Fishing Techniques

Texas Rig vs Carolina Rig: Which is best to use?

trout rig fishing

Two of the rigs that are used most often in the sport of fishing are the Texas rig and the Carolina rig. Since they both work so well, it’s important to understand what they look like and when you should use them.

The main difference between the Texas Rig and Carolina rig is that the Texas rig is more effective for fishing in cover, such as weeds, stumps and vegetation. The Carolina rig is more effective for fishing in open water and barren areas where you need to cover a lot of ground quickly.

Figure 1. Texas Rig vs Carolina Rig
Fishing...Texas RigCarolina Rig
Heavy coverx
Open waterx
Isolated grass pilesxx
Shallow waterx
Deep waterx
Summer monthsx
Winter monthsx
Spring monthsxx
Soft plastic luresxx
Light weightsx
Heavy weightsx

Texas Rig

The Texas rig works best when fishing with soft plastic lures. First, you thread a bullet-shaped weight through the fishing line, then do the same with a plastic or glass bead. Next, take a hook, like an offset worm hook, and secure the line to it.

Once the hook is secured, insert it through the head portion of your plastic worm and push it out about a ¼ inch from the bottom. Next, slide the worm up the hook near the shank and twist it. The worm should now be “locked” on the shank. Your final step is to make the hook weedless by threading the hook’s point back into the worm’s body.

If you don’t like the idea of using a bead, don’t add one. Some people feel the bead’s color and noise help attract fish in muddied or stained water. The belief is that the fish mistake it for a crayfish moving over the rocks. However, there are others who feel the bead takes away from the rig’s effectiveness. Since most worms don’t click, some people feel that the bead makes the bait less realistic.

Texas Rig

While you can use different types of bait with other rigs, you can only use a plastic worm with a Texas rig.

When to Use a Texas Rig

The best time to use a Texas rig is:

  • When you’re trying to catch a particular fish that is hiding in cover, such as in flooded bushes or shallow plants.
  • When there’s a cold-front because bass like to stick to heavy cover when skies are overcast.
  • Right after fish spawn, then move into the cover to protect their eggs. Toss a Texas rig into the nest, then shake it continuously in front of the bedding fish, to entice them to strike.
  • In the Fall when bass move to the shallow water.
  • In the summer months.
  • When fishing in shallow water because you can match your Texas rig with weights as light as 1/8 ounce.
  • When fishing in areas with heavy cover.

Carolina Rig

Similar to the Texas rig, the Carolina rig uses plastic bait. However, with the Carolina rig, the weight is placed above the hook instead of being pushed down to it. For a Carolina rig, you’ll need a bead, swivel, hook, sinker and soft plastic. You may also want to use a clacker if you want it to make more noise.

First, you’ll take your sinker and thread the line through it. The best sinker to use is a bullet head because its swivel and bead make it easier to use. Next, slide your bead onto the line and into the sinker, then tie on your swivel. Once you have all three parts in this order, you have a Carolina rig.

Carolina Rig

When it comes to baits and lures, most people opt for plastics like grubs, lizards, leeches, crawdads and flukes. However, you can also try using live bait like shad, leeches, minnows and nightcrawlers.

You’ll want to match the size of your hook to the size of your bait. If you have a small bait, use a small hook and if your bait is large, use a large hook. You’ll also want to consider the type of fish you’re trying to catch when deciding which hook to use.

When to Use a Carolina Rig

The best time to use a Carolina rig is:

  • When fishing in the open water near a structure where you need to be able to cover a lot of water quickly, such as a vast flat or long point.
  • When deep sea fishing because you can add weights as heavy as two ounces without them getting in the way of your lure.
  • In the winter when fish tend to swim lower in the water, since Carolina rigs can reach deep fish.
  • In spring and summer – actually, you can use either a Carolina rig or Texas rig during both seasons.
  • When fish are migrating to and from their spawning sites in the pre- and post-spawn seasons. During this time, you can find fish anywhere along the migration route, swimming from 5 to 15 feet deep. Since the Carolina rig can find these fish faster than a Texas rig, it’s the better option.
  • When you find yourself in grass or an isolated brush pile.

The decision to choose a Texas or Carolina rig mostly depends on the time of year, the fish you want to catch and your fishing location. Always remember that there are no real right or wrong times to use a fishing rig. You should use what works best for you. And don’t limit yourself to just one rig. If you’re trying a rig and it isn’t working, try a few different rigs until you find the one that works.

Brian Walters is an avid angler that has been fishing since he was old enough to pick up a rod. With over 40 years of experience fishing all over the country for.... read more
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