11 Great Spring Fishing Rigs | Outdoor Life

11 Great Spring Fishing Rigs

Carolina Rigs

Carolina Rigs

Carolina Rig: This innovative rig has become one of the most popular ways to fish soft plastic lures for bass. It also can be used with floating-diving plugs and natural baits.

The Carolina Rig allows anglers to cover water faster than if a standard bottom-bumping worm, especially deep water for suspended fish, or ones hanging above weeds, rock or other snags. The Carolina Rig is excellent for deep-water fishing, and can be slow-trolled or drifted.

Some important modifications have been developed for the rig which incorporates fish-appealing sound to the lure. By using a heavy brass slip weight, glass bead and brass barrel swivel, each time the brass parts hit the glass bead a sharp "clack" is made, which draws the attention of fish. This is a real plus in deep or muddy water.

For clear water, using a small plastic worm, lizard or "creature" with exposed hooks makes the Carolina Rig very effective. Leader length determines how "high" a lure floats above bottom. In places with tall weeds or brush use a long leader. Where weeds and moss are minimal try a shorter leader.

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Texposed Rigging

Texposed Rigging

Texposed Rigging: This is a great light-line soft plastic lure rigging for bass, walleyes, panfish and trout. The hook point is worked completely back through the body of a soft plastic lure. This is unlike the Texas rig that has the hook point buried inside the lure. The hook point and barb are exposed from the plastic, and then just the very tip of the hook point is buried back into the lure. This makes a soft plastic lure weedless, yet the point and barb are easily "set" even with light tackle and fine line.

Because the hook tip is only lightly buried in the plastic, the barb can be set simply by winding the reel handle - even with 6-pound test! No hard hook set is needed!

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Stinger Hook Rigging

Stinger Hook Rigging

Stinger Hook Rigging: Many bass, pike, muskies, redfish and other species hit spinner-baits out of reflex action, so they often strike short. For this reason, veteran anglers frequently rig a "stinger" hook to a spinner-bait.

A large, long-shank, ring-eye hook slipped over a spinner-bait barb and held securely with small pieces of hard plastic (like that from a coffee can lid) make an ideal "stinger" arrangement.

Positioning a stinger hook point in the opposite direction of a main spinner-bait hook allows for the best barbing of striking fish. However, this makes a lure considerably less weedless, so having both stinger and spinner-bait hooks lined up in the same direction (as pictured) is most often used.

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Hold Back Rigging In Current With A Float

Hold Back Rigging In Current With A Float

Hold Back Rigging In Current With A Float: In Current speed in many rivers and in tidewaters is often twice as fast at the surface as it is at the bottom. This is why most fish in current hold near bottom. When surface float is used for river fishing it's imperative that the float is "held back" or substantially slowed so baits and lures are presented correctly. These two illustrations show proven systems to "hold back" floats in current.

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Kentucky Lake Crappie Rig

Kentucky Lake Crappie Rig

Kentucky Lake Crappie Rig: Crappies are well known for "suspending," and that makes them especially difficult for some anglers to catch. The Kentucky Lake Crappie Rig was developed on the sprawling mid-south impoundment, and addresses the "suspended fish" problem by positioning baits a couple feet off bottom. In deep, flooded timber, sometimes adding three, four or even five baits is most effective in locating the depth where a school of crappies is holding. Also, some anglers use jigs, or jig-and-minnow combinations, on this rig. If using jigs, try several different color lures to learn if fish have a color preference on a particular day.

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Weedless Bass Bait Rigs

Weedless Bass Bait Rigs

Weedless Bass Bait Rigs: Shiners and frogs are two of the best live baits for bass. A standard weedless hook should be used, and baits should be hooked as shown in the illustrations. For floating weeds, a weedless hook should be placed in a shiner under a bait, just forward of the tail fin. A low-profile, torpedo-shaped float should be used because it "works" through weeds with ease, which prevents break offs from bass.

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Wire Rigs For Natural Bait

Wire Rigs For Natural Bait

Wire Rigs For Natural Bait: These versatile live bait rigs can be used in saltwater or freshwater, and they can be made with single hooks, treble hooks, short-shank hooks, offset-shank hooks and other hook styles. Some anglers also rig hooks with split rings, believing that such rigs are less likely to bind and break during fights with strong, toothy fish, such as pike and muskies, bluefish and mackerel. The rigs shown are made with single-strand wire, preferably coffee-colored, and all connections are made with Haywire Twists. Multi-strand wire also can be used, but crimps must then be employed.

