When it comes to fishing there is one fish that it seems as though every fisherman wants to catch. There are tournaments dedicated to catching him, as well as an abundance of TV shows trying to teach you how to catch him. I am talking about the Largemouth bass. There are literally hundreds of techniques and a multitude of fishing lures designed solely with the purpose of catching this fish. If you listen to the pros and try to emulate them, you will soon find that you have thousands of dollars tied up in rods, reels and fishing baits. You will be using 65 lb test line on a 7 ft heavy action bait casting rod, pitching jigs or crankbaits. Don’t get me wrong here, you can catch fish the way they show you, but we are not professional fisherman. Sure, we want to catch the largemouth and of course the bigger the fish, the better, but the real secret to catching this fish is to learn where he is and offer him a meal that he won’t refuse.
Though I have learned a lot about fishing from my father and brother, I can honestly say that there was one thing that I was able to teach them. You see I had discovered a technique called the “Texas Rig”. I had read up on this technique and then went and bought the needed equipment to create the rig. I practiced using it until I knew the best way to fish it and I was catching more bass than I ever had before. When my brother saw that I was catching more bass than he was he asked me to show him how to use the rig. I was proud that for once I could show him a fishing technique.
So, what is the “Texas Rig”? Basically it is a system for hooking up a plastic worm. Here’s how you do it…
1. Slide a 1/8 to 3/8 ounce bullet weight onto your line and then tie on a 3/0 Gamakatsu Worm hook.
2. Place the hook into the head of a 6 to 7 inch worm about 1/4 of an inch in. Pull the hook through the worm up to the eye of the hook. Then turn the hook around and push the worm back onto it so that the hook is just under the surface of the worm.
3. Your final rig should look like this. Because of the way the hook is not exposed, this rig becomes weedless.
To fish this rig, find yourself some cover or structure. Fallen trees or overhanging branches are excellent. Do not make long casts, but rather short manageable casts to the structure or cover. Because of the weedless nature of this rig you can actually cast over the cover and drag your rig over it without fear of snagging. Allow the rig to sink freely, but be aware of your line as a lot of times bass will hit the rig on the way down. As the lure falls, keep your rod in the 2 to 3 o’clock position and always keep a finger in contact with the line as to detect any strikes that may occur. When the rig hits the bottom, let it sit for a moment or two. Reel in the slack of the line while dropping the tip of your rod to the 3 o’clock position. Then, slowly lift the rod to the 12 o’clock position and wait for the rig to settle back on the bottom. Reel in the slack of the line while dropping the tip of your rod to the 3 o’clock position again and continue the 3 to 12 o’clock presentation. Being weedless, if you feel any resistance on your line (as though something were holding it) set your hook.
To set the hook on a Texas rig: as soon as you feel the bite or think you have a fish, reel down to the 3 o’clock position and set the hook by quickly pulling up to the 12 o’clock position with a lot of force. A hard hookset is needed in order to get the hook to penetrate the worm and the fishes mouth. Fished this way you may get a snag or two, but you will catch more bass than snags.
I remember one Father’s day, my brother and I took my dad out fishing. Pop had never used plastic worms and was adamant that he didn’t need to learn how to use them. No problem as we were happy to let him fish any way he wanted to. We were fishing just off the bridge in Auburn NH at the back side of Massabesic lake where Manchester Rd, Hooksett Rd and Chester Rd all meet.
I of course was using my Texas Rig while my dad was throwing one kind of lure after another. I caught four or five bass before I hooked into what felt like a lunker. Unfortunately, my line broke before I could get him in. That was enough to convince my dad of the folly of his resistance. He had me hook up a rig for him and asked me how to fish it. I gave him some short instructions and began to walk back to my rod to fix my line. Pop asked me where I was casting last and I told him. On his first cast he hooked into a big fish. My brother and I ran over with the net to where he was to cheer him on. When pop finally landed the fish, what he had was an 8 lb largemouth. The biggest fish he had ever caught and he was ecstatic. The biggest fish ever and on Father’s day, what could be more appropriate?
What makes this particular fish stand out even more is that when pop finally landed it, it had my broken Texas rig in it’s mouth. I teased pop that it was really my fish, but he only had that silly smile on his face while declaring he landed it, so it was his. Seeing pop so happy is truly one of my greatest memories.
Tight lines, The Amateur Angler