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This may touch off heated debate, but I am interested in hearing from anybody who is willing to share how they set up Carolina rigs for bass fishing. I'm still a newbie bass angler, and have never fished a Carolina rig. Reading around though, it is pretty clear that this is an essential skill to have for going after bass.

One specific question I have is that I assumed that the point of the rig was to make the plastic worm (or whatever is rigged) rise off of the bottom when the rig was motionless. Is this how most people fish it? I have noticed that there are floats you can buy to achieve this:
http://www.delawarevalleyoutdoors.com/How To/Carolina Rig Worm.bmp

Or do you prefer that the worm set on the bottom when it is paused?

How about those glass beads, are they essential? Leader length? Do you use those 'light wire' hooks? Time of year to use it?

I am looking for absolutely anything the experienced Carolina Rigger can share. Thanks in advance guys, you have always been helpful.
 

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I use them for flounder. Two ounce sinker, barrel swivel, 18 inches of Flurocarbon, #1 wide bend Kahle hook. That's how you do it for flounder, don't know about Bass. Should be about the same, just different size weights and hooks.
 

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I sure couldn't tell ya for certain, but there are those who assert that the glass beads are essential. This school of thought says that the beads and the weight are there to make noise, therefore they often prefer brass or tungsten weights to lead. You can even buy three-inch-long carolina rigs like this: Bass Pro Shops Carolina Shortcut Rig

I've been using plastic beads and lead weights lately, to make some noise at least, but mostly I'm trying to let the lure sway in the current more than it would on a jighead.

One thing I learned the other day -- if you make your carolina rig on the large-ish size, it can get hard to cast. I had one rigged up maybe 2, 2.5 feet long all together, including a generous 12" leader to the hook, while learning to throw a baitcast reel from my kayak. Best I can tell, when I cast it sidearm (like I usually do), the weight launched first, but then the lure swung through its lowest point and dragged the water before it too launched. This resulted in the worst backlash of my short baitcasting career. So if you're sidearm casting low to the water, with a baitcaster, you may want to stick to a shorter carolina rig than otherwise you might have chosen.
 
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My 2 cents - blame inflation if its not worth what you thought it might be!

I assumed that the point of the rig was to make the plastic worm (or whatever is rigged) rise off of the bottom when the rig was motionless.

Is this how most people fish it? I have noticed that there are floats you can buy to achieve this:
http://www.delawarevalleyoutdoors.com/How To/Carolina Rig Worm.bmp

Or do you prefer that the worm set on the bottom when it is paused?
I think the floating rig is one potential use, but not the basic point of the C-rig. I believe the basic point is to get a weightless, free moving presentation behind a larger weight. The C-rig is a search tactic - long cast, long retrieve, hoping to come past something that will be interested. The large weight gives longer casting ability. and the long fixed leader between the weight and the hook reduces the effect of the large weight on the bait itself. Move the weight and the bait has a more freedom of movement, with a more subtle action. When a fish takes the bait, it doesn't take the big weight with it - line should transfer through the weight allowing the fish to get a more natural mouthfull. This also helps the fisherman, as the weight doesn't dampen the strike as much as it would if it were fixed to the line.

I've never used the floats but I've done a good bit of carolina rigging with the Strike King 3X super plastics. They will float a good sized worm hook. I have caught fish on them, but I truly do not believe they are as effective as other worms. Just different. There may be times when that difference is key, but for the most part I don't think the results justify the difference. I've done better with heavy, bottom hugging baits like Senkos than I have with lighter or floating baits.

Around here most people prefer a 6-7" lizard for a little more disturbance in the water and a little more meanness from the bass (I'm told that they hate salamanders). I've never been overly fond of the lizards but have always done well C-rigging really big curly tail worms like the 10" powerbait, Culprit or Zooms.

If *I* had to state a preference, it would be for a worm that rises and makes a disturbance one the pull, then falls very subtly and naturally back to the bottom. I use the Zoom Super Flukes a lot for C-rigging because you can get this kind of rise, dart & slow flutter action from them.

How about those glass beads, are they essential? Leader length? Do you use those 'light wire' hooks? Time of year to use it?
I don't use the glass beads - just plastic. Mostly just an expense/availability thing. I use beads a little for the sound, but mostly to try and protect the knot at the swivel from any sharp edges on the weight. I do like the light wire Gamakatsu hooks, 3/0 or 4/0. I feel like they give me a better chance at that rise, dart and slow flutter action I'm looking for. I favor C-rig once the fish head out from the spawn. Its a key tactic at a place like Falls or Jordan where there's just not enough cover to keep fish hidden - they have no choice but to relate to structure in open water and there's not much down there to get hang up or fouled on.
 

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Hi D-EL

I think the "floater" in that picture you posted refers to the bullet weight that will bounce along the bottom and the worm will float or swim above it.

Jim
 

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Hook sizes vary according to the bait you are using, the line you are using, how far you are able to cast and how deep you are fishing. If you are fishing in 50' of water and making long cast with a stretchy line (you certainly don't want a stretchy line for this style fishing) you will have to down size your hooks considerably. If I'm fishing in the search mode I want a heavier weight (especially over soft bottom). In areas with a rocky bottom I'll downsize the weight. You will loose fewer rigs with smaller sinkers in rocky areas. I feel that the lighter sinker will also make enough noise hitting rocks and hard bottom with out adding more sound. Over soft botttom a 1oz sinker will make a pretty good puff of mud which is visually stimulating as well as making a soft thud which fish can hear pretty far away. I don't use the beads as I see no real reason to. I've heard people swear by them but glass is harder than lead. Most beads on the market ( glass or plastic ) do not have a big enough hole to slide down over the knot so it is just transfering the shock of the sinker to the knot anyway. I think it is ok to use them but I don't see much real advantage. If I catch 2 fish from a spot I'm ready to attack with a different lure. It may be carolina rigged but I'll be patient and let things settle and then throw something they haven't seen their schoolmates get caught on. That is a good time to come back with the lightest weight you can fish at that depth. (It will sound a little different.) Plenty of other folks do it a lot different and catch fish but that's like Ford -vs- Chevy. Most of my carolina rigging has been done on deep clear lakes where if you aren't fishing at least 35' you are just catching knotheads.
 

