The Carolina Rig is similar to the Texas Rig, except that the weight is fixed at a set distance from the worm. This allows the worm the glide naturally through the water, since the line tension from the rod is only directly effecting the weight’s movement. As you pull the weight along the bottom, the worm is towed along by the weight.
Basically, the line from the reel is tied to a swivel, but before the knot is tied a weight and bead is threaded on. On the other end of the swivel is a length of line called a leader. At the other end of the leader is the hook and worm.
Fishing this rig gives off an attractive, natural looking presentation just above the bottom. Not only a natural look but a natural feel too. When a bass bites the worm they don’t feel the heavy weight, and as a result will hold on longer. There are a few components involved in a Carolina Rig, and we will go through all of them, but here is a quick list of whats required:
If you’re looking to try Carolina Rigging and want to get everything in one shot, then check out this Carolina Rig Kit. It’s a complete set of very good quality tackle, and everything you’ll need for Carolina rigging. Now lets get in to the components.
Choosing a weight for a Carolina Rig is mostly related to the depth of water you’re fishing, but it’s also a matter of personal preference. Some anglers just prefer a heavy weight so they get better feel on the bottom. Typically you won’t see a Carolina Rig fished with anything less than a half ounce weight. Half ounce and three quarter ounce weights are most popular, but it’s not uncommon to see fishermen using one ounce or more.
The weight style most commonly used are bullet weights, sometimes called slip sinkers. They have a hole through the center that the line is threaded through, allowing them to slide up and down the line as it’s dragged along the bottom. They can be made of lead, steel, or tungsten, all will work just fine.
The bead serves two purposed on the Carolina Rig. First it acts as a buffer between the weight and the knot on the swivel. This protects the knot from becoming damaged from the weight smashing in to it. Second it creates a nice clacking noise when it comes in contact with the weight. This noise is useful for attracting the attention of nearby bass. You could also say that thirdly they throw out a bit of flash, since typically they are red and made of shiny glass or plastic.
The type of beads traditionally used are glass red faceted beads. They come in a range of sizes but most popular for the Carolina Rig are 8mm or 10mm. The reason most anglers prefer glass beads over plastic is they give off more of a clacking sound, they’re just more expensive than plastic.
The swivel is what connects the main line to the bait. Their main purpose is keeping the weight a pre-determined distance from the hook, but they also allow the bait to spin without causing a line twist. Although any swivel will suffice, a good quality one will perform better and last longer.
This is where opinions will vary the most amongst anglers, some will use a leader that is ten inches long while others will swear by a seven foot leader. A lot has to do with depth and water clarity. In clear water its good to have a longer leader, seven feet is probably the longest you will see on a Carolina Rig leader though, a four foot leader will suffice in most clear water conditions. The key is to put extra distance between the bait and the weight, so fish aren’t suspicious when they approach. For that same reason it also helps to use light pound test line for the leader.
Some anglers prefer a shorter leader for fishing this rig up in the shallows. For one the water is shallow so the bait doesn’t need a ton of slack to sink slowly to the bottom. For another, the rig tends to come through and around shallow cover a lot better when the leader is shorter like around ten to sixteen inches.
The leader should always be monofilament or fluorocarbon. Now some will tell you that mono is the way to go because it floats, allowing the bait to glide above the bottom better. On the other hand, some will tell you that fluoro is the best choice because it’s less visible and more abrasion resistant. It’s up to you which you think is more important, but for pound test you should go with ten to fifteen.
Typically the Carolina Rig is fished with smaller sized worms, so for a hook you’d be looking at a 1/0 or 2/0 size. The best style is an offset worm hook, but a straight shank would work too. The small-sized hook has a lighter wire gauge, this will keep the bait from sinking to the bottom too quickly. You want the bait to flutter along and sink very slowly when at rest. The worm itself should be rigged Texas style on the hook.
How To Fish A Carolina Rig
Obviously the Carolina Rig is a popular technique when bass are down deep along the bottom, but it’s just as effective in the shallows. The biggest mistake lot of anglers make is working this rig too fast, when a slow drag along the bottom is what you’re going for. You want to move the rig along the bottom by slowly sweeping your rod to the side, then reeling in the slack. Try to keep some tension on the line so you can feel a strike. Feeling a bite with a Carolina Rig isn’t always easy, and it gets even harder with slack line.
Essentially, all you’re fishing is the weight, you’re just dragging the weight slowly along the bottom. As the weight comes across the bottom it is going to bump and roll over stuff, and as that happens the worm is getting tugged and jerked by the impact the weight makes with objects. Basically the worm’s action is a byproduct of how you work the weight and what it hits.
As the weight drags along the bottom you can get a good feel for what you’re fishing, thats one of the advantages of fishing this rig. Theres really no better or worse type of bottom to fish this rig in, but if the fish are congregating towards one type on a particular day, the Carolina Rig will help you identify those areas.