Starting Out

Best Bass Fishing Rigs for Beginners: 10 Soft Plastic Rigging Techniques

Whether you're new to the sport and a seasoned bass angler, this guide will break down the main soft plastic rigging techniques out there to help you become more effective with finding bass, but also being more efficient. Let's get into it.

Best Bass Fishing Rigs for Beginners: 10 Soft Plastic Rigging Techniques

The 10 Best Bass Fishing Rigs & Soft Plastic Rigging Techniques

Bass can be some of the simplest fish to catch, but they can also be some of the hardest to work out. If it was that easy, there would be only a few techniques out there to worked consistently. However, because bass can be tricky and are becoming continuously pressured, dozens of techniques have been trialed and tested to try and get these fish to eat. We're focusing on soft plastic rigging techniques, and we've broken down 10 of the main and most well-known techniques in the sport of bass fishing.

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The Texas Rig

Texas Rig

The Texas Rig was introduced to the world of bass fishing in the mid-1960s and has become arguably the more prolific way to present a soft bait in prime season conditions. The rig consists of a conical slip sinker, a hook, and a bait - which makes this an extremely easy rig to get going with. 

Texas Rigging has become the most well-known technique for bass fishing and remains incredibly effective for warmer water conditions, where bass are feeding aggressively and actively. 

Why Fish the Texas Rig?

The Texas rig is simply a technique that every bass angler should have in their arsenal. Here are some key reasons why you should have a rod locked and loaded with this presentation:

  • Anglers can cover water efficiently and effectively: This bait is hard to ignore for hungry bass, especially in ideal water temperatures.
  • The falling action on a well-rigged Texas rig is extremely attractive to bass: There’s a reason this technique has won millions of dollars for some of the best anglers in the sport.
  • It’s weedless: This is one of the go-to techniques for fishing the heaviest of cover, which is often necessary when targeting big and finicky bass. The way the soft bait is rigged ensures the hook point is hidden from external threats.
  • It’s fun: Fishing a Texas rig usually involves plenty of casts and short breaks in between. You’ll often be fishing pretty epic cover as well, and casting into tight areas with a bite to follow is always an insane feeling. 

Setting up the Texas Rig

Getting going with the Texas rig is a very basic and affordable process. We will provide the necessary requirements, as well as steps to set this rig up.

Required terminal tackle

  • Float stop
  • Bullet weight (Tungsten/Lead) - 3/16oz should do the job in most situations
  • EWG Hook - 3/0 is a great size

How to set up a Texas Rig

How to set up a Texas rig

When to Fish a Texas Rig? 

Certain situations are better than others when it comes to fishing a Texas rig. Understanding favorable conditions for this powerful rig is essential to consistent success. Here are some great times and places to throw a Texas rig:

  • Heavy cover: As we mentioned earlier, the Texas rig is pretty much weedless, so getting snagged is less of a threat. The bullet weight also helps ‘punch’ through mats and other thick vegetation - gaining access to those structure-hugging lunkers.
  • Warmer water: Ideally, about 60 degrees and higher is a good time to have a Texas rig out. It’s seen as a power fishing technique, so you’ll need more actively feeding bass, and this is brought upon by warmer conditions.

Rod, Reel, and Line for the Texas Rig

This technique is definitely demanding on your equipment. Here are some key attributes you want in your gear:


  • A baitcasting rod is ideal for this technique, as casting accuracy is crucial.
  • 7’ and up is a great length for a Texas rig. A longer rod will gather more line on the strike and enable a better hookset.
  • A fast or extra-fast action is key for this rod, in order to get that crisp hookset with that hidden hook. 
  • Medium-heavy should be the minimum in terms of rod power. Fish heavy cover requires a stronger backbone in order to get bass out of potentially threatening situations.


  • Baitcasting reel with a faster gear ratio is ideal - 6.3:1 and up will do the job.
  • Having a faster gear ratio ensures you can take up any slack quickly, as well as pull fish out of cover more efficiently.


  • Heavy cover means a heavy line or strong line at least. 
  • Anglers either prefer going straight braid (30lb+) or going heavy fluorocarbon (20lb+).
  • Both braid and fluorocarbon cut through vegetation well and will give the angler immense pulling ability when needed. 

Bait Selection

Over the years, baits have been optimized specifically for the Texas rig, enhancing the presentation and overall success of this technique. Here are some extremely powerful bait patterns for the Texas rig:

  • Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver
  • Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog
  • Strike King Rage Bug
  • Z-Man Palmetto Bugz
  • Gary Yamamoto Senko

The Wacky Rig

Wacky Rig

The Wacky Rig is often regarded as one of the most bizarre ways to rig a worm. However, it has simply become one of the most successful finesse techniques bass fishing has seen. A rig that only requires a hook and a bait - anyone can add the wacky rig to their list of techniques. 

Why Fish the Wacky Rig?

