ummertime is vacation time and when
hefty largemouth bass head offshore for
their warm-season getaways, APEX Series pro Ken Mah often turns to a Carolina rig — an old-
school technique he considers a best-of-both-worlds
“What I love about the Carolina rig is it’s a way to
cover a lot of water and your bait is still very subtle,”
Mah said. “Because your bait doesn’t have (an attached)
weight, it’s gliding, and it looks more natural than a Texas
rig that’s descending at a high rate of speed.”
Sure, it’s not the sexiest way to catch ‘em and many
still smirk or roll their eyes at the mention of the old ball-
and-chain. But make no mistake, the Carolina rig will put
fish in the boat, especially during the summer season.
WHERE IT EXCELS
Noting that his biggest Carolina-rig fish was an 8 1/2-pound Clear Lake toad, Mah describes his ideal rigging habitat as water deeper than a crankbait can reach. Typically, that is anywhere past 17- to 18-feet, particularly over rocks and ledges.
“For me, a Carolina rig and a deep crankbait always go hand- in-hand — kind of like a football jig,” he said.
“For whatever reason, I don’t like football head jigging that much, so whenever fish are deep and they stop responding to a deep crankbait or a swimbait, l like to fish a Carolina rig because you can move the rig fast, but the bait moves slowly.
“It’s almost like a dropshot deal; you’re dragging the weight along and that bait follows slowly behind. Sometimes, when you’re moving the weight, you’re not moving the bait.”
Joe Uribe Jr., also an APEX Series pro, views the Carolina rig as a seasonally strategic presentation. With postspawn fish setting up shop in deeper abodes, the ability to drift an appealing meal through their vacation cottages often amounts to an easy sell.
“The fish are transitioning from their springtime patterns, so as air temperatures and water temperatures heat up, these fish are going to start moving to ledges and breaks close to areas where they spawned,” Uribe said. “Flats that have an edge on them, points that break off into the main lake; those are the areas that I’m going to be targeting with a Carolina rig.”
Noting that the Carolina rig offers an effective technique for feeling the bottom in a more subtle manner than direct contact baits like jigs or Texas rigs,