Rig It Right: An Expert Guide to the Best Bass Fishing Rigs

Bass fishing is one of the most popular pastimes in the US, with many different techniques available to get bass on the bank. Rig fishing is an especially popular approach, with various bass rig setups at your disposal. Choosing and correctly using the right rig can be the difference between a successful fishing trip and a disappointing one.

Here you’ll find a complete rundown on bass rig fishing, complete with in-depth explanations of the most popular and commonly used bass rigs. We’ll also share helpful tips to increase your chances of success when using this exciting and dynamic approach!

What are Bass Fishing Rigs?

A bass fishing rig refers to the configuration of tackle — primarily line, sinkers, hooks, and swivels — that an angler uses with their chosen bait/lure to catch bass.

These rigs vary based on the specific conditions and locations you’re fishing in and the type of bass you’re after. By mastering different bass fishing rigs, you can adapt to any fishing situation and improve your success rate overall.

What are Bass Fishing Rigs?

A bass fishing rig refers to the configuration of tackle — primarily line, sinkers, hooks, and swivels — that an angler uses with their chosen bait/lure to catch bass. These rigs vary based on the specific conditions and locations you’re fishing in and the type of bass you’re after. By mastering different bass fishing rigs, you can adapt to any fishing situation and improve your success rate overall.

Key Components

Mainline

The mainline is your direct connection to the fish, and choosing the right one is essential for any bass fishing rig setup. Lines are most commonly monofilament, braided, or fluorocarbon; each has unique strengths and weaknesses. Monofilament is versatile and cost-effective, but is prone to stretching/snapping, whereas braided lines offer more strength and sensitivity, but are also heavier. Fluorocarbon lines are almost invisible underwater, making them excellent for clear water conditions.

Sinkers

Sinkers help your bait reach the desired depth. They come in various shapes and weights, ranging from split-shot sinkers for shallow water to bullet sinkers for weed-heavy areas. Always select a sinker that matches the fishing environment and the behavior of the bass you are chasing.

The tackle required for a conventional Carolina Rig. From left to right: bullet weight, bead, barrel swivel, offset worm hook, soft plastic lure

Hooks

The right hook is pivotal for a successful catch. Worm hooks are especially common on bass fishing rigs, coming in multiple styles such as wide gap, extra wide gap (EWG), and offset. Other frequently used hooks include jig, drop shot, and flipping hooks.

The hook size should correlate with the size of the bait/lure you are using and the species in your sights.

Swivels

Swivels serve to connect the mainline to the leader. They help avoid line twisting and offer you enhanced control, making them an essential part of many bass fishing rigs.

Barrel swivels are the most common type, but ball-bearing and snap swivels can also be used.

Core Bass Rigs (Beginner Friendly)

Whether you’re new to the exciting world of bass fishing or just looking to get back to basics, our selection of beginner-friendly bass fishing rigs is precisely what you need. These core rigs are the foundation of bass rig fishing, and every angler, novice or expert, should be well-versed in their use. We have marked these rigs as ‘beginner-friendly’ not because they’re overly simplistic, but because of their proven effectiveness and versatility across various fishing conditions.

a diagram of the texas rig for bass rig fishing

The Texas Rig

The legendary Texas Rig is as beginner-friendly as it is effective. Comprised of a soft plastic lure, an EWG hook, and a sliding, bullet-shaped weight, this is probably the most well-known bass fishing rig of all time, and one every angler should have in their arsenal.

Our guide takes you through everything you need to know, from assembling your rig and baiting, to selecting the appropriate tackle and lures, and honing the technique once it hits the water. Designed for both beginners and seasoned anglers, this comprehensive resource will help you master the Texas Rig once and for all.

a diagram of the wacky rig for bass rig fishing

The Wacky Rig

Despite its unconventional look, the Wacky Rig is a fantastic, user-friendly bass fishing rig renowned for its effectiveness. Made up of a simple hook and a plastic worm, this rig provides a unique action that stimulates the bass’s curiosity and predatory instincts, making it nearly irresistible.

Our guide covers the entire process, from rigging it, including popular variations like the Neko Rig, to selecting the ideal equipment and lures. Additionally, we provide easy-to-understand insights on the best methods and locations to fish it for optimal results.

A diagram of the ned rig, used for bass rig fishing

The Ned Rig

As probably one of the first finesse rigs most anglers encounter, the Ned Rig is an indispensable yet beginner-friendly addition to any bass angler’s toolkit. This simple but effective rig, composed of a mushroom-shaped lead jig head and a buoyant soft plastic bait, is recognized by anglers nationwide for its consistency in catching bass.

Check out our complete guide on the Ned Rig, where we deep-dive into its setup, tackle selection, and, importantly, how to master this core finesse fishing approach!

A diagram of the free rig, used in bass rig fishing

The Free Rig

While technically a variant of the renowned Texas Rig, the Free Rig stands on its own as a versatile, effective, and user-friendly choice in the world of bass fishing rigs. Beginners will appreciate this rig, as it consists of three core components: a free-moving weight, an offset worm hook, and a soft plastic bait.

