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

Best Carolina Rig Baits | Best Baits To Throw On A Carolina Rig

The Carolina rig is a must-have for bass anglers. It’s one of the most well-known and effective presentations ever. The versatility and efficiency will help you snag bass even when other approaches have failed.

When it comes to casting a Carolina rig, one thing I have learned is the importance of choosing the correct lure for the conditions you’re fishing in. Selecting the best baits for your Carolina rig might boost your chances of snagging that big bass.

So, what is the best bait for a Carolina rig? When throwing your Carolina rig, we believe there are four primary types of baits you should consider: worms, flukes, creature baits, and lizards.

Here’s our take on the top ten best baits/lures for your Carolina rig.

Key Takeaways

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Best Overall Yamamoto Senko, 5 inch

Best Finesse – Roboworm Fat Straight Tail Worm, 6 inch

Best For SummerBerkley Power Worm, 10 inch

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Back To Basics

The Carolina rig is a method for bass fishing and a means to rig a lure or bait.

If you are unsure what it is, then you can check out our other article that specifically outlines what exactly is a Carolina rig – click here

A Carolina rig fished slightly above the bottom offers an appealing, natural-looking presentation. Not only does it have a natural appearance, but it also has a natural feel. When a bass strikes your bait or lure, it does not feel the hefty weight, so it holds on for longer.

As we’ve already mentioned, there are four primary types of baits you should consider for your Carolina rig. We’ll cover why we feel each one gets the job done.


Giant worms are one of the few soft plastic lures that work well on a Carolina rig, especially when fishing in the summer months.

You have two options to choose from in worms: ribbon-tail worms or straight-tail worms.

When the bass are more active in the summer months, your best choice will be a larger 8-10 inch ribbon-tail worm on a long leader (2-3 feet).

In colder weather, smaller straight tail or Ned worms work phenomenally.

Straight-tail worms are perfect for situations that call for a bit of finesse, such as when fish are a bit less active or under duress.

Worms are a great option that can be used all year long.

Lizards And Creature Baits

Lizards and creature baits are incredibly successful lures to use on your Carolina rig for both smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Dragging a critter bait or lizard is an exceptionally successful approach to catching bass that are in search of baitfish and crawdads, notably in clear waters.

Plastic lizards are perhaps the most popular pick for Carolina setups, and for a good reason: they’re incredibly effective. It’s improbable that their ability to imitate a specific prey type is the source of their success.

Although there are no aquatic lizards in North America, bass eat aquatic salamanders. On the other hand, few salamanders dwell at the depths where Carolina rigs are utilized.

Instead, it’s most likely a mix of the lizard’s substantial movement when drawn through the water, as well as the fact that these appendages may lead the lizard to descend more slowly when brought up off the bottom.

Creature baits have a multitude of appendages, skirts, and tails, just the same as plastic lizards. These generate a lot of motion and help the plastic bait fall into the water more slowly.

Most creature baits are large and bulky lures, which may contribute to their success by giving the appearance of a large prey item.


Anglers sometimes ignore smaller imitation baitfish such as the fluke when setting up their Carolina rig. Don’t make the same mistake.

Flukes truly shine during springtime and fall. They can give your Carolina rig a completely different profile.

Flukes are great to use when bass are searching out smaller baitfish, such as shiners and shads.

Helpful Tip: Check to see if the lake your fishing on has any small bottom feeder fish like a sculpin. Bass LOVE eating these fish. Then all you have to do is match the same color profile and rig a fluke up on your

Top 10 Carolina Lures and Baits

Roboworm Fat Straight Tail Worm, 6 inch (worm)

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The Roboworm Fat Straight Tail worm has the same fish-catching movement as the standard straight tail but with a thicker body for more mass.

Because of its more oversized plastic head, the fat version is also a good choice for Carolina rigging in addition to its usefulness as a drop-shot bait.

One drawback to the Roboworm is availability. Most suppliers have a limited supply of popular colors.

Tech Specs:

Bestseller No. 1
Roboworm Fat Straight Tail Worm Bait (Martens Madness, 6-Inch)
  • Roboworm SF-H2T6 fat Straight tail
  • Worm, 6 inch, marten's Madness, 8/pack
  • Manufactured by Roboworm

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Berkley Power Worm, 10 inch (worm)

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Berkley Power Worms have a natural presentation that works well in any fishing situation. The Berkley Power Worm sports a classic ribbon-tail design. The Power Worm swims like a real fish when tweaked or on the fall. Fish find the silky texture, which is accentuated by the Berkley fragrance and flavor blend, irresistible.

