Fishing A Texas Rig

To begin, I think that once you learn how to effectively fish a soft plastic bait on
a Texas rig, you can fish just about anything. A Texas rigged soft plastic bait can
catch fish year round in just about any situation by simply varying your soft
plastic bait and your retrieve. The Texas rigged plastic worm accounts for more
wins in the B.A.S.S tour than any other lure ever. For some reason it has lost
popularity as of late, but despite it's apparent decline it is still catches fish. 

The basic set up for the Texas rig is very simple: a hook (depending on size of
bait), a sinker (the lightest you can get away with, wind and water depth will
determine this), and a gob of plastic (which I will get to later.) You can add other
things to a Texas rig like a glass bead and clacker (brass piece) if you want.
Depending on cover and water clarity, you want to use either a baitcaster or
spinning gear in a medium/heavy action rod, 6 1/2 to 7 foot in length with 6-20 lb
test. I will usually start with 10-12 lb test and go from there. The lighter the line,
the more natural or realistic the plastic will work. The length of the rod is
important for taking the slack out of the line during the hookset. The action of the
rod is important in that you want the tip to be sensitive, yet not give yourself
away if you are feeling if a fish is there. You want the butt section of the rod to
have plenty of backbone to drive the hook home. 

The way to rig a Texas rig is to insert the hook into the plastic and run it into the
worm about 1/4 inch, then pull the hook to the eye and turn it around and run the
hook tip through the worm and skin hook it on the opposite side so that the rig is
weedless. Be sure that the worm hangs straight or it will twist your line. I myself
don't often peg my sinker (pegging is to make it so that the slip sinker doesn't slip,
this is either done by jamming a toothpick tip in or running a piece of skirt
material through the sinker, or a new product called "peg its".) (TIP: if using a
toothpick, be sure to peg the sinker then push the sinker up the line and cut off
the line where you stabbed the toothpick in. Usually you damage the line slightly
when you do this, and it would not be good to loose a big fish from this.) The
only time I peg the sinker is when fishing heavy weeds or when I am trying to
skip the bait under cover (dock or tree limbs.) 

Fishing a plastic bait on a Texas rig is fairly easy. The biggest problem I see most
people make is that they make too long of casts and they don't hold their rod in a
position in which they are helping them selves feel bites. As a result, they often
miss strikes. To avoid these pitfalls, Make short manageable casts to structure or
cover. The only time you need to make long casts is in ultra clear water when
there is little or no wind. Make sure you are casting to something. The Texas rig is
not much of a search bait--you are casting it to a specific area or cover. Once the
lure hits the water, allow the rig to have controlled slack. What I mean by this is
that you want the bait to fall as vertically as possible, yet still have contact with
the lure. It's also a good idea to pick a spot out on the line and to watch it for any
jumps or ticks. The bass will hit a Texas rig on the fall 90% of the time. As the
lure falls, keep your rod in 2:00-3:00 position. It is a good idea to keep a finger in
contact with the line (many times you can feel the strike through the line that you
have missed feeling with the rod.) When you feel the rig hit the bottom, let it set
for a second. Then, slowly lift the rod to a 1:00 position and wait for the rig to
settle back on the bottom. Once this has happened, reel in the slack line as you
drop the rod to the 3:00 position again. Many make the mistake of reeling in the
slack while the lure is falling and thus miss strikes. Continue this retrieve until you
are past the cover/structure you are fishing. 

A hit or bite can vary a lot from the mood of the fish. It can be a smack that just
about rips the rod out of your hand or it can be something that you don't feel at
all but notice when your line is moving sideways. Remember: hooksets are free.
If you think it's a hit, do something about it. 

To set the hook on a Texas rig: as soon as you feel the bite or think you have a
fish, reel down to the 9:00 position and set the hook with a lot of force. A hard
hookset is needed. When a fish eats a plastic worm, the bass will ball it up in its
mouth, and you may have to penetrate the worm a few times before you hit lip.
If you think you didn't get a good enough set on your first one, go ahead and set
the hook again, but don't give the fish any slack in the line. 

