How To Fish A Carolina Rig

In-depth, detailed instructions on how to use a Carolina Rig to catch big bass!
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Hey guys, this is Gene Jensen with Today, I'm going to do another video on a Carolina Rig, or the old ball and chain, as people call it. I've been getting a few questions about it. It's starting to be mid- summer, which is when everybody likes to use it. So, I figured I'd throw one out there.

   Anyway, what a Carolina Rig is, and you can go to my basic Carolina Rig video and see how it's rigged, but it's a sinker and a bead. A lot of people will tie a swivel on there and then their leader. What I like to do is I use little things called Carolina Keepers. They really make it wonderful to fish a Carolina Rig, because you only have to tie one knot, and you can adjust the leader while you're fishing, instead of having to tie on a new leader, or cut the leader and tie a new knot.

   Anyway, what a Carolina Rig is used for is for, well, a lot of things. I use it for covering water and searching the bottom. I use it to fish in grass because the weight will get into the grass, but the bait won't, things like that.

   Basically, what I'm going to do today is just kind of show you how I would use it in June. It's mid-June. We've had torrential rain for about the last four days. The lake should be coming up, but it's a Corp of Engineers lake, so who knows? They may drop it two feet after a four inch rain.

   What I like to do with a Carolina Rig is I like to throw it out, and just drag it along the bottom, and feel the bottom. I'm feeling for stumps, or rocks, or brush piles, things like that. I like to use a tungsten weight, just because you can feel it better.

   The advantages to a Carolina Rig are that, let me bring the bait in, and I'll show you. The advantages to a Carolina Rig are that you don't have the weight right up against the bait. Let me give it a little bit more slack. So, you don't have the bait all the way up against the weight. So, when a fish bites it, they don't feel the weight, and they'll hold on to it longer. The disadvantage to that is a lot of times, by the time you feel the bite, if you don't know what you're feeling for, the fish will have the hook in its gut. You really need to pay attention to the bait, and don't let it sit for too long. If you let it sit for too long, those fish will take it, and suck it in.

   It's great for finicky fish. It's great for deep water. It's great for shallow water. You can adjust the leader as to what you're fishing. You can fish down. You can fish in grass, rocks, just about anything. Let me think. It's just an all out big fish bait. I love to fish a trick worm, a straight tail worm, and things like that on them, but I'll throw anything, a rage monkey, an eliminator, or anything else.

   Basically, you just cast it out. Let it sink to the bottom. Now, what I'm doing here, like I said, it's mid-June. The fish should be deep or out on these humps in the middle of this lake. I am a quarter a mile from anywhere on the bank. I've got a hump out here that comes out of the creek channel. The creek channel runs into the river just right up here, about a mile that direction. It comes out, and it comes all the way up to about four feet. It's not really an ideal hump for what I want to do. I was looking for one that's about ten feet deep, but I've already gotten one bite on it, and the fish took me into a brush pile.

   These are the kinds of places that hold big fish. It's the kind of places that have fish on it that people just don't, a lot of people don't fish. A lot of the bank beaters want to sit there and beat the snot out of the bank, and out here are all these fish that are three, five, six, seven pounds.

   What I'm doing is I cast it out, and I'm just dragging the weight on the bottom, and I'm just feeling for things. I want to feel for a stump, rocks. I want to see what's on this point, or on this hump. When I feel something, I'll slowly pop it over top of it, and let it sit there and see if there's a fish on it. It's a phenomenal way to cover an area, like a long point stump field, rock piles. Scattered rock is really a lot better than fishing it on rock piles. Like I said, the big fish really like it, so I'm going to fish a little bit, see if I can't get a bite and a fish on video, and I'll get back with you.


   There's one. Oh, not bad. I just turned the video camera on. It's probably not a big one. This lake isn't known for its real huge fish. But, you notice the hook set. I made a hook set, sweep to the right. The reason you hook set to the right is you're almost guaranteed to get a good set on that fish. Like I said, my boat right now is in about 20 feet of water. It's not a big one, but it's a fish.

