If you are looking to improve the chances of landing fish, then you have come to the right place.
Before a tournament or a bass fishing trip, I'll spend countless hours the night before making predictions as to what soft plastics I should throw. Then, I'll load my tackle bag up with what I think are going to be my best bets. I've come to find that I keep coming back to several fishing rigs I can fish in a variety of conditions and seasons. These five bass rigs are versatile and will keep the fish interested.
1. Ned Rig
Created by Ned Kehde, this midwestern finesse tactic is starting to fill a lot of live wells and boat ramp conversations. The beauty of this rig is its simplicity.
Another great aspect of the Ned Rig is the ability to fish it several different ways. Generally speaking, you will want to use a 1/16-ounce jig head. Depending on the desired depth or situation, you can go up to 1/8 or down to 1/32. Once you have decided on the weight of the jig head, you will want to dress it with a plastic worm. This is where anglers can use their imagination, but will want to keep the lure within the three-inch range.
Some anglers will bite a senko in half and use it, or do the same with a lizard or a finesse worm. A medium spinning rod will do the trick. For the line used, you don't want to go over 10-pound test when using this one. Keep it light and simple. After the Ned Rig is in the water, drag it, bounce it, let it sit before your hook set...it can fish itself.
2. Shakey Head
When the bite gets tough, this is a go-to rig. However, don't overlook it to catch solid fish during many seasons. One great quality about this rig is the consistency that it offers. Sometimes, I wonder why I don't fish it more often, because it can be so productive. An 1/8-ounce jig head seems to be the go-to weight for a variety of situations. But, this is where things get fun.
Because of the innovations in the tackle industry, you can really customize what you want your presentation to be. Some companies offer a ball head, some offer a stand-up option. Then, you'll want to consider your plastic. Finesse worms seem to be a solid choice for this rig, but don't be afraid to get creative. Ribbon tails, senkos, straight tails and other options have proven themselves to work. It all resides in the confidence of the angler. For a rod, a 7-foot medium or medium light action will do the trick.
3. Jig and Pig
Find the cover, find the fish. Whether the bass are relating to wood or rock, there is a version of a jig and pig rig that will help you to get that fish's attention. Depending on weight, color selection and trailer, this rig can be fished year round productively. Plus, this combo can be flipped, pitched and cast.
If you are new to the rig, I would select the following three colors in a 3/8 version: black/blue, green pumpkin and some variation of green and orange like a peanut butter and jelly color. Then for a trailer, it's hard to beat any of the chunks available.
What you are trying to imitate is one of the best bass treats: crawfish. From there, depending on depth, clarity and temperature, you will want to diversify the weights, colors and types of trailers that you intend to use. Generally when the water is cold, fish it slow and not a lot of flash or movement in the trailer. As the water warms, so should the color and action of the trailer.
4. Texas Rig
This is my favorite of all of these rigs to fish. It has been my most productive way to catch fish. Partially, because there are a ton of options that this rig offers the angler. Weight, hook, lure and presentation are all fluid when it comes to the Texas Rig.
Traditionally, there is a bullet weight (tungsten or lead) thread onto the line, without a peg, but it can also be fished weightless. Then, an EWG hook is tied on to the line. Finally, the plastic lure of choice is attached.
Now, this is where the debate starts. Some guys swear by pegging the weight, others are the opposite. For my taste, I've had better luck not pegging the weight. I tend to drag or pop the Texas Rig when fishing it and by not pegging the weight, I'm giving the lure an opportunity to do its own work on the fall. I will peg, however, if the cover is super tight and thick.
What makes this rig so versatile are the different plastics that can be fished: senkos, flukes, beavers, worms, lizards, tubes.
5. Carolina Rig
Kind of like the shaky head, this is a great rig to use when fish are timid. However, there's no reason to put it down if the fish are hammering it. The Carolina Rig offers a unique presentation to fish that are holding deep or that are spooked by fishing pressure. A good rule of thumb is to start with a 3/4-ounce weight and a EWG 4/0 hook. From there, the options open up as you decide what plastic to use. Lizards, worms, flukes and a variety of other plastics all produce.
What are you waiting for? Set up these rigs and get out on the water. The fish are sure to thank you.