Tackle & Gear

Best Carolina Rig Baits for Bass: 5 Soft Plastics That Dominate the C-Rig

The Carolina Rig is one of the sports finest weapons, and it's one that many bass anglers will turn to when the fishing gets tough. It's a technique that shines in deeper water, and it's a powerful weapon for covering a lot of water. The Carolina rig can elicit an aggressive bite from bass sitting offshore, but bait selection is power mount to the system you're fishing. Let's have a look at some of the best soft plastics for the Carolina rig.

Best Carolina Rig Baits for Bass: 5 Soft Plastics That Dominate the C-Rig

Fishing the Carolina Rig for Bass

The C-rig may be considered one of bass fishing’s most traditional techniques, but it remains a powerful way to get loads of fish in the boat.

Personally, I believe this is due to the way the bait is presented. With the C-rig, there are no other terminal tackle pieces visible, but only the soft plastic rigged Texas-style. This gives the soft plastic the opportunity to do its thing on the bottom, while the weight guides it through various cover.

Although any soft plastic can be applied to this rig, there are proven winners when it comes to getting bites when throwing the ball and chain rig.

Some of the best soft plastic Carolina rig baits for bass are the Zoom Baby Brush Hog, Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw, Missile Baits Quiver, Yamamoto Senko, and the Zoom Centipede.

1. Zoom Baby Brush Hog

If you had to ask any pro what the best bait for a Carolina rig is, there’s a high probability most of them would mention the Baby Brush Hog.

It’s hard to give the exact reason why both largemouth and smallmouth go mad for these baits, but the wide variety in movement while being dragged along the bottom definitely plays a part.

For color selection, you can’t go wrong with a green pumpkin. For smallmouth, the watermelon red is another powerful option.

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Brush Hog for the Carolina Rig Bass Fishing
Zoom Brush Hog in a Green Pumpkin

2. Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw

Like the Brush Hog, the Speed Craw also has epic movement, especially when isolated from any weight. The claws at the back will stand up first while being dragged along the bottom, imitating a crawfish extremely well.

Needless to say, but the Speed Craw will crush both largemouth and smallmouth. For color selection, the naturals will again do best (green pumpkin, watermelon), but a junebug Speed Craw will come in handy is murkier water conditions.

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Speed Craw Carolina Rig Bass Fishing
The Ultra Vibe Speed Craw in a Green Pumpkin Orange Claw

3. Missile Baits Quiver

The Quiver has notably less action than the likes of a Brush Hog or a Speed Craw, but this more subtle action is sometimes better when the bite gets tougher.

The tail on the Quiver provides a quiet, but noticeable movement while staying attached to the bottom, and it’s become a fan-favorite bait for the Carolina rig.

I like to match the natural action with natural colors - the Sweet Carolina color is probably the most natural option, and the Watermelon Red Core is epic for smallmouth.

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Missile Baits Quiver Carolina Rig Bass Fishing
The Quiver in a Watermelon Candy Red

4. Yamamoto Senko

Not much needs to be said about the Senko, but it’s worth mentioning that it absolutely thrives on a C-rig as well. Throwing a Senko on a weightless rig is arguably one of the most prolific finesse options out there, and having it on a C-rig presents the bait the same way.

I’ll turn to a 4 or 5 inch Senko on a Carolina rig when nothing else is working — its simply guaranteed fish catcher. Downsizing works best when the bite gets real tough, making the 4-inch the better option. When it comes to color, I try match the conditions — this chart is pretty handy.

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Senko on a Carolina Rig
The Yamamoto Senko in a Green Pumpkin

5. Zoom Centipede

The Centipede was specifically for the Carolina rig by Zoom. It doesn’t get much more subtle than the Centipede, and it makes for another great option for when the more creature-style baits aren’t working.

The 4-inch profile of the Centipede is the ideal size — not too big and giving it a sense of finesse.

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Zoom Centipede Carolina Rig
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