Every year, new bass catching techniques come out. They are proclaimed to outperform all others and they are the “end all to be all” when it comes to bass lures or rigs. When in reality, the basic techniques to catch bass work just as well. For instance, remember the Alabama Rig from a couple of years ago? It’s all anyone talked about the whole summer. Every bass lure company and eBay seller was scrambling to sell their version of this rig. Two years removed, no one is talking about it anymore. Now it’s the “Ned Rig” or “Tight Lining” method which is just a variance on the Shaky Head, not revolutionary by any means. This time next year, the Ned Rig will just be another passing fad in the fishing world.
I’m not saying that any of those rigs don’t or won’t catch bass, they actually do a good job of it. But their popularity will wither and the rest of the bass fishing world will get back to the basic techniques. That’s what I want to cover in this post. I want to list the four best techniques that I use and 99% of all pro bass anglers use to catch bass all over the country at just about any time of the year.
The methods or rigs I’m talking about in this post are the Texas Rig, Carolina Rig, Drop Shot, and Jig. I know that many of you will say “what about the spinner bait or crank bait?” and you will be right to ask but this post is about some of the more advanced bass rigs whereas spinnerbaits and crankbaits are generally just cast and reel – and I’m sure that statement alone will really stir up a debate.
So here are the 4 techniques any bass angler will want to learn in order to catch more bass all year long in almost any condition.
1. The Texas Rig
This first technique is my favorite for catching bass. The Texas rig is one of the easiest to learn and work just about anywhere. I have used the Texas rig all across the country. This rig can be fished many ways and fished with many different baits. One of the most prolific baits is the worm. Worms come in two primary styles; straight tail and ribbon tail. Both do a great job catching fish although I really prefer the Zoom Trick Worm.
All you need for this rig is a bullet weight about 3/16 or 1/4 oz paired with an offset worm hook and a worm. For me, the clarity of the water will determine the color of worm though. I go for more realistic colors in clear water and darker colors darker water.
For most situations, I always start out with a black Zoom Trick Worm it’s one of my favorite techniques to catch bass. I’m also a huge fan of the Lake Fork Trophies Ring Fry in green pumpkin. Here is a detailed post I did covering everything you need to know about the Texas rig. Also below is one of my favorite videos about the using a Texas Rig.
The Carolina Rig
The Carolina rig could possibly be one of the most versatile and effective rigs ever devised. I say that because I use it in freshwater and saltwater with equal success. Just like the Texas Rig, it can be used in many different situations. Sometimes when you cannot get the fish to bite on a Texas rig then a Carolina rig will usually trigger a bite. This rig isn’t as easy to setup as the Texas rig which is one reason I think it’s not as popular. But it’s not very difficult and it is every bit as effective as a Texas rig. The biggest difference between the two rigs is the Carolina rig will allow the bait to have more action and more natural presentation.
All you need for this bass catching technique is one or two beads, an egg sinker, swivel, and a worm hook. I keep a small Plano box with all my Carolina rig parts to make it easy to tie one on quick. A Carolina rig is usually set up with two beads of different sizes, a bigger red bead, and a smaller bead. The beads serve two purposes, they click together to attract the bass and they protect the knot from the sinker. Put it all together by first sliding on a 1/2oz egg sinker then my bigger bead followed by my smaller bead. Then tie on the swivel.
Now tie on a leader to the other end of the swivel that’s about 14” to 18” inches long. Tie on your hook and put on your bait and you are ready to fish. I have also found it easier to cast a Carolina rig with spinning gear. It’s not impossible with a baitcaster but in my opinion, it’s just easier.
For baits, I like to use a Fluke, Trick Work, Ring Fry, or a lizard. Again, the water’s color or clarity will dictate what color lure I use. Here is a video I think does a great job of explaining everything you need to know about the Carolina rig.