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A friend of mine broke glass beads while using a large tungsten weight, just a word of caution. I have found some brass balls, no pun intended.

I've just started using the carolina rig this year but I love it. Lots of great info in this forum as well. Thanks guys.
 

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I tried a carolina rig using no swivels, only Uni knots, last week. With my 12-lb mono and the plastic beads I had on hand, the knots were small enough for the beads to pass. So in practice it turned into more of a not-pegged texas rig.
 

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Lefty, from your earlier post and then this one I think you were unaware of how the rig is made. The firet step is to put the sinker on your running line and then a bead then a swivel and then a leader to your lure. This will be easier to cast and tie too it sounds like. I think you were originally using one too many swivels.
 

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arrghhh the dreaded c-rig...

ok it is slow. it is tidus but it works..

i rarely use more than 1/2 oz egg sinkers. i tryed heavier but found the 1/2 oz works the best.. now if you fish alot of weeds -harris lake- i would use two 1/4 oz bullet weights rigged base to base.

add a swivel -eye balls lefty with contempt- then leader lenth depends on time of year.-not water depth- 18" leader early in the year switch to a 36" around june..

i use 3/0 ewg gammy's for my c-rig

now early in the day big worms,lizards,trick worms will work. but after 11 am 4" finesse worms or a french fry should be your go to bait..

if you are getting lots of hits but no fish. rig a pig and jig and drag it with the same lenth pull you are using for the c-rig..

zooker
 

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Lefty, from your earlier post and then this one I think you were unaware of how the rig is made. The firet step is to put the sinker on your running line and then a bead then a swivel and then a leader to your lure. This will be easier to cast and tie too it sounds like. I think you were originally using one too many swivels.
The store bought C-rigs have an extra swivel on them with the weight in between. Otherwise it would just be a snelled hook with a swivel on the other end. But you are right, the ones we rig ourselves have no swivel above the weight.
 

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In this case, I had tied 'em up ahead of time, so that when I got to the launch site, I could tie 'em on quickly and go. Or at least, a little bit more quickly than otherwise. So yeah, I'll admit to taking some liberty with the design. Does that make it a Wolfpack rig instead of a Carolina rig?

But out of curiosity, why would it make much of a difference? How many yards of line do you typically let the fish run off with before you set the hook? And, I've often had difficulty figuring out how to detect a strike if I allow the lure to freeline through the weight, especially with spinning gear...

My notebook's open, Professor Sinker... man... :D
 

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Lefty - technically yours is still a C-Rig - the weight slides above the hook so the bait floats/swims freely behind. The biggest difference is with the version Al described you can wind on to the rod all but the last 18 inches or so - plus when using live bait it is handy to let the bait swim about 3 to 4 feet away from the sinker - that distance is impractical for a fixed length c-rig.

Hope that helps clarify versus mudding the waters further.
 

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Um, forgive my ignorance, but isn't the Carolina Rig the same thing about the same thing as the fishfinder rig, only with smaller weights?

-Eric
Actually, Fish Finder Rig is the original name and was called that for a long time. In the bass fishing world except with the old timers the Name Carolina Rig did not come into prominence until Bass fishing started reaching it's glory until the 80's. A few folks on the NC coast were using the name Carolina Rig in relation to saltwater fishing, mostly as the rig of choice for "Old Drum".
 

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Lefty I am assuming we are talking strictly bass and artifical plastic lures. When a bass inhales it he has the whole bait in his mouth. he can suck a 10" worm in and blow it out in the blink of an eye. Lots of time you won't even feel it. Most of the time what you do feel is the bass moving away with the bait. If you are a good line watcher you will be able to see many of those strikes that you don't feel. When a fish takes you don't count. Whether you felt the strike or just noticed the line moving unaccounted for you push your rodtip out towards the fish and reel the slack in quickly before he decides to blow it out. Just as soon as it comes tight rear back and bury that hook. With 12 lb mono you are gonna have some stretch even up close. I'm guessing that spinning rod is not as stiff as something I would use but I'm using 15 in deep water with a fairly long cast a lot of times so I experience at least as much stetch. I normally limit my hooks to a 2/0 in summer and winter when they are deepest. I use Owner and Gamakatsu hooks. You probably shouldn't use anything bigger than a 3/0 hook. Todays better hooks are chemically sharpened and made with smaller and stonger steel. If you use them you will hook more fish because of their better penetration. Also it is sometimes a little tough fishing in a kayak to hold your position so that your rod is inline with your fishing line but try to achieve that if you can. You want to be looking right down your line. Your yak will move toward the fish easier as you set the hook but I don't do very well fishing at more than a 30 degree angle off the bow. With a bass boat it is much easier because your seat swivels and your boat doesn't get blown off heading as fast. You also have an electric motor to keep you in position. You can still fish the C-rig effectively from a kayak. There are just more challenges at times. Mainly it's keeping your boat in an effective position while working a slow moving lure. It is hard to concentrate on your fishing and boat handling at the same time when a breeze is kicking up.
 
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