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Catch More Fish With the Carolina Rig - How to Guide & Tips

Written by: Catchmefishing
Date Published:  May 30, 2021 
Updated: May 30, 2021

What Is a Carolina Rig?

Fishing techniques vary depending on the fish types, fishing locations, and your goals. There are numerous ways of catching a large number of fish and using a Carolina rig is one of the best options you have. Let’s see what a Carolina rig is for and why I think its up there as one of the best rigs you can use.

Carolina rig, also known as c rig, is a plastic bait rig that helps you fish with a better strategy. It’s especially useful if you’re a beginner, as newcomers are often advised to use a Carolina rig for more productive and effective fishing.

The Carolina rig was invented by Jack Chancellor's which became popular after his 1985 win at the bassmaster classic.

A large number of fishers use Carolina rig for bass, as it’s one of the most popular fish types and many fishers go after it. Carolina rig is highly practical for catching bottom-feeding fish.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced angler, the Carolina rig is the best fishing technique to make your adventure more enjoyable, fruitful, and satisfying. Carolina rig guarantees both, quantity and quality.

The Carolina rig triggers the instinct of any fish, they can’t resist the urge to attack the “prey”. As it’s moving pretty fast, banging on the rocks, bottom, and other surroundings, bass first notice it and usually assume some creature has been injured because of the strong pounding sounds. It makes the bait look super realistic and interesting for fish to hunt.

Carolina rig is exceptionally practical especially if you don’t have electronic depth finders. You can fish from a boat, the dock, or the shore, as it’s effective everywhere. 

But what makes it easy to catch lots of fish? It holds the bait on the ideal depth, very close to the bottom, and covers a big area in a small amount of time, giving the bait more opportunities for finding fish. In short, it does the usual job of searching for fish much faster and more efficiently.

Now that you know what a Carolina rig is and how it works, let’s dive deeper into more detail to find out when exactly is the right time for using it.

When to Use Carolina Rig?

The short answer to this question is that you can use a Carolina rig anytime you go fishing, no matter where you are and what you’re fishing for. It’s completely versatile, you can use it in shallow or deep waters. 

Also, you can use the Carolina rig in any type of water, murky and clear.

Carolina rig is suitable for any fish but it’s particularly useful while fishing for bass. You’ll catch more in a day than in several days of fishing with usual techniques and normal baits.

So, no matter the weather, time of the day, location, and fish species you can use a Carolina rig. It’s suitable for ponds, lakes, rivers, and any other water bodies.

How to Make a Carolina Rig?

The Carolina rig setup is quite simple, let’s discuss it in detail. 

The final product includes a sinker, swivel, bead, hook, and soft plastic. Some fishers like to add more noise to the rig, so feel free to attach a clacker to it.

You have two options, you can either purchase all the components and do it yourself or you can buy a Carolina Rig Kit. Of course, it’s always better to buy the final product not to worry if you’re doing everything right. But still, it’s good to know how to make it.

How to tie a Carolina Rig

It’s easier than one might think, let’s go through the process step by step. Every fisher does it differently, here is the basic method of tying a Carolina rig.

  1. First of all, thread the line through the bullet sinker.
  2. Add the bead, slide it on the line into the sinker. Plastic beads are more recommended than glass and ceramic beads, as the latter breaks easily. Beads protect the knot from damage and it’s important not to damage it.
  3. Tie the swivel on the line. Swivel is necessary in order to keep a distance between the weight and the hook. It also lets the bait spin and attract fish in a natural and interesting manner, without twisting and damaging it.
  4. Place the soft plastic, plastic worm, or any other bait of your choice.
  5. Don’t cut the lead too short, as longer ones give the bait the necessary space to float around and move more naturally. Try to keep the leader length about 20 inches / 50 cm. It will attract more fish as the bait will look more active and livelier. Some fishers prefer shorter leads to fish in shallow waters. Leads don’t require too much freedom in shallow waters as there is not too much space for swift movements. The best length for fishing with a Carolina rig in shallow waters is 10-16 inches / 25-41 cm.

And you have your Carolina rig ready to fish, it’s that easy. 

The weight depends on the depth of water, deeper waters require heavier weights. Lighter weights are used in shallow waters so that they float easily wherever it’s needed.

It needs to be noted that if you’re dealing with heavy vegetation and thicker covers than usual, you need to extend the leaders to 5-6 feet / 1.5-1.8 meters.

Carolina Rig Baits

  • Worm Hooks: it’s the most important part of the Carolina rig. It's the part that will keep the bait hooked and catch the fish. My personal favourite is an offset worm hook.
Best Texas Rig Hooks
  • Carolina Worms: Zoom Centipedes, Zoom Brush Hogs, and Speed Craws are some of the best baits you can use on a Carolina rig.
Zoom Brush Hog for carolina rig
Catch Co Gamechanger Lures Eeliminator Grub for carolina rig
Zoom flukes for bass fishing
Creature bait for bass in the summer

The bait doesn’t have to resemble a live creature, anything that moves in an interesting manner will grab the attention of bass, as they are opportunistic fish and will attack anything they like.

How to Fish with a Carolina Rig?

Now that you definitely know what a Carolina rig is and how you can make it, let’s talk about its technique. How can you fish with a Carolina rig?

It’s super easy to use, doesn’t require too much technique and precise movements, that’s exactly why the Carolina rig is highly recommended for beginners, especially for the ones fishing for bass.