Drop Shot Technique
The drop shot rig is by far one of my favorite techniques to catch bass, mostly because it consistently catches fish. This rig works exceptionally well in deep water and cold water. The drop shot rig is considered a finesse and rig will trigger bites when nothing else will. You’ll always see someone using the drop shot technique in a tournament somewhere. It’s just that effective. If you can move a fishing pole up and down then you can effectively fish this rig.
Drop Shot Setup
To get started, you will need a drop shot weight, a drop shot hook, and some sort of soft plastic bait. To set up this rig you just need to tie on your hook on with a Palomar knot and keep a long tag end, check out the drop shot know here. After tying on the hook just take your tag end and slip it back through the eye on the point side so when you pull your line tight the hook sticks out away from the line. Slip on the drop shot weight and your bait and you’re ready to catch some bass.
The Zoom Finesse worm (June Bug color) and the Zoom Fluke (Bait Fish or Midnight Chartreuse color) are the best baits to use on a drop shot rig. I know a lot of guys that have success using a Senko on a drop shot but I have caught a lot more fish on that Finesse Worm than I have any other bait I have tried. One of the great things about the drop shot is that you can use a lot of different baits. Experiment with different baits until you find what works for you on your lake. Here is a great video on fishing a drop shot, hope it helps.
The jig is possibly the simplest of these four fishing techniques to set up and ties on very easily. However, there are many different types of jigs that all have their place and time and down the road, I’ll do a dedicated post on the jig to break all that down. However, for this list, I’m going to talk about the jig in a general sense. Also, there is a video below that gives a bit more detail on the different types of jigs.
The main jigs I fish with is an Arkie jig and a football jig. These two jigs are fished like a Texas rig. Just work it off the bottom. Just like a Texas rig, you will use a plastic bait of some sort called a trailer.
Usually, I use a bait the imitates a crawfish. My favorites are the Strike King Rage Craw in black or green pumpkin or the NetBait Paca Chunk in the same colors. I only throw two color jigs and that’s brown/green pumpkin or black with blue accents. I’ll use the brown/green pumpkin in clear water and the black and blue in darker/stained water. Again for some extra info about jigs, check out the video below.
I like to fish a football jig on rocky bottoms. I used this technique a lot while stationed in central Texas. They have rocky bottoms there and I would primarily use a football jig. Instead of lifting jig off the bottom, drag it along the bottom. The football head gives it a wobble going across that rocky bottom that would really trigger strikes. Bass love crawfish and this bait will do a great job of imitating one. In the image, you can see how beat-up my football jig is from dragging it across rocks.
As I mentioned before, the best trailers I use are the Strike King Rage Craw and the NetBait Paca Chunk. To put the trailer on, just put the point of the hook through the end of the trailer opposite of the claws and feed it through about 3/4 of an inch and then up through the back.
I like to fish an Arkie jig everywhere else. The head shape allows me to fish it multiple ways. With this type of jig, you can work it on the bottom similar to a football jig or bounced similar to a Texas rig. The Arkie jig can be used as a swimming jig with a paddle tail trailer. This jig is my “go to” for pitching and flipping around cover and docks.
That shape of the Arkie head jig is why it is so versatile. The head is broad across the bottom which allows for a slower fall and it allows it to be worked like a swimbait. The shape of the head also does a good job of working around heavy cover such as lay-downs and other brush along a bank. The head slips up and over cover really well with a lot fewer hang-ups than other baits and then it falls really slow and fish will usually hit it on the fall.
You can use the same trailers that I mentioned above and if you are swimming the jig then you’ll want to use a paddle tail bait or something like a Zoom Fluke. Here are the two trailers I use:
I know there are probably hundreds of different rigs and fishing techniques to catch bass out there. I know many of them do a great job of catching fish. I’m a firm believer of sticking to the basics. These four different techniques to catch bass have always worked for me. If you are just starting out with bass fishing then I highly recommend trying these out and practice using them. These four bass catching techniques tried and true and have stood the test of time. When all the other fads have faded away, these “staple” techniques will still remain.