Angling tips: plastic-bait rigs

2012-12-01 00:00

MAKING the correct choice in rig, using the right one at the right time, will ultimately ensure that you will catch more fish.

These are among the most commonly used plastic-bait rigs.

Texas Rig

The Texas rig is undoubtedly the most frequently used rig and is by far the most versatile. The rig consists of a sliding bullet sinker that is positioned above the hook, and can also be “pegged” with the use of a toothpick or weight stopper. The neat deal about a Texas rig is that it can be fished in open water, as well as tossed into the nastiest of cover without getting hooked up. This rig is the obvious choice for anglers targeting heavy cover, with pitching or flipping techniques. It is imperative that the sinker, in this case, is pegged and the hook is carefully buried in the plastic bait. The thicker the cover, the heavier the sinker. If you are fishing in more sparse cover, the sinker should not be pegged and should be allowed to slide.

Wacky Rig

A weightless or weighted hook can be used for this rig, depending on the depth of targeted water or cover. It is a simple, yet deadly, rig — whereby the hook is pushed through the centre point of a stick-type worm and left exposed. The two ends of the bait are allowed to dangle free, which is where the appeal of this rig comes from. The wacky rig is my first choice when targeting isolated timber or vegetation, and draws a high percentage of bites on the fall, which is when its tantalising action comes into play. I prefer senko-style baits on this rig, which help add some weight to the rig, as well as enhance the action. I use a weightless hook when fishing shallow and use a lightly weighted hook for deeper cover. This rig is also one of my favourite rigs for catching fish suspended on off-shore brush piles.

Shaky Head Rig

If you are fishing in drop-offs, rocky points or gravel banks, you should be using a shaky head rig. The hook is a nose-weighted hook of varying weight, with a spring protruding from the weight. The design of this rig allows the head of the plastic bait to be secured to the spring and the hook point to be buried in the bait. What you get is a compact presentation that “stands up” off the bottom, thanks to the design of the hook, which very closely imitates a feeding baitfish or crustacean. This is an amazingly effective rig anywhere, any time, but really gets results on harder bottoms. Absolutely any plastic bait will suit this rig, so go with your confidence in baits.

Drop Shot Rig

This rig is not famous for consistently producing big fish, but is definitely renowned for making bass bite when most other presentations fail. When fish are holding tight to cover or are on the back foot after a cold front, the drop-shot rig is the way forward. The rig composes of a drop-shot weight on the bottom and a small, super sharp drop-shot hook, positioned on the main line above the weight by way of a Palomar knot. The distance from sinker to hook can be varied from 20 cm to over a metre, depending on where the fish are positioned in relation to the bottom. This is a finesse rig, so smaller baits are normally used.

I hope this helps you make the right choice in rig for the right situation.

E-mail me with reports, pictures and questions at zorthewitt@hot

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