Fishing a Carolina rig is a great way to catch bass from a boat when they’re staging, either pre- or post-spawn. Later in the summer, C-rigs work well out deeper as well, as bass make their way further offshore.
But this well-known, age-old technique is rarely used by anglers fishing from the bank, and it could really work well in that setting if you fish from shore often. Today, we’re going to make a case for why you should fish a Carolina rig from shore, talk through rigging it up and give you a few pointers on how to go about adding this to your arsenal.
Why It Works?
When fishing from the bank, you’re often limited to a short stretch of shoreline. There’s only so much water to fish. Using slow moving baits is a great way to maximize the potential of an area and milk it for all it’s worth. So Texas rigs, wacky rigs and shaky heads can all work well. But so can Carolina rigs, and they even offer a couple additional advantages as compared to these other baits.
For starters, being able to cast as far as possible will increase your range when fishing from shore. And Carolina rigs can typically be lobbed a good bit further than most other slow moving baits. Now you don’t want to use a super heavy weight when fishing this presentation from shore, because you can certainly overdo it with the weight, but these setups often still have great range even with mid-size weights.
C-rigs also offer a way to keep your bait above the mucky bottom that often presents challenges when fishing from the bank, especially in ponds. Pond bottoms are often blanketed with thick and nasty muck. While the weight of a Carolina rig plows through this muck, the bait can rise above it a few inches and stay clean, for the most part.
How To Rig A Carolina Rig For Bank Fishing
Carolina rigs have six basic components: mainline, weight, bead, swivel, leader line, hook and bait. To put this rig together, slide the weight up on your mainline, that’s the line coming out of your rod and reel. Then slide a bead up on your line, tying a swivel on next. Now, take a short piece of fluorocarbon or monofilament line to make your leader.
This section of line can be up to 3 or 4 feet long when fishing from a boat. But when fishing from shore, it’s typically better to go with a shorter leader in the 12- to 20- inch range. It’s also a good idea to go with a smaller weight when fishing from shore, as compared to the heavier weights in the 1- ounce range that you might use from a boat. A 1/2- ounce weight is often plenty when fishing from the bank. MONSTERBASS actually sells a fantastic Carolina Rig Tungsten Pro Pack for a great price that has everything you need in it, short of fishing line.
Once you have your weight, bead and swivel in place and you’ve selected your leader line, tie one end of the leader to the other end of the swivel and tie the opposite end of the leader to the hook. Extra wide gap (EWG) hooks and offset work hooks both work well with Carolina rigs. You can choose your hook style based on the type of soft plastic you decide to fish with. Thin soft plastics like lizards work well with offset worm hooks. And the wider gap of an EWG hook works better with thicker baits like grubs. Rig your soft plastic of choice weedless on your hook of choice and you’re all set.
How To Rig A Carolina Rig From The Shore
I would recommend starting your bank fishing trip with a more exhilarating approach, like a topwater or spinnerbait, before resorting to something slower like a C-rig. But once you’ve caught any aggressive fish that might be positioned closer to the bank, start casting a C-rig further out and kind of work your way around like the hands of a clock, throwing your bait out as far as you can in all directions and dragging it back slowly along the bottom.
This will give you the best chance to catch as many fish as possible when fishing from a stationary point on shore. If you have the ability to fish down the shore, move down 50 or 60 feet and start the process over, dissecting that stretch for all it’s worth. Make slow sweeping drags, pausing in between each time to reel up your slack.
You want to be sure to let the bait sink all the way to the bottom at the start of each cast and then maintain bottom contact all the way through the retrieve. If you feel the rig get mushy, that typically indicates a bite and that mushy feeling is the bass picking the weight up off the bottom. This loss of contact is the best way to tell you’re getting a bite, and it’s why maintaining bottom contact during the retrieve is so important. If you feel this, make a long sweeping hookset and then haul the bass in.
A Carolina rig is a great presentation to fish from the bank because it’s an extremely effective and thorough technique and it’s not something bass often see fished from shore. It’s a great way to generate strikes and make the most of the water you have to fish. So, if you’ve never tried a C-rig from shore before, hopefully you will give it a shot on your next outing.
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