As the wacky rig is a finesse technique, which is generally a slower and more patient demanding, one can easily be less motivated to master the wacky rig. Learning this technique will give you greater versatility, especially when the fishing gets tough. Here are some key reasons why everyone should be throwing a wacky rig:

  • It’s an all-season rig: The wacky will catch you fish in any season and in any water. It’s delicate and subtle action is hard to resist for a bass no matter the conditions. 
  • It can be adapted to several water depths and types of cover: There are many styles of finesse hooks for the wacky rig that are suited to fishing different situation, such as weighted hooks or weedless hooks. This makes the wacky rig extremely versatile.
  • It’s great for pressured systems: Fishing a lake that sees hundreds of anglers a day can often limit the bite on a days fishing. As a finesse technique, the wacky rig will often get bit where nothing else seems to be working.
  • It’s extremely easy to rig: All you need is a hook and bait and you’re working one of the most prolific techniques in bass fishing. 

Setting up the Wacky Rig

As mentioned, it’s extremely easy to set up the wacky rig. Very little terminal tackle is needed, and it’s very convenient to set up. 

Required terminal tackle

  • O-Rings, or even cable ties.
  • Wide gap finesse hook.

How to set up a Wacky Rig

How to set up a Wacky Rig

When to fish a Wacky Rig?

There aren’t many bad times to throw a wacky rig. As mentioned, this all-season lure could easily become your go-to technique when the fishing gets quiet. However, here are some zones and times where the wacky rig really shines:

  • Shallow cover: Grassy flats, exposed logs, and other shallow structure are great spots to throw a wacky. 
  • Docks: Throwing a wacky rig at a dock is always a good idea. The unique shimmy and delayed falling action of a wacky worm is hard to resist for a dock-hugging bass. 
  • Spawn beds: Finding spawn beds can be tough, but if you manage to do so, having a wacky lurking around a bed will often trigger a bite from a protective male. 
  • Follow-up bait: The wacky is a great bait to throw if you’ve just missed a fish on another bait. 
  • When the fish aren’t biting: Working your favorite spot without any luck? Throw a wacky rig, it just works. 

Rod, Reel, and Line for the Wacky Rig

As this is considered a weightless and light lure technique, you’ll want to match your presentation with the necessary equipment.


  • A spinning rod is probably a better call for the wacky rig. Throwing very light lures on a baitcasting setup can be a frustrating task.
  • A slightly short rod would be ideal for this technique, between 6”6’ and 7’ is perfect. This helps with skip casting and accuracy.
  • A medium-light or medium power rod to match the weight of your bait is better.
  • A fast action with a soft tip is ideal for imparting action and applying clean hooksets. 


  • A spinning reel that is braid-ready and reliable in performance will do the job for the wacky rig. 
  • Ideal size is between 1000 and 2500. 
  • A faster ratio is always better, as you’ll often need to take up slack quickly. 


  • Most finesse techniques thrive on 6-8lb fluorocarbon, and the wacky rig is no different.
  • Both 6 and 8lb fluorocarbon have incredibly thin diameters, giving the bait the best action possible. 
  • The minimal stretch in fluorocarbon also ensures a better hookset, and you’ll miss less fish. 
  • This line is incredibly tough and you’ll be able to fish heavy cover effectively. 

Bait Selection:

The wacky rig works best with round, straight finesse worms. This shape helps with the subtle but incredibly attractive ‘shimmy’ that has made this technique so effective. Here are some epic baits for the wacky rig:

  • Gary Yamamoto Senko
  • Zoom Trick Worm
  • Googan Slim Shake
  • YUM Dinger
  • Strike King Ocho

The Ned Rig

Ned Rig

Designed by Ned Kehde, the ned rig was originally known as the Midwest Finesse Rig, but anglers quickly decided to give credit to the man who created one of the most unique but effective finesse rigs in the sport. A rig that consists of two parts - a mushroom jighead, and a bait. 

When to Fish a Ned Rig?

Although this rig gets insane amounts of bites - it is definitely not the most versatile when it comes to areas in which you can throw it. The ned rig will simply cause too much frustration in certain types of cover and situations. Here are some key times and zones to get dialled with a ned rig:

  • Isolated cover: Boulders, solo rocks, and other isolated points are great for the ned rig. This is because there is a way less threat of getting snagged.
  • Clear water systems: As the ned rig is a smaller, quieter presentation, it may be a bit more difficult for a bass to spot it. That is why clearer water conditions will always be better for the ned rig. 
  • Hard cover: Bass will often hug boulders and rocks for warmth - especially Smallmouth. This kind of cover is a great time to throw a ned rig. 
  • Docks: The ned rig is a great finesse option for working docks of all kinds - especially on a hot summer's day where bass are loving the shade.

Why Fish the Ned Rig?

