The article below was contributed by
CAROLINA RIG CATCHING
by: Hugh Crumpler
There are lures and techniques for a variety of situations. One of the most effective techniques is the use of the Carolina Rig in running water. This method of catching bass has become one of the favorite tools in running water of some of Florida's premier guides. The Carolina Rig has also become popular on the BASSMASTER & FLW TOURS amoung compedative anglers. The simplicity ot the technique, which is easy to learn and master is summed up with a quote from one of the Tours largest money winners: "The Carolina Rig made heros out of zeros." Well.......I shant name the person who I quoted. O. T. Fears who at one time held the record for the largest torunament winning weight on the BASSMASTER TOUR might disagree with the fellow I quoted. O. T. Fears used the Carolina Rig to locate and catch his amazing three day catch of bass.
What is a Carolina Rig. The Carolina Rig takes a sinker, a bead, a swivel, a hook and some kind of bait (lure), and puts them in line. First step is to slide a sinker onto your line. Then slide a bead on your line behind the sinker. OK. Now, tie on a swivel. Now tie on some more line. Any where from 18" to 3' is normal. then tie the hook on the end of the line.
The idea is that the sinker can slide up and down the line hitting the bead making a sound. A clicking sound. Thereby attracting the bass. The bead and sinker can not slide to the end of the line near the bait because of where the swivel is tied. The swivel stops the sinker and keeps the bait from tangling (spinning) the line. The bait is at the end of the length of line tied on to the swivel. Picture this in your mind. Visualize a Carolina Rig in your mind.
OK now, in your mind hold the sinker steady and move the bait. The bait can be anywhere around the sinker, in front, to either side, to the rear or on top or in any combination of places. The use of "floating": baits help with the success of the Carolina Rig. Because the bait can be anywhere and the sinker is on the bottom is one of the reasons why the Carolina Rig is so successful in catching bass in running water.
Lets visualize running water. Any kind of current where you fish. Ever watch fish in running water? Which way are they pointed? Upstream. Yep, looking for bait to get caught in the current and come their way. How fast is that bait moving? Yep, the same speed as the current. To be most effective cast the Carolina Rig upstream. When the sinker lands in the water watch your line. Do not engage the reel until you are sure the weight has hit the bottom. Ok- Now engage the reel and take up slack. Not too much. Hold the rod tip so you can feel the current moving the sinker along the bottom. A bite is usually a couple of pecks. You may not even feel the bite. DO NOT SET THE HOOK ON THE PECKS1 Let the fish surge and take your rod tip. Give him the rod tip (Be sure to keep pressure.) When he has extended your arms set the hook in a long sweeping hook set. A short jerk - even if it is extra hard will not be as effective as a long seeep. (Remember the visualization of the Carolina Rig and where the bait could be in relation to the sinker? Well, the long sweep allows you to collect all the slack and drag out of the line and get a straight line between you and fish getting the hook sunk.
Bait? A variety of artificial lures works well with Carolina Rigs. Basically, I govern the bait selection based on size. There is small, medium and large bait. And then I have a subdivision of bulky. Which one does the fish want. Well, that is for you to go fishing and find out on the day you want to go. As a GENERAL rule, a place to start- if it is high pressure go small. Normal pressure- go medium. Low pressure go large. Let me help you a little more. Small baits are Slider worms, french fries, little worms, etc. Medium baits are 7 inch worms. Large baits are 10 to 16 inch worms. Bulk? A small bulky bait would be a crawfish type lure. A medium bulky bait would be a Lizzard. Another medium bulky bait would be a Baby Bacon Rind. A Large Bulky bait would be al large Lizzard, Crawfish, Bacon Rind, Hoo Daddy, or there are even some really fat worms out there.
Sinkers? The theory is that brass is the way to go. Brass makes the noise with a glass bead that attracts bass. Who really knows? But why go against the flow. Lead sinkers work well. The size of the sinker varries. Usually, I'll start with 3/4 ounce and go from there. The strength of the current and the size of the bait will determine what goes on. Just fish to figure it out. If you are catching bass- you are right. If you are not- experiment.
Beads? Glass is supposed the way to go. I have glass and I have plastic beads. I use boath and I use no beads some times. I do not know that the bead makes any difference but, a bead is not that hard to put on.
Hook? Use what suits you. I like a straight old fashioned plastic worm hook. I use 2/0 and 3/0 hooks. I find that the regular old hooks work better than the fancier, sharper more expensive hooks.
Every thing every one or anyone tells you about techniques and lure is based on how they fish. It is a total system. I have explained part of my system that works for me. Try it for yourself and make your own system from what works for me.
The rest of my system? I use 30 LB Tripple Fish Silicone line. The leader (swivel to hook) is either 14 lb silicone or 16 pound camo line). The leader will break before the line. I use a rod that is one of my flippin sticks. Its a seven foot extra heavy action rod. The rod is a rod Shimano made about 11 years ago and is no longer available. Power out the Kazoo and sensitivity of beyond reach. I am right handed and use a left handed Calcutta 251. A big reel with big capacity of big line on a big rod.
For you? Don't go buy something to work in my system until you use the equipment you have to see if it will work. (Bet the tackle stores like that comment!) If your rod is not so stout as mine reduce the line test and reduce the size of the sinker. Remember, it is a system, a total package. EXAMPLE: A 454 engine will not function well in a GEO Metro- something is going to give.
Got any questions or comments goto my website at: http://www.HughCrumpler.Com ., or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hugh Crumpler is a legendary Professional Angler and Guide. Hugh offers guide service, maps, catching reports and more on his website: http://www.www.HughCrumpler.Com . Hugh may also be contacted by phone at: 321-722-3134.
Reprinted with permission