Soft Plastic Rigging Guide: Carolina Rig

What Is It?

The Carolina rig is actually very similar to the Texas rig in terms of how the plastic bait is rigged onto the hook, the main difference between the two is the weight; by definition, a Carolina rig must use some sort of weight (Texas rigs can be fished weightless) and the position of the weight is always somewhere on the leader between 3 and 18 inches above the hook/plastic - it is never pegged right to the hook.

By keeping the weight above the lure, the rig produces an entirely different action than a Texas rig, creating more of a circular swimming motion as the lure descends through the water column or is retrieved along or near the bottom back to the angler.

Another notable difference between Texas and Carolina rigs related to weight is size. Unless punching through cover, many situations where you fish a Texas rig only require weights between 1/16 ounce and 1/2 ounce (or no weight at all). While Carolina rigs will typically use at least a 3/8 ounce weight, and sometimes as heavy as 2 ounces or more depending on what species you are targeting and water conditions.

what is the Carolina rig

How To Rig It

For soft baits, there a wide range of options that pair well with Carolina rigging - ribbontail worms, stick baits, soft jekbaits, lizards, creatures, and craws are all good choices for this rig. This means you can pair whatever size and profile bait is best for the given situation. 

To your mainline add a sinker using an egg, bullet, or cylindrical-shaped weight. Behind that add a bead then tie to a swivel. Decide on a leader both in type and length. At the end of your leader tie on a worm hook or EWG worm hook big enough to accommodate whatever size plastic you have chosen. 

how to rig the Carolina rig

How To Fish It

The Carolina rig is typically fished by casting then dragging the rig across your target area along or near the bottom. To properly drag the rig, you want to position your rod parallel to the surface of the water and use a sweeping motion to move the lure over the target area you are fishing. No need to jerk the rig, just a nice smooth sweep will work.

Tips & Tricks

How to Rig and Fish the Carolina Rig

How to Fish the Carolina Rig

The Perfect Carolina Rig Combo