Everything You Need to Know about Fishing a Texas Rig
The Texas rig is one of the most versatile and effective fishing rigs you can use. Learning how to fish a Texas rig properly can help you catch more bass more often. The Texas rig has been a staple of the bass fishing world since becoming immensely popular in the 1970’s. It is used by seasoned professionals and weekend anglers alike with great success.
A key reason for its popularity is its ease of use and easy setup. You’ll need an offset worm hook (regular or wide gap), bullet weight, and a soft plastic bait. My favorite soft plastics to use is a worm, lizard, or a crawfish style bait.
The Texas rig can be fished many different ways in almost any condition. It can be fished weedless, across rocky bottoms, in open flats, off steep or gradual points. It doesn’t really matter as it can be fished almost anywhere. If fish are there, it will normally always trigger a bite and very capable of catching big bass. If there is any drawback to the Texas rig, it needs to be fished slowly so it’s not a good bait to use when trying to locate fish. Also, there is a bit of learning curve to fishing this rig as getting the hook set takes some technique and can be a bit challenging at first. I’ll go over all you need to know to get started with fishing the Texas rig.
Best Type of Rod and Reel for a Texas Rig
If you can swing it, it pays off to use a quality rod that is sensitive and about 7 feet long. Generally, you can find a rod like this in the $80 to $120 range but it’s not a deal breaker. Any rod will technically work but a sensitive rod will help you catch more fish. Depending on the size weight you use, a medium to medium heavy rod should work. I’m generally not a guy that needs all the fancy expensive stuff for catching fish but a nice rod with good sensitivity helps me catch more fish. I use a St. Croix 7’ medium heavy rod for my Texas rig.
By the way, I only use three rods when I go fishing – My St. Croix 7’ medium rod, a medium heavy Team All-Star rod for crankbaits and fishing in heavy cover, and my Wally Marshall-Bass Pro light spinning combo that I use for my drop shot set-up or for a Carolina rig.
Just about any reel that you feel comfortable with will work. I use a Daiwa bait casting reel strung with 15lbs of Berkley Big Game mono.
Type of Weight to Use
In most situations, use a bullet shape slip weight. Try to coordinate the weight with the bait. My favorite colors to use are black or green-pumpkin. I paint my own weights to save money and spray paint work great. I primarily use a lead 1/4oz weight when I can but may bump it up to a 3/8oz weight in deeper water. The lesser weight allows for more action from the bait.
If you need to fish in heavy cover or through a lot of grass then you might need a 1/2oz to 1oz weight, depending on your situation. You can opt to use a tungsten weight too which allows you to keep the profile or physical size of the weight down while still giving you all the weight you need. However, when you are figuring out how to fish a Texas rig, the weight isn’t that much of a big deal.
The Best Hook Styles for the Texas Rig
I will adjust the type/size of hook I use based on the bulkiness of the bait. If I’m fishing a worm I’ll use a regular off-set worm hook as I have had a lot more strikes on my worms with a regular hook compared to using a wide gap hook. I will use the wide gap hook if I’m using something bulky like a lizard or ring fry. The regular hook is more weedless than the wide gap hooks because you don’t put the point all the way through with a regular hook. A wide gap hook goes all the way through and lays on the bait’s back and the tip is slightly inserted to make it weedless.
However, in my experience, grass and other stuff will still push down on the bait’s back exposing the hook point. For hook size, I prefer a #2 or 2/0 offset worm hook and for the bulkier stuff, I use a 4/0 wide gap hook. The picture I have below in the next section illustrates how I rig the two different baits with the two different hooks I like to use.
Setting up a Texas Rig
Putting this rig together is easy. You insert your line through the pointed end of the bullet weight and tie on your hook, it’s that simple. Then rig your bait like the picture. You can use your favorite knot to tie on the hook. I will use either a Palomar knot or a basic cinch knot. But really, use what you are comfortable with.
Best Baits To Use
The Texas rig is a versatile technique that can be fished with many different types of baits. A straight tail worm, ribbon tail worm, lizard, or a creature bait. Just about anything kind of bait you want. I prefer the Lake Fork Trophy Lures Ring Fry (pictured). The Ring Fry is my favorite bait for the Texas Rig and second is a black Zoom Trick Worm. Those two baits are rigged up in the image above.
How to Work a Texas Rig
The general idea is to slowly lift your rod tip and the lower it. Reel in the slack and repeat until you work it back to you. I like to play around with the speed and cadences until I figure out what makes them bite. Sometimes working it fast seemed to work but usually working it slow is best. It can vary so you’ll have to change things up until the bass start hitting it. But the main idea is to lift the rod and lower it so the bait goes up and falls down. Only use your reel to pull in the slack line, use your rod to work the bait.
Setting The Hook
Setting the hook with a Texas rig was the only thing that might be hard to learn. It’s not like a crankbait or spinnerbait where the fish, for the most part, hooks itself. When I was learning how to fish a Texas rig, setting the hook was the hardest part for me. You have to do all the hook setting. With that in mind, you have to know when to set the hook, that’s where experience and feel come into play. Which is why I think it’s important to have a good sensitive fishing rod. You can feel when the bass takes the bait into its mouth which can be really subtle.
A lot of times that sensation is very light. Sometimes it’s just a subtle bump of the line and with a fishing rod that’s not sensitive, it will be hard for the angler to feel it. There have been instances where the fish grabbed the worm and started swimming towards me. So it’s important to feel and look for some indication you may have a fish taking your bait.
To get the hook set, lower your rod, reel in all the slack and immediately come back up hard. You may have watched fishing on TV and seen the angler really drawback on the fishing rod, that’s because the angler has to pull the hook through all that plastic and then through the fish’s mouth and depending on what part of the mouth it can require a lot of pressure to set the hook.
The type of line you use also plays a key role in the hook set. How hard or how far you have to pull back on the fishing rod depends on the amount of stretch a line has. Mono has a lot of stretch in it, so you will have to pull back hard and as far as you can to get a good hook set. Fluorocarbon has less stretch and requires a good hard hook set too. Braided line has no stretch and requires only a normal motion to set the hook. A braided line usually feels more solid as well and has the most sensitivity and will help you detect more strikes.
While fluorocarbon is a great middle ground line to use, I have a lot of problems casting with it on baitcasters. If you like using a braided line but are concerned about the fish seeing the line then use a fluorocarbon leader. When I use a leader, I connect the two lines with a double uni-knot but there are multiple knots to use in order to connect a leader.
You can throw the Texas rig about anywhere. Work it on points, fish it in the grass, fish it deep or shallow, it usually doesn’t matter, it’s a great way to catch fish. The only place I wouldn’t use a Texas rig is along rip-rap as the weight would easily fall between the rocks and get stuck.
The Texas rig is a great set-up for any level of bass angler and can be fished just about anywhere.
Here is a great video to really help you learn how to fish a Texas Rig.