For you C-rig fans

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Rich Stern

Well-Known Member
Feb 26, 2000
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OK, I've had back-to-back lousy outings (in terms of fish caught).

I've been trying to Carolina rig finesse worms (I hate it!), which does seem to invite more bites on a slow day, but I am having an awful time on the hook set.

First of all, here's my setup: A 6'6" MH Bionic Blade with a BPS MP1-L round reel, 10 lb. mono (BPS loaded the line at the store, it's made by Stren, I was told). I fish it with a 1/2 oz. egg sinker about a foot up the line, using a one of those Carolina Keeper plastic stoppers. I am using an XPS 1/0 O'Shaughnessy hook for finesse worms, or a 3/0 if I am fishing a trick worm.

While I like the Bionic Blade, it has a soft tip and is not the most sensitive stick I've ever used. Also, the mono doesn't exactly telegraph everything that's going on, particularly when starting to work the lure after making a long cast. I can feel some strikes, but I don't know what I might be missing.

So, my questions:

Anybody feel like it pays to use some type of super line and an ultra-sensitive rod for this application?

Second, when to set the hook? When fishing a T-rig, after detecting a hit, I usually pause and watch for line movement or another tap, to be sure the fish has taken the bait. When I do this with the C-rig, I miss on the hook set. Do I set the hook immediately upon detecting a strike?

Any tips appreciated.

There are several things at play here.

First, the rod tip doen't usually matter a whole lot with a C-rig, especially if you keep the line laying on an index finger like I do.

Second, your leader is a bit short. 2 to 3 feet is the norm. Use any type of wide-gapped hook (Gamagatsu, Eagle Claw Featherlite, Owner, X-point) in a 2/0 or 3/0.

Third, when you feel ANYTHING on the line, hit it hard right then. Don't wait. The fish will take the worm and spit it out before you can reel down and back up like a T-rig.

Stren line is okay. Just about any line you like is okay. However, 10 pound is a little light for C-rigging. I'd go with 14 or 17 pound. Also, use a 1 ounce sinker in deeper water.

Then use a lighter leader so you don't lose the whole rig when you get hung up in the rocks and have to break off.

That's about it.

Jim, thanks for the response. More questions!

Why so heavy on the line? And what's the logic on the wide gap hook?

I've been using a short leader because I find that a long leader makes casting a pain (read, backlashes). Do you use a spinning setup or a baitcaster for your c-rigs?

Finally, regarding feeling ANYTHING on the line and setting the hook: Does that include suspect bumps that might be rocks or stumps? In other words, should I plan for a lot of missed hooksets as part of c-rig fishing, because sometimes I'm trying to catch a rock but don't know it? .02....a heavier main line doesn't stretch
as much on the hookset (I use 30-50# braid)...use
a sweeping motion to set the hook rather than the
"pop" used for a T-rig...a wide gap hook handles the
plastic better, i.e. there's more room in the gap
of the hook for the bait leaving more of the hook
point exposed.....when casting, I use a side arm
approach to lob the weight out....overhand casting
with a longer leader will produce the results you've
experienced. said Huck
Deffinetely use a sweeping hookset with a C-rig,..DONT use the typical T-rig hookset where you're lifting the rod tip up over your head, want to pull the line thru the sinker without lifting the sinker off the bottom,...lifting that heavy weight will cause the fish to detect the extra weight and blow the bait out immediately!! Keep your rod tip pointed down towards the water if you're dragging the bait and you'll feel MUCH more. Do the same sweep style hookset with crankbaits and spinner baits too and you'll land more fish.....keep takes a bit to get use to it!!
Good luck this season!!
Thanks for all of the advice, everyone. I'll try again with some new line and the tactics described here.