Know your rigs

2010-01-16 00:00

I HAVE received numerous questions of late regarding the different rigging methods of plastic baits. Which rig means what and when to use which rig? This is normally a simple decision to make, but can be more complicated than an angler would want it to be if the reasons behind the choice are not understood first. Using the correct plastic bait rig in accordance with what the scenario dictates, will catch you more fish. There are no rules when it comes to your choice of rig, but I will explain my top choices and the reasons that influence my decision to help you better understand.

• Weightless Rig: As the name suggests, this rig includes absolutely no added weight to the bait and relies on the weight of the hook and the plastic bait alone. Because of this, I upsize my hook to add extra weight and will therefore normally use a 4/0 hook. My choice of baits for a weightless rig will always be at least a five inch Senko or Fluke with Trick Worms also being a favourite. The fact that there is no weight to this rig makes it my choice for targeting ultra-shallow vegetation and makes it virtually weedless. In shallow water the stealthy yet invasive appeal of this rig is a deadly tactic. I normally fish my bait rapidly across the surface pausing to allow the bait to sink within the clearings of the vegetation.

•  Split-Shot Rig: Once again, the name says it all. This rig almost mirrors the weightless rig but now incorporates the addition of a split-shot or two, depending on the depth you are targeting. I find this rig one of the most versatile options in my worming attack. My reasons for this are simple; you can fish this rig from a few inches of water down to six metres effectively. The slow presentation of this rig appeals to fish that normally wouldn’t bite the heavier more cumbersome rigs and is a great producer of fish suspending over deeper cover. This is also undoubtedly my favourite rig for targeting standing timber or brush piles. I will position my split-shot about 30 centimetres above my bait and move them closer should I encounter thicker cover.

• Mojo-Rig: A mojo weight is a cylindrical weight available in various sizes and can be secured above the bait anywhere from 10 centimetres to one metre. A swivel or rubber weight stopper are your options when it comes to determining the length of the rig. This rig basically replaces the intention of the Carolina Rig when a slower more finessed presentation is in order. When it comes to weight sizes, the lighter the better. The lighter the weight, the slower you are forced to fish it, which means more time in the strike zone. A heavier weight is the call when the wind picks up or you are targeting deeper water. I also upsize my weight when I upsize my bait. The contradiction is, a heavier weight helps you distinguish bottom composition so vary your sizes to appeal to the bass’s needs as well as yours.

• Carolina Rig: This rig is a killer rig for covering water fast. A harder bottom with isolated cover is normally your cue to tie on a Carolina Rig. I fish this rig fast and fish it heavy. I never use anything less than a half-ounce egg sinker coupled with a bead. I opt for up to a one metre leader length which I ensure is slightly lighter than my main line. A swivel, along with a glass bead and your egg sinker is all you need to rig up. I prefer bulkier plastic baits for this approach but often downsize to a senko or needle-type worm when the bite is slow.

I have only covered half of the most commonly used plastic rigs and I will outline the other options in the follow-up to this issue. Contact me at


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