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Discover! What Is A Carolina Rig – Learn 37 Perfect Carolina Rig Setup Secrets And More!

How To Rig A Carolina Rig | Carolina Rig Setup

What is a Carolina rig exactly? How to rig a Carolina rig? What’s the best Carolina rig setup?  – however you decide to ask it – it’s important to set yourself up for success (pun intended). Luckily, making a Carolina rig is pretty easy and something you can try today. In this article I describe how to make the ultimate Carolina rig setup  in a few simple steps.

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How to Set up a Carolina Rig for Bass

First and foremost, you may be asking yourself what is a Carolina rig? The Carolina rig is a plastic bait rig similar to the Texas rig, except instead of sliding down to the hook, the weight is set above it. Beginner anglers will enjoy the simple Carolina rig. This particular setup is made to aid anglers in catching deep bass that are holding themselves close to the bottom of the lake. 

Listen, if you already know the Carolina rig setup that’s great! You’re probably looking for the Carolina rig fishing masterclass. It’s an in-depth guide that dives into techniques and subtle presentation secrets only the pros and guides know about – until now. 

Luckily, you can click here and learn how to fish the Carolina like a boss! 

However, if you’re still a little iffy about what goes into the perfect Carolina rig setup then keep reading.

To get started you must have the correct items before you can set up a Carolina rig. If you don’t have the right components then it is very difficult to get the same action that you need from a Carolina rig.  For example, you will be able to fish in deep water and get amazing action out of the bait, but if you’re missing one or two elements, then it will be more challenging to get good action out of your lure.

There are a few different elements involved in a Carolina rig set up. Luckily, you probably already have these items.

You will need:

  • A weight
  • A glass or hard plastic bead
  • A swivel
  • A leader
  • A hook
  • A soft plastic lure

Learning how to rig a Carolina rig is pretty simple if you follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Add a one-fourth to one-ounce bullet weight to your fluorocarbon line. Bullet weights will give you better undergrowth clearance and will be less likely to hang up than egg weights. Your weight will need to be able to move up and down your line, so do not lock the weight into place by pinching it.
  2. Add a glass or rigid plastic bead to your line. The bead has two primary purposes on your Carolina rig: to protect your knot from the bullet weight and to act as a sound attractant for bass.
  3. Tie your swivel in. The swivel gives your lure at the end of your leader the freedom to move, so be sure not to restrictively tie your swivel. A great knot to use to connect your swivel onto your line is an improved clinch knot. 
  4. Tie the leader line to the other end of your swivel. Your leader line should be no less than 12 inches. Remember, the longer your leader, the more action and movement your floating lure will get. Avoid cutting your leader line so short that it hinders the activity of your lure.
  5. Attach the hook at the end of your leader line using a strong Palomar knot. 
  6. Slide your chosen bait onto your hook, and you’re good to go!

What Is The Best Weight For A Carolina Rig?

The best performing weights will be with bullet or flipping weights ranging from 1/8 oz to 1.5 oz. You may also use a bass pro 1/2 or 3/4 ounce cylinder weight.

Flipping weights are also becoming more popular than bullet weights due to their slightly wider size which gives the angler better feel for bottom detail. Better yet, a flipping weight can still can remain very weedless due to is pointy tip.

If you can afford it, most serious bass anglers recommend using tungsten weights without inserts. It’s also important to use braid on all of my weighted c-rigs (as the main line), so I can tell you how many stones there are before that stump.

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  • No Chip or Fade - With special solvent treatment and coating, tungsten weights are robust and durable compare to lead weights.
  • Inserts Free - Diamond polished to ensure no line damage
  • The size printed on the weight - Easy to find the weight when fishing, most customers love this feature.

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Do You Need a Swivel for a Carolina Rig?

A swivel is one of the main components necessary for a Carolina rig set up

Choosing the right swivel is easy. You will want a swivel that is large enough to handle a big bass but not so large that it constantly gets tangled up in cover or underwater grass. 

The best swivels, in our opinion, are the size six or eight barrel-style swivel or a size two ball-bearing swivel. 

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Do You Peg A Carolina Rig?

Pegging (restricting the motion) your weight on a Carolina rig isn’t recommended. One of the key benefits to the Carolina rig is the ability of the bait to mimic the motions of real prey. 

Pegging the weight on your line will decrease this ability and take away from the realistic drop to the bottom that your Carolina rig will present.

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Strike King (TGWS54) Tour Grade Weight Pegs, 54-Pack
  • The Strike King Weight Stop is tour grade, designed specifically for tournament and avid anglers who require high performance tackle. Strike King has created the Weight Stop for simple and fast applications on the water so anglers can quickly get back to fishing
  • Anglers use the Strike King Tour Grade Weight Stops to secure a weight from sliding on fishing line. This is a must for punching heavy vegetation mats or flipping into cover. With the Weight Stop in place, anglers do not need to “peg” a sliding weight on the bait. It is also ideal for a Carolina Rigged or Texas Rigged soft plastic
  • Anglers also use the Strike King Tour Grade Weight Stop to protect knots or keep a bobber securely in place
  • It is suitable for nearly all line diameters used for freshwater and light saltwater fishing

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Is A Bead or Cracker Necessary For A Carolina Rig?

Yes, it is. By adding a glass or rigid plastic bead to your line protects your knot from the bullet weight and acts as a sound attractor for bass.

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Best Fishing Hooks (Type and Size) For Carolina Rig Fishing For Bass

In our opinion, the best hook for your Carolina rig is an offset shank wide gap hook. In an offset hook, the point of the hook is not in alignment with the hook’s shank. The offset point will turn to one side or the other while a standard point remains vertical. The end of the hook is offset to keep the shank from getting in the way. 

