Texas Rigging soft plastic baits

Texas Rigging soft plastic baits

Texas rigging refers to using a sliding sinker and inserting the hook into the bait so the point of the hook is not exposed. This allows to you to fish the bait in heavy cover, weeds, submerged trees, etc. without getting it snagged. Texas rigging has been used for more than fifty years and the originator of this rigging technique is unknown but due to the name itself, it is presumed to have originated in Texas. I learned how to fish for largemouth bass using this technique and it is perhaps the most “tried and true” method in catching bass on soft plastic baits.

There are numerous pictures, text and videos on the web illustrating how to Texas rig a bait.

There are also variations of the Texas rig. Wiki How has a good illustration of a slight variation of the traditional Texas rig showing the subtle difference of “skin hooking” the bait versus simply embedding the hook in the bait as shown in the traditional method above.  http://www.wikihow.com/Texas-Rig-a-Plastic-Worm

You can view numerous other examples by simply entering “Texas rigging a worm” into a GOOGLE search.

The number one aspect to Texas rigging correctly is to make sure the bait remains straight after rigging. If the bait is curved after rigging, it will spin when being retrieved. This will not only cause line twist, but will result in less success in getting bit. If you wind up with a curve, pull the point out of the bait and re-insert so the bait is straight. A trick to ensuring this is after the first two steps shown above simply lay the hook against the side of the bait and visually line up where the hook will need to be inserted into the bait. You can mark this spot with the hook point if needed.

What sinker/weight to use: Most fishermen use a “bullet” weight type sliding sinker when Texas rigging although an egg sliding sinker will also work. The bullet sinkers work best as they slide through weeds easier than the egg sinker. As far as what weight sinker to use, you should always use the lightest possible sinker/weight depending on wind conditions. No wind, use the smallest sliding sinker needed to get the bait to the bottom. As wind increases, you will need to increase the weight to account for line drag.

As noted in my blog post on fishing soft plastic baits, it is critical to fish soft plastic baits as slow as possible. The number one mistake fisherman make in fishing soft plastics is fishing them too fast.

The best thing about Texas rigging is the ability to fish heavy cover because that is where the fish frequently are. Another variation to Texas rigging is “pegging” the sinker so it doesn’t slide. “Pegging” refers to inserting a toothpick or something else into the sliding sinker. The purpose of this is to prevent the slider sinker from moving. You’ll want to do this when fishing specific types of cover like Tules or submerged tree limbs. If you don’t “peg” the bait, as you move the Texas rigged bait over a submerged tree limb or Tule, the weight and worm will sometimes wind up on opposites sides of the limb or Tule. This increases your chances of getting snagged despite the bait being rigged weed less. They make fixed bullet weight hook combinations but they are of course, more expensive than buying hooks and weights separately.  You can also switch to using a fixed weight like a split shot but then you are not getting the benefit of the increased weed less capabilities by using a pointed bullet weight.

The best technique for retrieving Texas rigged plastics is the traditional “lift and drop” technique. Another technique that is very effective, particularly when fishing larger plastic worms (7’ and larger) is “stitching”.  There are multiple videos and discussions of “stitching” on the web. The “stitching” technique is most effective when the bottom structure is relatively flat such as sand or gravel bottoms without much structure.  By “stitching” the line, you keep the plastic bait crawling along the bottom, thereby mimicking a more natural movement versus the “lift and drop”.

The option of fishing soft plastics bait rigged weed less as illustrated above without a sliding sinker or any kind of weight is also sometimes referred as a weightless Texas rig. This is traditionally how a Stick bait (Senko) is rigged. Any sinking soft plastic bait can be fished weed less style without a weight. You’ll need to determine if the particular bait you’re using is a sinking or floating soft plastic bait.

I use many techniques when fishing for bass but I probably spend more than 50% of my time fishing for largemouth bass using one variation or another of the Texas rig. If you see me on the water, I’ll always have at least one rod rigged with a Texas rigged Rude Baits plastic worm. Wishing you the best of luck on the water as always!

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