Lakecaster Online Archives - Aug, 2003


By Len Fairbanks
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Len Fairbanks

In this fast paced, ever-changing world of e-mail and faxes and gigabytes and megahertz, it's nice to know that some things remain relatively unchanged. A little over thirty years ago, right here in East Texas, the Corps of Engineers and the City of Houston got on a lake building binge and they created some of the finest black bass fishing habitat that anyone had ever seen. Lake Conroe, Sam Rayburn, Toledo Bend, Dam B and our very own Lake Livingston were flooded just about this time. Much of the timber that existed in these lakes prior to impoundment was left intact and uncut.

This was a fairly new approach, since most of the lakes that existed at that time had been almost completely cleared prior to impoundment. But these new lakes down in Texas were full of big timber and many places were so thick that the only way to navigate a boat was to find an old pipeline or loggin' road and fish from these.

Along about this time, some fisherman/inventor/lure designer figured out that he could take a bullet shaped weight and put it on the line in front of a rubber worm. He also learned that he could thread that rubber worm on his hook about a quarter of an inch and then bring that hook back out of the worm and rotate that hook 180 degrees and stick just the point of the hook back in the worm. Then he could cast that rubber worm in the thickest tangles that he could find and not get hung up. It didn't take long for everybody in this part of the country to be fishing with these "worm rigs". And it didn't take long for folks in other parts of the country to get tired of talking about that "worm rig that everybody fishes in Texas" and they shortened it to the "Texas Rig". And now, anywhere that bass fishin' is spoken from Alaska to South Africa, everyone still calls this arrangement a "Texas Rig" and it all started right here in little old East Texas.

This time of year, when it's hot enough to fry an egg on top of the cowling of my Mercury outboard, many times the bass want something slow moving and on the bottom. If this is the case, then the Texas rig fills the bill. So if you're in an area with a lot of baitfish activity and you just know that you are around some bass and you just can't get them to bite your crankbaits, spinnerbaits or topwaters, then throw 'em a Texas Rigged plastic worm. Throw that rig in the thickest cover that you can find. Logpiles, brushpiles, stumps and just about any vegetation that you can find are excellent places to drop your worm.

On Livingston, I usually use a 5/16 ounce bullet weight and a 3/0 or 4/0 VMC Vanadium Off-set shank hook. This hook is extremely strong and sharp. Try this hook, I think you'll like it.

Since I am usually fishing fairly thick woody type cover, I usually use 17 to 20 pound clear premium monofilament like Berkley Trilene XT.

The way that I almost always fish a Texas Rig is to cast or pitch my bait right in the middle of the thickest cover that I can find and let my worm go all the way to the bottom. (You can tell when it's on the bottom when your line goes slack.) After your bait gets to the bottom, pick your rod up and move your worm toward you about a foot or so, with only your rod, and then let it sink back to the bottom. One of keys to being successful with the Texas Rig is to let that bait go to the bottom every time after you move it. When the bait gets back to the bottom, then reel up the slack in your line and pick up the bait again. Use this pick-up, fall back, reel slack technique all the way back to the boat, unless you get a strike.

Strikes usually feel just like someone lightly thumping the end of your rod. When you feel this, give him a little bit of slack and then set the hook hard with a quick upward rod motion.

I almost forgot to talk about the soft plastic lure to use on the business end of this rig. I usually use a 7 1/2" Berkley Power Worm in either tequila sunrise, red shad, or blue fleck. I usually use either a 7'6" heavy action Fenwick rod (model GTC 775-2) or a 6'-6" medium-heavy action Fenwick worm rod (model GTC 785) for most of my Texas Riggin'. Also, I use like to use a quality, high-speed baitcasting reel with a thumb bar release like an Abu Garcia 4600C4 or one of the new low-profile Torno models.

I sincerely hope that at least some of the information that I have provided was enlightening or maybe entertaining but most of all helpful and educational. If you would like some first hand instruction on black bass fishing on Lake Livingston or Sam Rayburn, I guide full time on both of these lakes and can be reached at (936) 563-5454 or you can email me at If you get a chance, check out my web site at and let me know what you think. Until next month, catch all you can and release all that you catch. Good luck, be safe out there and may God bless.

Sponsored by: Ranger Boats, Motorguide, Pro-Kon-Trol, Lowrance Electronics, Fenwick, Energy Batteries, Turbo Props, Dual Pro Battery Chargers, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Mitchell, Spiderwire, Plano, VMC Hooks and Ocean Waves Sunglasses