Bass are ambush predators who like to hide out under cover and wait for something juicy to shimmy past their noses, especially as the weather warms up and the sun comes out. There is nothing more frustrating to beginning anglers than losing rig after rig to the weeds trying to tease bass into biting.
This is where the Texas rig will save your day.
The Texas rig was developed in the 1950s specifically for fishing soft plastic lures in and around heavy cover such as rocks, grass, lily pads and driftwood. It allows anglers to feel the bottom and bob the lure tight to cover and right in front of the fish’s hideout without snagging.
It’s hands-down one of the best rigs for bass fishing. It’s easy to set up and versatile for a variety of techniques and fishing styles.
Key components of a Texas rig
A soft plastic lure such as a worm, creature, crawfish, or other soft lures. The color will depend on the season, the weather for the day, the mood of the fish and your preferences.
- A bullet point weight (sinker). A ¼ oz. bullet weight is recommended. Texas rigs are all about feel, so choose the lightest sinker you can get away with. Some anglers prefer to fish a Texas rig weightless.
- A worm hook. Go with a 3/0 - 5/0 straight shank, round bend hook. Choose size 3/0 for 6” plastic lures, 4/0 for 7” - 8” lures, and 5/0 for 10” or longer plastic lures. An offset worm hook will show less hook to the fish.
TIP: EWG (extra wide gap) hooks and Texas rigs were made for each other. Use a 4/0 EWG with shads and craws and a 5/0 EWG for tube and creature baits.
- A pegging device (weight stopper). Traditionally, a Texas rig uses a free-sliding weight, but some anglers prefer to peg the weight with a toothpick or piece of a rubber band a distance from the head of the lure. This allows the lure to sink slowly to the bottom, giving a chance for the bass to commit.
- A small glass or plastic bead. This one’s a secret a lot of anglers don’t think about and works like a charm with soft plastic crayfish lures. A bead is threaded on between the head of the lure and the weight so that when it’s bobbed along, it creates a clacking sound that mimics a live crayfish. This comes in real handy when fishing bass in muddy water.
How to set up a Texas rig
Texas rigging a plastic worm is straightforward and easy. The idea is to hook your lure on straight with the tip either buried slightly inside the body or snug against the outside, creating a clean, weedless profile.
Here are the steps:
- Insert the point of the hook into the top of the lure at the head. If you have a lure with a flat end, the rounded side is the head.
- Drive the hook in about ¼" (the length of the hook's shank), rotate the hook 90 degrees and thread it out the side. If you are using a round worm, it doesn't matter which side. If you are using a flat lure, keep in mind how you want it to present - you'll want to thread it out whichever side you want to face the hook. TIP: Most soft plastic lures have a line along the side you can use as a guide.
- Grasp the hook by the eye and slide the worm up to the eye. Your lure should cover the distance between the eye and the first bend.
- Next, hold the hook by the shank and let your worm hang loose. Note where your lure matches up with the bottom of the bend. Mark this point with your thumb - this is where you will re-insert the point.
- Slip the point into the place where you have marked and simply drive it to the opposite side. Be sure not to twist the lure as you do this (otherwise it’ll twist your line).
- Once the point exits, slide the worm down the hook until the point lies parallel with the body of your lure. To make the rig extra weedless, you can opt to leave the point buried just inside the body.
- Time for the weight. Thread the bullet weight on, narrow end first, and let it slide down the line. Placing it on in this way allows you to drag the lure through the cover.
- Should you choose to add some sound to your lure, now is the time to add the bead.
- Now you can add your weight stopper, be it a toothpick, a piece of a rubber band, or a commercial stopper.
- Finish off your rig by tying your line to the hook with your favorite knot. Keep in mind, if you used a bead, you'll want to tie it close to the eye with just enough wiggle room so it will smack against the weight when you pop it.
There you have it, your Texas rig is all set and ready to hook a fish!
Techniques for bass fishing a Texas rig
It doesn't matter how you cast it - underhanded, overhanded, or sidearm - the trick to fishing a Texas rig is to 1) cast so the lure hits the water flat, creating as little splash as possible, and to 2) feel for the bottom.
Let's go over three common bass fishing techniques that work well with a Texas rig.
Twitching is the technique to go for if you decide to skip on the weight, or you want to use a lightweight lure. Take extra care to rig your worm on straight or it will twist the line.
This technique is for casting into mid to shallow weeds or near thick cover. Drop your bait down into these areas and when it hits your target depth, twitch it into position with tiny jerks of the rod. This is a great technique to use for finesse rigs and jerk baits. Bass can't resist!
Dragging. When the weather is cooler and water temperatures are low, bass are sluggish. Fast, aggressive lures aren't going to work here. Dragging your rig across the bottom is a great way to let the fish catch up to it.
You don't have to feel much with this technique. Simply let the rig hit bottom and then drag it back and forth a couple of feet at a time, taking up the slack between pulls. This pauses your bait gives the lethargic bass a chance to strike.
The lift and drop retrieve is perfect for warmer waters and overcast days, when bass are active, hungry, and more willing to come out of hiding. Remember, bass are opportunistic hunters, and nothing looks more appetizing than prey that is struggling or unsuspecting.
The idea is to lift your rig off the bottom a short way and then let it sink slowly. Take up the slack, then pop it up again. Repeat for a few feet or until you're past the cover then reel it in and cast again. How you lift the rig depends on the bait you're using. The idea is to mimic the behavior of the prey your lure is imitating.
For example, crawfish crawl along the bottom and occasionally pop up in the water, sometimes with two short bursts. You might want to drag your craw a little way, then hop it up a time or two. If you're fishing tube lures, you might want to swim it up a little way before letting it sink. Be patient and don't get into too much of a rush - some bass need a little more convincing than others.
The Texas rig is a great way to get into bass fishing or take your game to the next level. All you need is a hook, a soft plastic bait, a 1/4 oz. bullet weight and, optionally, a weight stopper. If you enjoy fishing with craws, you should try adding a plastic bead to the line between bait and sinker to give it a realistic sound. Add the Texas rig to your favorite technique and you'll be hooking a wall-hanger in no time!
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