Sliding Sinker Rigs: How to Tie & Fish The Carolina Rig

The Sliding sinker rig (also known as a Carolina rig or a Slip Sinker Rig) is an excellent finesse-style rig for a wide range of species including bass. They work …

The Sliding sinker rig (also known as a Carolina rig or a Slip Sinker Rig) is an excellent finesse-style rig for a wide range of species including bass.

They work great with a range of stick baits and imitative soft plastics, including lizard baits and other creature baits.

Sliding sinker rigs are great searching rigs and can be used to cover water to find bass as well as fishing to bass you’ve spotted on your fish finder.

Sliding Sinker Rig Gear

To rig a Sliding Sinker Rig/Slip Sinker Rig, you will need the following:

How to Tie A Sliding Sinker Rig

Carolina Rig Set Up Diagram Horizontal Infographic
  1. Start by placing the bullet sinker on your main line, followed by a bead. After placing the bead and sinker, tie on your swivel.
  2. After the swivel has been tied on, it’s time to add your leader. Leader length can vary and is typically anywhere from 18 inches to 3 feet in length. Leader length is a personal preference for some, and if your fishing floating plastics determines how high in the water column it will rise.
  3. Mono or fluoro fishing line is the best choice for the leader material.
  4. The next step is to tie the leader to the swivel after picking your length, and then to tie on your hook, with the last step being your bait.

What bait to use with Sliding Sinker Rig?

The beauty of the Sliding Sinker Rig is you can fish it with just about any soft plastic bait. Small light baits and creature baits are great to fish with the C-Rig. Here’s a good list of suitable baits to help you with bait choice (you can also use it for live bait fishing):

How to Fish a Slip Sinker Rig

The Sliding Sinker Rig, or Carolina Rig, is great for covering water, feeling the bottom, and catching bass. You’re going to want to simply drag it across the bottom – it can be fished in shallow water right through the deeper water.

You can achieve this with a sweeping motion of the rod from 10 o’clock through to 2 o’clock.

Since we are dragging the weight and the bait, we want to use this in cleaner areas to avoid getting caught in the weeds. Look for sandy areas around cover like a patch of weeds, riverbanks, and around docks.

Don’t jerk the rig, just a nice smooth sweep will work.  Use a nice 7″ spinning rod or baitcasting rod and each sweep will move the bait a foot or so.

Be sure to ‘feel’ the bottom via your rod – you’ll get use to the different feedback it gives as the bait travels across grass, sand, and gravel. 

Where should you throw Sliding Sinker Rigs?

Open water is the starting point for using this lure – it’s not a rig to be throwing into tight structure and heavy cover such a trees and snags that require accurate casts and can grab the lure and components creating a bust off and the need to retie the rig.

Points are a popular area to target, but drop offs and ridges are good too. You can even throw a Sliding Sinker Rigged soft plastic over grass or light weed in shallower water if you lighten it up by using a smaller egg weight or bullet weight.

If you are fishing with sonar, then throw it into schools you can see on your fish finder. If you are land based or fishing without electronics, then you can keep moving (either drifiting in your boat or walking the shore) and casting.

 You can cover a lot of ground quickly and find the fish with this search bait. Once you locate the fish in the body of water you can slow down and fish that area thoroughly.

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.
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