Carolina Rig Setup

What Is The Carolina Rig?

The Carolina rig setup is like the Texas rig with one big exception, the position of the weight. While the Texas rig uses a free-moving weight that slides along the line the Carolina rig uses a fixed weight separated from the lure by a length of leader. By keeping the weight above the lure, you will experience a different action, more of a circular motion, as the lure drops or encounters current.

Another notable difference related to weight is size. While the Texas rig relies on a relatively small bullet weight the Carolina rig allows for a much heavier weight if needed, up to 2 ounces or more depending on what species you are targeting and water conditions.

What Conditions are Best for the Carolina Rig?

the carolina rig setup for fishing

The Carolina rig performs better when it is cold. The bass prefers the warmer waters on the bottom during the spring and late fall or early winter. The Carolina rig can be weighted down to reach the bottom.

It also works well in murky conditions. During this time, the bass move around a lot. So, a setup like the Carolina rig that can cover extra distances when the fish move a lot does wonders to your fishing. The Carolina rig setup, however, is not that effective during the hot summers.

The Carolina Rig Setup

It takes only a few minutes to understand how the Carolina works and how to set one up. Even children can quickly master this rig.

Here is what you need (ideally) –

  • Fishing rod– a medium-heavy rod with a length of at least 7’.
  • Beads– to prevent weights from sliding up and down. They are mostly made of glass or plastic.
  • Swivel– an appropriate one based on your tackle size. You can also use a Carolina Keeper instead. It involves less knot tying and untying and you can easily adjust the length.
  • Hooks– an off-set worm hook suitable to the bait or lure used.
  • Leader line– monofilament, braided, of fluorocarbon line, but most angling enthusiasts prefer fluorocarbon.
  • The reel– a baitcasting reel with a 6:1 gear ratio for bringing your line in quickly when needed.
  • Sinkers or weights– barrel sinkers or bullet head sinkers. Those made of tungsten are the bes

Once you have got all the necessary gear it is time to start assembling your Carolina rig. These simple steps will show you how to set up your Carolina rig.

  1. Attach the Bait to the Hook – An off-set worm hook must be used and its size should match the bait or lure. Usually, a soft plastic lure works best. Use anything with which you were successful in the past.
  2. Attach the Leader Line to the Hook – The leader line connects the fish hook to the swivel. It should be about 12 to 48 inches long depending on what depth the fish are.

    A fish finder will come in extremely handy but you can do without one and work out the depth by trial and error. If you are not able to determine the depth, you can start off with 18”.

  3. Secure the Other End of the Leader Line to the Swivel – A swivel is used to keep lines from twisting. But in the Carolina rig, it acts as a stop for the weight. While choosing a swivel you must consider two things- the weight and camouflage.

    A brown-colored swivel is recommended for its relative invisibility in water. It must also be as light as possible for the fish that you plan on catching. However, an 80-pound one will do in most cases.

  4. Slide on the Bullet Weight – The weight should be slid on your main fishing line (the one attached to your pole). Weights are used to sink the lure to the depths where the bass lurk. Usually, a 3/4 oz weight works well, you may have to increase or decrease the weight depending on the conditions (shallow waters or fast current).
  5. Slide the Bead Below the Weight – A glass or a plastic bead protects the knot on the swivel and also knocks on the weight causing a noise to attract fish. It must be slid into the main fishing line below the weight and above the swivel.
  6. Attach the Main Fishing Line to the Swivel – The main fishing line must be tied to the other end of the swivel. There are many types of knots, but use your favorite knot to secure the swivel to the main fishing line.

    Your Carolina rig is ready! You can take it out and be amazed at how many fish you catch.

Watch Carolina Rig Setup With Jacob Wheeler

Carolina Rig Setup and Use Tips

One of the reasons some anglers look past the Carolina rig is because it is best when worked SLOW. Crawling the bait and long pauses. This can be hard for the guy that wants to cover the most water in the shortest amount of time. However, if you are patient and stick with it, you are almost always guaranteed to catch fish.

A good rule of thumb is with your rod pointing at the 12 O’clock position move to the 2 o’clock position. Then take up the slack and repeat. This is one of the reasons to use a rod 7′ or longer. This small sweep will move a lot more line than one less than 7′ so if that’s what you are using just move it to the 3 or 4 position.

Remember while you are going through this motion to take note of what your rod is telling you about the bottom. You will feel the difference in the composition of the bottom of the lake as you move across grass, sand, and gravel. Learn what each piece of structure feels like.

Finally, The Carolina rig setup performs best in the prespawn and postspawn when bass migrate along transition routes to and from their spawning sites. Since the fish can be scattered anywhere along the migration route in depths ranging from 5 to 15 feet deep, the Carolina rig can pinpoint these fish quicker than the Texas rig.

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