The Texas Rig … a bullet weight slip sinker located ahead of a worm hook…is probably the first way of fishing a plastic worm that most bass anglers first learned on. Since then bass anglers have changed, added, taken away, whatever makes the rig a better fish catcher.
Hooks, sinkers, and line: right or wrong?
Let’s talk about sinkers first. The use of the slip sinker, besides getting the worm to the bottom, is to allow the fish to take the worm without actually feeling the weight of the sinker … right?
Is the bullet weight style the worm of choice?
Does line diameter, weight test affect how the sinker moves up and down the line?
There is a lot of discussion on all of these questions. The following are some suggestions from my experience and some from other anglers that I have heard talking about the subject.
A typical bullet weight used with Texas Rigging can be Tungsten or lead. Use the smallest profile weight that allows you to cast the rig, protects the head of the worm, and gets the bait to the bottom. Some bass anglers prefer Tungsten because it presents a very compact profile on the bait, and still gives you the ability to cast a decent distance.
I always try to use colored bullet weights to match the color as best as possible to the worm color I use.
However the sinker style doesn’t have to be the familiar bullet. Using a bullet style sinker when fishing rip-rap rocks will guarantee a high amount of hang-ups between the rocks. Switching to a barrel style sinker will still allow the sinker to slip along the line, but a lot less hang-ups.
Tungsten weights can be expensive; there is always lead unless you are fishing somewhere that lead is prohibited.
The shallower the water, the less weight is required to keep the bait down. Weight size choices are wide. Some anglers use weights as small as 1/32 oz. bullet heads; others have gone the opposite direction with weight size up to 1/4 oz.
The size of the weight, besides aiding in casting the rig, can also be used to control the rate of fall of the worm. The worm weight should beat the worm to the bottom. As the weight sinks to the bottom, it slides up your line if you disengage the reel spool. Be ready to engage the reel quickly and crank up the slack if a strike is felt.
Some anglers include a free sliding glass or brass bead between the hook head and the weight. They feel the extra “click” generated as you retrieve the worm through structure will draw bass attention. Color of the bead is one of those confidence things.
You will get more bites with less weight. The lightest weight I go with is 1/8 or 3/16 oz. High winds might require more weight to keep contact with the bait to feel the bite.
A free sliding weight at times can cause problems especially if you fishing heavy vegetation or rocks long a dam as I mentioned previously. The weight can be become entangled in the structure. This is when some anglers peg the sinker from sliding.
Stick a toothpick end in between the weight and the line at the tip of the bullet sinker. Break off the toothpick, and make sure there is no piece of the toothpick ending out from the weight. If you are fishing vegetation, that small protruding end, can get fouled in the weeds, etc. and cause problems.
However, if you peg the weight, it prevents the weightless presentation time you get between when the weight hits the bottom and the worm follows.
If you can handle the cast without a weight, try fishing the Texas Rig in this manner and you will get plenty of free fall time. Bites can be gentle nibbles or rod jerking jolts. Be ready for whatever happens.
The Texas Rig probably came about because it can be worked in all kinds of cover. When the worm is properly inserted on the hook with the fish catching end buried in the hook, it’s practically snag less.
Hooks have come a long way since the original offset hook shank. Barbs along the hook shank are on just about any worm hook worth its name. The barbs help hold the worm in place. Some hooks have a free swinging barbed prong hanging off the eye of the hook. The prong end is imbedded in the free swimming worm's head. The tail end, or close to the end of the worm, is slipped into the worm body giving the weedless effect.
Worm hooks come in a variety of weights, sizes and colors. A couple of things that we can pull from all of the variety is the hook size should be matched to the length of the worm. You want the worm to hang straight after it’s on the hook, not bunched up. The other is the lighter, thinner diameter hooks tend to give a better hook set.
The remaining item on our discussion is fishing line, another piece of fishing tackle that has come through some major changes since the first Texas Rig. Every angler used monofilament. But monofilament has a stretch factor which can really hamper a good hook set on your longer casts.
Enter braided monofilament line and your different fluorocarbon lines. Braided won’t stretch insuring a solid hook set, and a 12 lb. test braid looks like it should be 4-6 lb. test. Sinker will slide freely, but it can be a little tricky to learn casting with it, and you need to learn some new knots.
Fluorocarbon line is practically invisible, but costs can be up there to fill a reel spool.
Hope all this basic information helps the beginner and the experienced angler. I’m sure those of us who have fished this rig have some other tips. If you don’t mind sharing, pass them along.