Bass Fishing with a Carolina Rig

Brandon Lester • July 01, 2023

We're in May when fish are wrapping up spawning. Around a lot of parts of the country, one of the best ways to catch them is with a Carolina rig. It's one of my favorite ways. You can cover a lot of water with it. I'm from middle Tennessee where we've got a lot of lakes that have a lot of pea gravel. Any time you've got gravel banks with up to chunk-rock size banks, sand gravel bottom, shell beds, or anything like that, it's a good place to throw a Carolina rig. It's somewhat of a forgotten-about technique. It's not the "cool" thing to do anymore, so a lot of people don't throw it, but it will still absolutely catch them.

I use a 3/4-ounce Mustad Carolina rig weight with a bead and I've got a swivel. I use a Mustad swivel. Just make sure you use a swivel that's big enough and isn't going to break. Then I've got about a three-foot leader. I've seen guys use anywhere from a two-foot leader all the way to a seven-foot leader. I usually throw about a three-foot leader; I just keep it simple. For the hook, I use from a one ought up to a six or seven ought, just depending on the bait that I'm using. I'm using a little Zoom Speed Crawl because the lake that I've been fishing has smallmouth bass in it, so that's a really good choice. Pick your hook depending on the bait you're gonna use. Throw it on a seven-foot to a seven-foot, six-inch bait casting rod. I use my Mustad Instinct rod. This is the seven-foot, medium/heavy. I really like it. The seven-foot, two-inch heavy will work. The seven-foot, six-inch heavy will work. Use whatever you like, go tie on a Carolina rig. You can find this stuff at I think you'll catch a lot more fish this spring.

--Pro Angler Brandon Lester