Try using the Power Worm to sort out the smaller fish when the bass are chewing small lures, but you need that knockout fish. This bait with an oversized shape is ideal for flipping and pitching over heavy cover. The Berkley Power Worm is durable, loaded with bass-attractive scent, produces impressive, lifelike action, and has color consistency matched by few manufacturers. Honestly, we cannot find any drawbacks to the Berkley Power Worm!

  • Length: 10 inches
  • Weight: 0.14 pounds
  • Quantity per pack: 8
  • Recommended hook type and size: 5/0 hook

Tech Specs:

Bestseller No. 1
Berkley PowerBait Power Worms , Red Shad, 10" (8 Count)
  • Maximum size floating version offers more natural presentation
  • Bait Scent/Flavor: Garlic
  • This power eggs floating magnum garlic bait is more effective and longer lasting than real salmon eggs
  • Features a floating formula which enhances dispersion of the garlic scent to attract fish from wider ranges

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Googan Baits Krackin' Craw (Creature Bait):

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The Googan Baits Krackin’ Craw is a superpower lure with a thick, robust plastic body that is excellent for a variety of approaches. The Googan Baits Krackin’ Craw has a meaty, spherical body that easily supports larger hooks, whether you’re flipping or pitching.

The Googan Baits Krackin’ Craw has enormous patented texture claws that flap, swirl, and catch loads of water when used on a Carolina rig. One drawback is pricing, as you’ll likely spend a pretty penny on a seven-pack of lures.

Tech Specs:

Bestseller No. 1
Krackin' Craw, Natural
  • Googan Baits Open...Sniff...Catch!! Pure Passion
  • 7 Baits per Package
  • Slaunch Sauce
  • Raised Ridges For Action
  • Stuffed with Salt

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Yamamoto Senko, 5 inch (worm)

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Senkos that are Carolina rigged are known to attract a high number of BIG bites.

It’s the perfect bait for a beginner especially since the  baits are quite simple to use.

Senko style stick baits gain their action as it’s falling in the water and will have a faint shimmy even when Carolina rigged.

The majority of the time, a bass will consume your bait as it falls to the ground. If it doesn’t, toss it out, count to 30 seconds, and wait for it to land on the bottom. Give a few more pull and pause for a few more seconds.

More than likely, you’ll probably feel a couple of taps on your line, or perhaps you’ll see it moving away. That’s when you’ll know you have a fish on the line!

Tech Specs:

SaleBestseller No. 1
  • GREAT FISHING BAIT - The 5" Senko is a staple in the fishing world; The original soft-plastic stickbait is the #1 choice of anglers everywhere; The Senko has spawned thousands of imposters, but nothing beats the original soft stick bait
  • UNMATCHED QUALITY - Versatility is a key attribute of the Senko, allowing it to be fished in a multitude of ways that all end up putting more fish in the boat; The only wrong way to fish a Senko is to not fish with the original Senko
  • PERFECT FISHING LURE - The ORIGINAL soft stick bait is the bar by which all others are measured; The secret sauce to the Senko fishing bait is the formula; We invented it; We perfected it; And no one else has ever gotten close to it
  • BEST CHOICE FOR ANGLERS - Beyond the perfect design and formula lies the Senko's ease of use; There's almost no wrong way to rig it, and whatever your preferred way is, the Senko soft fishing bait is the ultimate fish catcher
  • SENKO SERIES - There's a Senko in the lineup for every possible application; Whether you fish it weightless, wacky-style, on Texas or Carolina rig, on shaky head or flipping jig, this slab of plastic will revolutionize your game and increase your catches

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Yamamoto D-Shad (Fluke)

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The Yamamoto D-Shad is a new breed of soft plastic jerk bait perfect for your Carolina rig. The tail design creates great falling movement, the increased density keeps your lure in the strike zone, and the heft of the bait makes for easy, accurate casting. One drawback we have found with the Yamamoto D-Shad is its lack of durability.