   Anyway, the reason that you set the hook to the side, or a sweeping hook set, is you've got this weight way up in front of your bait. If you set it, and pop that weight up off the bottom, if you're setting it like a jig or straight over top your head and pop that weight off the bottom, it's likely going to pull the hook out of the fish's mouth. It's just going to pop it right out, and it's not going to get a good solid set. There's too much slack right there.

   If you set it to the side, and keep your rod tipped low, that angle between this angle right here will instead of being like this on the hook set, it'll be straighter, so you have a direct line in contact with that hook, and you get a good solid hook set on a fish. You catch more fish. It's pretty risky to set it over top of your head. Anyway, I'll keep fishing; see if I catch another one.

   Some of the questions I might get asked on this video is what bait am I using? I'm using a trick worm. This specific color isn't even made anymore. It's called avocado, but basically it's a green pumpkin with red flake, and I have the tail dipped in chartreuse JJ's Magic. I almost always have it dipped in JJ's Magic, either clear or chartreuse. It just gives them a different look. It gives the fish a little bit something to hone in on. It gets their attention.

   The rod I'm using is a medium-heavy seven foot, three inch Duckett Micro Magic Rod but any medium-heavy long rod...The reason you need a seven foot or longer rod is that you need to get a good hook set, and a lot of times you have a lot of slack, and a lot of stretch in your line. I use a copolymer line Izorline XXX, and there's a little bit of stretch in it. I want to be able to take out that stretch and get a good solid hook set on a long cast, so I always like to have a long rod. Plus, a long medium-heavy rod is perfect for making a good cast with a heavy Carolina Rig.

   Now, let me go over the sequence of a cast. First of all, if you're fishing a really long leader on a Carolina Rig... Man, that's that dang snot grass. If you're fishing a really long leader on a Carolina Rig, you want to bring the rod behind your back. You're not going to make a whipping cast. You're going to sling it, just like this. It hits the water. I'm going to lift my rod up a little bit to let some slack in the line, and then I'm going to drop my line in. As you're watching your line, you'll see it moving that direction. When it stops, and your line goes slack, it's sitting on the bottom. A lot of times, I forget to say that in a video, and there's a lot of you guys out there who are just learning, and just learning how to fish a soft plastic or anything else that sits on the bottom. That's how you know when it's sitting on the bottom, is when the line stops going out and your line between the rod tip and the water go slack. It's just that simple.

   I'm just going to drag it. I'm going to lift my rod. I'm going to lift it from about 2:00 to 1:00, or 2:00 to 12:00, straight up, just like that. The weight is either going to come off the bottom or it's just going to drag, depending on how fast I pull it. I want it to drag, because I want to feel everything on the bottom. I want to know if I'm in a brush pile, or know if I've bumped a stump or rock, or anything else. That's also why I use a tungsten weight on there, but for years I used a lead weight and did just fine. I don't want you guys to go out and buy expensive tungsten weights, just because I say it. That's a series.

   You just start dragging it until you feel a bite. Like I said, you just got to be careful, and try and stay in contact with your bait, as much as you possibly can, so you don't gut hook a fish. You can also drag it to the side. I don't like to. I just feel like, I don't know, I don't think I feel it quite as good as if I'm dragging it up. I'm coming down off a ledge right now. The way I know that is that I'm dragging it low and it's still coming up the bottom, every time I drag it, so I know I'm coming off or downhill from something. Plus, I also know my boat's in 20 feet of water and I'm throwing in to about seven, so.

   All right, another question I might get asked is what does a bite feel like? Well, imagine this. Imagine that you have your line out, and you're just starting to tug on it, and it feel likes somebody is tapping your line with a pencil. It's basically what a bite will feel like. When you feel that, just wind down and point your rod towards the bait, and give yourself a nice long sweeping hook set.

   A little bit better fish. Not a bad little pounder. Not bad for a Carolina Rig - little fish.

   Like I always say, visit for the answers to all your questions about bass fishing. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. I hope this video helps you out, and helps you go out and find fish a little bit deeper, a little bit different places, and helps you catch some good ones. Thanks. Have a great day!

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