One may look at the ned rig and think it looks pretty silly. A short, stubby bait that has an extremely exposed hook - how could this possibly work? Well, the ned rig is slowly starting to compete with the drop shot as one of the more powerful finesse options. Here are some key reasons to take on this rig: 

  • The ned rig has an action like no other: Extremely motionless, and a stand-up stature on the bottom - this presentation is very unique, and bass really seem to enjoy it.
  • Superb craw imitator: The stand-up stature of the ned rig imitates a craw very well, and baits are being optimized and developed to enhance this rig even more.
  • Quiet, less imposing profile: The ned rig will never spook a fish because of its small and quiet profile. 
  • The unique presentation of a ned rig brings about curiosity in bass: The only way they can find out what it is by biting it. 
  • The ned rig can cover water relatively quickly compared to other finesse techniques because of the way you can retrieve it. 

Setting up the Ned Rig

The ned rig is another easy rig to setup to get fishing with. All you need is the ned style hook and the specific baits that have been optimized for this presentation. 

Required terminal tackle

  • Mushroom-style jighead hook

How to set up a Ned Rig

How to set up a Ned Rig

Rod, Reel, and Line for the Ned Rig

The ned rig is indeed a finesse technique, and that means lighter gear to match the presentation and enhances its action.


  • A spinning rod is generally the best option for a ned rig - purely for better castability of this light presentation.
  • 7’ and up is ideal for the ned rig. This gives anglers greater leverage as well as the ability to apply greater movement to their bait. 
  • A medium-light or medium power will match the weight of your presentation, aiding castability and overall operation. 
  • Fast action with a soft tip will help with imparting the necessary action to your ned bait. 


  • Nothing special is needed for the reel. A braid-ready, reliable spinning reel will do just fine for this technique. 
  • For size, 2000 or 2500 will give you the necessary line capacity for fishing all kinds of depths. 


  • The most popular line application for the ned rig is a braid to a fluorocarbon leader. The braid helps with cutting through any sort of vegetation and the fluorocarbon has an incredibly thin diameter to help with the action of the bait. 
  • Ideally, you’ll want to match the diameters of the braid and the fluorocarbon for efficient tie-in. 30lb braid will go nicely with 8-10lb fluorocarbon. 
  • One can also fish straight fluorocarbon. 6-8lb is a great option for this. You may want to go heavier, such as 10lb if you’re fishing heavier cover. 

Bait Selection

Ned rig baits are being designed and developed thick and fast, and now there are pretty much unlimited options when it comes to selecting a bait for that mushroom jighead. Here are some of the finest baits for the ned rig: 

  • Z-Man Finesse TRD
  • Gary Yamamoto Fat Senko (3”)
  • Strike King Rage Ned Craw
  • YUM Ned Craw
  • Strike King Ned Ocho Worm

The Drop Shot Rig

Drop Shot Rig

The drop shot is simply the most powerful finesse rig in bass fishing. It is responsible for winning more prize money than any other technique in bass fishing and it simply gets the job done in almost any situation. 

The drop shot involves a light sinker attached to your line, with a bait rigged in between. This gives the bait an extremely attractive action when the rod is twitched, and bass just can’t seem to resist it. 

Why Fish the Drop Shot?

The drop shot will get you fish in any system, season, or area. This finesse presentation is hard to ignore for all kinds of bass, and having it in your skill library will not only catch you plenty of fish, but also big fish. Here are some key reasons why you should take on the drop shot:

  • It’s an all-season rig: From quiet winters to the active spawn, the drop shot will always be a good rig to throw. 
  • It will work in pressured systems: Peak season means more boats and more anglers. Bass slowly start becoming more educated, and they’ll become extremely picky with what they bite. 
  • It’s irresistible to non-feeding bass: The stationary action of the drop shot can be twitched and worked in a spot for a fair amount of time. A bass that is not necessarily feeding will eventually succumb to this extremely attractive presentation.
  • The drop shot has some of the most well-thought-out baits on today’s shelves: Because of how dominant this technique is, top brands all over the bass fishing industry have optimized and designed baits that simply look insane on a drop shot. 

Setting up a Drop Shot

Getting going with the drop shot is one of the more complex finesse applications, however, it is still reasonably simple and you won’t need to spend a leg to get the necessary tackle. 

Required terminal tackle: 

  • Teardrop or cylinder-style weight (tungsten/lead).
  • Finesse hook. 

How to set up a Drop Shot

How to set up a Drop Shot Rig

When to Fish a Drop Shot?

As mentioned, the drop shot can be fished in several scenarios - and it’s an all-season technique for sure. However, certain types of cover and zones are better suited than others for a drop shot. Here are some great areas/times to throw a drop shot:

  • Spawn: Finding spawn beds and twitching a drop shot rigged worm around it will be hard to resist for a protective male in the area. 
  • Deep isolated cover: Finding boulders or isolated points deep down below will often mean you’ve found bass too. Twitching a drop shot around these points patiently can easily lead to a grab. 
  • Drop-offs: Often you’ll have bass sitting on drop-offs ambushing prey or seeking deeper water. Twitching a drop shot around drop-offs is always a good call. 
  • Pressured waters: If you know you’re fishing a well-fished lake or river and the usual go-to baits aren’t getting bit, try throwing a drop shot in your favorite spots - this presentation thrives on finicky bass. 