Explore our overview that runs through the simplicity of the Free Rig’s assembly, along with crucial factors such as choosing appropriate weights and lures, understanding when and where to use it, and much more.

Technical Bass Rigs

Let’s start by setting the record straight; these rigs are not exclusive to just the experts. We’ve marked these rigs as ‘technical’ due to their general requirement for additional components or because they are best used under specific conditions, not because they’re inaccessible to novices.

In fact, embracing these rigs early on can boost your learning curve, helping you grasp the complexities and nuances of bass fishing in different situations. So, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, these rigs will improve your effectiveness on the water.

A diagram of the carolina rig, used in bass rig fishing

The Carolina Rig

A timeless rigging method, the Carolina Rig offers distinctive advantages when it comes to targeting deep-dwelling bass. Although it might seem intimidating at first, it’s actually quite user-friendly for beginners and experienced anglers alike. Comprising of seven main components, it is particularly useful in peak summer conditions when bass seek cooler water depths.

Our detailed guide covers everything you need to know about it, from optimal tackle setups, to weight and hook suggestions, assembly instructions, casting tips, and much more!

a diagram of the drop shot rig, used in bass rig fishing

The Drop Shot Rig

We recommend that all bass anglers get at least a basic understanding and some hands-on experience with the Drop Shot Rig, given its versatility as a finesse rig. Whether targeting shallow regions or deep weedy structures, the Drop Shot allows you to effectively present your bait without getting tangled or losing contact with the bottom. The rig consists of a finesse bait hooked and suspended above a small weight, allowing for continuous movement and a subtle presentation.

Our comprehensive article demonstrates that anglers of all skill levels can achieve success with the Drop Shot Rig. Check it out for thoughts on essential tackle, assembly instructions, casting tips, and more!

A diagram of an umbrella rig/alabama rig, used in bass fishing

The Umbrella / Alabama Rig

The Umbrella Rig, also known as the Alabama Rig, is a unique and controversial bass fishing rig that gained popularity in 2011. It consists of multiple wires extending from a single point, each armed with an individual lure, with the aim of imitating a school of baitfish. This rig offers great potential for reeling in big bass. However, it’s important to note that regulations regarding the use of the Umbrella Rig vary across different US states.

Our detailed article covers everything you need to know, from setup, fishing techniques, recommended tackle, laws, and the best locations to use it.

Rigging Advice

As an angler, rigging your lures properly is an art in itself, and it’s a crucial skill when using more specialized or versatile baits like plastic worms and lizards. Here we dedicate some time to seriously examine these interesting soft plastic options. We’ll guide you through the subtleties of rigging these baits effectively and provide you with essential tips to maximize their potential.

Whether you’re looking to perfect your technique or exploring these lures for the first time, the advice shared here will help you take your angling to the next level!

A Pro’s Guide to Rigging a Plastic Worm for Bass Fishing

Ready to boost your bass fishing game? This thorough guide takes a deep dive into the world of plastic worms, the go-to bait for many bass anglers up and down the country. Learn about our top three plastic worms, discover the secrets of rigging a Senko Worm, and explore five killer ways to rig them up for plastic worms.

This article is designed to provide every angler with expert advice and invaluable techniques to maximize your success on the water. Get ready to revolutionize your bass fishing!

Hook, Line, and Sinker: How to Rig a Lizard for Bass Fishing

Unleash the hidden potential of lizard lures and amplify your results today! Our in-depth article explores the versatility of these often-overlooked baits and reveals the secrets to rigging them for maximum effectiveness. Discover how lizard lures can imitate a variety of forage species and become a game-changer in your tackle box.

From essential rigging methods to top-performing lizard lure recommendations, we have the expert advice you need to catch bigger bass more often.

Choosing the Right Bass Rig

Choosing the right bass fishing rig depends on your fishing situation. Consider factors like the bass species you’re targeting, the fishing location, your level of experience, and the water conditions. For more detailed guidance on the different rigs for bass fishing, be sure to check out our individual articles on each rig.

Here are some generalized recommendations for the best bass fishing rigs, split by bass species:

Largemouth Bass

For largemouth bass, the Texas Rig, Carolina Rig, and Wacky Rig are our top bass fishing rigs. These options allow for slow presentations and work great in a variety of environments, from open water to heavy cover.

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass often prefer bait presented off the bottom, making the Drop Shot Rig, Ned Rig, and Carolina Rigs favorites among anglers. The finesse presentation these rigs offer are often irresistible to smallmouth bass, especially in clear water conditions. The Texas Rig is also another great option.

Striped Bass

Striped bass are very different from largemouth bass, having more in common with smallmouths. We suggest using a Carolina Rig when targeting them. It’s highly effective in deep water, and its enticing movement is known to attract striped bass.

A largemouth bass falling to a Wacky Rig

Conclusion

Understanding and mastering different bass rig setups can significantly enhance your fishing experience. It empowers you to adapt to different fishing conditions and increases your chances of landing a memorable catch. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner just starting with bass rigs, there’s always a new rig to learn, so get out there and give these bass fishing rigs a try!

Remember, patience is key, and practice makes perfect. Here’s to many successful fishing trips ahead!