Oh sweet Carolina

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It may just be one of my favorite things to throw. You can fish it year-round and at all depths. It’s not a difficult technique. I have won a lot of money with it. And the best part is, it catches fish and often BIG fish. We call it ”the carolina rig”. I know we have all been obsessed the last couple months with the “reaction bite” fishing and chasing those schools of feeding bass, but before you can say “Spring” the bass will be looking down.

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  • The carolina rig is simple and effective. My preference is a 1oz egg sinker, red bead, brass ticker, barrel swivel, 4ft leader, offset round bend hook, and my favorite bait, 90% of the time, is the all mighty Baby Brushhog (Zoom). The nice thing about this rig is that you can use lots of different baits; craws, senkos, straight worms, curl worms, grubs and more. The red bead and brass ticker is just a personal preference. However, I do like that the brass ticker protects the knot by allowing it to “sit” inside of it. I use a 7’6 med/heavy rod, 15lb fluorocarbon and 8-12lb mono leader. Using straight floro allows me to feel every little rock and the mono leader keeps the bait more “afloat” off the bottom.

    I generally fish the c-rig with a very smooth cadence. I rarely hop or shake it. There are times the fish are very active on a spot where I have found swimming it (fast along the bottom) to be very effective. I’m talking the “rip the rod out of your hands” type of bite. I’ll often go down the bank making long casts out to deep water and fish it uphill. Always making a mental note at what depth I get bit. I can cover a lot of water this way which makes it a great “search bait”.

    When fishing flats like at Otay, I like to cast in every direction and work slowly through the brush both deep and shallow till I find the most productive depth.  Windy day? No problem because it is heavy enough to toss it straight into the wind. The Carolina Rig is deadly in shallow water as well. Throw it shallow on a windy bank in the Spring and Summer and hold on.

    The carolina rig is a great rig to look to for a big bite. February and March pre-spawn females staging to come up and spawn can’t resist a 8 in carolina rig worm dragged into their house. Most of the time I fish it slow and steady. I like to stop it and let it sit when I hit structure or after I pull it through a bush. The mistake many people make is they don’t stop the bait and let it sit. Most of my bites come during this slight pause just after I’ve moved it. Now is the time to break out the carolina rig and start chuckin it. Try different baits, depths, speeds, and hold on!

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    Tom Lowery

    Tom Lowery is a local bass fishing guide that has over 20 years of freshwater bass fishing experience on the local lakes.

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