If you ask any fisherman to limit themselves to one bait they can fish for the rest of their life, most are probably going to pick a soft plastic worm.
The main reason for this is that it is an extremely versatile lure. It can be rigged in many different ways depending on the conditions you’re facing. So knowing all of them can be a bit overwhelming.
But below are the top 4 rigs that will cover a variety of conditions that you need to know for plastic worm fishing. All of them are fish catchers given the right circumstances – so if you haven’t tried one before, test it out your next time on the water!
1. The Texas Rig
Maybe no rig is as widely known and used with soft plastic baits as the texas rig. It’s a staple that every fisherman should know and can catch fish all year long. It’s actually the way I learned to fish and how I caught my first bass.
The Texas rig is a very simple setup. It only requires a bullet weight, a worm hook, and a soft plastic (in this case, plastic worm). You thread the bullet weight onto the line, and tie the hook onto the end of the line. Then, thread the worm on the hook as shown in the picture below. And you’re ready to go fishing!
But if it’s so simple what makes a texas rig one of the best rigs you can use with plastic worms?
Simply put, a Texas rigged worm can get into any location you need to fish it. Is there a tree with many limbs hanging over in the water? A Texas rigged plastic worm can get into every nook and cranny and will come back without getting stuck most times.
Bass in particular love to get into the depths of trees, bushes, or anything that provides an opportunity to hide. Then when the unsuspecting bait fish comes by, they can come out and eat. During the summer, they’ll also hang tight to anything that can provide shade when the sun is up.
A texas rig is what you want tied on to reach those fish. Simply throw it around every spot you can get into around cover and you’re going to be having bites in no time. It’s a great bait for when you have precise locations you want to fish.
Almost any soft plastic worm will work on a texas rig, but I recommend trying out the ultravibe speed worm from Zoom.
2. The Dropshot Rig
A more complicated rig that is becoming ever more popular in the fishing scene is the drop shot rig. The difference between a texas and drop shot rig is that the texas rig has the weight and then the hook. A drop shot rig is opposite – hook first and then the weight after.
You can do this without a specialty hook, but if you’re a beginner I recommend buying some of these hooks which have two places to tie line to. You tie one end to your main line, and the other end to a piece of line about a foot long with a weight tied onto the bottom. Once complete, it should look like this.
But why would you want the weight to be so far down below the hook?
One of the issues with a texas rig is your worm is always on the bottom of the water. So if there is grass, moss, leaves, or anything else your worm will be in it instead of up in the fish’s face. A dropshot fixes this by getting a worm up and above anything sitting on the bottom of the water.
Because of this, it’s a dream to fish in a small farm pond with grassy/mossy bottoms (read here for more) like I have here in Virginia. It’s the absolute best bait when you need to keep your lure up and above any junk living on the bottom of an untreated fishery.
But it also works in deep water or any location where you know fish are off the bottom and several feet up in the water column. You just simply adjust the leader from your weight to hook to be whatever height you see the fishing holding at on a fishfinder.
With all of the benefits of a dropshot, there is one large negative. You can’t fish it in anything besides open water. Trees, limbs, or any other cover will wrap your weight up immediately and you’ll have to re-tie.
Most worms will work on a dropshot but I really enjoy finesse worms under the 5” range like the roboworm.
3. The Wacky Rig
The wacky rig is another fish-producing rig that everyone should know, and when you see it you’ll probably think it’s too dumb to work.
There isn’t even a weight for a wacky rig – it’s just a worm hook with the worm hooked straight through the middle so both sides lay gently to the side. It’s most commonly used with senkos, but any worm will work on it to varying degrees of success.
The magic of the wacky rig is it makes the soft plastic worm look extremely lifelike. With so much of the worm off of the hook, it can sway and move in the water like a real worm does. And many fish that maybe won’t eat a less natural looking bait will gladly open their mouth for a wacky-rigged worm.
Because there is no weight on this rig, you are limited to throwing it in mostly shallow areas. If you throw it in 30 feet of water, you’ll be sitting there forever just letting it drop to the right depth. So keep it in areas where the depth is 8 feet or less at max.
Also because the hook is open, it’s not a great lure to use in thick cover. It will get stuck easily if you aren’t careful, though the lack of a weight will help you not get hung up quite as much.
But if you have the right depth and mostly open water – it’s hard to beat the productivity of a wacky rig. Especially when you tie on a Gary Yamamamto Senko or Yum Dinger.
4. The Carolina Rig
The final rig you should know actually shines most in deeper water and is ideal because it can be fished across wide areas of a lake when you aren’t sure exactly where the fish are located.
The carolina rig is similar to a texas rig except the weight does not sit directly against the hook. Instead, a carolina rig has an egg type weight with a few feet of leader line between it and the hook. Generally, people accomplish this with snaps and swivels but I like using carolina keepers.
However you set up your carolina rig, the idea is that your worm and hook is dragged across the bottom and floats up slightly. You are basically just going to drag the weight across the bottom and several feet behind it is a worm fluttering around for fish to bite.
What’s great about this setup is you can fish it over larger areas like points – a great place for fish to hang out throughout the fishing season. You just cast over it and drag it back to the boat steadily. Unlike the other rigs which are all meant to be casted in a specific area, the carolina rig covers a range.
So you don’t need to know exactly where the fish are, making it a great bait when you can’t locate them or when you just need one bite to really find out where they’re at.
You also can use a nice heavy weight with this and cast it a mile unlike other soft plastic worm rigs, which also makes it easier to cover big areas of water.
Your worm choices are pretty endless on a carolina rig, but I prefer larger finesse style worms on my carolina rig. Like the Zoom Trick Worm.
If you haven’t tried one of the rigs above with your plastic worms you really need to give them a try. All excel at catching fish in the right situations and are something you need to have in your arsenal if you want to become a better fisherman.
But what’s your favorite rig for a soft plastic worm? Was it one that I included or is it something else like a Neko rig or a Mojo rig? Or what other rigs would you like to learn about? Let us know in the comments!
1 thought on “The top 4 rigs you need to know for fishing soft plastic worms”
This was a great article and it’s given me someplace to start with my drop shot fishing. Much appreciated. Thanks!