Rod, Reel, and Line for the Drop Shot

The drop shot is another finesse technique, so ideally you’ll want a lighter setup to match your bait. Let’s run through some of the key features you’ll want in your gear: 


  • A spinning setup is the usual go-to for a drop shot - once again, for better casting of those lighter applications.
  • This comes down to preference. Between 6’6” and 7’ are good options for this technique, but having a longer rod may give you more leverage and ability to twitch your bait in an attractive manner. 
  • A fast action with a soft tip is ideal for the drop shot, just like many other finesse techniques. 


  • Nothing special is needed for the reel - a spinning reel that is braid-ready and reliable will do the job. 
  • Rather spend a bit more in getting a favorable action in your rod.


  • 12lb finesse braid to a fluorocarbon leader is probably the most popular line applications for a drop shot. 
  • Between 6-8lb fluorocarbon will give your bait a more natural and attractive action.
  • One can go heavier with their braid and fluorocarbon if fishing heavier cover, such as 30lb braid to a 10b fluorocarbon leader. 
  • There’s always the option to go straight fluorocarbon. Again, 6-8lb is ideal, 10lb or 12lb for heavy, threatening cover. 

Bait Selection

The drop shot game has been blessed with some of the finest, modern baits in the sport. Top brands continue to test and optimize their baits in order to enhance the presentation and bite-getting ability. Here are some incredible baits to check out for the drop shot: 

  • Roboworm Straight Tailed Worm
  • Strike King Dream Shot
  • Big Bite Baits Smallie Smasher
  • Gary Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm
  • Zoom Z-Drop Wor

The Jika Rig

Jika Rig

Also known as the punch shot, the Jika Rig is a combination of punching, where a weight works through cover, and drop shotting, where the bait sits and moves above the weight of the application. 

This Jika rig was designed in Japan and is quickly becoming a hit in any bass water amongst serious anglers.

Why Fish the Jika Rig?

The Jika rig is a unique technique that combines the benefits of some of the most effective techniques in bass fishing - the Texas rig, and the drop shot. You’ll seldom see anglers throwing this rig, and its still considered pretty new to the bass fishing industry. Here are some reasons why you should try out the Jika rig: 

  • You can fish the heaviest of cover: The weight on the Jika rig will give you the ability to work through some heavy cover where big bass might be hiding under - who doesn’t enjoy throwing a bait into the rough stuff?
  • There is a drop shot style presentation to the Jika rig: Because the bait is situated just above the weight, one can expect a reasonably similar action in their bait. This bait works best when the weight remains stationary, and the bait does the talking.
  • It’s new: The Jika rig is definitely still considered a modern technique. Who knows, maybe a bass might react a bit more aggressively to a presentation they’ve never seen before. 

Setting up a Jika Rig

The Jika rig requires a bit of craftsmanship in order to set it up. However, only a few affordable parts are needed and you’ll have it waxed. 

Required terminal tackle

  • Your favorite style hook.
  • O-Ring size 4-6.
  • 2-way ball bearing swivel, size 4-6. 
  • 2mm wire leader. 

How to set up a Jika Rig

How to set up a Jika Rig

When to Fish a Jika Rig

As mentioned, this rig is also called the ‘punch shot’. Punching is directly linked to fishing heavy cover, so I’m sure you already have an idea on some great places to throw a Jika rig. Here are some great zones: 

  • Heavy cover: Like a Texas rig, throwing a Jika rig at the heaviest cover is a great call. Your bait will be rigged in a weedless way, and the bottom weight will play a key role in getting your bait down and into the thick stuff.
  • Mats of all kinds: Hydrilla, Peppergrass, Lily pads, any mat where you need a bit of force to get down and under. 

Rod, Reel, and Line for a Jika Rig

You’ll definitely need a slightly heavier setup for the Jika rig, as you’ll mostly be working heavy vegetation with it. Here are some key features to get on your Jika setup:


  • A baitcasting rod is ideal for this rig, as you’ll be throwing a heavier presentation - this is always a green light for a baitcasting setup. 
  • 7’ and up is necessary for the Jika rig, just like the Texas rig. A longer rod will gather more line on the strike, helping with a better hookset.
  • A medium-heavy power is optimal for the Jika rig. You don’t want too heavy as you’ll want to apply a more subtle action to your bait at the bottom. 
  • A fast action with a soft tip is key. Firstly, in order to set that hidden hook, and secondly to impart that delicate twitch to your soft plastic. 


  • A baitcasting reel that has a slightly faster gear ratio is your best option for this technique. 7.1:1 or higher is ideal. 
  • This helps with taking up slack quickly and yanking that bass out of the heavy stuff. Just like a Texas rig. 


  • In clearer conditions, but still heavy cover, you’ll want to fish the Jika rig with 15-20lb fluorocarbon. This line is immensely strong, and you’ll have some serious pulling power. 
  • If the water is more stained and you’re fishing seriously heavy cover, you may want to use 30-50lb braid. 

