By Nick Simonson
By this point in the season, the reels have been oiled, the rods cleaned and paired with their line holding partners and new tackle stocked up and readied for the start of open water fishing. While the wait extends with the delayed warm up, its not uncommon to find antsy anglers at their fishing desks, benches or studies going over everything for the umpteenth time. With a new stockpile of plastic baits, it’s hard to not go through the steps of rigging worms or tubes to remember the rhythm, feel (and admittedly, the smell of those garlic-scented offerings). While any bass angler worth this salt-impregnated plastisol can Texas-rig a bait blindfolded, new anglers looking to learn the weed-proof pattern have to start somewhere, and here it is!
THE TEXAS RIG
1 – Select plastic and hook to match. A variety of hooks with different gaps, bends and turns are available, but most can follow this simple pattern. For smaller tubes or worms, go with smaller hooks and upsize as desired on bigger baits. Thread a bullet sinker on for weight prior to tying the hook to the line or use clip-on sinkers like Bull-Shot after the bait is in place.
2 – Start hook in plastic. Spear the point of the hook through the front end of the plastic and thread the worm over the hook a little bit farther than the neck of the hook, located just behind the hook eye.
3 – Run the hook through the plastic. Carefully slide the length of the hook through the hole you have created in the plastic and then turn the hook 180 degrees so it is upright once again. The eye of the hook can be inside the plastic a little or it can be out. This variation can be determined by your preference or that of the fish and how each bait performs in the water and on the hookset.
4 – Run hook into plastic again. Run the hook point back up through the worm. For the best horizontal presentation, it may be necessary to bend the plastic to the hook gap when completing this step. A true Texas rig will leave the point just below the top surface of the plastic. An “exposed” Texas rig will have the point laying flat along the plastic as in Figure 5. A “Texposed” version, reinserts the hook point back into a little flap of plastic to keep it mostly weedless, but easier to get a positive connection on a hookset.
5 – Hook point tight to plastic. If exposed, the hook point should sit snugly against the plastic as in figure 5, this minimizes snags and weeds on the lure and makes it more hydrodynamic and natural looking.
6 – Texpose it. As discussed above, re-insert the hook point in the plastic to prevent most weeds from getting on the lure.
Texas-rigged lures are great for slithering off shore into shallow weedy areas, since they don’t snag up as often and look more natural when they don’t fall out of the sky into the water. These setups don’t hook up as easily on tree limbs or between rocks either, giving anglers an advantage over bass. Further, hydrodynamic body stylings on tubes allow them to be skipped several feet under cover like trees and docks. The added requirement of a more powerful hookset is the only price paid for this weedless wonder, so remember to haul back hard when a bass takes the bait. Indeed, Texas-rigging a soft plastic bait puts a whole new arsenal and a whole new strategy at an angler’s fingertips. Learning it now before hitting the water will help new anglers find more success this spring.