If you are a bass angler, you have probably heard many terms and methods mentioned by others that may not be familiar to you. We have all been there. Rest assured, these terms are actually very simple, and once explained, can be used to your advantage on your next bass fishing outing. The following list contains popular bass fishing rigs and rigging methods that every bass angler should know. There are many other rigging methods, but these 7 are some of the most important.
Texas Rig: One of the most popular bass rigging methods, the Texas Rig utilizes either a classic worm hook, or a wide gap worm hook. The bait, usually a soft plastic worm or other soft plastic bait, is nose hooked, then slid up to the eye of the hook where the rest of the bait is hook weedless style. This allows for weedless presentations. This rig can be fished weightless, or a bullet style weight can be added to fish deeper water or provide a different action.
Carolina Rig: The Carolina rig offers fishability in all water depths. A soft plastic bait is rigged Texas style and attached to a small leader (typically fluorocarbon) of similar diameter to the running line being used. This leader is attached to the main line via a small barrel swivel. Above the barrel swivel on the main line is a glass bead and a bullet style weight. The weight and the bead contact each other while the bait is being retrieved/moved creating a clicking noise that attracts fish of all species. This rig can be fished with a variety of baits, leader lengths, bead sizes, weight sizes, and weight materials to create a variety of Carolina rig presentations.
Drop Shot: The drop shot rig is a very versatile rig that can be fished in a variety of water depths. This rig consists of a soft plastic finesse style bait (usually a 4-5 inch worm or minnow), a finesse style hook attached to the angler’s line (usually fluorocarbon line), and a drop shot style weight. The hook is tied on, and the tag end of the knot is left long. This tag end is where the weight will be attached. Most dropshot weights contain a quick release that will “bite” the line with just a simple overhand knot. This feature is designed to break away if the weight gets snagged, so the whole rig is not lost. The weight is typically tied 12-18 inches from the hook. The drop shot rig is typically fished on spinning gear.
Ned Rig: Unmatched action and simplicity are the standards of what makes the ned rig successful. A air infused soft plastic finesse worm such as the Z-Man Finesse TRD is rigged onto a mushroom style jig head such as a Z-Man Finesse ShroomZ jig. The bait and jig are extremely simple until they enter the water. The jig sinks the bait to the bottom, but the air infused plastic stands straight up on the bottom and with every twitch of the rod, scoots along the bottom looking like a foraging worm or minnow. Bass cannot resist the action of this bait, because it can be fished extremely slow with very subtle movement.
Neko Rig: A close relative to the wacky rig, the Neko rig utilizes a nail style weight that is inserted into the end of a soft plastic worm. The o-ring is placed roughly 2 inches from the nail weight depending on the length of the bait. This rig provides a way for the angler to reach deeper water with more speed than the traditional wacky rig, and creates a standup action of the soft plastic worm due to the nail weighted end of the worm. Popular plastics used in this rig include stick worms, finesse worms, and floating plastic worms such as the Z-Man Big TRD.
Shaky Head: The shaky head rig is a rig that is most commonly used with soft plastic finesse worms ranging from 4-8 inches long. The two types of jigs used are round shaky head jigs and stand-up shaky head jigs. The round jigs excel with stick baits and worms in the 4-6 inch size, while the sand-up jigs offer more stability for finesse and trick worms up to 8 inches in length. This rig provides “shaky” action of the soft plastic bait used and can be rigged with the hook exposed or rigged weedless “Texas” style by utilizing screw in bait holders on models such as the VMC Stand Up Shaky Head Jigs.
Wacky Rig: The wacky rig is a very popular rig for stick worms such as Gary Yamamoto Senkos and Yum Dingers. This rig utilizes a wide gap finesse hook, and a small o-ring that is fitted around the soft plastic worm’s midsection. This rig creates a wobbling action of the bait, and can be fished in many different situations, typically on spinning gear.
The most important part of being successful with these rigs, is do not be afraid to change colors and variations of the rig until you are able to pattern the fish you are targeting. It only takes one bait to catch large amounts of fish, but more times than not, it takes time to find the bait that the fish want. Taking your time to learn not only the rig that you are fishing, but also the body of water that you are targeting will lead to increased catches and fishing success.