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Carolina rigged baits good for bass fishing

By By BEN NORMAN
Outdoors columnist
The Texas rigged soft plastic setup has been used since the invention of soft plastic baits such as worms, crawfish, shad, grubs, and other imitations of critters that swim or crawl. The Texas rig is simple, just run the line through a bullet sinker, thread a plastic bead on, and tie to the hook that is imbedded in the plastic bait. It worked from its inception and still works today, but sometimes the Carolina rigged bait is more productive.
The Carolina rig was slower to catch on than its Texas cousin, but is now used extensively in the bass fishing circuit. This rig starts out similar to the Texas rig in that you begin by threading a bullet weight on the line, add one or two colorful plastic beads, then attach a barrel swivel. A length of line from 18 inches to several feet is attached to the other end of the barrel swivel and then to the hook imbedded in the soft plastic bait. It is important that this line, or leader, be 4 to 6 pounds lighter test line than the main line. This will allow the line to break at the bait or the lower end of the swivel in case of a hang up, thus saving the remaining part of the rig. The plastic beads can be omitted, but they serve as a good shock absorber to protect the knot from abrasion caused by the weight repeatedly hitting the knot.
The bullet weight serves several purposes: It allows the angler to cast farther, causes the bait to sink rapidly but remain just off the bottom, and creates a "rattling effect" as the weight constantly collides with the plastic beads. Since the weight is detached from the bait, a fish feels minimal resistance when it strikes and runs because line can be pulled through the weight.
Just about any soft plastic bait can be effective with the Carolina rig. It is especially effective when fishing with plastic lizards for largemouth or with plastic crayfish when fishing for smallmouth. I have even had excellent results using the Carolina rig with curly tailed grubs of the type usually attached to jigs while fishing for smallmouths on the Tennessee River near Florence, Ala. A friend and I were casting jigs with plastic grubs attached in a channel with a rocky bottom. Since we were having little success with this rig, my friend suggested we try the grubs rigged Carolina style. I questioned his wisdom, but reluctantly rigged up a gourd green grub on a Carolina rig. The moderate river current kept the grubs suspended just above the rock bottom. We began catching "smallies" almost as fast as you can catch bluegills on a bed when they are in a feeding frenzy.
If you haven't tried the Carolina rig, give it a whirl. It just might be the rig that will put "ole bucket mouth" on your den wall.