Bass fishing is easily the most popular type of fishing found in North America. An angler can find these fish in just about any river, lake, or pond across the continent, and they put up a great fight when caught. Fishermen will generally use one of the five most popular and effective bass fishing rigs to catch bass.
Top Bass Fishing Rigs
So what are the best bass fishing rigs? The top bass fishing rigs used by anglers are the Carolina rig, the drop shot rig, the Texas rig, the Wacky rig, and the Alabama rig. These are the most popular bass fishing rigs because they allow you to catch any species of bass in almost any type of water or conditions. Let’s take a look at each one!
1. Carolina Rig for Bass
The Carolina rig is a plastic bait fishing rig that has a weight fixed above the hook. This rig is very easy to assemble and is great for beginner fishermen. This rig was originally designed to help anglers catch fish at the bottom of the water, particularly largemouth bass.
When to Fish the Carolina Rig
The Carolina rig can be used any time of year, but it performs the best during the pre-spawn and post-spawn stages. The bass are migrating along transition zones that get them to and from their spawning areas at these times of the year. Because of this, they can be anywhere from five to fifteen feet deep, allowing the Carolina rig to perfectly present a lure to them.
Where to Fish the Carolina Rig
A Carolina rig is best used in semi-open water or worked around isolated piles of cover, weeds, or submerged structures. However, it is not the best choice in very heavy cover, as you would be best served by using one of the other fishing rigs on our list. For everything else, the Carolina rig is a great choice to catch bass no matter where you are fishing!
How to Fish the Carolina Rig
To properly use a Carolina rig, you will first start by casting it into some promising water. You will then drag the rig across the bottom of the targeted area. Make sure to move your fishing pole back and forth, using a simple sweeping motion in order to move the lure around the area. If the fish are being particularly challenging, you can throw in some sporadic jerks and random pauses in order to encourage fish to fully commit to your lure.
2. Drop Shot Rig for Bass
A drop shot rig is a basic rig that consists of a line tied to a hook with a long leader that ends with a weight. This makes it so that the weight is at the bottom and the hook with bait is above it. The drop shot rig was designed to be used to catch fish in deep water.
When to Fish the Drop Shot Rig
A drop shot rig can be used with great success in every season. It is an excellent choice when the fish are starting to move off into deeper waters, so many anglers will use it more during the fall and winter. This rig excels at fishing in deep water, and during this time of year, the fish will be concentrated in deeper areas where they live.
Where to Fish the Drop Shot Rig
A drop shot rig is perfect for use when there is a brush, rocks, or weeds along the bottom of the water. This is because this rig allows fish to see your bait or lure by suspending it higher off the bottom, away from the cover. If you are fishing in water that has a high concentration of cover along the bottom, the drop shot rig is an excellent choice no matter what depths it is.
How to Fish the Drop Shot Rig
The easiest way to use a drop shot rig is simply allowing it to sink to the bottom after casting it out. Once there, pull up on the line and make it jump along the bottom. A quick pop or jerk will bring your lure to life and hopefully attract a bite. Another technique is to cast out your rig and slowly retrieve it once it reaches the bottom. You can change up the speed of the retrieve depending on what the fish are doing.
3. Texas Rig for Bass
The Texas rig is another plastic bait rig that has a weight attached directly above a hook. This rig is one of the most basic rigs and easy to assemble. It is very similar to the Carolina rig and was designed to be able to fish in cover and weeds without getting snagged or tangled.
When to Fish the Texas Rig
While the Texas rig works very well in the summer, it is usually the best choice for the fall season. During the summer, bass will most likely be in shallower water chasing baitfish and fast-moving lures. When the colder weather finally arrives, bass will hold tight to cover where a Texas rigged lure works best. Because it repels weeds and brush, this makes it the number one choice for this time of year.
Where to Fish the Texas Rig
Because the Texas rig can hide the hook and has your weight directly above the lure, it excels at fishing in and around cover and structures. If you are fishing in an area with a high number of weeds, grass, rocks, timber, and other vegetation. The Texas rig can be used effectively in any depth or water clarity, making it one of the most popular fishing rigs for bass.
