carolina rig for bass

#30 – Carolina Rig

The Carolina Rig is similar to the Texas rig, except the weight is separated from the plastic by a swivel and leader line. This may not sound significant, but it actually opens up a ton of options for finding and catching fish that are relating to the bottom or suspending just above it. This is especially true in deeper water. It’s a must-know for any serious bass angler.


The basic components of the Carolina Rig are a bullet weight (or egg sinker), glass bead,  small barrel swivel, a piece of leader line, soft plastic lure of choice, and an appropriate hook. Start by adding the bullet weight  followed by the bead on your line. Carolina rigs are used to keep contact with the bottom, so you want to use a heavier weight. A good all around weight to start with is ¾ oz. The glass bead is not critical to the function of the rig, but many agree it adds noise and knot protection just like a T-rig bead. After adding your weight and bead, tie the end of the line to your barrel swivel. Next, determine the length of leader line you will use. Although there are many variables to consider, a general rule of thumb is the deeper you fish the longer your leader should be and vice versa. Anywhere from 12 inches to several feet is normal. Try starting around 24” if you are unsure. Tie one end of the leader to your swivel and the other end to your hook. Finally, run the hook through the lure in the exact same manner as a Texas rig.

What you have now is a rig that will cast far, sink quickly and keep contact with bottom structure. The weight drags along the bottom clicking and stirring up water while your weightless lure swims, floats, or darts around behind it. You can imagine how this would drive bass crazy.


The Carolina Rig is a great “search bait” for finding deep cover that you can’t see with your eyes. The weight will transmit vibration from bottom structure to your rod. This makes it a great tool for feeling bottom content for someone that doesn’t use sonar. For those that do use electronics, this rig might help you find the sweet spots on your favorite pieces structure.

Cast the rig out and wait for it to settle to the bottom. Focus on keeping the weight constantly in contact with the bottom. Just like the Texas rig, move the rig with your rod tip and not the reel. Slowly lift the rod tip and reel in slack as you lower it down. Simply dragging the weight along slowly will produce plenty of action in the lure being towed along. When you feel the weight get caught up on brush, rock, stumps, etc., stop to let the plastic fall down near the cover. If this doesn’t elicit a strike, free the weight from the obstruction and stop again to let the lure fall directly into it. Detecting a bite on a C-rig can be a little tough to get used to, but fish will hold onto a weightless lure much longer so this will increase your chances of hooking up. If you detect a strike, use a long sweeping hookset to the side. If your line is out pretty far, a short hookset may lift the weight, but pull the hook down out of the fish’s mouth. The long sweep will ensure the entire rig is being swooped in smooth motion.


  • A floating minnow or worm can be deadly on a C-rig. Instead of sinking after each move the lure floats up and suspends behind the weight.
  • Although there is much debate in what type of line is best for a C-rig–in general, it is smart to use a heavy main line and lighter leader. The lighter line will be less suspect to curious bass and if you are hung up, the leader is more likely to break leaving you with your swivel and weight.
  • A tungsten weight is more dense than a lead or brass weight. This will provide the most sensitivity in the feel of the rig allowing you to detect a strike or cover more easily.