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Fishing a Texas Rig is a great way to get your lure or bait into an area heavy with vegetation. We have all cast a plastic and reeled in weeds and sticks and maybe a few of you have brought a stump up. It’s very annoying and can really put a damper on your trip.
Fortunately, there is the Texas Rig setup that virtually eliminates this frustration and it is very simple to do. No matter where you fish, it is important that you understand how this setup works and how to use it to your benefit.
Many species of fish tend to hide in deep cover, largemouth and smallmouth bass are notorious for this, but many other species have this characteristic as well. Often, fishermen unaware of the Texas Rig method usually “skirt” a covered area in hopes of luring fish out but with this method, you can cast right in.
The setup is a quite simple idea that covers the hook tip with your lure or bait to prevent snagging and catching while in the water. You will virtually make a “bridge” with your lure across the hook spanning from the neck of the hook to the tip.
What is the Texas Rig Setup?
As we stated above, it is the creation of a bridge across your hook from the neck to the tip with a bullet weight or similar weight attached just above the head of the hook. Think of the hook as an open doorway that snags on everything that it connects with and think of the lure as a door that you are closing.
By closing your “door” on your setup, you are making your lure and hook into a more fluid, aquadynamic unit that zips along easily in the water. Once the principal method is learned it can be customized and tweaked to fit your fishing style, but we will get into that in a little bit.
The Texas Rig setup works well with both artificial and live baits that are “of length” meaning worms and leeches for example. Fishing this way is extremely popular in Texas as I am sure you can imagine, but it is also extremely popular all over the country.
Not only can this fishing setup aid you in getting more fish and fewer weeds, but it also opens a whole new way to fish as well. In this article, I will teach you how to use this setup as well as what gear works best so you can hit the water the right way, the first time.
How Do You Make a Texas Rig?
The method itself is simple enough. first, add your stopper or peg to the line unless you are using a stopper that does not need to be threaded. After the stopper has been applied, thread on your weight (bullet type). Once the weight has been applied, it is a matter of applying the hook.
The best hook to use for a Texas rig is the hooks used in bait fishing with a large opening that can accommodate larger baits. The hook itself should be a sturdy hook so that any snagging will not break your hook.
When fishing, barbed hooks will always hold bait better but for those who are learning the setup, try barbless so that you can correct mistakes easily. (barbless needs to apply to the neck of the hook as well or you will ruin your bait).
To bait the setup, simply thread your worm on the hook but only thread the worm a quarter inch. After you have done this, slide the little bit of him you have hooked up to the eye of the hook until the bait covers the eye of the hook.
Once you have done this, give him a twist about 180 degrees and this will get the bait into position for the next step. Now it is time to connect the tail. This is quite simple – sink the hook tip into either the tail or just above the tail of the bait to create a bridge.
The hook point is buried into the plastic bait, just under (or flush with) its surface. You can feel the point of the hook with your finger but it is hidden or barely exposed. This rigging should leave a gap between the hook shank and the plastic. This is what you want. You now have yourself a bass fishing Texas Rig, for example, that will not snag in the grass or heavy cover.
Perfecting this may take some time and practice but do not get discouraged. When I learned this method, I bought myself two cups of nightcrawlers and sat in my garage and practiced it with a barbless hook until I had it down like science.
Here are the steps to making the Texas Rig:
More on the Tackle for Your Setup
Once you have learned the method you can get the best gear for the job. There are quite a few different hooks, lures, and baits that I like to use but the principle is the same.
Different weights work different ways with a Texas rig setup, and it depends on the cover and debris you are fishing in. Typically, a 3/16 oz. bullet weight is used but you can use just about any weight that gives your setup the jigging action that you are looking for.
The weight you choose should depend on the amount of cover and the depth of the water. As such, heavier weights such as ½ ounce and up will perform best in deeper water with heavy cover due to the rate at which your bait will sink.
The weight may want to wander on the line if you use it too much and using a stopper or what is called a peg can keep your weight and your bait together. When a weight slips and moves away from the bait, the weight will sink before the bait. This causes snags and defeats the purpose of the Texas rig.
You do not have to me too picky when it comes to pegs, simply get what works well. You can even improvise a peg if needed in the field by tightly crimping a small split shot just above the bullet weight.
By pegging the weight to the bait, you are making sure that the entire weight of the bait is in “one piece” rather than two. The setup will navigate cover better if the weight is close to the bait itself so keep this in mind when buying the gear necessary.
Large Bait and Large Hook
Obviously, you cannot put a giant plastic lure on a little hook with the Texas rig very well. A 4/0 offset worm hook works well but I suggest keeping a few packs of different sized hooks in your tackle box for changing things up quickly.
If you are using artificial plastics, you can upgrade to hooks that are barbed in the hook tip and the neck to securely hold your bait. You can create a few different setups ready to go in your tackle box that only need to be tied to use.
Typically, live bait such as nightcrawlers and leeches can be used on smaller hooks but be sure to not go too small with your hook. Not only is stringing a small hook difficult, but you must also have enough hook to catch something.
Because you are covering the important parts of your hook with bait, I suggest going up a size on the hook to compensate for the coverage the bait causes. But be sure to not get enormous hooks as they are not necessary and can cost more.
Best Rod for Texas Rig?
I personally like a mid-ranged modulus rod that has good strength but still offers some action and feel. Keep in mind that the nature of the lure changes completely when you use this setup.
Because you have closed the hooks door and made it more streamlined, you will not feel nearly as many bumps when fishing as you did before. Use this information to decide what modulus rod you are looking for.
Try out some of the different rods you have and see which ones feel right for this style of fishing because while a certain modulus may technically be better for fishing a Texas Rig, you will ultimately know what feels right.
Customizing Your Texas Rig
You have learned the basics of the Texas Rig and now you need to know that you can customize it. If you are getting bites but nothing is catching, try to expose a tiny portion of the hook from the tail of your bait.
The physics of this is quite simple. The more hook, the more likely you are to hook a fish. You can always let a little portion of the hook tip protrude but always remember that the more you expose, the higher chances you have of snagging on objects and catching debris.
Another customization area that you can play with is the line just above the hook. Try a few beads such as those found on a wedding ring setup or a few tiny spoons. I like to use tiny marshmallows in the line just above the hook for trout here in Montana for example.
Overall, there is the basic idea of the Texas Rig and what you do with it thereafter is completely up to you and there is no wrong way to do it. Different fish in different environments like different things.
Now It’s Time to Get Out and Try It
This method of fishing is perfect for areas of heavy cover and debris and can save you the time and frustration of cleaning you hook every other cast. The beauty of this is not the prevention of snagging however, it is the fact that it looks more natural.
Big obnoxious hooks deter fish of any species, and by doing this you are in a sense disguising your hook and making it part of the bait. It is a remarkably simple means of fishing that produces results. Practice with a few cups of worms and some junk plastics you have laying around to perfect the art.
Once you are up and running, go get some fishing beads and other things you can attach to your hook head to give it a little extra flair. Try some odd things like the marshmallows. Just tell the kids to stay out of them. They are for fishing, not for eating.
Just have fun with it and enjoy yourself. It is a great method and it works well. You can even set up the kids’ poles like this so you can fish instead of fixing their poles every five minutes (Yes, we have all been there). The best way to fish is to have fun and, hopefully, this teaches you yet another great way to enjoy your favorite pastime.
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