Dragging Shell Bars with a Carolina Rig for Post Spawn Bass

Dragging Shell Bars with a Carolina Rig for Post Spawn Bass


Humps covered in mussel shells are gold mines for post spawn giants, and can be explored thoroughly with a Carolina Rig. Shell bars can hold bass year-round, but they are loaded with hungry bass as they recuperate from the spawn.

Special thanks to Visit Sebring.

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Video transcript:

Alex Rudd:
What's up guys. Welcome back to the MONSTERBASS show. My name is Alex Rudd for you guys that don't know me. We are down here hanging out in beautiful Southern Florida. Want to give a huge shout out to the people of Sebring for helping us to down here to get hooked up with some awesome people on some awesome lakes and just an absolutely gorgeous place to be fishing. But we are here, and that's what we're here to do is do some fishing and teach you guys about some fishing.

Alex Rudd:
So today we're going to be talking about Carolina rigs and fishing the Carolina rig. And so today we're fishing offshore shell bars for some post-spawn large mouth. And really, this is an application that you can apply anywhere in the country, especially for these post-spawn fish. You have that big wave of fish. They push up, they make their beds, they get done. And the first thing that a lot of them do is they start heading back out deep. And when you can find those fish deep, you can find them schooled up, you can get right quick and catch a lot of really big fish. And one of the best tools to do that with is the Carolina rig.

Alex Rudd:
And for me, I keep it really simple. I live by the motto, "Keep it simple, stupid." It's an old school rig. I rig it up old school, and everything that I do with it is pretty much old school just the way your Papaw or your dad probably did it. That's the way that I like to do it. So we're going to get one of these things rigged up. We're going to go out here. We're going to get it on a shell bar. We're going to drag this thing around. We're going to see if we can catch some big fish. And I'm going to walk you guys through the steps of how I rig it up, how I like to fish, and what I'm really looking for when it comes to fishing the Carolina rig.

Alex Rudd:
The way I like to rig up a Carolina rig is really simple. You've got your barrel swivel. I go a bead in front of my knot on my barrel swivel just to protect that knot from that tungsten, and then a three-quarter to one ounce tungsten weight to Carolina rig with. And then how I actually do my leader link is pretty funny. There's a bunch of different theories out there, but what I do is I will go pinch it here, go to my shoulder, and then do a full, entire arms' length. And that will be my leader link. And if they're being really finicky and they're wanting a really long leader, I'll do an entire two arms' length like that. Old school way of doing it. It's the way my dad taught me to do it. I'm sure it's the way some of your Papaws and your dads taught you to do it. But just keeping it simple with the Carolina rig. For me, I feel like I get more bites.

Alex Rudd:
So now let's get up. Let's get up here on the front of the boat. Let's go talk about fishing this thing and see if we can crack us a giant.

Alex Rudd:
So we made our way out here and we started fishing, and they're set up out here off of these brush piles, these log jams, these shell bars, rock, different styles of things. But the deal is, and this is the most important thing to keep in mind when you get offshore and you start looking for this type of stuff, is to really look for the difference in bottom composition or something on the bottom that stands out among all of just the plain bottom that you're going to see.

Alex Rudd:
On these lakes and all throughout the country this is the same, down here you're dealing with a lot of sand bottom. And so you have these vast expanses of sand on the bottom, and then you'll have a shell bar or a log jam or a brush pile. And what you've got to realize is a fish will travel until it finds something to sit next to. And a bass specifically loves to have something to sit next to, because it feels like it's protected. It also feels like it can ambush from that spot. And so it's just one of those things that the bass fills in some of those self-preservation instincts as far as eating and self-protection. So those fish will travel out here through vast expanses of nothing to find that one thing to sit on.

Alex Rudd:
And when we say shell, we're literally talking about shells. These are fresh water mussels and different things that congregate together. They'll congregate on top of something hard themselves, and that's what they look for. Just like the bass look for something hard, those are the areas that we're really keying in on with this Carolina rig and really slowing down to fish when we're fishing these areas, because we're looking for that isolated cover, that isolated structure among a bunch of nothingness that those bass are going to congregate on and they're going to want to sit on and they're going to want to eat.

Alex Rudd:
So what makes the Carolina rig such a good tool out here post-spawn dealing with these finicky fish? Number one is you can keep it in the strike zone for a long time. I mean, you're going to notice the way that I'm dragging this thing is slow. It's monotonous, but it's one of those deals. I'm trying to trick those fish into eating this thing. And so I'm going to want to keep it in front of their face as long as I possibly can. And so I'm not moving this thing much at all. Just barely dragging it, letting it sit, dead sticking it, and then moving it just a little bit.

Alex Rudd:
And there's a variety of different baits that you can use on a Carolina rig. Back at home, I'm going to pick up a crawdad first or some kind of crawdad looking piece of plastic, because we have so many crawdads in our lakes. When I'm down here in Florida, I'm fishing a bigger worm because you're dealing with a lot of crappie and bluegill and golden shiner and stuff like that. And then if I'm up in Michigan or something like that, probably going to pick up, again, something that looks like a crawdad or even something that looks like a goby. You don't always have to just fish a worm or a crawdad on a Carolina rig. One tool that I use a whole lot on the TVA river system is something that looks like a shad or looks like a goby if you're up north.

Alex Rudd:
So the Carolina rig is really cool, because it is so versatile in the fact that you can Texas rig on the back of that Carolina rig essentially any piece of plastic that you want to and Carolina rig it to catch some fish.

Alex Rudd:
But then number two, you are able to just keep that bait in the strike zone for so long and really give those fish a chance to eat it. You're not trying to get these fish to react to this thing like for fishing a crank bait or something like that. What you're doing is you're trying to get these fish to trick them into eating this thing, that it's worth their time to expend that energy.

Alex Rudd:
Another thing that's really cool is you've got weight bait separation. That weight bait separation for me is super important, because you've got your weight down here. Your bait's back here. And what that allows that bait to do is essentially be weightless and to be really natural, to fall really, really slow. When you use something like a Z-Man plastic like you guys are getting in the box or some low soft plastic, like this worm I'm fishing here, what it does is it either floats up or it sinks really, really slowly. And when that bait hangs in those fishes' face, it's been proven time and time again. When something's suspended in those fishes' face, a lot of the times that's when they're going to want to eat it. And I have noticed, and in my experience fishing a lot of offshore stuff, fishing those Tennessee river ledges, is that applying that anywhere in the country, something that hangs in those fishes' face is one of the best ways to get them to bite and get them to actually commit to what you're throwing.

Alex Rudd:
But yeah, Carolina rig is such a versatile tool, such a powerful tool in putting fish in the boat. Really old school. Your grandpa probably did it. Your daddy probably did it, but just because it's old school doesn't mean it still doesn't catch fish. And I mean, today, we're going to drag around out here and hopefully run into a big one.

Alex Rudd:
It's really important when I'm looking for a shell bar, when I'm looking for a brush pile, when I'm looking for rock in a mud flat or something like that, dragging this Carolina rig, you have constant bottom contact. And so with constant bottom contact, you can feel exactly what's down there on the bottom. When you get really tuned into it and get really good with it, you can really tell what you're fishing around. But with that constant bottom contact, you're going to be able to feel that composition change. If it's smooth, smooth, smooth, and then it gets rough, when you hit that rough, that's usually where those fish are going to be. They're going to be congregated around that shell. And so that's when you know, like what I'm in right now, to slow down, really take your time, and give those fish a chance to look at that thing.

Alex Rudd:
But really cool with the Carolina rig is the ability to know what that bottom composition's doing to be able to slow down and fish it really effectively.

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