Bait Selection

Selecting your soft plastic is vital for fishing this technique effectively. You’ll want to choose a bait that has less limbs and external features - so that you won’t get caught up in vegetation. You’ll also want to choose a bait that has a more fluid movement, almost like a drop shot style bait. Here are some awesome baits for the Jika rig: 

  • Strike King Half Shell
  • Gary Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm
  • 13 Fishing Bubble Butt
  • Googan Baits Slim Shake

The Shaky Head Rig

Shaky head rig

Simple, but dominant, the shaky head. Without a doubt one of the most basic rigs to get fishing with, this finesse technique has won plenty of prize money in the hughest of competition. All you need is a shaky head style jighead, and a finesse bait of your choice. 

Why Fish the Shaky Head?

The shaky head forms part of a large group of finesse techniques and it can be difficult to decide on which technique is best for certain situations. There’s no doubt that a shaky head has several advantages over other finesse rigs, so let’s outline some of them:

  • It’s pretty weedless: The way you rig a shaky head bait ensures that your hook point is more protected from getting snagged. This means to can access certain cover points that other finesse rigs couldn’t. 
  • It’ll catch fish in any season: Because of the subtle, ‘finesse’ presentation of the shaky head, it’ll always been attractive to a bass, even if conditions aren’t necessarily prime for feeding. 
  • It’s an extremely versatile technique: You can throw a shaky head at all kinds of cover, whether it’s hard bottom transitions, grass flats, or even docks.
  • Different rigging options: There are now so many styles of shaky head hooks, along with different weights, meaning you can cover all kinds of depths and zones. 
  • Elite action with optimized baits: The shaky head when being twitched in the bottom simply looks amazing. Top brands are also optimizing baits purely for this technique, leading to even better fish-catching potential.

Setting up the Shaky Head

Rigging up a shaky head is an absolute breeze. All you need is the right style jighead and a finesse bait of your choice. 

Required terminal tackle

  • Shaky head style jighead.

How to set up a Shaky Head Rig

How to set up a Shaky Head Rig

When to Fish a Shaky Head

Probably the most versatile finesse technique, the shaky head can be thrown in many different scenarios and situations. Here are some great times to consider throwing the shaky head: 

  • Grassy cover: Unlike other finesse applications, the shaky head is very much weedless, meaning you can throw it into heavier cover. This is a great option when conditions aren’t exactly ideal for bass fishing, and you need a slightly slower presentation when fishing vegetation. 
  • Summertime: Although pretty much an all-season technique, the shaky head really shines in summer, where bass have moved slightly deeper in search of cooler, more oxygenated water. 
  • Docks: Especially in summer, the shaky head is an incredibly effective technique for fishing docks. Bass will hug shade to keep cool, and having a slightly slower presentation in front of them will be hard to ignore. 
  • Spawn: Finding spawn beds and ‘shaking’ a shaky head worm around them is just a great idea. Protective males will eventually give in to feed. 
  • Hard bottom transitions: Gravel to clay, rock to grass, any cover transition will most likely hold baitfish. 

Rod, Reel, and Line for the Shaky Head

Equipment should match the lighter weight of the shaky head in order to get the best results in terms of presentation, sensitivity, and hook setting ability. Look for these features in your shaky head setup:


  • A spinning rod is best for the shaky head as this is indeed a finesse technique. Remember, lighter lures will always be better to cast with a spinning setup. 
  • 6”6’-7’ is a great length for the shaky head - some may enjoy even longer for better castability and ‘shaking’ ability.
  • A fast action with a soft tip is crucial for the shaky head. The fast action helps with both hook setting and imparting the ‘shaking’ action of the bait. 


  • A reliable spinning reel that is braid-reel will be just fine. 
  • Sizes between 1000 and 2500 are optimal, with 2500 being best if you think you need great line capacity and fishing deeper waters. 


  • One can choose between a braid to fluorocarbon leader or straight fluorocarbon. 
  • Braid to fluorocarbon may be a better option for fishing heavier cover. 
  • Straight fluorocarbon has a bit more flex, so there’s less chance of ripping your bait out of the strike zone. It’s also incredibly strong. 

Bait Selection

The shaky head can be rigged with several types of soft bait, but many prefer this rig with a finesse worm that is buoyant and fluid in movement. Here are some of the most recognized baits for this powerful finesse application: 

  • Big Bite Baits Squirrel Tail Worm
  • 13 Fishing Bubble Butt Worm
  • Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic Finesse Worm
  • Zoom Trick Worm
  • Roboworm Straight Tail Worm

The Tokyo Rig

Tokyo Rig

Another lesser-spoken about technique, the Tokyo rig. This rig involves a unique combination of terminal tackle and has a pretty similar setup to the Jika rig. However, the Tokyo rig has a more stiff dropper that keeps the bait suspended in a more rigid fashion. 

