Guide to Modern Rigging
By Russ Bassdozer
How goes it? It's Bassdozer here. You know what
I am thinking? Maybe this is a good time to review basic rigging
options used nowadays with soft baits. Nothing fancy, just bass
rigs you make with a bait, a sinker, and a hook. This news article
covers eleven modern ways to rig soft plastics: the weightless
rig, unpegged Texas rig, Shakin' rig, pegged Texas rig, Screw-in
rig, Mojo rig, Carolina rig, Rockhopper rig, Splitshot or Slipshot
rig, Dropshot rig, and the Wacky rig. So here goes!
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 swivel to reduce
any line twist that may occur with weightless rigs.
The 6" 9L Senko (color 187) rigged weightless
produced an amazing 10.27 lbs. world record spotted bass for California
angler Bryan Shishido.
Unpegged Texas Rig A bullet sinker is allowed
to slide freely on the main line, with the hook tied directly
to the main line. One issue is the sinker can slide far up the
line away from the bait. This makes for inaccurate casts and imprecise
presentations. For more control over an unpegged sinker, you can
contain it on a short 12 to 18" leader tied to a swivel.
This gives you the freedom of unpegged lure movement and you gain
better control over the cast and presentation.
Shakin' Rig Use a bead on an unpegged Texas
rig. The sinker will hit against the bead and make a clicking
noise that can attract fish at times.
Pegged Texas Rig Jam a wooden toothpick in
the end of a bullet sinker and break it off. Don't jam it in so
tightly that you risk weakening the line. Slide it down the line,
and the toothpick will hold the sinker securely against the nose
of a soft bait used in heavy cover. The sinker and bait will act
like one unit that slips through weeds and resists snagging in
Screw-In Rig An advancement over the toothpick-pegging
method, screw-in 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 the sinker into the nose of the bait. This
provides the ultimate in weedless and snagless presentation for
big bass in heavy cover.
Note With a pegged bullet or screw-in sinker,
it can be important to thread the hook eye up to an inch or more
into the bait. This leaves room so the hook eye is not jammed
immovably against the sinker. Otherwise, if the eye is pressed
against the sinker, gripped inside the fish's tightly-clamped
mouth, then you only move the entire bass/weight/hook forward
without penetrating on the hookset. Leaving up to an inch or more
of slack ensures enough room to move the hook and have it start
to set before it jams up behind the sinker.
Mojo Rig Mojo sinkers are long and thin.
The sinker shape allows a Mojo rig to slide easily through rocks,
weeds, and brush better than most other sinker 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.
They are part of a complete system that includes rubber strands
that thread through the sinker to peg it from 12" to 24"
inches up the main line above the bait. The rubber strands cushion
the line from any potential damage that can occur with wooden
toothpicks or crimping splitshots on the line.
Carolina Rig Most often used on open, relatively
unobstructed bottom. Thread a 1/2 to 1 oz sinker onto your main
line, followed by a bead that clicks when the sinker hammers against
it. Then tie on a swivel, an 18"-24" inch leader line
(but can be longer), and your hook. As with all the rigs we describe
here, use lighter weights of Carolina rigs with light tackle,
and heavier weights of Carolina rigs with heavier rods, reels
and lines, a simple principle.
Rockhopper Rig An advancement over the Carolina
rig for rock-strewn bottoms. The Rockhopper sinker can come through
snags that stop most other sinker types.
Splitshot or Slipshot Rig Knot a hook to
the end of your line and pinch one or more split shot 18"
to 24" inches above the hook. Keep in mind, don't pinch the
splitshot shut so tightly that you risk damaging the line. The
Mojo Slipshot is an advancement that uses rubber threads to cushion
the line. If not used in snaggy areas, simply nose-hook the bait
with Yamamoto's series 53 Crooked Hook.
A splitshot rig is most often used with light line.
Since splitshot sinkers are typically smaller and lighter than
any other sinker types, you can slowly drift a splitshot rig down
past bass suspended in mid-depths above deep water. A splitshot
can be used for a delicate lightweight 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!
Dropshot Rig Tie a Yamamoto series 53 Crooked
Hook onto the main line with a Palomar knot. The loose tag end
of the knot is left anywhere from 12" to 24" inches
long. After 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 clipped onto the dangling
tag end of the line anywhere from 6" to 24" below the
hook. The bait is then nose-hooked. Optionally, the bait can be
wacky-rigged in the middle to reduce any line twist that may occur
with dropshot rigs.
Wacky Rig Tie a Yamamoto series 53 Crooked
Hook to your main line. Use a long thin bait such as a Senko.
Bend the bait in the middle so both tips touch. Then poke the
hook straight through the bend in the middle.
* These sinkers are products of Mojo Lure Company,
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
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