When it comes to finding the best rigs for bass fishing, there can be a ton of factors you need to take into consideration. Don’t fret, though; we’ll walk you through what you need to know and have you fishing like a pro in no time!
Best Rigs for Bass Fishing
Let’s take a look at the best rigs for bass fishing, including how to use them and what conditions they work best in:
When it comes to the best rigs for bass fishing, one of the most popular is the Carolina rig. This rig is easy to set up and use, making it great for beginners. Even better, it’s highly effective at catching bass!
Best Conditions for a Carolina Rig
Carolina rigs are excellent for large, open spaces of water. You need to avoid heavy cover or thick vegetation. Otherwise, the large sweeping motions that you use will end up getting your line stuck repeatedly.
You want to use the Carolina rig when you’re trying to cover lots of water quickly. Furthermore, Carolina rigs are better suited for catching deep water bass.
They’re especially effective on windy days with lots of cloud cover. These conditions are more likely to get bass moving into the middle of a lake, which is the spot where it’s best to fish with Carolina rigs.
How to Fish with a Carolina Rig
When you’re using a Carolina rig, you need to have an area to move your line around without worrying about it getting tangled with other lines or vegetation.
Additionally, you want a fishing rod that is at least 6 ft 6 in long, as this will allow for more significant movement of your line as you move your rod back and forth.
When fishing with a Carolina rig, you want to start with your thumb at a 12 o’clock position and move your rod until your thumb is in a 2 o’clock position. Once at the 2 o’clock position slowly bring your rod back to the 12 o’clock position.
From there, take up the slack in your line and repeat.
The Texas rig, also known as the T-rig, is another outstanding choice for newbie fishermen. It’s an easy setup and uses plastic worms, one of the most common baits available.
Best Conditions for a Texas Rig
When you find yourself out at the lake on a calm, warm day, you probably want to use a Texas rig. Generally, bass try to avoid the heat by laying low in thick vegetation. By casting your T-rig into this vegetation, you can stir up the bass and hopefully get some bites!
A Texas rig works well in the spring, summer, and fall, but doesn’t perform well during the winter months. With a T-rig, the warmer the weather, the more luck you’ll have!
How to Fish with a Texas Rig
The Texas rig is a beginner’s best friend. After setting up your rig, all you need to do is cast your line and let the bait settle to the bottom. Once it’s there, slide, shake, or drag the bait back to you. Occasionally, you should lift the rod up to a 12 o’clock angle before letting the bait settle back to the bottom.
Once the bait resettles, just keep slowly dragging it back to shore.
While the Carolina rig and Texas rig are great for beginners, the drop shot rig requires a little more technique. But once you master it, it can be a great tool to reel in tons of bass.
Best Conditions for a Drop Shot Rig
Drop shot rigs get a bad rap for only working in pristine conditions. The truth of the matter is that drop shot rigs can work in just about any conditions — although some practice on your part may be necessary.
Generally, drop shot rigs work best in northern, natural lakes. They are incredibly effective in deep, cold water. If you’re able to cast into a deep drop-off, that’s even better.
Drop shots can be a bit tricky if you’re fishing in deep vegetation, as your weight can get stuck in deep weeds.
How to Fish with a Drop Shot Rig
The most significant factor that makes a rig a drop shot rig is that your weight is above the bait. While various drop-shot setups exist, the best distance for your weight is about 14″ above your bait.
From there, cast your line and let the bait sink to the bottom. With a drop shot rig, you’ll need to be careful not to tangle your line during the casting process, and this might take some practice.
Once your bait is at the bottom, keep your line tight and slowly raise your rod. If you don’t get any bites, let the bait resettle, reel your rod in a few inches and repeat your cast.
When it comes to simple fishing rigs, it’s hard to get any simpler than the Ned rig. All you need to do is attach a soft plastic stick bait onto a light jig head – and you’re good to go!
Best Conditions for a Ned Rig
You want to use a Ned rig in hard cover situations. Whenever you’re having issues keeping your line from getting tangled in the undergrowth or casting a line, a Ned rig can bail you out.
Ned rigs work on a wide range of lakes, ponds, or rivers, especially those with slow-moving currents. You’ll want to use a Ned rig in deep areas, as this will give you more time to let the bait fall and potentially catch some bass.
How to Fish with a Ned Rig
When using a Ned rig, you want as light of a setup as possible. That’s because bass are most likely to bite baits during the descent. Professional fisherman Brian Latimer notes that it’s one of the most effective fishing rigs when used correctly.
All you want to do is cast your line, keep it slack, and let the bait slowly fall to the bottom. One of the biggest mistakes rookie anglers make is that they don’t give it enough time, as it takes a while to descend fully. You can use it in depths up to 12′.
It’s one of the most common fishing rigs around, even if it’s also often overused. The sight of the bobber atop the water is one of the most recognizable sights of a fisherman.
Floating rigs are extremely popular among children because it gives them something to look at, but it can make it harder for them to catch bass.
Best Conditions for a Floating Rig
Floating rigs aren’t ideal for every condition. In fact, the best condition for a floating rig is in moving water. The water temperature doesn’t matter too much, as the float’s goal is to keep your bait moving close to the surface and at the same speed as everything else in the water.
How to Fish with a Floating Rig
Setting up the rig is easy. All you need is a floater at the top and a bait down at the bottom. However, you need to try and match the drift of the moving water with your weights.
