Many of today's anglers all to often seem to have the enthusiasm to get themselves all sike'd up for that big day of fishing the following day only to find themselves coming in at the end of the day with only one or two bass caught. They will spend the day, usually casting, re-rigging, running, loosing lures, etc., but most of all getting frustrated because the fish aren't cooperating. "Sound Familiar?" I, surly know this feeling and I'm sure that any angler reading this article has had the same feeling at some point and time. Now, don't feel bad if this does happen to you because you are definitely not alone, there are probably millions of other anglers out there that this same problem happens to! But, there are a few "Tricks of the Trade" that you can use to help remedy this problem..... at least it works for me and many of my former bass angling students and charter clients that I have taught in the past.
I found that on certain days when the bass don't seem to cooperate, I usually will put my action baits away and pull out the "Last Resort Rigs" which are the:
1. TEXAS RIG
2. CAROLINA RIG
3. FLOATING RIG
These three rigs are probably the most successful patterns for catching bass (Largemouth, Smallmouth, & Spotted Bass) that a angler can use just about "Anywhere and at Anytime." Now, some anglers may ask; "Why would I use all three of these rigs?" and the answer is really quite simple. It's like using tools of the trade! A carpenter wouldn't use a hammer to back out a screw, nor would he or she use a screw driver to pound nails (Well, at least most of them wouldn't!....smile!....). The same goes with bass fishing, an angler should have the right Tools-of-the-Trade to do a specific job!
First, let's talk about the TEXAS RIG. This rig was the first "Plastic Bait" rig that was used by most of the anglers when the sport of bass fishing really got started over 25 years ago! It is a simple rig to set up, and has produced more bass catches than any other artificial baits ever used, even today!
To rig a Texas Rig you will need line, a hook and a sinker.......That's It! First, you put your sinker (usually a "bullet shaped slip sinker") onto the line with the smaller point of the weight going on first or "facing up." Then tie your hook (usually a off-set worm hook) to the end of the line after you put on the weight. Now you are ready for your plastic baits (I always refer to artificial baits because I haven't used live bait in many years) to be put on the hook.
This type of rig (Texas Rig) can be fished (or presented) just about anywhere you will find bass, it has certain advantages and disadvantages over the other two rigs that we will talk about, and I will give a few examples after we rig up the Carolina Rig and the Floating Rig.
So next, let's rig the CAROLINA RIG.... With this rig you'll need line (main reel line), a barrel swivel, about 6' of leader line, a weight, glass or brass bead or rattle chamber, and a hook. I know this seems like a lot of stuff, but the results are incredible!
First, take your "Leader Line" (usually the same line that is on your reel already, but I would suggest at least a 2 lb. test lessor than your main line in case of a break-off..... Most of the time by using a lighter leader line, when it breaks it will break off at the leader line thus saving the other hardware on the rig) and tie one end of it to one end of the barrel swivel and then put it aside for a moment. Then, take your main line from your reel and first put on the weight (usually anywhere from a 1/2 oz. up to a l oz. bullet or egg sinker). Next, after the weight is on your main line, follow it with a rattle (rattle chamber, glass or brass bead) and then tie the end of the main line to the other end of the barrel swivel that you just put aside. After you tie to the swivel, tie your hook at the other end of the leader line giving you a 2' to a 4' leader. Now, we're ready for the bait!
Next, let's rig the FLOATING RIG! This "Floating Rig" can and will produce bass sometimes when all else fails...... It's quite simple to rig and the results can be devastating! You will need a SMALL Barrel Swivel and a Hook for this rig. First, take about 3' off of your main line for a leader line. Tie one end of your leader line to one end of the barrel swivel, then tie the other end of the barrel swivel to the main reel line. With this rig you leave off the weight!........NO WEIGHT!!!!!..... Then finally, you tie the hook (preferably a "Light Wire" worm hook) with only allowing about a 1' leader for the leader line. The reason for no weight and a light wire hook is to allow as much buoyancy as possible. This rig is designed mostly for Floating Worms and buoyant plastic artificial baits.
Now, let's say that you were to fish around "Rip-Rap" (Rock Areas) around dams levees etc. You probable'wouldn't use a Texas Rig unless you put the lightest weight possible on it to keep it from getting it wedged in the rocks. Nor would you use a Carolina Rig because the heavier weight (1/2 oz. to 1.oz.) would most likely get hung up. So, the rig that makes the most sense would be the "Floating Rig." This rig will allow a slow presentation over the rock areas and the bass that may be around the rocks will come up after it. Also, this kind of rig is used better around branches, Lilly pads, thick surface vegetation etc.
Now, let's say that we are working a "Downward" slope from about 3' depth to a 20' depth. The most sensible rig to use would be to use the Carolina Rig because it will stay in contact with the bottom contour and the deeper you work it, giving it line from your reel you can get a better "Bottom Presentation." A Texas Rig can be used for this also but the deeper you go with it the more it will lift off of the bottom. Let's say that you were going to work some pockets around a Bull Rush field. To accurately cast into the pockets a Texas Rig would be the most preferred because with the weight of it you can make accurate casts. A Floating Rig would also be recommended for this type of area as well.
Thick sloppy grass and vegetation areas, all three would work, but the Carolina Rig has produced some quality bass in areas like this over the other two rigs. Don't worry about getting weeds on the Carolina Rig! Just give it a try and clean the weeds off of the rig and keep casting into these thick areas and "Hold On!"
These rigs can be used anywhere and just about under any circumstances. Remember this; most Bass Tournaments ever fished have paid out more money fishing these rigs than any other types of artificial baits ever used! So if you're not using all three of these rigs, I promise, the results can be devastating! Just give them a try!
If you have any questions regarding this article please feel free to Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or please feel free to visit my web sites at: www.capital.net/~rlbrown and at: www.fishing-boating.com/basscoach or just give me a call at: (518) 597-4240
Until next time, Take Care & God Bless!
"The Bass Coach".... Roger Lee Brown