You only have to throw it in the water, let it sink to the bottom, wait for some time, and then reel it in.

Try to use the best rod and reel you can afford to make your fishing trip easier and more enjoyable.

Your movement speed should depend on the cover you’re fishing in and the feeling of a bite. You’ll know when to reel it in, just pay close attention to the movement of your rig.

  • The weight: regulate the weight of your Carolina rig. ½-1 ounce / 14-28 g is the best option for deeper waters.
  • The length of your leader if you feel like fish aren’t even noticing it. Change up the bait if there are not biting.
     
  • The speed: also, control the speed of the rig depending on the surroundings. You’ll feel the contour of the bottom and will be able to adjust your movements to the surroundings.

Techniques

There are numerous techniques of using the Carolina rig, everyone does it differently. One of the best strategies is to slowly move the rig on the area with less cover. Dragging the rig very close to the bottom causes it to move, make noise, and consequently grab the attention of the fish that you’re going after.

You can also use a sweeping motion to catch more fish. First, drag the rig on the bottom of the lake and then reel the line up.

Carolina Rig Fishing Tips and Tricks

  • Fishing in rock covers: pop the line when fishing in rocks. It will help the rig not get stuck in the rocks and will definitely attract your target fish that are hiding in the rocks waiting for a prey to attack. Don’t pop too strongly, a swift soft pop will do the job.
  • Weather: you can certainly fish by the Carolina Rig in any weather, as it will always be effective, but you need to know some details about the different techniques depending on the weather conditions. If it’s stormy weather, with rain, wind, and possibly even snow, go a little slower to control the motion of the rig better.
  • Ditches: fish often have their favorite hideouts where they spend most of their time hunting and simply resting. Ditches are popular hideouts, especially for bass. So, make sure not to miss ditches and always target them specifically.
  • Covers: another great hideout area for fish are covers, especially for bass. Strike the covers with your Carolina rig and you will certainly not regret it. 
  • Best time to fish with a Carolina rig: you can definitely use the Carolina rig any time of the year, but what is the most fruitful time to fish with it? The pre-spawn and post-spawn periods are the most productive time for fishing with a Carolina rig. In spring and summer, it’s the easiest to catch a large number of fish, especially if you’re interested in bass. In this period, fish usually occupy shallow areas for spawning, and the chances of finding them increases.
  • Carolina rig in Current: if you’re fishing for bass in a river with a Carolina rig, keep in mind that mostly bass swim close to the banks, as they like deeper cuts that are formed from currents. It’s a little more challenging to keep the rig under control in a current. You’ll need to shorten the lead in order better control the rig and detect the bites.
  • Slow it down: there is no such thing as too slow when we’re talking about fishing with a Carolina rig. Go as slow as you can for better results. The Carolina rig covers a huge area of water in the smallest amount of time so don’t worry about getting bored, it will still be entertaining. There is no need in quickly pulling out the fish, as they don’t feel your weight on the other end of the rig and won’t try to go too far. You can take fish out calmly.
  • Feel the bite: sometimes it’s hard to tell when fish bite the Carolina rig. Keep tension on the line so that you feel the bite and pull out the bass on time. Never rush but you need to be aware of its position when you catch bass.

Carolina Rig VS Texas Rig

The c rig has a lot in common with a Texas rig. First of all, they both consist of a sinker, hooker, and soft plastic. Carolina rig differs from Texas rig with the swivel, which is attached to a leader line. 

Texas rigs are more often used in shallow waters as they are very light and may even weigh as little as ⅛ ounce / 3.5 g. Carolina rigs are relatively heavier, weighing up to 2 ounces / 57 g. Therefore, it’s more strategic to use it in deeper waters.

Carolina rig is better for beginners, as it’s easier to catch bottom-feeding fish, especially bass. So, if you’re deciding between the two, I personally would recommend using the Carolina rig.

Texas rig is great when you’re fishing in thick covers, but the Carolina rig is also great in medium thickness grass covers.

Ready to Fish with a Carolina Rig?

After reading the guide of a Carolina rig, you know all the key facts and techniques to use them confidently. You’ll find the Carolina rig super useful no matter your level of experience. Many fishers even learn bass fishing by using the Carolina rig.

C-Rig is a versatile tool that is used really anywhere where you can find fish. One of the main reasons it’s so effective is that the rig covers a large area in a short amount of time.

The main reason so many people choose to fish with a Carolina rig is because it’s very easy to learn and it’s also easy to make the tool yourself, though you can always buy a Carolina Rig Kit that is already put together for you. It’s easy enough for beginners but still interesting enough for professionals.

Don’t forget to always go as slowly as possible with your Carolina rig, be patient and it will pay off.

When choosing a bait, don’t think about it too much, anything will work with a Carolina rig, especially the ones we’ve talked about. The bait has to be interesting to the fish. The color of it depends on the water clarity, weather, and surrounding. Make sure to create a contrast so that the fish will notice your bait easily. Carolina rig is pretty noisy, banging on the surroundings and generating great amount of sound for fish that are even somewhat far away from you.

You don’t need too much knowledge when it comes to Carolina rig fishing, now you know all the information you might need to use it properly, so don’t hesitate to try it soon.

Always remember to use a good backpack so you can keep all your rig and lure equipment organized on your next fishing trip.

Happy fishing 🙂

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