Carolina vs. Texas Rigs
Pro Tom Redington
Rules of Thumb for Carolina vs. Texas Rigs
If it’s summer on Lake Fork, you can count on two things—hot weather and
deep bass. And if the bass are deep, a Texas rig or a Carolina Rig (C-rig)
are often your best weapons. Both will catch bass, but how do you decide
which set up to choose and how should you rig it up based on the conditions
you’re confronting? This article will focus on a few basic rules of thumb to
help you answer the whens, wheres, and whys of TX rigs and C-rigs.
C-rigs, especially when rigged with a heavy sinker (3/4 to 1 oz), work best
in several different situations. First, a heavy sinker allows you to make
long casts and quickly drag the bait across a wide area while maintaining
contact with the bottom the whole time to find bass fast. In addition, I’ll
use 20 lb P-Line Fluorocarbon, and the heavy sinker and fluorocarbon line
clearly transmits changes in bottom composition or pieces of isolated cover.
I work the bait quickly until I find rocks, weeds, or wood, then slowly work
my bait through this fish holding cover. The ability to cover a lot of water
and find small areas of cover makes the Carolina rig a great search bait as
well as a great bait to catch bass once they’re found.
TX rigs, in contrast, typically work best when fishing heavy cover, specific
targets, or steep drops. In heavy cover, a C-rig will often hang up more and
will not get into the small holes in grass clumps or brush piles as well as
a TX rig. In addition, when bass are located in very specific pieces of
cover or structure, a TX rig will still provide great action while shaking
it in place (similar to the way you shake a worm on a shaky head jig). This
subtle quivering action while leaving the bait in place often triggers
inactive fish that won’t react to a rapidly moving or a dead-sticked C-rig.
Finally, when fishing very steep banks, pond dams, or ledges, TX rigs can be
slowly crawled down the slope while a C-rig will often too quickly pull your
bait all the way to the bottom of the break.
Another factor to consider is the size of the weight you use. Tungsten
weights are harder and smaller, transmitting more feel and getting into
tighter pieces of cover. Heavy weights are often good in summer, as the fast
fall triggers fish into a reaction strike and also reaches the bottom
quicker and allows better feel, even on windy days. While the slow fall of a
small weight will sometimes get finicky fish to bite, I often start with a
heavy weight and go smaller if I must, instead of the other way around.
In addition to the size of weight, the soft plastic lure you use on your rig
will also affect the drop speed and performance of your set up. Bulky baits
with big tails or appendages will slow the fall of your rig and work best
when paired with bigger weights and moved aggressively. Lures like Fork
Creatures, Baby Fork Creatures, Top Dog lizards and big ribbon-tail ring
worms like 10” Lake Fork Worms move a lot of water and trigger big bass that
are actively feeding. Hop and swim these baits on a TX rig or C-rig to get
their full action. Conversely, when the bite is tougher and you need to coax
those big girls into biting, more streamlined soft plastics are in order. In
this case, I’ll rig up with straight tailed worms like Twitch Worms, Ring
Frys and Baby Ring Frys, or craw worms like the Fork Craw. And for an
especially tantalizing slow fall, try a Magic Shad or Live Magic Shad on the
business end of your C-rig—bass out deep love them just as much as they did
when they were up shallow in the spring.
Of course, there are no absolutes in bass fishing. However, I hope these
basic rules of thumb help make your decision on what to rig up a little
easier on your next trip. Here’s hoping you catch the lunker of your dreams.
If I can be of assistance, please contact me at 214-683-9572 (days) or
972-635-6027 (evenings) or e-mail me through my website,
Tom Redington is sponsored by Ranger Boats, Diamond Sports Marine, Lake Fork
Trophy Tackle, and P-Line Fishing Lines.
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