Like the Jika rig, the Tokyo rig came out of Japan. This unique was developed to take on the challenge of catching bass in extremely pressured systems - and it has excelled to the point that is now a pretty effective technique all over the states as well. 

Why Fish the Tokyo Rig?

Although not necessarily as renowned as techniques such as the Texas rig, the Tokyo rig certainly has its advantages over other techniques. Here are some reasons you should consider learning this technique: 

  • You can fish heavy cover with it: Because the bait is rigged Texas rig style, you’ll be pretty much weedless. This means you can access some nasty vegetation with less risk of getting snagged. 
  • It cuts through vegetation and mats well: The structure of this rig helps it get through thick vegetation that many rigs won’t get through. The weight will hit the water first, and pull the rest of the rig through pretty easily.
  • Unique presentation and action: The Tokyo rig definitely has a more stationary cadence. Anglers love twitching the bait once on the bottom, keeping it suspended while the weight remains still. 
  • It works well for pressured systems: Heavily fished lakes will often require a bit of flare and an alternate presentation in order to get fish to bite - the Tokyo rig is certainly capable of this.

Setting up the Tokyo Rig

Getting going with the Tokyo rig is a pretty basic task. Brands have fortunately developed Tokyo rig hooks, which have the necessary swivel and wire to get the optimal presentation. 

Required terminal tackle

  • Bullet style weight (tungsten/lead). The lighter the better. 
  • Tokyo-style hook/rig. 

How to set up a Tokyo Rig

How to set up a Tokyo Rig

When to Fish a Tokyo Rig?

The Tokyo rig is pretty versatile. There are various covers points and zones where it’ll shine - and it’s a great option to have, especially when bass are a bit finicky. Here are some great times and zones to throw a Tokyo rig:

  • Heavy cover and vegetation: The Tokyo rig is a great option to have if the Texas rig isn’t getting bit. It can reach similar points and has a slightly different action - more similar to a drop shot once twitched. 
  • Pressured systems: The subtle and stationary action of the Tokyo rig may be to your benefit when there are educated bass in the area. Seth Feider, Bassmaster Elite Series professional says this is a world-class technique for pressured fisheries. 
  • Deep vegetation: Different weight sizes gives you access to fish cover of all depths. The action on this rig is definitely worth trying in deeper channels. 

Rod, Reel, and Line for the Tokyo Rig

The Tokyo rig can be fished very weight, but normally there is a fair amount of weight added, in order to get into heavy vegetation where there may be bass sitting. Here are some recommended equipment specs for this unique presentation: 


  • A baitcasting setup is generally the go-to for the Tokyo rig, because of the added weight. One can cast very accurately and efficiently with this technique. 
  • Ideally, 7’ and up in length. This gives anglers a bit more leverage.
  • A medium-heavy or heavy power is necessary for the Tokyo rig, as you’ll need some more pulling power when fishing heavy cover. If you’re fishing lighter weights, stick to medium-heavy. If you’re going heavier, a heavy may be your best option. 
  • A fast action is needed in order to set that hidden hook and a soft tip will help with twitching to get that desired action in your bait. 


  • A baitcasting reel with a slightly faster gear ratio is necessary in order to take up slack fast and force bass out of heavy cover. 
  • 7.1:1 and up is ideal.


  • A slightly heavier line is needed to match the weight of your rig as well as to deal with vegetation or other types of cover. 
  • 15-20lb straight fluorocarbon is a great option here. 
  • For murkier water and heavier cover, one may want to use braid. 30-50lb will do just fine. 

Bait Selection

The bait options for a Tokyo rig are almost unlimited. The weight of this rig does a great job in pulling down the bait through heavy vegetation, so you can use more crazy patterns if you desire. Here are a few examples of great baits for the Tokyo rig: 

  • Gary Yamamoto Senko
  • Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver
  • Zoom Brush Hog
  • Strike King Rage Bug

The Neko Rig

Neko Rig

Another powerful finesse tool, the Neko rig. Slightly different from the wacky rig, the neko rig has a nail dialed into the head of your soft bait, and that gives you slight modifications to your presentation. It gets down faster but still has the ‘shimmy’ that we all love in a wacky rig. 

Why Fish a Neko Rig? 

As finesse fishing takes over, having each of these techniques will enhance your overall ability to catch bass, especially in pressured systems. Here are some reasons why you should have a Neko rig set up: 

  • It’s an all-season technique: As most finesse applications are, the Neko rig will get you fish no matter the season. 
  • You can cover water faster than other finesse techniques: The added weight in the Neko rig means you can get down faster and cover more water. 
  • There are several rigging types for different situations: Weedless hooks, different weights - there are many ways to rig a Neko to cater for the zones you’re fishing. 
  • It works great in pressured systems: If you fishing a system that gets hammered by anglers and boats every day, it’s always better to go finesse - and the Neko will always be a good option. 

Setting up the Neko Rig

No doubt a pretty straightforward process, but you do need a few items that are specific to the Neko rig. 

