Historically the Carolina Rig is seen as the one to use for catching many bass, not big bass. This has changed as anglers "diddled" with the rig over the years. It is very likely the most versatile fishing rig available to anglers today. It can be fished any time of the year and in any weather with many different plastic lures and produce bass.
Rigging the Carolina Rig
The "standard" configuration utilizes a heavy fishing sinker (weight) weighing up to an ounce which is bullet shaped and drilled end to end with a hole through which the main line is threaded.
You will notice in the photo above there is a round brass "button", often called a clacker or clicker, between the sinker and bead that is sometimes used by anglers to create more sound as the lure is dragged or pulled across the bottom. The impact of the sinker, clacker and bead hitting together enhances the sounds made by the rig as it is given action by the angler.
Main lines for this rig are usually from 10-20lb in strength while the leader is usually 10lb and often fluorocarbon instead of mono.
A pre-rigged Carolina Rig is available as shown above. All the components are assembled on a wire and packaged. You merely remove it from its package, tie a main line to the end above the bullet weight and a leader to the swivel at the other end and "wa-la", you're ready to go.
There are several versions available other than the one shown and of course you can always put your own together.
Mojo Sinker Carolina Rig With NetBait Paca Craw
The Carolina Slider Weight Rig uses a cylindrical slip sinker instead of a bullet shaped weight. These weights are alleged to come through heavy cover and structure with ease. They do work to get your lure down quickly and enable long casts as is needed when fishing a Carolina Rig.
Another version of a Carolina Rig uses a cylindrical slip sinker weight that is round and slightly curved. It is placed on the line above the bead by threading the main line through its core and freely slides up and down the line. In my personal experience its unusual shape and the weight distribution in the curved cylinder do a very good job of avoiding hang ups.
Somewhat unorthodox as weights go this particular set up has worked very well for me in avoiding snags in rocky structure. I prefer the previous style in grass and other cover.
The cylindrical weight is placed above the bead by running the main line through its eye and it hangs from the line rather than the line threading the full length of the weight. The weight freely slides up and down the line and allows line to be easily pulled through it when the lure is picked up by a bass.
This rig is similar to the previous but different in that it uses weight that has a thin extension on its bottom. This helps lift it out of rock structure such as cracks and crevices. This works quite well actually.
The Carolina Tandem Rig utilizes a three-way swivel and two leader lines fixed with hooks and baits. Though shown here with two fluke style lures most any could be used.
Adjustable Weight Sinker and Yamamoto Spider Grub
The sinker shown in the image above is unique in that it incorporates brass balls inside the cylinder which can be added or removed to adjust the weight of the sinker without having to retie the entire rig. There is also a swivel pre-attached to the cylinder shaped sinker.
Carolina Keeper Rig
This very simple device seen above is called a "Carolina Keeper". It is simply a short piece of flexible but very stiff piece of cylindrical plastic with a slit cut through its center. This is placed on the main line between the sinker and the hook. It can be squeezed with pliers to open the slit allowing the angler to slide it up or down the line, thereby shortening or lengthening the leader. I've used this often but it causes line twist while a swivel does not.