  • Length: 5 inch
  • Weight: 0.1 pounds
  • Quantity per pack: 7
  • Recommended hook type and size: 4/0 Gamakatsu hook

Tech Specs:

Bestseller No. 1
Gary Yamamoto 5" D-Shad Soft Plastic Fishing Angling Swimbait Lures | Side-to-Side Twitching Action |Sinks Level and Shimmies - 7 Pack, Mullet
  • SOFT PLASTIC SWIMBAIT - The Yamamoto D-Shad is a new breed of soft plastic jerk bait; heavier than a traditional soft-body jerk bait, the D-Shad allows for aggressive action, while allowing you to fish it more effectively all-throughout the water column
  • DURABLE SWIMBAIT LURE - The Yamamoto D-Shad provides added advantage of molded-in-weight; available in a range of colors, rig the Yamamoto D-Shad like you would any other soft-plastic jerkbait - just with a lot less leadd
  • HEAVIER TAIL - A breed apart, the Yamamoto Baits D-Shad is an attention-getting, soft plastic jerkbait with a streamlined body that produces a side-to-side twitching action; the tail, however, is thicker and heavier than the body
  • QUALITY - When trying to work a fluke-style bait fast below the surface, the usual problem is keeping the lure underwater where it can do the most good; with Yamamoto's unique formula, the D-Shad has the density to stay down even when worked aggressively
  • PERFECT FOR FISHING - When paused, the D-Shad also sinks much like a Senko - with a very desirable wobbling action - perfect for fishing it on the fall; Its thicker, heavier tail allows it to sink level and gives it a little shimmy

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Zoom Bait Magnum Lizards, 8 inch

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The Zoom Bait Magnum Lizard increases the size and movement of the original lizard by combining the profile of the original Lizard with the swimming movement tail of the one-of-a-kind Zoom tail. The end result is designed to get you a bigger stringer and keep monster bass coming to your live well all year. One drawback we have found is the color consistency.

Tech Specs:

Bestseller No. 1
Zoom Bait 033025 Magnum Lizard , 8-Inch, 9-Pack, Green Pum-Packin, One Size (033-025)
  • 8 inch Lizard
  • Slender bodied lizard with free-moving legs and curly tail
  • Salt-Impregnated
  • The standard setter any place big bass live, flipped to laydowns and grass, or Carolina rigged across a textbook point
  • Green Pumpkin

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Strike King Rage Thumper Worm Bait (Worm):

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The back of the Strike King Rage Thumper Worm Bait features a large swimming tail/flapper that flails about as you fish it. The action joint increases ”thump” and it draws a lot of attention.

Strike King’s baits contain a salt mixture that encourages fish to stay hooked for more extended periods of time, resulting in more fish in the boat. One drawback we have found with Strike King Rage Thumper is the durability of the lure.

Tech Specs:

Bestseller No. 1
Strike King Rage Thumper Worm/Okeechobee Craw, 10-inch, RGTW10-50
  • Rapid flicker rate thanks to Rage Tail design
  • Tail has score line that can be cut to make worm into a cut tail worm
  • Action joints increase ''thump'' by the tail movement
  • Pack of 7

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Zoom Trick Worm (Worm):

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The original floating worm, the Trick Worm, was lethal for finesse fishing a Carolina rig  and is the perfect stealth approach to shallow water bass fishing.

Fishing this worm on a Carolina rig for post-spawn fish, summer bass, or bass suspended in bush or other cover is a fun and is an incredibly easy technique to catch them.

Despite the fact that they are commonly referred to as “floating worms,” they do not float even when placed in water without the weight of a hook.

Tech Specs:

Bestseller No. 1
Zoom Bait Zoom Trick Worm-Pack of 20 (Black, 6.75-Inch)
  • Package length: 1.9 cm
  • Package width: 13.8 cm
  • Package height: 20.6 cm
  • Product Type: FISHING HOOK

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Yamamoto Cowboy (Creature Bait):

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The revolutionary design of the Yamamoto Cowboy allows it to snake through cover as its claws and tentacles flicker seductively with the lightest touch or current. It’s also dual-injected with several grades of PVC plastics, resulting in the ideal blend of gentleness and sturdiness. The Yamamoto Cowboy’s bulk also lets the angler cast with less weight while maintaining exceptional casting abilities.

At the same time, the appendages and unusual body design slow its fall and retain it in the impact zone for a longer period of time. One drawback we found with the Yamamoto Cowboy is that the soft body has difficulty holding the hook secure.

