Pro-staff Contributor: Rich Lindgren
Texas rigging worms and soft plastic baits is one of the oldest and time-tested methods for catching bass in just about any situation–including in and around thick cover. The Texas rig is a pretty simple rig, in that it usually consists of sliding a traditional bullet weight onto your line before you tying on a standard or offset worm hook. The bait is set by rigging the hook into the head of the bait about a ¼”, poking it back out the side of the body, then turning it 180 degrees, and bringing the point of the hook back into the bait to make it weedless.
Beyond the very basic principle of Texas rigging, there are a lot of subtle differences and tweaks to make a tried-and-true fish catcher into something even better. When you start to think about it, there are actually a lot of variables when you consider, rod, reel, line, weight and hooks for your setup.
I start almost every Texas rig with a rubber sinker stop threaded on my line before I select a sinker. These little guys keep my weight next to my bait, make sure I keep contact with my bait at all times, and pull my bait through cover. You can peg your sinker with a toothpick, but these stops are easier on your line and can be loosened to give your bait a little more freedom. After the sinker peg, I select a tungsten sinker to match the size of plastic bait and rate of fall I desire for the conditions and application I am facing. I may go as light as 1/16 oz or heavier than 1 oz, but for basic rigging I usually use 1/8-3/8 oz tungsten slip sinkers. I always use tungsten weights for the enhanced feel of the bottom and bites; plus I feel the hook-up percentage is better and that they come through cover better than traditional lead sinkers.
Next, I tie on the hook. I typically attach hooks to my 12-17lb fluorocarbon line with a San Diego Jam Knot or Palomar knot. I find that 2/0 to 4/0 hooks will cover the great majority of my needs for standard soft plastic baits. I use two styles: Extra Wide Gap (EWG) and Straight Shank Flipping Hooks. I use an EWG hook when I am casting and dragging tubes, brush hogs, and worms. I pair a straight shank hook with a heavier sinker for creature baits, like the TriggerX Goo Bug and other bulkier offerings, when I am pitching into thicker cover and fishing the baits in a more vertical manner–I feel it has a more positive hook up in these conditions.
As far as rod selection, I like 7’ to 7’4” rods that are medium to medium-heavy with moderately fast actions. I will fish Texas rigs on multiple rods that I own: ranging from my Dobyns Savvy 703C, to my Champion 734C, up to my absolute favorite rod for Texas rigging, the Dobyns Champion Extreme DX744C. There are a ton of great rods and different price points to choose from, but be sure to get a fairly long rod with good balance, moderate back bone, and good sensitivity.
Keep a few of these suggestions in mind when setting up your Texas rigs and it should help you get a few more fish in the boat!
Rich Lindgren is a tournament bass angler living in Lakeville, MN chasing bass all over Minnesota and its adjoining states. Bass blogger, podcaster and fishing promoter. You’ll see him fishing the Minnesota bass tournament scene representing krugerfarms.com and Dobyns Rods among others. You can follow him on Twitter (@HellaBass) and like him on Facebook (facebook.com/bassinblog).