Some anglers prefer to use extra-wide gap (EWG) hooks. An EWG hook has an offset eye and a large gap between the hook point and the curved shank. 

Regardless of the hook chosen, make sure to choose a size that will fit the lure you have chosen to attach to your Carolina rig. A too-small hook won’t hook into that big bass, and a too-large hook will create an awkward movement for your bait.

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Best Fishing Line For Carolina Rig Fishing For Bass

The main line for your Carolina rig can be anything you feel comfortable casting. 

In our opinion, the best choice for the line on a Carolina rig is a 30-40 pound test braided line. The low stretch of these types of lines aid with hook placement on your long casts. 

Other anglers prefer the 15- to 20-pound test fluorocarbon line, which is really useful in ultra-clear water conditions.

Remember, a large diameter line is more likely to get caught up in the current, causing your line to bow and resulting in more difficulty in setting your hook. 

For the leader line on your Carolina rig, we recommend that you choose a monofilament line. Although you may be drawn to using fluorocarbon lines because of its near-invisible properties, don’t do it. Fluorocarbon line is a heftier line than monofilament. It won’t produce the iconic float and glide for your sinking bait that the Carolina rig is best known for.

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Best Knot For A Carolina Rig For Bass

The two knots we recommend for your Carolina rig are the Palomar and improved clinch knots. 

To tie a Palomar knot:

  1. Choose your leader length and add approximately one foot for knotting.
  2. Fold the final six inches of your leader line back on itself.
  3. Pass the resulting loop through your hook’s eye.
  4. Tie an overhand knot (standard) on both ends of the doubled line, securing the eye of your hook in the center of the loop of your knot.
  5. Grab the small loop you began the tying process with and pull it to the opposite side of the hook.
  6. Lastly, moisten the entire knot and securely tighten the whole thing.

To tie an improved clinch knot (below):

  1. Slide the tag end of the leader line through the swivel’s eye.
  2. Fold the leader around six inches from the back, placing the swivel’s eye in the fold of the loop.
  3. Spin your swivel until the line twists on itself around eight times.
  4. Slide the tag end of the leader through the loop found between the twists and the eye of the swivel.
  5. Pull the tag upward and slide it through the loop running from the bottom to the top of the knot.

So, what’s the best lure to use on your Carolina rig?

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So you can fish Carolina Rig with any soft plastic bait in your tackle box.

That’s what makes it so unique. There isn’t a hard and fast rule like ‘you only can use worms’ or anything like that.

You might need little curly tail worms as bait, but you can also utilize big and fat creature baits.

Lizards and other beaver-style baits are one of the most common items to fish on Carolina Rigs.

Learn More: What Is The Best Carolina Rig Bait? Worms, Lizards, Creature Baits, or Something Else? [The Answer Will Blow You Away!] – Click Here

Best Basic Presentations/Retrieval Techniques for Carolina Rig Fishing for Bass

Knowing how to fish a Carolina rig seems pretty simple to most anglers: cast and drag. It can pay dividends to take a slightly more tactical approach to the presentation and retrieval of your C-rig. 

Of course, the classic method of dragging your C-rig across the bottom is a highly efficient method of snagging bass all year long.

However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. There is soo much more to fishing techniques and subtle presentation secrets only the pros and guides know about – until now. 

Luckily, you can click here and read how to fish the Carolina like a boss! 

Learn More: [REVEALED] 27 Carolina Rig Fishing Strategies The Pros Use To Succeed! – CLICK HERE


How Do You Carolina Rig for Smallmouth?

The switch to pursuing smallmouth bass on your Carolina rig is simple; just change out your baits! Switch to small crayfish, creature baits, or ribbon-tail worms. Just be sure to add enough weight to counter the smaller lures.

Can You Carolina Rig a Crankbait or Any Other Hard Plastic Bait?

A Carolina rig can be used with a variety of different hard baits. The major benefit is that lures that are generally for use in shallow to medium depths may now be employed in considerably deeper water.

For example, on a Carolina rig, you may easily utilize an floating wakebait, floating propbait or a very shallow diving jerkbait. The key is to use a lure that floats. 

Fishing a crankbait can be difficult because they are made to dive and may get hung up.

Best of all there is really no limit to the depth you fish these floating baits. 

Unfortunately, open hook lures that sink such as lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, blade baits,  and spoons, do not work nearly as well as the floating hard lures.

Can a Carolina Rig Use Live Bait?

You’ll perform well with a Carolina rig, whether you’re fishing a lively minnow, leech, or nightcrawler.

Is the Fish Finder Rig the Same as the Carolina Rig?

The fish finder rig varies from the C-rig in that it often employs a weight that secures itself to the bottom, whereas the Carolina rig’s sinker moves more freely.

What Would I Use to Make a Carolina Rig Float?

Using floating lures or adding corks or floats to your line will give your Carolina rig a bit of lift. It’s a very common practice for walleye fishermen that has crossed into bass fishing. 

Final Thoughts...

The Carolina rig is a vital tool for everyone who wishes to catch big bass, regardless of how or when they are bass fishing.

It allows you to place your soft lure at the ideal height for where the fish are feeding. It’s simple to adjust as conditions change, whether it’s a change in water temperature that necessitates adjusting fishing depth or a change in weather that necessitates using a new soft bait.

Irrespective of your skill level, a Carolina rig is an excellent approach to improve your fishing game.

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