The Carolina Rig is a method of plastic worm fishing that is very effective for structure fishing for black bass. There is a wide variety of structures in the lakes of East Texas.
On Lake Conroe there are pond dams, old road beds, old railroad trestles, creek channels, ridges, and submerged timber. Most of these structures are below the surface, some of these as deep as fifty feet.
The Carolina Rig is designed for deep water fishing with a plastic worm. This method of fishing separates the weight from the worm so that very heavy worm weights may be used without taking action away from the worm. The heavy weight of the Carolina Rig makes fishing deep water structure much easier. Even in water twenty feet deep or more the Carolina Rig with a one ounce worm weight will get down to the bottom quickly and allow you to stay in contact with the bottom. Constant contact with the bottom structure will keep the bait in the strike zone longer. When fishing deep water, long casts are necessary so that more water is covered on each cast.
The Carolina Rig is rigged in a very unique way. To rig a worm Carolina style you need: three quarter to one ounce brass worm weight, glass bead, barrel swivel, and number two hook. Before rigging cut a piece of line about three feet long for your leader and put it aside. Take the line coming from your rod and run it through the brass worm weight. Next run the line through the glass bead. Slide the weight and bead up the line and tie the line to one end of the barrel swivel. Tie the three foot leader to the other end of the swivel. On the loose end of the swivel tie on the number two hook. Then rig the worm onto the hook as if it were a Texas Rig.
The purpose of the brass weight and glass bead are to make noise and attract bass. Each time the Carolina Rig is pulled across the bottom the brass weight and glass bead engage they create a clicking sound. The clicking sound resembles the sound that a crawfish makes when it pops its tail for locomotion. Black bass feed on crawfish and are naturally attracted to the imitation of the brass and glass. Using brass worm weights instead of lead weights is better for the environment. Each time a rig is hung up and lost the weight falls to the bottom and contaminates the water. One weight is not harmful but figure every time someone goes fishing they lose five to ten weights. Over the years these lakes build up a high content of lead and become contaminated. Brass weights do not emit hazardous elements and are environmentally safe. In the future lead fishing weights will be outlawed and brass weights will take their place. Using a seven foot heavy action rod will make the Carolina Rig much easier to handle and cast. The two to three foot long leader is very awkward to cast when using shorter rods. Long casts are necessary and the long rod handles them with ease. The rod must have plenty of length so that when a strike occurs on a long cast a powerful hookset can be attained. On a long cast there may be ninety feet of line out and a long rod will allow you to generate the power to overcome the stretch of the line.
Fishing the Carolina Rig is one of the simplest methods of worm fishing there is. Once you are in an area that you want to fish simply cast the Carolina Rig towards the structure you intend to fish. Let the rig settle to the bottom. Often, this is when a strike occurs because the weight falls to the bottom quickly and the worm is left suspending and slowly falling to the bottom. This fluttering action that the worm has when falling to the bottom is one of the most important features of the Carolina Rig. After letting the rig settle on the bottom for about twenty to thirty seconds begin retrieving the bait. Hold your rod parallel to the water and in a direction forty five degrees away from the bait. Slowly turn the handle on the reel so that you make a full revolution of the handle about every ten seconds. If you reel your rig across some bottom structure, like a tree or a log, let it settle to the bottom. You should be in constant contact with the bottom, but when you come into the strike zone you want to let the bait flutter to the bottom in the strike zone. Strikes on the Carolina Rig are not always very obvious. Sometimes several taps on the line are all that will be felt. Other times a pulsating pressure will be felt. Also, fish will actually inhale the bait and nearly jerk the rod out of your hands. Most of the time the bites are subtle and a great deal of concentration is necessary to detect these strikes.
Once a strike is detected a sweeping hookset will increase your chances of landing the fish. Because most bites will occur with a lot of line out if you sweep the rod to set the hook a more direct line to the hook is attained. If the rod is jerked straight up, the weight must be lifted before a direct line to the hook is achieved. When the sweeping hookset is used the weight must still be lifted to create a direct line to the bait but more power is generated in the hookset.
Fishing line is also an important aspect of the Carolina Rig. Fishing the deep waters of the lake requires a line that is strong enough to handle the torture of being exposed to rocks, trees, and other rough bottom features. A new type of line was introduce to the world of bass fishing in 1993. A line composed of braided Kevlar and polyethylene was introduce. This line is very small in diameter yet extremely strong. Monofilament, a plastic based product, is our conventional line. To compare the two and their qualities almost seem unfair. A piece of monofilament with a pound test rating of ten is equal to the diameter of the Kevlar braided line with a pound test rating of thirty. The Kevlar braided line is much more sensitive and does not have a high stretch factor. Because the line stretches very little, there is hardly any loss of sensitivity due to the line absorbing sensitivity.
Bill Cannan Professional Fishing Guide – Lake Mohave
– Lake Mohave