Bass fishermen might just have more fishing equipment to choose from than any other anglers, which begs the question: what is essential and what is not? While there is no single default bass fishing setup, these three standard fishing rigs will have you covered in most situations.
Bass fishing equipment setups of all kinds use many of the same basic parts, including line, hooks, weights and either a live bait or lure. With a handful of fishing equipment and tackle, you can make each of these three common bass rigs. These rigs are typically used for soft plastic baits like worms, lizards and tubes, but some are also effective with live bait.
Common Bass Rigs-Check out our Essential Bass Fishing Equipment
The Texas Rig
This classic bass rig has been used for decades, and it’s just as effective now as it was 20 years ago. At its most basic, the Texas rig involves sliding a bullet-style sinker onto your line with the pointy end facing away from the bait, and then tying a worm hook to the tag end of the line. Some fishermen also include one or two beads between the sinker and line for extra attraction.
To hook a plastic worm on the Texas rig, insert the hook point into the tip of the worm’s head and bring it out through the side of the worm about 1/4 inch from the tip. Pull the hook through so that only the eye is visible at the end of the head. Re-insert the hook point farther down the body of the worm and pull it through the opposite side so that the worm is straight.
The Texas rig is resistant to snagging, and is a great tool for situations when bass are feeding near the bottom or around weed beds. Cast the rig and let it sink, and then work it methodically along the bottom with a series of twitches and jumps.
The Drop-Shot Rig
To create a drop-shot rig, tie a baitholder hook to your main line, leaving anywhere from 12 to 36 inches of excess line past the hook. Attach a bell-style sinker to the tag end of the line. When you hold the rig upright, the sinker will be on the bottom, with the hook suspended above it. The distance between the hook and sinker depends on how far you want your bait to be above the bottom.
Drop-shot rigs are great for finesse fishing with smaller soft plastic baits when bass are reluctant to bite, and are particularly well suited to fishing for smallmouth bass in rocky areas. Plastic worms are typically nose-hooked and than jiggled lightly while the sinker stays in place on the bottom. The Drop-shot rig is also highly effective for live bait; just replace the plastic worm with a live nightcrawler, crayfish or minnow.
The Wacky Rig
A relatively new invention, the wacky rig came about as a way to fish heavy straight-tailed worms like the Senko and Yum-Dinger, allowing the worm to fall slowly through the water in a horizontal position. The wacky rig is also one of the easiest setups to tie using a minimal amount of fishing equipment. All you have to to is tie a single baitholder or circle hook to your main line, and then hook the plastic worm directly in its center.
Cast the worm and let it sink slowly to the bottom. Once it’s there, give it a twitch or reel it in a few feet occasionally, but don’t add too much action. Bass have a tendency to pick up wacky rigged worms as they’re falling, or even when they lie motionless on the bottom.
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