Talkin' Texas - How to Lasso & Hogtie a Bait
By Russ Bassdozer

Texas rig, Carolina rig, Mojo rig, with a screw-in sinker, a splitshot or dropshot, Lasso 1weightless or wacky rig? A Senko or Kut-Tail can be effective all these ways, as can most of our soft baits. Except wacky rig or using our Crooked Hook, you often start out the same by putting the offset eye portion of a hook through the nose of a bait and out the chin. Then with the point end of the hook, do one of the following, depending on how heavy the bass-holding cover is at any given moment

Lasso 2Texas-Rigged
For the heaviest cover, the only option may be to put the point in through the bottom of the bait, and not have it come out the top surface. Works best with thinner-bodied baits where you do not have to drive the hook through a big wad of plastic on a hookset. Many anglers underestimate the gear required for this. Texas rigging is not a light or medium line/rod technique. A heavy rod, reel and line are required to drive the hook through the plastic. (Side Note: For flipping and pitching short distances, Gary Yamamoto prefers the solid hooksets he feel are provided by Texas rigging with a straight shank hook. For casting weightless baits or distances, he opts for an offset shank to help keep the bait in place during a long cast.)

Tex-Exposed For open water or thin cover, put the point into the bottom of the bait andLasso 3 all the way out the top of the bait. The barb on some hooks like the Yamamoto Sugoi angle downward, so the point will hug flat on top of the bait. This is called "Tex-Exposed," meaning it is an exposed point Texas rig. Applications are where the water is mostly open, with few snags and sparse weed patches. Tex-Exposed works a bit better on big fat-bodied grubs or on wide-bodied lizards where there is some girth that tends to bump the Tex-Exposed point away from snaggage.

Lasso 4Tex-Skin on Top For moderate cover, follow the directions for Tex-Exposing the hook. Then, insert the hook point and barb just under the skin on the plastic bait's back. You have to pull the plastic forward in front of where the hook comes out the top of the bait, and stretch it forward a bit. While it is still stretched, insert the point just under the skin, and then push the stretched plastic back to cover the barb area. The only way to describe it is that the hook point should appear just under the bait's skin exactly as if you got a splinter in your thumb or your big toe, just under your skin.

Tex-Skin on Side For moderate cover. In this variation, you do not insert the hook Lasso 5through the bottom of the bait. Instead, let the hook dangle down, with the hook bend underneath the bait's body, and the hook point alongside the bait. Now scrunch the bait forward a bit with your fingers, insert the hook point into the side of the bait, then slide the bait back so that the point and barb are under the skin on the bait's side. This is often used with light tackle, since the hookset is easier to break out of the plastic this way.

Above all, you need to leave some slack in the body of the lure when you rig it. You cannot have the bait stretched too tightly onto the hook. Tautness in the lure body is what makes for poor hooksetting. You have to leave the slightest amount of slack in the body between the hook eye and the embedded point. The slackness makes for a good hookset. This is a feel that only comes with doing it right. Leaving slack does not mean that the lure should look like it has a bend or curve caused by the way you rigged it - it should look perfectly straight - but when you press down on it with your index finger right where you want the fish to bite it, there should be some looseness, some slack give in the lure body. You want the fish's mouth to depress the bait's body down easily in the section ahead of where the hook point is waiting. Once the hook point starts to grab hold in the fish's mouth, you really want the entire bait to easily pull down off the front portion of the hook, and out of the way where it won't interfere with a good hook set. This is kind of hard to describe in writing, but very recognizable once you get the hang of doing it.

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