Bass Fishing Hacks

Simple Hacks and Tips to Help You Catch More Bass

How long is a Carolina rig leader?

Most Carolina rig leaders are between 12 and 24 inches in length but occasionally a longer leader like 36 to 48 inches will work better for finicky bass after the spawn ends. The leader length of your Carolina rig is something that you might want to play with to see exactly what is getting the majority of the bites when you go bass fishing.

The Carolina rig is one of the most potent bass catching rigs that there is. A Carolina rig works when its sunny, rainy, hot, cold windy and calm. It is often the last resort bass fishing rig that fishermen will throw when the bass are not biting.

I think that they are a last resort for bass fishermen a lot of times for a couple of different reasons. They are kind of a pain in the but to rig up. There is a lot of knot tying and beads and weights and hooks and then you have to add a soft plastic. They are difficult to cast and there are a few other minor annoyances BUT they work like crazy.

I am a Bass Fishing Charter Guide on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I have been catching bass in the canals, ponds and lakes all over Florida for more than 40 years. In the article below, I will teach you everything that I know about using a Carolina rig to catch big bass.

Let’s get started.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Carolina rig and the Texas rig.

What is the best bait for a Carolina rig?

Creature Baits

Deciding what bait to use for you Carolina rig can get confusing and certain times of the year different baits will work better than others. Many professional bass fishermen like to use creature baits with their Carolina rigs. A creature bait is a lure that has lots of legs and other protrusions that are wiggling around as you fish with it.

They might look like a crawdad or a lizard but not really. They are just a whole bunch of appendages moving around in the water to entice a bass to strike. To me they look like some alien creature but they do work for catching bass.

In the world of bass fishing there are just 3 basic colors that you will absolutely need to have for all of your soft plastic baits. You will need a watermelon red colored soft plastic bait; a green pumpkin colored bait and something dark like a black, blue or purple colored soft plastic bait.


A crawdad is a great soft plastic to throw with your Carolina rig. Bass will feed on crawdads anytime that they can find one. It is one of their best protein sources throughout the year in many places. The larger sized crawdad imitations send out more vibrations than the little ones so that is what I would suggest for Carolina rigs.


The old plastic worm is the quintessential Carolina rig bait. Plastic worms have put more big bass on the hooks of bass fishermen more than any lure out there. They just flat out work and they work well.

You will want to use a larger worm in the Summer months because the bass are lethargic in the hot water and won’t bother with small baits sometimes. It has to be big enough to make it worth their while to spend energy to swim over and eat the thing.

You will want to use the colors mentioned above during certain water clarity conditions. The dark colors like the black, blue and purple work best in murky water conditions. The red watermelon works great in clear water conditions and the green pumpkin color works just about in any water condition.

What is the best line for a Carolina rig?

Most bass fishermen would assume that the braided lines are the way to go for Carolina rig fishing but there are some disadvantages to braided lines for this type of fishing. The no give quality of braided line means that you can set your hook too hard and break your leader. That’s no good. Most braided lines float and you want to fish the bottom so a braided line is not the right choice in this instance.

The best bet for a Carolina rig fishing line is mono filament or fluorocarbon main line around 15 pounds. You leader will be around 10 or 12 pound test. It is up to you whether you want to use fluorocarbon or mono filament line for your leaders.

Many people swear by the stuff but I am not fully convinced that bass don’t see it. That line set up will catch you lots of bass even in very clear water conditions. Mono filament leaders float so your bait might tend to get more action above the bottom but fluorocarbon is tougher and more abrasion resistant. You probably want to go with a fluorocarbon leader line.

What is the best rod and reel for a Carolina rig?

The best rod and reel set up for a Carolina rig is probably a medium/heavy rod that is from 7 feet to 7 feet 6 inches in length. This will give you enough backbone to set your hook well and let you cast a Carolina rig with a longer leader.

The best reel will be something fast like a 6.5:1 to a 7:1 gear ratio. A 7:1 gear ratio means that for every one 360 degree turn of your handle the spool of the reel will turn 7 times. That is all that it means. That is way a fast reel has a high gear ratio because it retrieves line faster than a low gear ratio reel.

Watch the video below to learn more about selecting the perfect rod and reel combos.

What is the glass bead for on a Carolina rig?

The beads on the Carolina rig were originally glass but they are plastic these days. The beads do a great job of protecting your knots from the constant wear and tear of the weight smashing into it over and over again. The original intent of the glass beads was to make noise as it hits rocks and things in the water to alert the bass to its whereabouts.

Carolina rigs are most often fished where there is a hard bottom. So the bead is constantly knocking into things and sending out those low frequency vibrations that attract bass. They are also colorful red and orange usually so the bass is also attracted by the sight of the bead.

Glass beads make more noise than the plastic ones do but the plastic ones are much more available and much less expensive than the glass beads for a Carolina rig. The bead size is usually round 10 millimeters if you get them in the store. You don’t need to go bigger than that for a Carolina rig.

What is the best weight size for a Carolina rig?

The most commonly used weight sizes for a Carolina rig are from 1/2 of an ounce to 1 ounce. That weight range works just about anywhere that you are fishing for bass. Carolina rigs are usually fished in open water scenarios with hard bottoms so all that you need the weight to do is get you to the bottom effectively.

Since the advent of the tungsten weight you can get a lot more mass with a smaller weight. You also get a better feel of the bottom with a tungsten weight versus a lead weight. The tungsten weights smaller profile will snag on underwater debris less often than a more bulky lead weight.

The problem with a tungsten weight is the cost and availability. They are much more expensive than a lead weight and not all stores carry them so you might have to do some searching to get your hands on some.

How do you fish a Carolina rig?

A Carolina rig is one of the easiest rigs to fish with for bass. Just cast it out and reel it back in slowly with a twitch or two every now and again and you good to go. Just pay a lot of attention when you are fishing with this rig. Sometimes you might not feel the bite if you let your line get slack. Keep the slack out of the line and you will catch a ton of fish with this bass fishing technique.

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