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Slip Float Rigging

Slip Float Rigging

Slip Float Rigging: Slip-floats are designed to slide along a fishing line, and can be "set" to hold a bait or lure at any desired depth. A "stop knot" or "float stop" is positioned on the fishing line, above the slip float. After a cast is made the "Stop Knot" halts at the top of the slip float, which prevents line from flowing through the float and determines the depth a bait or lure is fished. The beauty of a slip float is that a bait or lure can be presented at any depth, which is pre-set simply by sliding the "stop knot" closer to or farther away from the float. Another plus is that slip floats are easily cast with spinning, spin-cast and bait-casting tackle.

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Split Shot And Floating Grub

Split Shot And Floating Grub

Split Shot And Floating Grub: This is a simple and effective way to get small, floating plastic-tail grubs deep for spooky, clear-water bass, crappies, walleyes and trout. Use small, light-wire hooks and light-test line, which a buoyant grub to hover nicely in the water column. In clear water, yellow, white and smoke-colored grubs are deadly. All-black grubs also work well, especially for smallmouths, because they imitate leeches. This rig is a good one to fish slowly over deep rock piles, grass-bottom areas and moss beds, because the floating grub flutters enticingly off bottom above a split-shot.

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Floating Grub Dropper Rig

Floating Grub Dropper Rig

Floating Grub Dropper Rig: This is a great way to quickly locate the depth panfish, bass, walleyes and other sportfish are suspended. A series of dropper lines with floating grubs attached can be "stacked" above a split shot, and when a lure at one depth starts to draw strikes, that's the depth level to concentrate effort. Also, by "stacking" floating grubs with this rig, several different color and style models can be used to learn which is best for that day on the water. This is a dynamite crappie rig for vertical fishing in flooded timber. Keep dropper lines short to prevent tangling.

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Carolina Jig Rig

Carolina Jig Rig

Carolina Jig Rig: Ever think of using a jig instead of an egg sinker when making a "Carolina Rig?" You should, because it's a hot bass technique that creates a double-lure weapon that scores on bass you'd otherwise never catch.

The "Carolina jig rig" is set up just like a standard Carolina rig, except instead of threading on an egg sinker or bullet weight, a weedless jig is used. The jig is allowed to slide on a fishing line through the line-tie ring. Then the line is tied to a barrel swivel, with the leader having the floating worm, grub or lizard tied to the opposite end of the barrel swivel. The jig must have a large line-tie ring so the fishing line slides easily through it. A durable jig weed guard is vital, too. The addition of glass beads and a few brass "Ticker" disks or light brass weights onto the fishing line between the jig and barrel swivel add bass-attracting sound to the rig.

"Clean" humps, slab-rock ledges, sand and gravel bars, roadbeds and "ditches" are ideal places to fish the Carolina jig rig. It's also an excellent double-lure set-up for fishing well-defined weed edges or "walls." With a Carolina jig rig, you have a double chance of locating fish suspended along a vertical edge.

Whenever two lures are used it's smart to use greatly contrasting colors. A good choice is dark crayfish color for the heavy jig, with lighter and brighter colors for the floating worm or lizard. A brown, black or dark blue jig used with a shad-colored, fire tiger, white, yellow or light blue plastic lure is an example. Offering bass lures of opposite colors helps determine what hue bass want on any given day.

Another important consideration in Carolina jig rig fishing is using a strong, but very sensitive graphite rod. It's important that the slightest tap of a bass taking the jig is telegraphed to the angler so a solid hook set can be made quickly.

Editors

Spring fishing is rocking in many areas, and it's on tap to kick into high gear throughout America in a few short weeks. With that in mind anglers are wise to bone up on some of the rigs they use to present baits and lures to a wide variety of fish. Here are ten to help shorten the time between strikes, from Bob McNally's book best-selling book "Fisherman's Knots, Fishing Rigs, and How To Use Them," available from Bass Pro Shops (www.bassproshops.com) and Cabela's (www.cabelas.com).