Winter Carolina rigs
by Mike Gerry
Every year as we move to the wintertime where the bass are staging, getting a bite seems to be exceedingly difficult and a Carolina rig can be fished many ways and rigged differently to entice bass in the frigid winter water.
The Carolina rig is the kind of bait that has much more versatility than most people imagine, you must just be creative when you set it up, and when you fish it.
If you have fished as many years as I, you have learned that the Carolina rig is a bait that can be easily dragged on the bottom, with a heavy weight about two feet from the end of the line. In fact, we used to throw two of them out and drag one on each arm, moving them slowly with the power of the trolling motor; it was referred to as fishing a ball and chain! Often this was remarkably successful, working back and forth from one side of a creek bed to the other. Today the options to change it are wide and many and the variety of plastics to hang on the end are also all over the map with many options.
We first made the rig more versatile by changing the bait you were dragging. For many years, it was just commonplace to rig it with a Do-Nothing worm. It had three hooks, the bait was noticeably short, and any novice could catch fish with it as it hooked a fish without a hook set. We then changed the weight from a heavy one ounce to a variety of weights, thus addressing different depths and different situations. You can also fish it directly on the bottom, or let it float up off the bottom.
Today, the options have become endless. With just a slight change in leader length, weight, and type of bait you can address many different situations and fish it deep, shallow, around grass, rock, and stumps. Today you can go to fluorocarbon line, that sinks, and change its presentation.
The point is, using your imagination and a Carolina Rig can address about any situation and catch you fish. Remember many times in the winter bass like to feed slowly off the bottom; this presentation is designed for that, and nothing does it better than a Carolina rig!