(Editor's note: The following is the latest installment in a series of fishing tips presented by The Bass University. Check back each Friday for a new tip.)
Pete Gluszek knows that a Carolina rig is a good way not only to get lots of bites, but also to win major tournaments. It produces bass “from 12 inches to 12 pounds,” he said, and with a little bit of tackle modification you can fish it in water less than a foot deep all the way down to 50 feet.
Nevertheless, in decades of guiding and tournament fishing, he’s realized that many anglers don’t maximize their Carolina-rig effectiveness because of faulty mechanics. He’s broken it down into a simple system, from beginning to end.
“One of the most difficult things with the Carolina rig is casting the Carolina rig,” he said. “You’ve got 4 feet of leader material. You’ve got a weight up there. It can wrap, it can helicopter. It can cause you some trouble.”
That’s why he uses a “lasso cast,” staring off by pointing at his target and then rotating his rod to the back before launching the contraption. That keeps his line tight the entire time, which avoids backlashes. It also minimizes leader knots, which create a weak point in your line.
Casting is made difficult when using lighter weights, and Gluszek will sometimes go down as light as a quarter-ounce in shallow water, so the casting motion is critical. That’s why he also rotates the handle during the cast itself, thereby reducing spool speed slightly and avoiding backlashes.
During the “retrieve,” his left hand holds the rod handle, and the right hand stays off of it. That means he has to use the rod to drag, sweep or hop the bait. The right hand only comes into play in order to reel up slack.
“A lot of people put too much action into Carolina-rig fishing,” he said. “It’s really a finesse approach.” Oftentimes, less is more.
Because the weight telegraphs and transmits so much about the bottom composition, he believes it’s not just a tool to catch fish, but also to learn about what sort of cover and bottom composition they prefer under given conditions. When he dials in the bite, he’ll keep his lure in the optimum strike zone for as long as possible. If is weight gets temporarily hung up on a rock or a log, he’ll pop it free, but then endeavor to let the weight fall right back onto the cover. Often that’ll trigger a strike from a curious resident bass.
When the strike comes, even if it’s subtle, he always assumes that it’s a big fish. His hookset is mechanical and involves patience. In fact, he cautions anglers not to move too fast. “When a fish commits to this bait, he’s got it and you can hardly get it away from him.”
If you want to learn some of the other keys to Gluszek’s Carolina-rig mechanics, including the mechanical issues that may ensue if you “get in a hurry on the hookset,” check out his full video from the water, available only by subscribing to The Bass University TV.