A Guide to Modern Rigging - Russ Bassdozer

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How goes it? It's Bassdozer here. You know what I am thinking? Maybe this is a good time to review a number of basic rigging options that are used nowadays with soft baits. Nothing fancy, just bass rigs you basically make with a bait, a sinker, and a hook. So here goes.

1) Weightless Rig. The purest form of rigging, and most deadly with the Senko. No sinker is used and the hook can be tied directly to the main line. Optionally, tie the hook to a 12" to 24" inch leader tied to a free-turning swivel that dissipates the line twist which often occurs with unweighted soft baits.

2) Unpegged Texas Rig. A conical sinker is allowed to slide freely on the main line, with the hook tied directly to the main line. Optionally use a bead. The sinker will jackhammer constantly against the bead and make a tiny clicking noise that can attract fish at times.
One difficulty is an unpegged sinker can slide far up the line on the cast, making for inaccurate casts and imprecise presentations. An unpegged sinker can also slide far down the line and get your rig stuck in snaggy cover. For more control over an unpegged sinker, you can contain it on a short 12 to 24" leader tied to a swivel. This gives you the desirable unpegged lure movement (and bead-clicking option) while at the same time, the short leader gives you better control over the cast and presentation.

3) Pegged Texas Rig. Pocket a few toothpicks the next time you pay the check at the diner. Then jam one in the butt of a bullet weight and break it off. Keep in mind, don't jam it in so tightly that you risk weakening the line. Slide it down the line, and the toothpick will hold the weight securely against the nose of a soft bait used in heavy cover. The weight and bait will act like one unit that slips through weeds and resists snagging in cover.

4) Florida Rig. An advancement over the toothpick-pegging method, Florida rig sinkers are molded around a thin Teflon tube, and a corkscrew wire that screws in to the nose of a soft bait. Slip the sinker on the main line, tie the hook directly to the main line, and screw it into the bait. This provides the ultimate in weedless and snagless presentation for big bass in heavy cover.

5) Mojo Rig. Mojo sinkers are long, thin, and shaped like pencil leads. They're part of a complete system which includes rubber pegs that thread through the Mojo weight to peg it from 12" to 24" inches above the bait. The rubber strand cushions the line from any potential damage that can occur with wooden toothpicks or crimping splitshots on the line.
The thin Mojo sinker will slink through weeds better than most other weight types. Mojo rigs also work for vertical fishing in deep water where baits are suspended for bass lurking in or under the tops of flooded trees or brush.

6) Carolina Rig. Used most commonly on open, relatively unobstructed bottoms. Simply thread a bullet, egg or barrel-shaped sinker onto your main line, followed by a glass bead which clicks when the weight hammers against it. Then tie on a swivel, a leader line which is 18" to 24" most of the time (but can be longer), and your hook. As with all the various rigs we describe here, use lighter weights of Carolina rigs with light tackle, and heavier weights of Carolina rigs with heavier tackle.

7) Splitshot Rig. Knot a hook to the end of your line, bait up and pinch one or a few split shot 18" to 24" inches above the bait. Keep in mind, don't pinch the splitshot shut so tightly that you risk weakening the line. Splitshot rigs are usually not used in snaggy areas, so you can simply nose-hook the bait with Yamamoto's specially-made series 53 Splitshot hook.
A splitshot rig is most often used with light line. In deep water, you can slowly sink a bait down to fish suspended in mid-depth or holding above bottom. A splitshot is also used for a delicate presentation in shallow water, or to sweep a bait down with the current flow in a stream or shallow river. The bait will swirl and sway as it is buffeted around by the water flow while the splitshots keep it hunkered down near bottom!

8) Dropshot Rig. A hook such as the Yamamoto series 53 Splitshot hook is normally tied onto the main line with a Palomar knot. The tag end of the knot is left anywhere from 12" to 24" inches long. Once the knot is tied, the tag end is threaded through the hook eye in the direction that keeps the hook point positioned up. A swiveling style of sinker is then attached to the dangling tag end of the Palomar knot anywhere from 12" to 24" below the hook. The bait is then nose-hooked.

9) Wacky Rig. In relatively open water, simply tie a hook such as the Red Octopus to your line, and thread the hook straight through the middle of a slanky bait such as a Senko or worm. In some cases, to get a thin bait deeper quicker, you may want to string a very small bullet sinker to slide freely on the line above the hook.
Where snags are present, you are better off to wacky rig with the Gamakatsu #65112 which has a spring wire guard to protect the hook point from weeds and snags. Yet the wire guard depresses away easily from the point and usually does not interfere when you get a bite from a fish.

That just about covers all the most popular rigs in modern use for soft baits. All you need to do now is get out on the water and learn to use them well. Practically any rig shown will work (within reason) with practically any model of soft plastic bait.

This concludes our quick tour of basic rigging fundamentals!

Regards, Russ "Bassdozer" Comeau
Bassdozer Worldwide Bass Fishing

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