Carolina Rig Largemouth Bass

The Carolina Rig is a classic set-up for catching bass. It’s an awesome technique to find fish in all types of different situations. I’ve had success with it when sometimes nothing else seems to work. Here is the how, what, where, and when of using a Carolina Rig to get you “Kraken” Bass!



Carolina Rig


How to Set Up a Carolina Rig:

Here is what you need to get set up fishing a Carolina Rig, and a simple diagram of how to tie it all together.

  1. Offset Worm Hook: The size of  the bait you are using is the deciding factor for what size of hook to tie on. For finesse worms I’ll use 1/0 hook. Craw imitations I’ll use a 3/0 hook, and with flukes and big worms I’ll use a 4/0 0r 5/0 hook.
  2. Bullet Head Weight: My favorite weight is either a 3/8 oz tungsten or 1/2 oz tungsten weight. It will give you a good feel of the bottom. I like to use the green pumpkin colored weights.
  3. Barrel Swivel: I just use a simple black barrel swivel nothing fancy. I don’t typically like gold or silver, because I don’t want to much attention on the weight set up.
  4. Glass Bead: In my opinion this is optional, but if you are fishing stained water a glass bead can help make a little extra racket to draw a bass’s attention. Beads can also help protect your knots.

First, you slide the weight onto your main line, then you add your glass bead behind your weight. Secondly, you tie on your barrel swivel to the main line below your weight and bead. Next, attach on about a 6 – 12 inch leader of line onto the barrel swivel. I prefer to use a monofilimant line for a leader. Monofilimant floats so it can keep your bait above the bottom. Now, tie on your hook of choice to the end of the leader. Last of all, texas rig your favorite soft plastic bait for “Kraken” Bass! I generally stick with craws, worms, and flukes as my “go to” soft plastics for the Carolina Rig. Here is a simple diagram I created to help illustrate how to get a Carolina Rig rocking. carolina rig illustration

When to use a Carolina Rig:

Here are my rules of thumb to decide if the Carolina Rig is a good option. The Carolina Rig is a great choice if you think the bass are holding on the bottom or slightly above the bottom. Another good time for its use is if  the wind is blowing,  and you need to get a bait down to the fish. Sometimes nothing else gets down to the bottom better than a Carolina Rig in adverse weather conditions. Sometimes, I’ll throw it on if the bite is tough. It’s also great for fishing through deep grass and brush when bass aren’t super active. The Carolina Rig will go through all types of thick cover. My favorite time to fish it is in early and late spring, when the bass seem to be sitting closer to the bottom. Here is a picture of a bass my son and I caught in the early spring on a highly pressured pond with the Carolina Rig.

Carolina Rig Bass

How to fish a Carolina Rig:

Throw the Carolina rig out past the cover you  think the fish are on, and let it sink down to the bottom. Once you can tell the weight is on the bottom,  just  pull the rig dragging it over the bottom. Occasionally, I’ll give the rod tip a quick pop. This will make the bait jump. Doing this can sometimes help trigger a strike.

Setting the hook with this rig can be a little tricky. When you think you’ve got a bite, reel up all the slack until your line is tight. Then do a side sweep of your rod tip. This will help get that hook out of the plastic, and into the roof of the bass’s mouth. I primarily throw the Carolina rig on a bait-casting rod and reel set up with braided line and a fluorocarbon leader. This will give you great sensitivity to detect those subtle bites, and power on your hook set.  Here is another pick of a bass I picked up on the Carolina Rig, when nothing else seemed to be working.

carolina rigging bass

Best Baits for a Carolina Rig:

Here is a list of my favorite baits to throw on the Carolina Rig. There are a lot of great baits out there, and don’t be scared to try a few different things. The Carolina Rig can give a bait a very unique action.

Craw Imitations:

Berkley Havoc Pit Boss
Gary Yamamoto Fat Baby Craw


Zoom Bait Salty Super Fluke
Yamamoto D Shad Bait


Roboworm Straight Tail Worm Bait
Zoom Magnum Trick Worm

Hope this helps to get you “Kraken” Bass! The Carolina Rig is a great way to catch a few of them. I enjoy throwing it, because it helps you present baits in a very unique way. Feel free to leave  your comments  about your experiences with fishing a Carolina Rig.

As Always,

Stay Stoked!


Gear to Use:

Baitcasting Set up:

Spiderwire Stealth Braid 300-Yard Spool Moss Gree 30lbs.
Sufix Invisiline Casting Flourocarbon 200-Yards Spool Size Fishing Line 12-Pound
Shimano Sellus Medium Heavy Worm and Jig Cast Rod 7’2″
Quantum Fishing Smoke 9 Bearing Baitcast Reel 7:3:1 ratio

Carolina Rig Package
(If your Lazy, this is a great way to get everything you need without buying all the individual items)

VMC Carolina Rig Kit (Assorted)

15 Responses

  1. The “standard” weight for a Carolina rig has been 3/4 ounce, often a brass worm weight with a red glass bead. But you suggest lighter weights – why? Are western fishing conditions different enough from southern conditions that lighter weights work better? What do you think about shiny brass weights?

    1. I like using lighter weights because I feel like I can get my weight to “hop” off the bottom easier. This makes the bait jump up a little as well, and can entice some strikes when dragging doesn’t quite work. Plus, I’ve found when you are fishing around chunk rock, the heavier weights hang up a lot more than the lighter ones. A lot of the lakes I fish have a lot of head sized chunk rock strewn along the bottom. I’m sure brass would work, but in clear water I prefer natural colors. A green pumpkin tungsten weight, and a clear brass bead makes some noise but looks a little more natural in my opinion.

      1. JB – I see your point. The “standard” setup was probably developed in muddy reservoirs without all the tackle-eating lava rock that we have out west. All that shiny brass would probably scare the bass in clear lakes like Sand Hollow and Powell. I will be modifying my C rigs per your suggestions. Thanks.

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