Fishing Tips

The Carolina Rig: How to Rig Bass Fishing Soft Plastics


The Carolina rig is also a very effective and popular rig for bass fishing soft plastics. It is similar to the Texas rig in that the plastic worm or bait is rigged weedless, but the weight is separated from the lure with a leader and a swivel. Consider these tips when rigging and choosing a Carolina rig for covering a lot of water quickly with a soft plastic lure.

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Use a bigger hook for bigger plastics

To start the process, tie your hook onto a leader of line. We usually will keep our leader between 12 and 24 inches. But we’ve seen times where a really long leader of 3 to 5 feet works too. 

Pro tip: If we are Carolina rigging a larger soft plastic like a Zoom Brush Hog or a Gene Larew Salt Craw, we will use a bigger extra wide gap hook that can penetrate the bulk of the plastic on the sweeping hookset you often use with a Carolina rig because you have to set your hook through the weight down a long leader. Sometimes a fish will move the bait and the weight is sitting on the bottom introducing more slack. You have to reel down and tighten up before sweep setting into the fish.

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Slide your weight up the line and attach your leader with a swivel

After tying your hook to your leader, slide your weight up the line and tie it off with a swivel and then attach your leader to the other end of the swivel. A lot of people will use a bead to protect their knot from the weight.

Pro tip: Keep in mind that tungsten will often break glass beads which can cut your line. There are more durable beads on the market now that work a lot better with tungsten.

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Vary weight and leader lengths for different presentations

You can vary the weight and leader lengths on a Carolina rig to give the bait a different action and to fish it faster and deeper efficiently. We will often use a 1/2-ounce or 3/4-ounce weight on a Carolina rig and drag it quickly in deeper water. The deeper the water the heavier the weight. The longer the leader, the more a bait will dart and move around slowly behind the weight. The shorter the leader, the more it will duck and dart responsively when being moved.

Pro tip: With cover, we will usually opt for a lighter weight. We have had good success Carolina rigging with 1/4-ounce weights and pulling it over the top of grass and stumps to get bites without the weight snagging.

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Carolina rigging supplies

A Carolina rig basically consists of a weight like a barrel weight, egg sinker or big bullet sinker, a hook, a swivel with a leader of line and whatever plastic you like.

We used the following tackle in this gallery:

5 Best Rigs for Bass Fishing Soft Plastics