How to Fish the Texas Rig
To use this rig, cast it out into an area of promising water. Let it sink to the bottom completely, and then slowly begin to retrieve it. As you do, give it plenty of random pops and jerks as this helps your lure resemble a dying baitfish or creature. Depending on the area and the amount of cover you are fishing in, you can try to change things up like retrieval speeds and the jerks in the line. The more you can make your lure look like a prey animal to bass, the better!
4. Wacky Rig for Bass
The wacky rig is a soft plastic lure technique that gets its name from its unusual style. It is best known for its unique swimming action and is considered one of the best rigs to use with finicky fish. It is a great choice for catching fish of all sizes, as bass can more easily take the bait due to their smaller size.
When to Fish the Wacky Rig
A Wacky rig presentation is most effective during the spawn and post-spawn times of the year when the bass are in shallower water. This is because the Wacky rig allows an angler to keep the bait in the strike zone for much longer and creates the most amount of action and movement in the water. If your bait or lure is very active, it is much more likely to attract an actively hunting bass during this time.
Where to Fish the Wacky Rig
The great thing about the Wacky rig is that it can be used just about anywhere and at any depth. However, most anglers will avoid using it when fishing heavy cover, as its design will easily snag and get caught. It is best when used in shallower water where bass are hunting since it very closely resembles dying prey and gives off a lot of motion.
How to Fish the Wacky Rig
One of the favorite techniques to use with the Wacky rig, especially when paired with a small plastic worm on the hook, is to let the rig sink all the way to the bottom of the water. Once it is there, you then twitch your rod and raise it straight up every so often to make the worm move through the water. This rig allows the worm to make sporadic jerks with even the slightest movement, so keep an eye on the slack in the fishing line and be ready for a strike.
5. Alabama Rig for Bass
An Alabama rig is very different from other fishing rigs and actually utilizes multiple different baits and hooks. Sometimes called an umbrella rig, this fishing rig is designed to mimic an entire group or school of baitfish.
When to Fish the Alabama Rig
The Alabama rig does best when used once the water temperatures start to drop, usually around late summer. It will continue to do well throughout this time and into the pre-spawn. While it can be used with great success during the entire year, it is best when used when the bass are grouped up and feeding on baitfish.
Where to Fish the Alabama Rig
The best places to throw and use an Alabama rig are points along deeper structures and any other points that attract smaller baitfish. This usually includes places like ledges, bridges, docks, piers, and overbrush piles on lakes and reservoirs. Other places to look will be deep breaks, rocky outposts, and deep grass lines. Any type of structure that attracts smaller fish will attract bass and are the best places to use this rig!
How to Fish the Alabama Rig
The best part about the Alabama rig is that it is very easy to learn and use effectively. The most important part to remember is to keep this rig up in the water column, around the level of all of the fish. Cast it out to an area you think is holding fish, let it sink to their depth, and slowly retrieve it. If there are bass feeding in the area, they will no doubt see your rig and come to investigate. With the right presentation, they will no doubt bite once they do!
Bass Fishing Rigs: FAQ
What is the Best Rig for Largemouth Bass?
Largemouth bass are easily the most popular bass species in North America, and almost all of these rigs were created with these fish in mind. With that being said, which one is the best? The Texas rig is the most commonly used rig you will see for largemouth. This is due to many of these fish living and hunting in the grass or weed-filled areas, where the Texas rig really shines.
What is the Best Rig for Smallmouth Bass?
Any of these rigs will work well for smallmouth bass as well. The two most popular rigs used by anglers include the Texas rig and the Drop shot rig. The Texas rig does well in heavy cover areas, while many smallmouth bass anglers like to use the drop shot to target the deeper areas where these predatory fish love to hang out.
What is the Best Rig for Striped Bass?
A favorite way to catch striped bass is by trolling, so one of the most used and generally considered the best rigs for catching striped bass is the Alabama rig. This rig excels at this technique, as it resembles a group of baitfish that are traveling or feeding. This school of bait will bring in and attract striped bass from great distances, allowing an angler to catch them.
Bass Fishing Rigs | Final Thoughts
While there are many different ways to catch a bass, setting up and using these fishing rigs are easily some of the best. These five different fishing rigs will no doubt help you to find success while bass fishing and be one of the most effective tools in your arsenal!