Required terminal tackle

  • Neko nail weight. These vary in weight - lighter is better for a slower presentation. 
  • O-Rings or even cable ties. 
  • Finesse hook or wacky-style hook. 

How to set up a Neko Rig

How to set up a Neko Rig

When to Fish a Neko Rig

The Neko rig is extremely versatile and should be considered in all kinds of scenarios. There are also weedless hook options which means you can access heavier cover. 

  • Shallow cover: Grassy flats, exposed logs, and other shallow structure are great spots to throw a Neko. 
  • Docks: Finesse presentations are always a good option for shade-hugging bass. The Neko rig will often get hit on the fall when working docks. 
  • Brush piles: This requires a weedless hook, but the Neko is a great rig for this kind of cover. 
  • Deep isolated cover: The Neko weight means you’ll have a faster sink rate, and you’ll be able to reach deeper cover points. Smallmouth especially will hug this kind of structure.
  •  Clearer water: The Neko rig really shines in clearer water systems. It’s a quiet and less imposing bait, so the bass will need to spot it. 

Rod, Reel, and Line for the Neko Rig

A lighter setup is needed in order to match the delicate presentation of the Neko rig. Here are key attributes to look for in your gear: 


  • A spinning setup is definitely the better option for the Neko rig, as this aids castability. 
  • 6’6”-7’ is a great length. 
  • A medium-power should match the weight of your bait nicely - however, you could go medium-light if you’re using a lighter nail weight. 
  • A fast action and a soft tip will help impart a gentle but attractive action to your presentation. 


  • Nothing special is needed here. A reliable, braid-ready spinning reel will do just fine. 
  • You don’t need to go larger than 2500 for size. 


  • This application works perfectly with straight fluorocarbon. 
  • Between 6,8, or even 10lb are your best options for the necessary actions and required strength. 
  • A braid to fluorocarbon leader may be better for fishing heavier vegetation. 

Bait Selection

Round, straight-tailed worms are your best option for the Neko rig. They give the best action for this specific rig set up - just like the wacky rig. Here are some popular baits for the Neko rig that get plenty of fish: 

  • Gary Yamamoto Senko
  • Strike King Perfect Plastic Finesse Worm
  • Zoom Trick Worm
  • Googan Baits Slim Shake
  • Strike King Ocho
  • Missile Baits Quiver Worm (designed by John Crews)

The Carolina Rig

Carolina Rig

One of the most well-known rigs for all kinds of fishing, the Carolina rig. Although this technique may be considered old school, the Carolina rig will still give you an altered approach to your bottom presentation. This technique has won millions of dollars ever since competitive bass fishing started, and there’s no doubt that it’ll be around for a while to come. 

Why Fish the Carolina Rig?

The Carolina rig is often the first rig that anglers will try, but they’ll quickly move off it once they learn other techniques. The Carolina rig is worth keeping in your library of techniques, as it has plenty of advantages. Here are some key reasons to master the Carolina rig:

  • It can cover plenty of water: The Carolina rig is not a stationary presentation and you can make long casts and patrol loads of water. 
  • It works great where there’s current: The heavy weight plays a key role in keeping the bait on the desired path, even if there’s a strong current. 
  • It can cut through underwater cover: Once understood, the Carolina rig can be extremely effective for working through deep underwater cover such as brush piles and other vegetation. 
  • It catches a lot of bass and big bass: Although it may not be the most attractive presentation to us, the Carolina rig just works - and it can catch lunkers. 

Setting up the Carolina Rig

The Carolina rig is simple to set up, but it does require several types of terminal tackle in order to get the ideal presentation. 

Required terminal tackle

  • Weight of your choice (tungsten/lead). These weights can be cylinder-shaped, or bullet-style. 
  • Bead.
  • Clacker. 
  • Swivel.
  • EWG hook.

How to set up a Carolina Rig

How to set up a Carolina Rig

When to Fish a Carolina Rig?

There are several situations where a Caroline rig thrives. As mentioned earlier, this is not a stationary presentation and should be retrieved or pulled through zones. Here are some great times to throw a Carolina rig: 

  • Drop-offs: Working a Carolina rig down a drop-off will often result in a reaction bite. Bass use drop-offs as an ambush point and are often looking to feed here.
  • Deep grass cover: A cylinder weight on a Carolina rig will cut through grass beautifully, and pulling your bait along these grass points is a great option if you’re looking to cover lots of water. 
  • Where there’s current: If you know you’re fishing a ledge or a drop-off that experiences a fair amount of current, a Carolina rig will keep your bait on your desired path. 
  • Hard cover: Working deeper water with hard cover is a good time for a Carolina rig. A cylinder weight would be your best bet for this. 

Rod, Reel, and Line for the Carolina Rig

A heavier setup is needed for the Carolina rig, as you’ll often be fishing a slightly heavier weight when fish deeper zones. Here are the key features you’ll want in your Carolina rig setup:


  • A baitcasting rod is definitely a good option for the Carolina rig. You can cast a mile, and you’ll often be throwing a pretty heavy presentation. 
  • A longer rod, 7’2” and up should be considered for the Carolina rig. This will help with further casting and more direct hooksets. Because you’ll be casting far at some points, a longer rod will gather line faster and help ensure a crisp hookset.
  • A medium-heavy or heavy power should be considered for the Carolina rig, in order to match the weight of your presentation. 
  • A fast action is necessary as well, again to aid the hookset. 


