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Carolina Rig Fishing

 — by Mike McDonnell

Carolina, split-shot, mojo rig, no matter what you call it, it serves you the same way, IT CATCHES FISH. No matter which situation you use these rigs in you will have the opportunity to catch fish. I will describe for you each technique and where they can be best used.

Split-shot rig is probably the easiest one of all. Because I am a bigger guy, over 6’ tall I prefer using a 6 ½’ Lamiglas rods. For split-shotting I am currently using the Ti2000, TBS 663. The rod is fast enough to pick up line when setting the hook, yet sensitive enough to feel what is going on at the end of line even in up to 50’ of water. On a calm day yes, in the winter we fish as deep as 50’. To set up this rig I attach a #3 shot approximately 2-2 ½’ up from the hook. McCoy 8lb test line does the trick for me because this rig

is used mostly in open water situations, and the abrasion resistance of the line allows you to apply the shot directly to the line without thoughts of line breakage. This rig is especially effective when the fish are holding close to or on the bottom structure. The structure that I would recommend fishing with this rig is scattered rock. Because of the shape of the shot it should not hang up to often and you will still be able to feel the bottom change. A reason to fish this way would be if the fish are finicky and the bite has slowed down. The baits that I find most effective with this rig is smaller plastics, grubs, worms, and 4” lizards. The smaller tubes can be rigged this way also.

Carolina rigs are normally associated with fishing a stump or rock field, or long sloping points. The rig gives you the opportunity to fish as fast or as slow as you want to drag it along. Fish a sinker that is bell shaped, they tend to not get hung up dragging through the rocks. During calm conditions you can use as light as an 1/8oz, but normally I will use a ¼ oz or more weight, so that you can feel the bottom without hanging up. On windy days, or current conditions you may have to go as high as a ¾ oz. Using the McCoy “MCSTOPPER” to replace the barrel swivel will eliminate 2 knots. The “MCSTOPPER” is a hard piece of plastic that you can open with a pair of pliers, slide it up your line under your sinker to the length that you want your leader. I still slide on a glass bead to connect with the sinker to give it the “ticking” sound. You might want to invest in a longer rod to fish this way, as you make a long cast and drag the bait along the bottom. You want the longer rod to be able to pick up the line that is out and get a strong hook set. A trick to use carolina rigging is to tie on a jerkbait and drag it along the bottom, not many fish have seen that before. Common baits fished this way are grubs, worms, lizards, and reepers.

Mojo riggings are somewhat new to the market. It is set up exactly the same, as the Carolina rig is; only change, the mojo rig is most effective being used in and around grass. The shape of the “mojo” is like a cylinder, so it allows the rig to slide through the grass instead of burying itself and getting hung in the grass. The method of fishing is exactly the same as fishing a carolina rig. Maintain contact with the bottom, and if you get hung up and shake it loose, be prepared for the strike. The bait makes erratic movements when you snap it free from the grass; this is when the strike occurs. Keep watch on your depth finders, know the height of the grass and set your leader approximately 6” above the length of the grass.

Rigging your poles with a Carolina, split-shot, or mojo rig is a good bet on any body of water during any time of the year. When fish are not very active, or you have covered an area with a reaction bait, try picking up a “RIG” and throw it. Long rods are a must. They help you cast further, and give you backbone for better hook sets. This way of fishing for me is my mainstay. I catch most of my fish during the year with one of these techniques. Enjoy your day on the water and “feel” what you are fishing.


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