Punch Rig Setup and Punching Techniques for Beginners

Wesley Littlefield

Punching is one of the best fishing techniques when you’re bass fishing grass mats. Largemouth bass often hide in thick vegetation under the water, and the punching method can be the most effective for anglers to land the elusive monster bass. 

Punching is when you drop your fishing lure into the thick vegetation to try and get to the big bass hiding underneath.

They tend to hide from predators and their prey, so using a punch rig is typically the best thing to use when bass fishing around matted vegetation. 

To properly punch for bass, you’ll need to use a punch rig that’s very similar to a Texas rig. 

Below you’ll learn how to make a punch rig and everything you need to know to start punching for bass. 

How To Rig a Punch Rig Step-by-Step

When the matted vegetation starts to grow in Florida and other parts of the country, you’ll want to rig a punch rig. Here’s how you make a punch rig for bass, step-by-step: 

  1. Choose your bobber stopper, and then slide it onto your braided line
  2. Next, add a tungsten bullet weight (the thicker the vegetation, the heavier the weight you’ll need)
  3. Place the punch skirt on your punch rig (sometimes these are pre-attached to the sinker)
  4. Securely tie the flippin hook onto the rig with whichever knot you prefer
  5. Rig your soft plastic or creature bait onto the hook
  6. You’re ready to start punching fish!

Best Lures for Punch Rigs

You’ll need some specific soft plastics for your punch rigs. Plenty of lures are available, but not all of them are ideal for punching. Here are the two best lures to use with your punch rigs.

Bass Jigs

bass caught using a jig lure

A heavy bass jig is very similar to the punch rig, so if you lack the gear to make a punch rig, you might try using a jig.

The main problems with jigs are that they’re more likely to get hung up, even if they have a weed guard, and the weed guard can prevent you from getting a good hook set. 

Creature Baits

Creature baits are soft plastics that look like underwater creatures that bass love, such as crawfish, frogs, or bluegill.

They come in several colors, so you can choose the best color for your situation. Your color choice will depend on where you’re fishing and the water conditions.

The bulkiness of creature baits is great for attracting big bass. If you’re finding that bass aren’t hitting your jig, using a creature bait like a craw might do the trick.

If you see bass hitting the top of the water, you should try using topwater frogs instead of punching.

Punching Weed Mats With the Punch Rig

lily pads on the water

When you’re bass fishing in heavy cover, you’ll need a fishing rod that can handle big bass and thick weeds.

A heavy power, fast action rod is best because it can pull the bass through the weeds and onto your boat or to the shoreline. Yes, the punch rig is a great shore lure.

The heavy-duty bullet weight will allow your bait to quickly drop through the weeds. If you notice that this isn’t happening, use a heavier weight.

When using a punching rig for bass, the best technique is to cast your bait in the thickest areas and let it sit for a few moments.

Keep a close eye on the line, though, because most bass will bite as the bait falls. Once you see or feel the bite, set the hook hard and begin reeling it as fast as possible to get the fish through the weeds. 

Flipping and Pitching Punch Rigs

You can use flipping and pitching techniques with a punch rig. Flipping is an excellent method for bass fishing in murky freshwater when you have a specific target.

Using your non-dominant hand, hold the line between the first line and the reel.

Next, you’ll swing the fishing rod towards your target and then release the rest of the line with your other hand. The bait should land softly without making a loud noise, scaring off the fish.

When you’ve mastered flipping this way, then you can use a baitcaster and flip with one hand controlling the line with your thumb.

Pitching involves using an underhand pitching motion to cast into the water while using your thumb to control the spool. 

Pitch casting is a popular technique for bass fishing when around heavy cover because it gives you more control of how it lands and how much noise the bait will make when it hits the water. 

Punch Rig vs. Jig

punch rig for bass fishing

A jig is a lure with a lead head, skirt, and hook all attached. Most anglers rig a creature bait to add bulkiness to the lure.

They can be used to punch, flip, and pitch around heavy cover, but they typically work best along the edge of heavy cover.

On the other hand, punch rigs are best used in the middle of freshwater matted vegetation. Rigging the soft plastic Texas-style allows for the lure to be weedless.

Final Thoughts

A punch rig is one of the best bass lures you can use when trying to catch big bass hiding under vegetation. They’re pretty easy to assemble as long as you have the fishing tackle.

You’ll need a bobber stopper, punch weight, soft plastic, and a flipping hook. 

Once you’ve learned how to fish the punch rig, you’ll catch more bass when others aren’t.

Remember, you can always add a heavier weight if you aren’t penetrating the heavy weeds when punching for bass. 

Let me know in the comments below what your PB is when using the punch rig!

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