Carolina Rig: Catch More Bass With These Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

Wesley Littlefield

Are you looking to set the hook on more bass?

Hopefully, you answered “yes” to that question, if not, you are reading the wrong article.

One of the most proven ways to set the hook on more bass is to fish with a Carolina Rig.

While there is nothing flashy about using a C-Rig, it has been rigorously time tested in countless ways and continues to show why it is still a go-to for bass fishermen of all levels of expertise.

Even though you won’t be earning style points when you pull out your Carolina Rig, you will be reeling in fish when using this old-school method.

Continue reading to see how to make your own Carolina Rig and how the C-Rig can put more bass into your boat.

If a video is more your speed, check out our Youtube Video showing you how to tie, rig, and fish the Carolina Rig.

What Is A Carolina Rig?

A Carolina Rig is one of the most versatile lures/techniques used for bass fishing.

It is similar to a Texas Rig, in that it requires a sinker, hook, and soft plastic.

It differs from the Texas Rig because most anglers attach a swivel with a leader line, which doesn’t allow the weight to rest against the bait as a typical Texas Rig does.

A C-Rig, as it’s also called, is how many fishermen learn to bass fish. It is simple to set up and will catch bass in several different scenarios. Since it is a bass fishing basic it can be used in countless different ways; making it extremely versatile.

The reason so many fishermen depend on a Carolina Rig is because of its dependability and versatility. It can be used in combination with several different techniques, styles, and plastic baits. It is not limited to shallow or deep water. It will catch fish in clear or murky water.

If a fisherman wants to find and catch fish they will most likely use a Carolina Rig to do so. We will learn about all of these benefits throughout the article.

How to Tie a Carolina Rig

Carolina rig

Each angler has his own unique method on how to tie a Carolina rig.

Here is mine.

I will place a sinker on the mainline attached to my pole. A bead comes next. Plastic beads work best because glass beads tend to break.

I then tie on a barrel swivel with about two or three feet of leader length fishing line that my hook is tied onto.

Next, I place a creature bait, plastic worm, or other soft plastic on the hook. Now, I’m ready to go fishing!

If you want to make your own C-Rig you will need the following:

  • Sinker,
  • Bead,
  • Swivel,
  • Leader line,
  • An offset worm hook with a wide gap
  • Soft plastic.

Most anglers prefer to use a medium-heavy action fishing rod about 6’ 6” – 7’ in length.

The 15-20lb fluorocarbon line is the preferred mainline as well as for the two to three-foot leader line.

Monofilament can be used as well.

Tungsten has taken over for the best weight to use.

Brass and lead weights are still used effectively, so if you can’t afford to purchase tungsten weights don’t sweat it.

As far as the style of weight goes, you can use an egg sinker, but I prefer the bullet sinker. The plastic bait you choose to use will change with the conditions you are fishing, so don’t get hung up on one specific bait.

Carolina Rigs for Bass Fishing

If remembering and finding all the pieces for making your own C-Rig is too much of a hassle here are a few of my favorite kits you can purchase to add to your tackle box.

Editor’s Choice
Image Product
VMC Carolina Rig Kit (Assorted) VMC Carolina Rig Kit (Assorted)
  • Easy set-up Instructions Included
  • 32 Piece Carolina Rig Kit
  • Faceted Red Beads with #6 and #8 barrel swivels
THKFISH Carolina Rig THKFISH Carolina Rig
  • 339 piece or 389 piece kit
  • Best Bang for your Buck
  • High Quality Rig
Magreel Fishing Tackle Kit Magreel Fishing Tackle Kit
  • Perfect Fisherman Gift
  • 229 Piece Rig Kit
  • Wide Application (not just for bass)

Each kit comes with the basics to get started at a fair price. These kits are intended to get you fishing quickly, as they are not all-encompassing. You can, and should, continue to expand your gear beyond these kits as your budget permits.

Testing and figuring out what works best for the way you fish. With that said, the kits listed above will give you a solid start on catching more bass with a Carolina Rig.

Carolina Rig Fishing: How to Fish a Carolina Rig

Now that we know what a Carolina Rig is and how to make one let’s learn how to catch bass with one! The reason a Carolina Rig is a great tool to have is that the C-Rig is simple to use. Cast it out, let it sink to the bottom and then reel it in.

Change the speed and method of your return based on the reaction and the cover the bass is near. If you are not getting bites you can change it up quickly by switching the soft plastic on your hook, the weight of the sinker, the length of the leader, or the speed of your return.

The Carolina Rig can be used in shallow water or deep water. If you are fishing in deeper water I suggest using a weight ranging from half an ounce to one ounce. It doesn’t matter if you are bass fishing in murky or clear water conditions the C-Rig will work.