Tech Specs:

Bestseller No. 1
Yamamoto 3.75" Cowboy Black W/Large Blue Flake (7 Pack)
  • SOFT PLASTIC CREATURE BAIT - This Cowboy is well-armed; this fishing creature bait pairs the bulky body of the 4.5” Flappin' Hawg and the swimming tail kick of the iconic DT Grub to create a well-rounded plastic that shines in any scenario
  • HIGH PERFORMANCE - Whether it is utilized on the back of a jig, or for flipping and punching, the Yamamoto Cowboy’s large, J-shaped legs produce a prominent kicking action, like a cowboy dancing with his chaps on
  • READY FOR A SHOWDOWN WITH BIG BASS - Conversely, the Cowboy will do just as much damage out away from the bank as part of a Carolina Rig or on a wobble-head jig; bulky and loud, the Cowboy is ready for a showdown with big bass
  • WIDE RANGE OF COLORS - Offered in a range of Yamamoto's most popular colors, the Yamamoto Cowboy is sure to become a fan favorite among anglers who are looking to wrangle up a big limit
  • STREAMLINED - Bulky enough to provide secure rigging, but streamlined enough to slip through heavy vegetation, the Yamamoto Cowboy angling bait is accented with two sets of small, flapping appendages that provide a bite-triggering, secondary action

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Z-Man LizardZ (Lizard)

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The Z-Man LizardZ has the perfect movement in the water. Their body is long and sleek, with a curled tail and natural floating legs at the end. This natural motion is what consistently attracts the fish. This bait is made of resilient 10X Tough ElaZtech plastic, used in all Z-Man soft plastics. 

Not only does this make these baits highly robust for multiple usages, but it also allows them to float off the bottom, making them ideal for Carolina rigging. This floatation provides a lifelike and ultra-realistic target that will drive the fish insane! The main fault we have found with the Z-Man LizardZ is the lack of color options.

Tech Specs:

Bestseller No. 1
Z-Man LIZ6-18PK6 Elaztech Lizardz 6", Watermelon/Red Flake, Floating
  • Made of 10X Tough ElaZtech plastic, so they won't tear up easily like other lizards on the market
  • Due to buoyancy of ElaZtech material, all LizardZ float up off the bottom creating a more visible, realistic, and lifelike target
  • Salt-impregnated
  • 6-inch length, 6 baits per pack
  • Made in the USA

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Zoom Super Fluke

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Soft plastic jerk lures are well-known fish catchers, and Zoom Super Fluke is one of the best in the industry today. All kinds of fish, both fresh and saltwater, are attracted to the natural fish shape. Still, giant bass are particularly fond of it. They glide and soar through the water with the smallest movement of the rod tip due to their aerodynamic shape.

When you need a stealthy baitfish imitation, choose the Zoom Super Flukes. With so many colors to choose from, you’re sure to discover one that attracts fish. One major drawback to the Zoom Super Fluke is its innate ability to break apart after just a few casts and nibbles.

Tech Specs:

Bestseller No. 1
Zoom Bait Salty Super Fluke Bait-Pack of 10 (Smokin Shad, 5-Inch)
  • Package length: 16.764 cm
  • Package width: 11.684 cm
  • Package height: 1.016 cm

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Z-man Elaztech TRD Worm

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The Elaztech TRD (The Real Deal) Worm by Z-Man is designed to lure that big bass that will help you fill your limit. It has a small finesse oriented profile that fish can’t ignore. The TRD Worm comes to life with the tiniest movement of the rod. With its slender body the ElaZtech material’s buoyancy and softness cause the worm to slowly flutter and dart towards the bottom, almost never failing to elicit a strike.

This is a great introductory bait for any new angler.

The Finesse TRD nearly fishes itself.  Because it’s made with the proprietary, supple ElaZtech material it makes for a more real-to-life feel, longer holds, and increased hookups. Prefect for bass, but also effective for other gamefish species from bluegill, crappie to even trout!

One drawback we have found is the limited choices of colors.

Tech Specs:

SaleBestseller No. 1
Z-MAN TRD275-46PK8 Elaztech Finesse TRD Ned Rig Worm, 2 3/4", 3/4", Green, Multi, One Size
  • 2.75" stickbait profile with dimpled texture for natural feel; 8 baits per pack
  • Custom ElaZtech formulation and salt content to provide the ideal sink rate, lifelike feel, and unique flutter desired by top finesse fishermen
  • Designed to be fished on Finesse ShroomZ jigheads
  • Very easy to fish, perfect for beginners and children; Effective on a wide variety of species including largemouth, smallmouth, spotted bass, bream, crappie, white bass, drum, catfish, walleye, and more!
  • Routinely employed by tournament fishermen in tough conditions

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Best Lure Colors For Carolina Rig And Why

Bass have excellent vision—their eyes are nearly identical to ours, so they can see many of the same shades humans can. When choosing a color, the two most important factors to consider are 1) the clarity of the water, and 2) the hour and kind of day.

On sunny, clear-water days, opt for light, natural-colored lures, such as natural browns and greens. 

On cloudy, murky-water days, string up a dark or brightly colored lure, such as white, black, or dark blue. 

