Texas Rig Fishing
In 1964 the Texas Rig became a part of bass fishing, and it's still catchin' the heck out of bass.
By Jim Reaneau
No bass fishing arsenal is complete without knowledge of Texas rigs. All kinds of plastics from worms to lizards and grubs can be fished in extremely dense vegetation and brush on this rig. Line sizes vary from 14- to 20-pound or more depending on whether you're fishing open water or the thick stuff.|
Texas rig fishing shines when used to flip worms into vegetation or brush because they can be made almost weedless by proper insertion of the hook point into the bait. It's imperative that the bait be aligned straight on the hook so that presentation appears more natural. A bunched up worm doesn't enter the water as well as one that hangs straight.
The hardest part about fishing both a Texas and Carolina rig is learning when to set the hook. Many anglers fail to do so soon enough or can't "feel" when they need to. You will only feel a slight tick sometimes as the fish picks up the bait and moves off with it. This is often confused with the bumps and snags of underwater limbs or strands of vegetation that can cling and cause almost the same feel. Stage two, setting the hook, can be ultimately as difficult as feeling the tap. Wait too long, the fish drops the bait, set the hook too soon and you have missed the actual strike. Time spent fishing the rig is the best way to gain experience and feel.
Before I get started with this article I would like to give you a little background on the development of the worm. In 1949 Nick Creme produced a prototype that would change the fishing industry. This bait had a set of hooks attached to a leader and were imbedded in the worm and at the end was a couple of beads and a small propeller. This bait was in almost every tackle box across the country not long after being produced.
Twenty years later bass fishing became a very popular sport and soon tournaments began to hit the area lakes. The worm was one of the most widely used baits. Creme's Manufacturing company was in Tyler, Texas. This set the stage for the ever popular name Texas Rig. Nick Creme started adding a slip sinker with his worms and instructions on how to fish this weedless bait. The 1964 catalog was the first to mention the Texas Rig by Creme.
As fishing became more popular, the worm followed suit. Fisherman now have weights, hooks and a variety of worms in lots of colors in his or her tackle box. The rig consists of a slip sinker or bullet weight, sometimes a small glass bead, and a hook. The preferences in worm, weight, and hook size vary from fisherman to fisherman.
This is one of the most versatile rigs for fishing. The bait is cast out and allowed to settle to the bottom. Then a slow sweeping motion is used to retrieve it.
You can fish almost anything on a Texas rig when it comes to soft plastics. Line size plays an important role, as with any type of fishing, but the biggest problem with a Texas rig is hanging up. As you drag the bait through stumps and logs, the worm or weight will hang. When the bait is pushed down, the hook becomes exposed and then hung up you are.
Most anglers wanted to use a limber rod back when this rig first appeared, so they could feel the fight when they caught a fish. This was probably the cause of more hang ups than anything. The rod you use is the most important part of fishing this rig correctly. You need a medium-heavy rod about six-foot six-inches long with a moderately stiff tip. Some people hate worm fishing because they hang up too much. You need to realize that your bait will be where the fish are and hang ups are just part of it.
When setting up the rig I like to use the smallest weight possible as this makes the bait appear more life-like and it won't settle into the bottom sediment as quickly. There are days I like to put a bead between the hook and weight, and I have had days the fish don't want the noise.
In the spring, or when pitching the bait, I like to peg the sinker to the top of the worm so the weight won't move. During this time I will use a heavier sinker because I want control over where the bait lands. I have fished 10-inch worms with 1/8-ounce weights. If I fish deep water, I like to use a heavier weight to get the bait down a little faster. A grub fished Texas rigged over grass or just cast out and swam back to the boat can be deadly. There is no limit to what you can fish or how to fish it when Texas rig fishing.
In 1986, in four hours, my brother-in-law and I caught 150 bass over the grass on a Texas-rigged worm by just casting out and slowly reeling back in. You probably could have caught these fish on a lipless crankbait, but look at the time it would take to get it unhooked before you could cast again. One hook to mess with, and back in the water makes the Texas rig much easier to use in most situations.
I highly recommend you wear glasses or sunglasses when fishing Texas or Carolina rigs. If you hang up, don't pull back with your rod tip as this will load the rod and if it comes loose, it will be coming back at you with great speed. I had a friend do this and the bullet weight came back and embedded into his arm. He had to have it cut out. When you hang up, point the rod tip at the hang up and pull straight back and this will either break the line or it will pull loose.
One of the biggest mistakes I see is people get a bite and set the hook, then miss the fish and leave the worm there thinking the fish might come back. The best thing to do if you set the hook and miss the fish, is hold your rod up high. Reel fast as this will bring the bait to the surface and keep it out of the structure. If you set the hook good, the worm will slide down the shaft of the hook and if you leave it there you will get hung up. In the old days everyone thought if they brought the worm in and it had moved down the hook, then they'd had a bite. This is not always true. Just hanging up and pulling on the bait while it's hung will pull the bait down. Too water has viscosity, and the force you exert to set the hook will slide the worm down even without your being hung up. If you leave the worm there after the hook set, think of this, if the fish does not bite again and you reel in and hang the structure now you have spooked the fish sure enough. Keep this in mind the next time you hit your favorite fishing spot.