Make Your Carolina Rig Float
The Carolina rig has been around for a long, long time. One of the oldest and best ways to get a bite, no doubt. But let’s be honest, fishing a Carolina rig can be a little boring sometimes. It just is what it is. It’s a slow presentation, where you simply lob it out and drag it back. Not a lot of action or interaction on the part of the angler.
But that’s what makes it so effective really, it’s a slow but extremely thorough technique. And though there’s not much that can be done about the speed of the retrieve, there is a little something that can be done to spice things up. You can actually make your Carolina rig float, believe it or not. Not the weight, but the bait. Let me explain.
Let Me Explain
Some anglers may already be under the impression that soft plastics float up off the bottom behind a Carolina rig, but most soft plastics don’t actually float. Instead, they slowly sink. Especially when the weight of a hook and fluorocarbon line are added.
So a typical Carolina rig drug along the bottom consists of a weight stirring up mud and silt while a soft plastic lure follows along a short distance behind it, right along the bottom. This works well, and gets lots of bites. The bass notice the disturbance of the weight along the bottom and then come looking around, only to find the soft plastic trailing along.
But what if the bait could float up off the bottom? Doesn’t it make sense that more bass would see it, since their eyes are on the top of their heads? And there’s no doubt that sometimes, bass suspend a few feet off the bottom. I’ve seen this time and time again on my electronics.
So it stands to reason that a bait floating a few feet up off the bottom would draw the attention of even more bass, and make a Carolina rig that much more effective. But how do you get a Carolina rig to float?
ElaZtech, Monofilament and Hook Selection
If you want to give this technique a try, there are a few things you’ll need. First, a soft plastic bait that’s naturally buoyant and will float on its own. That’s where baits made of ElaZtech come in. ElaZtech is a proprietary material Z-Man uses to make several different soft plastic baits. It’s super stretchy, making it very durable. But the other unique characteristic, and the one most pertinent to this topic, is that ElaZtech floats.
So first you’ll need one of Z-Man's soft plastics, like their WormZ, LizardZ or Boar HogZ. But even though these baits will float if you just toss them in the water, they’ll still sink if you add weight to them. And it doesn’t take much. Just the weight of a hook is enough to drag some of the smaller ElaZtech baits to the bottom. So you need to select a light wire hook, which typically works well with a Carolina rig anyway.
Lastly, you’ll want to use monofilament for your leader line. It’s not important that you use it for your main line. But since monofilament floats, it will also help your bait float up off the bottom. Where if you use fluorocarbon for your leader line, which sinks, it will naturally pull your bait down.
What it Looks Like
By combining a monofilament leader, light-wire hook and ElaZtech soft plastic, you can actually get your bait to float up off the bottom. This gives your Carolina rig a different look. As the rig is drug along bottom, the bait will naturally be pulled down as well behind the weight. But then on the pause, it will slowly float up off the bottom a few feet.
Then on the next pull, the bait tucks down to the bottom again, and then slowly floats up once more. This gives you a better chance of drawing the attention of a bass suspended up off the bottom and adds at least a little action to the classic Carolina rig.