Spring Bass Fishing Tips with a Carolina Rig

A 101-guide of tips for bass fishing with a Carolina Rig in the spring

The Carolina Rig is one of the most popular techniques used for bass fishing and can be a great option for introducing new bass anglers to the sport at the best time of the year to catch bass.

A Carolina Rig is fairly simple to make. By using slip sinkers, swivels, beads and a leader, anglers can fashion one quickly or by using a pre-made Carolina Rig, like the one shown above. A ¾-ounce sinker and a red bead are popular components of the Caroline Rig. The most common variance is the length of the leader. Some anglers use as little as 6 inches, while others choose to use as much as 3-plus feet for the leader for structure fishing, such as steep ledges. One advantage of a longer leader is it allows the bait (soft plastic) to be presented slowly.

The application of a Carolina Rig allows anglers to feel the composition of the bottom through the sinker. Searching for changes from gravel to clay or mud is a great wait to find bass. The attributes of the bottom, known as structure, can tell an angler much if he/she concentrates of feeling the lure.

Transition areas where there is a change between composition is often a hangout for bass. After a cast, it is important to watch and feel for your line to move as the bait is falling, many fish bite on the initial fall, and often they will strike with a very subtle inhale of the bait. Once the bait sinks and you feel the bottom, reel up the slack. Then drag slowly, pause often, twitch the rod rip and continue taking up the slack.

Some popular soft plastics for spring Carolina Rigs include lizards, flukes, creatures and worms. Changing to different baits and size profiles can make all of the difference on any given day. Natural colors of green pumpkin or watermelon, June bug in clearer water, and shades of blue and black in stained water often produce bass with a Carolina Rig.

Always fish for the conditions first to determine the temperament of bass. Vary retrieve speeds, but always allow the bait to pause until the bass let you know what they want. Some anglers report that dragging the bait with the sinker on the bottom works best and others say that occasionally popping the sinker up off the bottom gets results as the bait rises and then falls like a weightless rig. Many bites, however, do occur when the Carolina Rig is snapped through grass and other vegetation, which causes the bait to shudder and then fall mimicking injured bait.

Recommended Videos

SHOT Show 2019: Accumax Carbon Fiber Bipod

Game & Fish Editor-in-Chief John Geiger and Jarrod Grove of Caldwell discuss the features of the Accumax Carbon Fiber Bipod at SHOT Show 2019 in Las Vegas.

Brewster's 320-Plus Mega Giant: Buck of the Century?

North American Whitetail editor Gordon Whittington and Luke Brewster talk about the scoring process involved with his 320 5/8-inch pending world record non-typical buck from Illinois.

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.