It is the go-to lure of several professional anglers because of its dependability and versatility. Largemouth and smallmouth bass will both bite this bait.

When using a Carolina-Rig you are able to feel the contour of the bottom and better understand the bass’s surroundings. By knowing the contour of the bottom you are able to better know what fishing technique is going to benefit you the most.

This fishing technique is often used to find where the fish are spending their time. It is what most would call a search bait. You can cover a lot of water with one, similar to a crankbait.

The C-Rig can be used during all seasons of the year. Pre-spawn and post-spawn bass will not hesitate to attack a Carolina Rig when used properly. It can be used in the fall and winter months. The rig is used year-round because of its versatility.

Since one can fish deep or shallow water, change the speed of the return, and change the soft plastic being used a Carolina Rig is used to catch fish in all different types of weather conditions.

Best Techniques for Carolina Rig Fishing

How to fish a Carolina Rig

Several different techniques can be used to retrieve the Carolina Rig. Slowly dragging the rig along the bottom where there is little cover is probably the most common. Keeping your rod tip low allows the weight to bounce off the bottom and stir up a little silt to get the bass’ attention.

Another technique is to use a sweeping motion with the rod, dragging the rig along the bottom and then reeling the line up as you sweep back towards the rig. As you get closer to the boat or shore pop your line a time or two to resemble a crawfish being disturbed and taking off.

If you are fishing over rock piles then popping your line should be the way to go. By popping I mean a light jerk, not a solid jerk like one would do to set the hook on a bass.

This popping action allows the C-Rig to keep from getting snagged in the rocks and bass lurking nearby will instinctively strike.

When fishing brush piles or trees the popping/tapping action also works. Cast over a branch and tap the weight into the branch a couple of times let it set and then tap it again.

Repeat this process as you pass over every branch. Be sure to have your hook covered by your soft plastic or you will be getting hung up on every cast.

When to Use The Carolina Rig for Bass Fishing

Whenever you want to catch fish! Okay, I know it’s not that simple but there is some truth to that statement. Since it is such a dependable lure, fishermen of all types use it in countless different situations.

As mentioned above, the C-Rig is a go-to lure and technique year-round for a majority of bass fishermen.

The depth of water, amount of cover, and the water clarity all factor into bait choice, along with several other factors. When using a C-Rig, these factors are not so fickle. The rig levels the playing field for all levels of fishermen.

Bass can be caught using the rig by someone fishing for the very first time, all the way to the touring professional bass fishermen.

So one doesn’t have to worry about mastering the technique before it can be used to catch fish.

The Carolina Rig is used as a search bait because it is versatile and it can cover a large area of water fairly quickly. So when you’re searching for the fish don’t hesitate to tie on a C-Rig!

Once you have found where the fish are with the rig you don’t have to switch to a different bait. Keep using it until you have caught all the fish in the area or they aren’t interested in it anymore.

The rig can be used in all different types of bodies of water. It is effective in lakes, rivers, and ponds. No matter what body of water you are fishing, a Carolina rig will be a dependable tool in your tackle box.

Why the C-Rig Works for Bass Fishing

Bass can’t resist a Carolina rig because it triggers their instincts. The weight bumping into rocks and other underwater debris make bass think another creature is injured and unable to fully control their body movements, therefore making them an easy target for a meal.

This design has a very similar presentation to a Neko or Chicken rig. They weight generates a lot of attention and creates enough noise to provoke the bass.

Having the weight away from the soft plastic allows the bait to float and twitch more naturally causing bass to strike. It also keeps the bait off of the bottom just enough to look natural but still get the sounds and silt stirred up near the bait.

Thus, once again tricking the bass into believing the bait is injured or searching for food and not paying attention.

The C-Rig also works because it is simple to use. Any fisherman can learn how to use it quickly and begin catching bass. While it does take years to learn how to truly master the technique, it can be extremely effective with a little practice.

The versatility of the Carolina Rig once again factors into why the rig works. Subtle changes to the rig or the technique can yield massive rewards. Since you can easily change the bait, length of leader line, and the weight you can catch fish using it in countless different scenarios.

Final Thoughts

In closing, I would highly recommend learning how to make and fish with a Carolina Rig. With this bait and technique in your arsenal, you will be able to consistently catch more fish. It is a proven method to catch bass.

Whether you are a seasoned professional or a newbie to fishing, the C-Rig levels the playing field. It can be used by all levels of fishermen. It doesn’t require a certain level of expertise to use. Once you’ve read this article you will now only need the gear and time to go bass fishing!

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