How Aaron Martens Fishes the Carolina Rig

Endless Options inclusing Alternate Uses


Winter 2020

page 42

Photo: MLF

His hook of choice is a Gamakatsu Finesse Heavy Cover or the Gamakatsu G-Finesse Hybrid Worm hook.

“I like the Finesse Heavy Cover because it has a perfect keeper and you can hide the bait in there easily when you rig it,” shared Martens.


The simplicity of this rig allows it to work with just about any soft- plastic bait you can imagine.

“There are endless possibilities. Flukes, Senkos, and creature baits all work,” said Martens. “But my two favorites are a six-inch Roboworm FAT worm or a lizard.”

“In the spring and around the spawn, I like to use a shorter leader because bass will often try to eat the weight,” he stated. “I like a one to a two-foot leader. As it gets warmer after they spawn, I use a three to four-foot leader most of the time.”

Martens will also go as far as to change the rod he uses based on the leader length, but he says with traditional Carolina-rig fishing, a rod of at least 7’4” is necessary for both casting the awkward rig and for getting a good hookset on bass. He mentioned the 7’6” heavy action Enigma HPT Gen3 Series Flipping Rod as an excellent all-around choice.

When it comes to weights, he will use both lead and tungsten versions in a wide range of sizes.

“One of the best things about the Carolina- rig is how much water you can cover while still using a finesse technique,” said Martens. “I’ll use everything from a 1/4-ounce to a one-ounce, depending on the depth I am fishing and how quickly I want to move the rig.”

He says a 1/4- or 3/8-ounce weight is good for shallow water fishing and he chooses a 3/4-ounce or one-ounce when fishing deep water and when he is dragging it quickly in shallow water.

“The weight is really what attracts them, and I have found that using heavy weights works great in the pre-spawn, even in really shallow water,” he said. “I prefer tungsten, but if it is ‘snaggy’, a standard lead egg weight works good and avoids hang-ups. If there is grass around, the cylinder ‘mojo-rig’ weights do a good job.”


Over the years, bass anglers have

experimented with Carolina-rigging all

sorts of lures, and it works, according

to Martens.

“It is basically like a down-rigger, and I have caught fish Carolina-rigging jerkbaits, crankbaits, and Scroungers,” said the Alabama pro. “It is highly lake and condition-specific to where I have done it, but it will catch fish.”

The Carolina-rig is one a proven way to catch bass with soft-plastics, and it has worked for generations. Whether you are new to the technique, or just getting back to it, it belongs in your arsenal. •