If your line pulls ahead of your float, you’ll need to add more weights. But if it lags behind, then you need to remove some of them. The goal of a floating rig is to have your bait directly underneath your float at all times.
Despite its name, the wacky rig is more straightforward than you might think, and it’s easy to set up and fish with, too! The most significant difference between setting up a Texas rig and a wacky rig is that in a wacky rig, you hook the worm right through the middle instead of the end.
Best Conditions for a Wacky Rig
When it comes to wacky rigs, the clearer the water, the better. You can also use them around boat docks, under overhanging trees, and in a subtle current.
Wacky rigs are ideal for situations when bass are in clear water and under a little pressure. Once they’re stirred up and moving, wacky rigs are the best way to catch them.
How to Fish with a Wacky Rig
When you’re fishing a wacky rig, you need to limit your rod movement. While you do need to move the rod some, you want the worm to do most of the work.
While fishing a wacky rig, let the bait fall, and once the slack is out of the line, gently raise the rod to get the slack out, only to let the bait fall again.
Unlike with most other rigs, you need to watch your line, not the tip of your rod. That’s because most of your bites are going to be when the worm is falling, and there is slack in your line. By the time your tip moves, the fish might have moved on.
Limit rod movement to let the bait move on its own. Raise the rod only to let the bait fall again. Watch the line, not the tip. Hook the worm through the middle instead of the end.
The Neko rig is a wacky rig with a twist. You rig everything up like a wacky rig, then insert a nail, drywall screw, or a specialized lead weight into one end. This makes it fall faster and has it stand on one end when it hits the bottom.
With that look, it’s extremely visible to bass along the bottom of the water, and it’s easy to make it “jump” across the bottom and induce a bite.
Best Conditions for a Neko Rig
Neko rigs are great for just about any condition, but they do even better when there are deep structures to fish off of.
Whether it’s a drop off in the water, ledges, deep docks, or just about anything else, Neko rigs excel. However, Neko rigs work well in shallow water too!
How to Fish with a Neko Rig
Neko rigs are great because there’s no wrong way to fish it. You cast the line and let it get slack, and then you can hop and drag it along the bottom of the water.
You can leave it where it lands, or slowly reel it in. You can drag more than you hop or hop more than you drag. It’s entirely up to you, and there’s no wrong way to do it!
Cast and your rod and let the bait fall with slack on the line. Hop and drag along the bottom of the water.
The chicken rig is a newer bass fishing rig, but it’s a highly effective one. Its name comes from the fact that it’s a “backward wacky weighted Kut Tail” a.k.a. BWWK. While that might sound complicated, truthfully it’s just a modified Neko rig.
Best Conditions for a Chicken Rig
You want to use a chicken rig anywhere with hard cover. Bridge tie-ups and docks are two great examples of where a chicken rig excels.
How to Fish with a Chicken Rig
Fishing with a chicken rig requires a lot more technique than other rigs. You cast the line, let it settle, pull it up a bit, then let it settle again. If this doesn’t work after a few tries, you should recast your line. That’s because, just like with many other rigs, the chicken rig is most likely to get a bite while the bait is falling.
While this doesn’t sound difficult, hooking the line requires additional technique. Instead of quick hard pulls like you usually use, you need to reel and pull with steady pressure, or else your fish will get away.
When using a chicken rig, you should have a spinning tackle. It’s a heavy setup so you’ll need a larger rod to handle it, or else you won’t be able to reel in the fish that you hook.
Some chicken rig variants use smaller baits, which don’t require as large of a setup.
The split-shot rig is a highly effective variation of the Texas rig. All you do extra is attach a split-shot sinker for your weight, and you’ve got a split-shot rig. You can run a Carolina rig variant with a split-shot rig too!
Best Conditions for a Split Shot Rig
When the bass are under heavy pressure, a split-shot rig can get them to bite. This means boat docks, under overhangs, and mild currents are the best locations to use a split shot rig. Furthermore, experts have identified the spawning season as an ideal time to use this rig.
How to Fish with a Split Shot Rig
It requires a little more finesse than some other fishing rigs, but it’s not that hard to use. Simply cast your line and let the bait fall. Once it hits bottom, there’s really no point for much action. Fish will rarely bite on this rig after it’s at the bottom.
Simply reel it back in, cast it again, and hope for some better luck! Not many anglers use this rig anymore, making bass unfamiliar with it, increasing your chances of getting a bite.
You can run split-shot rigs from several different variants, and it introduces more finesse to all of them.
Deemed one of the most fun rigs in all of bass fishing, the donkey rig can turn a day of no bass into a hoot. Even if you don’t catch any fish with it, you likely won’t end the day disappointed.
Best Conditions for a Donkey Rig
Unlike some of our other rig recommendations, donkey rigs have a much smaller time frame during which they’re effective. You want to use a donkey rig during the fall.
Furthermore, bass need to be feeding at the surface for this rig to work. You aren’t going to catch any deep-water bass with a donkey rig.
How to Fish with a Donkey Rig
You set up the donkey rig with two leaders, two hooks, and a pair of swivels. This gives you two baits for the bass to go after.
While it’s a little more fun to have your baits up towards the surface so you can watch them dart around all over the place, it’s a bit more effective if they are just a bit deeper in the water.
You don’t want them too deep, because this is a surface fishing technique, but a few inches under should work great.
As far as casting and reeling go, it’s pretty straightforward. Simply cast the line and steadily reel it back in, keeping your line taut the entire time.