Freshwater Fishing Rigs and Setups

Carolina, Texas, Drop-shot, and Finesse Rigs for Walleye and Bass

How, when, and where to use these rigs for catching trophy fish with the utmost confidence. Included are the best knots for each application and the most successful bait.

Here are the four most popular rigs for bass and walleye. Each one has a specific application and technique to use. The more they are used, the more they will aid in all fishing adventures.

The Carolina Rig

The Carolina rig was designed to get natural bait or plastic lure into deep water fast. It allows the bait or lures to float above the sinker to encourage fish that are suspended off the bottom to take it without resistance. To tie the Carolina rig start with an egg sinker followed by a sliding bead, then attach the line to a barrel swivel using an Improved Clinch knot. On the other end of the swivel attach a long leader, no shorter than 15 inches, ensuring it is no longer than your rod.

When fishing for walleye a 12 to 16-inch leader is better as they tend to stay below the bass. Live minnow baits are preferred as they can swim up unaided. If using a plastic bait, or other live bait such as a nightcrawler, it is recommended to add a flotation aid to the leader to maintain it’s buoyancy. Some anglers choose to lower the rig as opposed to casting due to the somewhat extreme length.

The Texas Rig

The Texas rig is simply a way to make your bait or plastic lure basically snag-free. To set up this rig feed the head of the lure onto the hook with the hook exiting the bait just behind the head. Turn the tip of the hook back toward the bait and insert it into the body of the bait.

This is a good rig for both weedy and rocky areas. Attach the weight a few inches above the rig for dragging along the bottom or right at the hook to turn it into more of a jig. The Texas rig is typically used with plastic worms or nightcrawlers and the hook is attached with either an Improved Clinch or a Palomar knot.

The Drop Shot Rig

The Drop Shot rig is set up with the sinker tied below the hook. That way the sinker gives a base from which the bait or lure gets their movement. A bit of slack in the line will allow the bait to swim or move around and when the slack is removed the bait will dart back to the original position creating the effect of foraging prey.

Tying a Drop Shot is as easy as deciding how far off the bottom you want your bait to be. Slide the hook up the line that far and tie it with a Palomar knot. Then attach the sinker to the end of the line and add bait or lure. The preferred lures for use with the Drop Shot are small plastics; worms, tubes, or minnows.

The Finesse Rig

The Finesse rig is called such because it is fine and light-weight for shallow or clear water or for fish that have been seeing a lot of action. It is made out of a lighter line with smaller sinkers and bait or lures. Tie on your bait or lure of choice, ensuring that the size is minimal, then add one or two 1/16 to 1/2 ounce round, not eared, split shot sinkers 1 inch to 1 foot above the bait. The closer the weight is to the bait the more precise your casting will be, but a bit of room for movement is often needed for those picky fish.

These rigs should improve the number of keepers and hopefully add a trophy or two to the walls of anglers everywhere.

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