Carolina Rig

The Carolina rig is used by casting then dragging the rig across your target area. You will drag by positioning your pole parallel to the surface of the water and use a sweeping motion to move the lure over the structure you are fishing. Don’t jerk the rig, just a nice smooth sweep will work.

The Carolina rig is a fishing rig similar to the Texas rig, but with the sinker weight fixed above the hook instead of sliding down to it. The Carolina rigs help you to cover a larger area in less time. It employs a heavy weight allowing you to make longer casts.

I had played around with the Carolina rig but was really a Texas rig guy when my buddy, Tom, went fishing with West Point Lake[1] guide Ron Savage[2]. Ron had come out with a pre-rigged Carolina rig worm with 2 hooks. Tom and Ron had had quite a day and he convinced me to try the Savage Worms out. They certainly did the job and I was hooked. The Savage worm was a classic do-nothing lure, pre-rigged with 2 hooks and a length of monofilament line. It was a thinner worm than the previous Jack chancellor’s Do Nothing Worms that I had not tried.

The Savage worms also are weedless with a little piece of plastic that is molded in the worm that attaches to the hook point. This was when I learned that to effectively fish a Carolina rig you’ll need a longer rod, 6 1/2 to 7 feet long. This length allows you to throw the long leader and helps work the heavy sinker over and out of obstructions.

Presenting a bait on a leader that trails behind a heavy weight delivers an elevated, and therefore, highly visual presentation while maintaining the bottom contact that ensures maximum sensitivity. The latter point proves essential for keeping the bait in high-percentage hard spots.

Don’t engage the reel until the bait is on the bottom. Once his rig breaks the surface, you should ensure maximum bottom coverage by paying out a little more line to gain extra distance. Retrieves are best made with a low rod-sweeping motion that uses lateral body motion for a smooth bottom-bumping presentation. When keying on barren red clay points or sand bars, drag the rig along the bottom steadily.

Make a long cast, then steadily reel in the rig while keeping your rod tip low, which allows you to keep the rig’s sinker constantly bumping the bottom and stirring up sand and silt. Since you are dragging through an area devoid of cover you can use a longer leader (3 feet) without having to worry about hanging up. Make sure you use the bead between the weight and the barrel swivel. It will keep the weight from abusing the knot.

A lot of people recommend using a lighter line for the leader so that when you become hung up you’ll at least get the weight and barrel swivel back. I have been fishing West Point Lake for many years and have hired the guide, Tommy Mike[3], many times. A while back he was having a Carolina rigging worm made called the “Gotcha Worm”. It was a 5″ worm with a split tail and two hooks. You can bend the hooks so that the point faces the worm’s body and make it weedless.

The Gotcha worms are my #1 bait for largemouth bass. I have had incredible luck fishing with them. They are great on underwater humps, long points, creek, and river ledges. They came in a multitude of colors and color combos. I like to use Spiderware braid as the main line and either a lighter Spiderwire or monofilament as the leader. I usually use a 1 oz egg weight as my sinker. I have used the Brass Carolina Ready Rigs that have a wire, brass weight, beads, rattlers, and barrel swivel built-in … these are very handy.

If the cover is heavy then a Texas rig is a better choice as the Carolina rig will be easily snagged. the Carolina rig is the obvious choice if you’re angling in an unknown lake and want to know where the fish are actively feeding. Some anglers refer to it as a searching rig.

  1. West Point Lake is a man-made reservoir located mostly in west-central Georgia on the Chattahoochee River and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The Chattahoochee river flows in from the north, before flowing through the West Point Dam, which impounds the lake and continues to Columbus, Georgia. Of the four major USACE lakes in the ACF River Basin, West Point Lake is the smallest by area containing 25,864 acres of water, and has the second shortest shoreline at 604 mi. The purposes of the reservoir are to provide flood control, hydroelectric power, and water storage to aid the navigation of the lower Chattahoochee. [Back]
  2. Ron Savage – Fishing Guides, Fishing Charters & Parties (706) 884-6232
    West Point Lake, Lagrange, Georgia [Back]
  3. Tommy Mike Guide Service was created in 1975 when West Point Lake was impounded. Tommy is the most experienced guide on the lake and he has a Master’s Degree in Fisheries Biology from Auburn University. Specializing in corporate trips, if you have business clients to entertain, a fishing trip on West Point Lake will give you an excellent return on your investment. West Point Lake, Lagrange, Georgia 706-882-8187 [Back]

Further Reading


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Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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