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March 29, 2011 / flogginwater

Technique Corner – Carp and Bass Rigging

Welcome to my first edition of the Technique Corner. Occasionally, like my Gear Corner reviews, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite fishing techniques and rigs – ones that I use most often, or ones that will produce for me when nothing else does.

Today I’m going to share with you my go-to rig for Carp fishing, along with a couple of my lesser-used rigs when fishing soft plastic worms for bass.

I’ve talked a bit before, on some of the Internet forums I frequent – about my go-to rig for carp fishing. It’s super simple, and super effective. Being a light tackle fanatic – simplicity is good. For starters – I should mention that I only use long, ultra light or light action rods. 7′ is my minimum, the longer the better. A good rod to fish this with, really, is a 9′ or longer 5 or 6 weight fly rod, with a 2500 size spinning reel attached, and 4 lb main line. Usually though, I’m using my standard spinning rods – my go-to Okuma Celilo 7’6″, or occasionally my shorter 7 foot rod. I will of course, be giving the new 8’6″ rod a work out soon, along with that 10′ Diawa that I bought last week.

Make sure your drag is set properly! I can’t stress that enough. If it’s not – you’re going to break off, a lot. Even a 1 or 2lb carp is going to give you a run for the money – and a 5-10 lb fish will make you think you’ve hooked a passing car. A fish bigger than 10? Well, you probably won’t see him for a while, but you’ll crap your pants when you finally get it in and see a 30+ inch fish looking at you. THAT is a thrill ride with that ultra light rod – and it’s these fish that make me use LONG ultra light rods, and good reels with good drags.

So on to the rig!

It’s super simple. One octopus style “egg” hook – size 6, 4, or 2 (I standardize on a 4, usually), and one large size Corkie drifter, and one round tooth pick.

Slide the corkie onto the main line, and peg it at least 4 feet up from the end with the tooth pick. Cut the tooth pick, leaving no more than 1/4 or 1/2 inch exposed – just enough to grab it and remove it so you can adjust the depth.

Now tie your hook on, I like a Palomar or Improved Clinch knot – something small and easy, and strong. Don’t snell these, or use egg loop knots. Smaller knots are better.

Now bait the hook and fish! I like sandwhich bread, pressed into a small, very compact ball, just big enough to surround the hook and no bigger. Cast it to the feeding fish, or in their feeding lane, and there you go! IF the corkie twitches, bobs, or starts moving – SET THE HOOK and hold on! Don’t reel against the drag, let the fish run, then pump and reel pump and reel, and you’ll get him.

Switching gears a bit – I want to show you two bassin rigs that I use, when I’m not texas rigging or wacky rigging a finesse type worm.

The first is a simple nose-hooked worm – for this example I’m using a 7″ Senko, and a 2/0 Gamakatsu straight shank round bend bait hook. I nose-hook the lure, entering the side of the worm, and pushing it out through the tip of the nose, instead of the other side of the worm. This keep the hook point from snagging as much, and it keeps the worm from spinning around the hook shaft, as it’s pretty well locked into place by bringing the point up to the very end of the worm.

In shallow, clear water (less than about 8 feet deep) – I fish this weightlessly on light line – 4-6lb test. If the water is deeper, or if it’s a bit cloudy – I’ll go ahead and pinch on a 1/16th or 1/8 oz split shot 8-10 inches above the hook, or I’ll carolina rig this using no more than 1/4 oz of weight.

Fishing it is the same, regardless of weighted or weightless fishing – cast it out toward the fish’s lie, let it sink to the bottom, and slowly drag the worm, using a slow, steady sweep of the rod tip, and stopping and giving the occasional twitch of the tip to make the worm take a short hop, then continue a slow sweeping motion. By slow, I mean SLOW. SLOOOOOOW. With my 7’6″ rod, I make an arc with the tip that is no more than about 7-8 feet long every 8-10 seconds. Sometimes slower, if the water is cold. The idea is to imitate a natural animal crawling or swimming slowly along the bottom. This produces very well.

An alternate way to rig the worm – if you’re fishing relatively weedless water, is to push the hook eye in through the tip of the worm, and back out just above the collar – so that the shaft runs through the center of the worm. This leaves the hook point and part of the bend protruding from the worm. Fish it the same way as the nose hooked rig. This rig, I’ve noticed, tends to foul a little easier than the nose hooked worm.

The other technique I like to fish – especially in warmer weather, when the fish are feeding on or near the surface, is a weightless tube.

Fishing the weightless tube is almost ridiculously simple for the setup – tie a single point 1/0 to 3/0 hook onto the end of the main line – no weight, no swivels, no leader knots – tie it directly to the point of the main line. Now thread a 3 or 4 inch skirted tube body onto the hook – pushing the hook point through the tip top of the tube, and carefully working the tube around the hook bend, until the point of the hook comes out the bottom opening of the tube. Now slide the tube body all the way up, so that the tube body rides straight on the hook.

Fishing the tube is also easy. Cast it to likely looking holding water, near cover – weed beds, grass lines, the edge of lilly pads, or near submerged timber, let the ripples from the splash die down (usually) then twitch it back in, either with a twitch & pause retrieve, or a walk-the-dog style retrieve. The tube will dart side to side, and it will also dive and pop back up (unless it’s a sinking tube. Most tubes I fish are buoyant, and thus they’ll pop back up to the surface). The bass will absolutely blast this lure when fished like this – the top water strikes are always violent.

A good variation, if you want the tube to be submerged, is to use either a sinking tube, or, thread the tube on the line, then slip a bullet sinker (1/16th or 1/8th oz) onto the line, THEN tie the hook on. This puts the weight inside the tube body, and it will sink. Twitch it or pull it along the bottom. The tube body actually does a good job of keeping weeds away, this rig doesn’t foul too easily despite the exposed hook point.

There you have it folks – three of my favorite rigs when fishing for carp and bass. Till next time, tight lines.



  1. Anonymous / Aug 12 2011 17:54

    So you don't use a weight?

  2. Mark / Aug 12 2011 18:08

    For carp fishing, almost never.

    For the bass rigs w/ soft plastics, I rarely do, unless I need to get really deep, or I'm fishing with a baitcasting reel.

    Weightless presentations with either bait or soft plastics will be more natural than presentations loaded down with lead, and the fish will mouth the bait/lure longer if they don't feel the resistance from lead. Using thin diameter lines will help the bait or lure sink well enough, as the lower diameter line provides less resistance to the water. You can stick with low diameter (meaning light weight) mono, flourocarbon, or you can go with a braided line. You can get braided 12lb test line that is the diameter of 4lb mono. I think the 8lb braid is equal to 2lb mono diameter. Such low diameter lines would be best suited to spinning gear, as most baitcasters don't function well with line thinner than about 8lb mono.

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