  • A baitcasting reel with a pretty fast gear ratio should be considered. Ideally, 7:1 and up. 
  • A faster gear ratio will help with taking up line faster, ensuring a clean hookup. 


  • For line, straight fluorocarbon is the most popular option. 
  • 15-20lb will help with matching the weight on your line. 
  • Minimal stretch will also help with getting a crisp hookset. 
  • Braid with a fluorocarbon leader is also a popular option, especially when fishing more dense vegetation. 

Bait Selection

Soft plastic selection is pretty versatile with the Carolina rig. There aren’t necessarily any key features necessary, but one should try to match the hatch of the system they’re fishing. Here are some options to consider:

  • Zoom Brush Hog
  • Zoom Trick Worm Magnum
  • Strike King Bull Worm
  • Gary Yamamoto Stretch 40
  • Strike King Rage Bug

The Weightless Texas Rig

Weightless Texas Rig

Throwing a weightless Texas rig is often your safest and easiest option. This setup is as simple as it gets, and works as well if not better than most finesse techniques. Virtually anyone can get going with this rig, and the only thing you’ll really need to change with this technique is the bait on your hook. 

Why Fish the Weightless Texas Rig?

As a finesse technique, the weightless Texas rig has a more subtle and slower action on the fall. This means it’ll be more attractive in the less active seasons for bass. Here are some more  reasons why you should own this incredibly simple technique:

  • It’s an all-season technique: The slower and more subtle presentation of the weightless Texas rig will work in every season. 
  • It’s quiet and less imposing: Faster sinking baits and rigs can often spook bass. The natural, light fall of a weightless rig is less likely to spook a bass and may entice a feed. 
  • You can use any softbait: This technique will work amazingly with literally any type of softbait, so you can have endless pattern options. 
  • It’s weedless: Another beautiful part of this technique is that its hookpoint is hidden, meaning you can throw it into pretty heavy cover. One thing to consider is that it won’t be able to punch through mats, as there is no bullet weight involved. 

Setting up the Weightless Texas Rig

This is one of the easier rigs to set up. All you need is a hook and a bait of your choice. The hardest part of this rig is actually rigging the worm, but we’ll run through this. 

Required terminal tackle

  • EWG hook.

How to set up a Weightless Texas Rig

How to set up a Weightless Texas Rig

When to Fish a Weightless Texas Rig:

There aren’t many spots where a weightless Texas rig is a bad option, unless you need to get your bait down fast and deep. Here are some great times to throw a weightless rig:

  • Shallow cover: Bass love hugging shallow cover, especially in prime season. Throwing a weightless Texas rig is a great option, as the delicate fall will sit nicely in a bass’s strike zone. The weedless rig will also work through vegetation nicely. 
  • Docks: Shade-hugging bass will struggle to resist the horizontal falling action of a weightless Texas rig. 
  • Grass flats: Working through grass with all kinds of imitations will often result in getting bit on a weightless Texas rig. 
  • Pressured systems: Often, the original Texas rig will be a bit too fast and imposing for an educated bass. A weightless Texas rig has a more delicate and delayed action, much to the liking of a cover-seeking bass. 

Rod, Reel, and Line for a Weightless Texas Rig

A lighter setup to match the light weight of your rig is the best option here. This will result in better sensitivity and overall presentation. Here are some key specs to look for with this technique:


  • A spinning rod will enable better casting, especially with this light setup. If you’re looking to use heavier soft plastics, a baitcasting setup will be just fine. 
  • 7’ is a very versatile length for this technique. 
  • A fast action will ensure a clean hookset, and a soft tip will help with imparting a subtle action to your bait. 


  • A reliable spinning reel that is braid-ready will do the job here. 
  • Anywhere between 1000 and 2500 is perfect for size. 


  • Straight fluorocarbon will give you a great action with this technique. 
  • 6-8lb should do fine, and you’ll get the best action out of this strength. 
  • 10lb should be considered if you’re looking to work heavier cover. 

Bait Selection

As mentioned earlier, literally any bait will work with this technique. Use your favorite soft plastics and figure out which one looks best on the fall. Here are some awesome baits to try out for the weightless Texas rig:

  • Gary Yamamoto D-Shad
  • Strike King Caffeine Shad
  • Gary Yamamoto Senko
  • Big Bite Baits Coontail Worm
  • Zoom Fluke
  • Big Bite Baits Cane Thumper

Wrapping Up

We hope you enjoyed this comprehensive guide on soft plastic rigging techniques. Although it's hard to master every single one of these techniques, finding your favorite out of the lot and testing them in your favorite systems will take your angling to the next level.

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