The Carolina rig has been a deep water staple for tournament anglers for years. But this typical deep water technique can be used in any water depth and around almost any type of cover by adjusting the line size, weight and leader length.
Deep water techniques
When fishing Carolina rigs the most common technique is making long cast focusing on underwater structure such as points, humps, road beds, ledges and brush piles. When fishing these types of structure and cover anglers typically drag the bait across the bottom slowly while pausing the bait for 10-20 seconds when reaching the desired strike zone.
Shallow water techniques
When fishing the Carolina rig in shallow water anglers typically focus around shallow points, flats, grass edges and timber. When fishing shallower water dragging the bait is still very effective but implementing a hopping motion with your rod tip raised can entice bass to bite your lure. Also ripping the bait free of shallow grass and slowing letting it settle to the bottom can also get lethargic bass to eat the bait.
choosing the correct leader length is key when fishing a Carolina rig. When fishing deeper water 10-30 feet deep using a longer leader of 2.5-5ft long is common because fish feeding out deep is not always on the bottom. Using a longer leader will place the bait higher in the water column and when dragging the bait the longer leader the bait will have slower more natural movement. When fishing the Carolina rig in shallower water using a shorter leader is typically better. Shorter leader help increase casting accuracy when is key when fishing shallow structure or cover. The shorter leader will also cause the bait to move quicker and more erratically when dragging and or hopping the rig. These movements will more than likely trigger bass that are feeding in shallow water to eat your bait.
Carolina rigs are typically thrown on 7’6″-8′ H action casting rods spooled with 20-25lb floro line. when fishing out deep the added length of the rod allows anglers to make a long cast and helps the angler make a strong hookset at the end of a long cast. When fishing shallower water using a shorter 7′-7’3″ MH rod with 15-20lb foro is better because making shorter more accurate cast is needed when fishing shallow. Also the shorter MH rod makes casting the lighter 3/8-1/2 weights easier on the angler.
All in all the Carolina rig is one of the most versatile rigs in bass fishing and can be used 12 months out of the year and in almost in water depth. As when using any technique for bass fishing experiment with the lures and techniques throughout the day to figure out what the bass want!
Good fishing and God bless.