rig lets you present the bass with an opportunity of eating–right in front of the fish’s mouth. It dangles there for a long enough time while the bass decides whether he feels like eating or not. The rig moves slowly and gives the bass that time to ponder it. That is the strength of the C rig.

Components of a Carolina Rig

The basic components of the C rig are a baitcasting rod and reel, a weight, a swivel, a bead and a lure on a good hook. Many people use 15 to 20 Lb. test braid fishing line on their reel with a 12 to 14 Lb. fluorocarbon leader tied to the swivel to present the bait. The braid has zero stretch so hooksets are more effective while the lighter test leader allows you to recover most of your rig if your hook gets snagged and you have to break off- the leader will break first because it is lighter. The lure is typically a plastic bait, such as a worm or lizard and particularly popular are baits called the zoom brush hog or zoom baby brush hog. Usual leader lengths are 2 to 3 feet but can be shorter or longer as needed. Very long leaders become cumbersome to cast so try shorter leaders at first. To tie up your rig first tie your leader to the swivel- this is important because you want to tie good knots such as a Palomar knot and it can t be tied to the swivel unless you tie it first! Then put your weight on your braid line then your bead and then tie it to the other end of the swivel, again with a Palomar knot. Verify your leader length is right then tie on your hook. A glass bead or two works well at the swivel to protect the knot and adds a clicking sound as well to attract fish. You can fine-tune your rig by using other baits, just about any plastic bait will do- try a Lake Fork worm or a Reaction Innovations beaver.

You will need a little different rod

A C rig requires long, sweeping hooksets when you get a bite and the longer rods make this possible. We recommend a G. Loomis Carolina Rig Rod if you want a specialty rod for your C rig because it has been designed just for this technique, it costs about $260 or you can use a similar rod such as the Powell 734 if you want a rod that can be dual purpose and handle the C rig or casting jigs or swimbaits, it costs only $169.99. These longer rods are used to easily cast the rig and provide a proper hookset.

A good all-around reel

We recommend the Shimano Curado E Series reel in 7.0:1 gear ratio which costs $179.99. This reel allows you to make effortless casts and reel in line quickly and makes a great investment in your equipment and is a great multi-purpose reel. Put your money here where it counts more.

Other rig components you will need

Swivels should be good quality and small very small. The swivel is just a stopper for the Carolina brass egg or bullet weights. If you would rather use a regular weight stopper, then you could skip the swivel. The type of weight is somewhat dependent on where you are fishing, and we can help you decide what is best for you. Typically the egg shaped weights are most popular, but it depends on the bottom consistency and the cover you are fishing through whether you prefer an egg or bullet weight. The leader should be of a lighter strength than the rest of your line. The beads, there to protect the knot, are somewhat in controversy about white kind and how many. One is enough but two will add more clicking sounds to attract fish. If you are using bullet weights, then you may not want to use a bead at all.

Where the rig works best, and worst

When the bottom of the lake is consistent and there is not a lot of “stuff” around to foul the rig you have found the best places to fish it. The rig does not work well on close-together boulders on rocky bottoms or heavy vegetation. Any area where the brush coverage is heavy is not a prime area to use the rig. Any place else is a great place to use the rig.

The Carolina rig is nothing more than a system for bringing different baits to a bass in a lot of different situations. There is a great deal of room for experimentation and fun. For example, when the bass are really hungry, the bigger baits work better. When more docile, the smaller baits can linger while the bass decide whether to feed or not.

Pro bass shop, Fisherman’s Choice Pro Shop, has all that you need to fish this easy-to-use yet effective rig. We can get you set up with the best recommendations at the best prices. Visit Fisherman’s Choice Pro Shop and see what we have for you. Remember, all purchases over $50 ship for free to you.


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