Explore with an array of colors until you figure out what works on your local waterways to become a successful bass angler. Begin with shades that have previously worked for you or colors that locals have recommended, and then venture out. Through experimentation, you’ll finally figure out the proper method for unlocking the bite.

Read Carefully...

Seasonal/ Environmental Factors in Bait Selection


The ideal soft-plastic lure for cold water begins with the location where it will be fished. The term “cold water” is subjective.

Bass, for example, hide down under dense beds of aquatic vegetation in Florida. They lock themselves to the bottom in deep water further north.

You’ll also want lures that look like baitfish and crawfish, which are key cold-water prey.


If possible, choose a bait that sinks slowly. The lightness creates a seductive action that big bass find impossible to resist, especially when water temperatures are between 55 to 70 degrees during the pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn seasons.

Throughout the spring, we prefer to rig on a lightweight Carolina rig.  Most of the baits will be very heavy with salt, so they’ll cast effectively, and this rigging option provides for a weedless approach if you fish over any dense cover. 

Long casts parallel to the shoreline, channel swings, or edges of any grass lines, standing timber rows, and rocky transition zones is strongly recommended.


Larger baits, such as a huge worm or a giant creature bait, work best in the summer when pursuing bass near deep cover or structure.

As post-spawners abandon the spawning flats for deeper water, big worms really start to shine shortly after the spawn.

Because of their gliding, and realistic darting motion, Super Flukes are excellent baitfish mimics.

When you’re out on the lake, it seems like you’ll always run across a school of aggressive bass, and there’s no better way to catch them than with a Super Fluke. That’s some of the most enjoyable times you’ll ever have.

As the summer heat builds and the biting grinds to a halt, a subtle worm like a Roboworm or a Zoom Trick Worm becomes the preferred bait. A smaller straight tail worm is used to persuade lazy shad feeders into biting when the Super Fluke fails to trick bass into biting. is used to mislead bass feeding aggressively on shad.


As the weather cools down and you start to hear elk bugling, however if you’re on the lake, you’ll see the baitfish form into huge schools and will migrate into the coves from the main lake.

Fall fishing is one of the best times not only to catch a big bass, but to catch a lot of them. And luckily for you there are many ways to do it. 

If you’re on a lake with floating vegetation or submerged weedbeds, you should strongly consider dragging a big worm beside its edges. 

If you have sharp channel swings, rocky high spots, or points near a creek channel or main river channel at the entrance of the cove, then throw a Carolina rigged creature bait or crawfish. 

If you see bass busting shad but refuse your topwater bait, then dragging a shad colored fluke underneath then can often elicit a big bite.

Clear Water:

It’s essential to mimic the actual prey species that bass are feeding on in clear water such as shad, bluegill, perch, or crawfish.

Choose the color based on natural hues that are found in prey-specific species.  

One of the most important tips for clear water or difficult conditions is to fish a finesse profile to get you the most bites.

A finesse soft plastic bait that is thin and unobtrusive like a Roboworm, trick worm, or a TRD worm can assist in generating more strikes from fish that aren’t interested in big bulky baits.

Dirty Water:

If you’re facing stained or muddy water, then the ideal bait has be big or bulky.

Additionally, the baits must vibrate (or create some sort of action) as they move through the water column.

To increase visibility, tie on a brightly colored lure, or use a solid black, black with blue glitter, or black with red glitter optimize profile and silhouette of the bait.

Post Frontal, Calm, Bluebird Skies:


Similar to fishing in clear water, it’s essential to mimic the actual prey species that bass are feeding on in clear water such as shad, bluegill, perch, or crawfish.

Choose the color based on natural hues that are found in prey-specific species.  

One of the most important tips for clear water or difficult conditions is to fish a finesse profile to get you the most bites.

A finesse soft plastic bait that is thin and unobtrusive like a Roboworm, trick worm, or a TRD worm can assist in generating more strikes from fish that aren’t interested in big bulky baits.

Windy, Rainy, Cloudy:

If you’re facing frontal, stormy, rainy, or cloudy then the ideal bait has be something that has vibration, its big or its bulky.

Baits that have some sort of action as stimulate a bass’ lateral line movement sensory gland as it moves through the water column.

Depending on water clarity, darker and brighter baits tend to do better than transparent baits.

In Summary...

The best Carolina rig bait isn’t a specific bait, but like a bait that is best suited for the conditions you’re fishing in. 

But that’s not all!…

There’s so much more to learning the secrets of Carolina rig fishing.  Listed below are the other related articles to help you out even more. 

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