The lure (hunk of plastic) is very important on a Texas rig. I hope to give you a
few hints on what lure to have on at what times, but remember, there really are
no rules, just suggestions that I can make. There are many different kinds of
plastic lures on the market today in a variety of colors that leave a person a
million different combinations. It's knowing when to use which color and what
kind of plastic that will help put fish in your boat. I'll begin with color. The color
of the lure can play a large part in how the fish will hit the bait. Sometimes if you
are setting the hook and not hooking the fish, just by changing the color you will
begin to hook the fish. The fish are trying to tell you something if you are getting
bite and not hooking fish. I'm sure many have heard that light day-light color,
dark day- dark color, clear water-natural color, dark water-bright colors. Most of
that holds true in deciding what worm you should be throwing. I pretty much try
to keep my plastic colors as simple as possible. In my opinion, you really only
need a few colors. Watermelon seed is a great color for clear water, dark day or
bright day. The other clear water color I use is Pumpkinseed. For stained water, I
like Red Shad and Black. And for water in between, I like Tequila Sunrise. I can
pretty much fish all water under all conditions if I have those colors in a variety of
shapes and sizes. 

The shape of the lure can play a very large part in whether or not you get a bite
also. There are plenty of plastic chunks out there in just about every shape
available-some that don't even remotely resemble anything in nature. Yet, because
the bass is the way he is, they still eat them. The more little frillies that come off
the bait, the more underwater noise that it gives off for the fish to feel in
vibrations. Lures like the Exude B.A. Hawg feel very different to a bass than a 4"
finesse worm. When the fish are feeding heavily, if you put a larger profile bait,
you can sometimes attract larger fish. But if the bite is difficult, downsizing is
sometimes needed to get a bite at all. What I use to help me decide what to throw
is this: if I am fishing clear water, I want to throw a smaller bait with few curly
tails hanging off it in a natural color. I want that bait to sneak up on the fish. I
dono:00 position. It is a good idea to 't want the fish to be able to look at it for a
long time from a distance to see if he wants to eat it or not. In murky water you
can get away with a lot more, I will use larger baits that make more noise (in
vibrations) to help the fish find the bait. However, like I said there are no set
rules, in high traffic areas where the fish may see a lot of pressure, downsizing is
the key. No matter what the color of the sky and color of the water. 

So that is the typical Texas rig fished the typical way. However, you can take the
rig to extremes. Dead Sticking is a technique where you make a cast into an area
you believe holds fish. Let it sink to the bottom and just let it sit, as long as your
little heart can stand it. Just let it sit. This works best in areas where there is a
little bit of current created by a river system or by wind. You may think the lure
is not moving down there, but it is, ever so slightly. The other technique is called
rip worming. This technique was stolen from a Walleye angler in Minnesota and
works great on some days turning non-aggressive fish into aggressive fish. The rig
is set up the same way, it's the retrieve that is changed. With the premise that fish
hit a Texas rig as it falls, you try to create a retrieve that optimizes the falling time
and uses fast motions to create reaction strikes. To do this, cast out and let it sink
to the bottom. Then, let it sit a few seconds. Instead of just lightly pulling your
rod to the 1:00 position, snap your wrists so that the lure jumps off the bottom.
Then let a controlled slack in the line. You want the lure to jump about 3-4 feet
off the bottom, then sink back down. Practice this in shallow water and watch
what the lure does. Also be sure to make short casts with this technique, because
you don't want the lure to move very far horizontally, you just want it to jump up
vertically. I like to add a glass bead and brass clacker to my rig when doing this. It
creates a clicking noise that sometimes attracts fish. 

I hope that through this article you have a better understanding of how to fish a
Texas rig and are able to boat more fish as a result.

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