Carolina Rig as a viable option for not only bass but coupled with live bait, for other species as well.
While it seems that I write specifically for bass more than any other fish, I want to reiterate that I approach everything from a multi-species point of view unless stated otherwise. For example, the recent articles on white bass and catfish.
The carolina rig is sweetness in motion. You can run a carolina rig through the same areas you would run a crank bait and catch as many if not more fish. Anglers in the know run cranks through an area first then turn around fish a carolina rig through it to pick up more fish. Something for tournament anglers to consider.
The Carolina rig consists of heavy monofilament, usually between 12-20 lb test, a heavy bullet sinker around 3/4 oz, a glass bead, barrel swivel and a leader measuring over a foot in length, usually of around the same test monofilament. The last component is usually a soft plastic bait, most notably the past few years is the plastic lizard.
The key element of the Carolina Rig is the brass and glass. They make a clicking or rattling sound as the rig moves over the bottom which draws fish to it. Another great alternative is using H&H Plastic Rattles, one of our sponsors, which makes a very impressive Carolina Rattle which can be used instead of the classic brass and glass. Their Carolina rattles are actually every bit as loud as the brass and glass and by using them you can eliminate tying on extra components. Again, if you are in a tournament situation, you can save a few minutes and maybe boat a few more fish.
One thing I have to point out is that this is not a rig that you want to use around rocks as it will snag rather easily. If you want to use something akin to it, switch to a Lindy rig with live bait for other species. You can add a glass bead to the Lindy rig and get almost the same effect, although the sound will be lessened.
The carolina rig is an almost year round option from pre-spawn to early fall and covers water depths of 0-25 ft very effectively. Any deeper and a vertical jigging is more suitable. This rig really shines during those tough bites in the summer. An angler can cover a lot of water fairly quickly although not as quickly as they could with cranks.
Perhaps the best thing about the Carolina rig is that as long as the sinker is on the bottom, you are fishing it right. However, it is an option that can't fully or effectively be used from shore. This is a tactic best reserved for boaters. For shore fisherman I would suggest split-shottin, a western technique using the same principals of the Carolina, but using grubs and splits shots . Another big bass summer tactic.
Try it along points, isolated grassy patches, along weed edges, and sand flats bordering bottom changes such as mud flats. Add it to your arsenal.