Carolina Rig High Pressured Bass

Catching More High Pressured Bass | Change the Way You Rig


With high pressure comes difficult fishing and the need for anglers to adjust; more specifically, downsize. While a Carolina Rig is one of the best ways to catch big bass, there are several ways you can adjust the rig to fit the conditions of the water you are fishing. When the bite is tough, changing up your presentation can be the difference between zero bites and many bites.

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Video transcript:

Travis Manson:
Hey guys, Travis Manson. Today, we're going to be talking about Carolina rigging and there's a lot of different applications as far as when to use a Carolina rig. You can fish it shallow, deep, but we're going to talk about a real specific way to fish a Carolina rig. In fact, little sneaky technique. I'm actually using a split shot and we're going to see if we can catch a few bass with this setup. So down here in Florida, this is a standard application when you're fishing a Carolina rig, but we really want to downsize today. We're fishing the area that's got a lot of pressure, and I just want to give those fish a different look. So I'm going to downsize the Carolina rig. I'm actually going to use a small split shot weight and then a finesse worm and we're going to see if we can catch a few fish. So we're taking a finesse approach with this Carolina rig.

Travis Manson:
I have a small split shot, got about a foot and a half, two foot leader, extra wide gap hook. You can use a straight shank hook, whatever you're comfortable with. I'm going to use a little finesse worm. It's got a little bit of buoyancy here in the tail. So this will actually kind of just drift around. I'm going to be pulling it through some sparse vegetation. We're going to be fishing some shell beds, some different types of applications where I'll throw this. And listen, I know we're down here in Florida, but this is a technique you can use all over the country. I use this quite a bit when I really want to finesse and downsize my presentation. So for this setup, you might be wondering why I'm using a spinning rod. Number one, it's going to help me cast further because we're using such a small weight, really finesse. I like a seven foot medium.

Travis Manson:
I like braid to a fluoro carbon leader, whatever type of braid you're comfortable with as far as pound test, 15, 20, and then the leader materials flouro carbon, of course. And you can go 10 to 12 pound depending on the conditions. Here I got 10 pound flouro. Of course, we got our little finesse worm and we're going to see if we can catch a few fish with this. So I'm fishing a shallow water area. There's some hard bottom out here, and these fish are relating to this hard bottom. I can actually see it on the graph. I got the 360 on. I can see that this little shallow bar is about 20 to 30 feet out in front of me. And we have some sparse vegetation around here. And really all I'm going to do is fan cast this and work it real slow. And I want to try to make contact with that hard bottom.

Travis Manson:
So even with this small split shot, I'm still going to get good bottom contact, especially if you're using braid, you're going to get really good sensitivity with this. And I'm going to be able to really pick apart this whole area and see where these active fish are. So I have some hard bottom on this grass edge. We got some scattered lily pads. I'm going to make a nice long cast. What's great about this finesse Carolina rig approach is with that small split shot, I'm able to fish it in this shallower water. We're only about three feet of water. And so I let that bait hit the bottom. I can feel that split shot as it's going over this hard bottom, and I'm simply just going to reel up the slack and then really slowly pull that Carolina rig, split shot rig, however you want to call it, across that hard bottom.

Travis Manson:
So of course I am using the finesse worm, but there's a lot of different plastics that you can fish this finesse Carolina rig with, any type of small crawl, creature bait, a small lizard will work great, even a small tube, believe it or not would work great with this split shot Carolina rig set up. So I will bury the retrieve just a little bit. Here I'm actually going to work this bait pretty fast along this lily pad edge because I'm just covering water. And so I'm not really slowing it down too much. I'm just doing a steady pull and reel up the slack. But a lot of times, if you get an area where you know there's a lot of fish and you really want to slow it down, I'll make a nice long cast to wherever I think that fish is kind of hanging out and right here, we have a little bit of indentation in this lily pad edge and I'll do what we call dead sticking.

Travis Manson:
Basically, I'm going to let that bait fall. I might pull it just a little bit to give it some movement and then I'm going to let it sit there. Sometimes I'll let that sit there for 10, 15 seconds and just wait and then reel up the slack. And a lot of times when you make that next little bit of movement, that's when you're going to get your bite. So a lot of times you just want to experiment with different retrieves. Sometimes speed it up just a little bit, other times you might have to slow it down. If you get in an area where there's a lot of pressure, cold front conditions, that's when you're going to really want to slow this bait down.

Travis Manson:
All right, next time you're going to Carolina rig, downsize a little bit, put a little split shot, a little finesse bait, plastic worm like this, throw it around any place where there's a lot of pressure. I promise you're going to catch a lot more fish.

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