The Texas rig remains one of the most popular and satisfying techniques in the sport today. It’s an application anglers will turn to when targeting big bass, or when they’re fishing a bank with plenty of attractive isolated cover. If one wants to fish the Texas rig with effect, there needs to be a slight alteration in setup. Bass love sitting in areas that are hard on our gear and we need to account for this when setting up our Texas rig rod.
A Texas rig is a soft plastic application that falls within the power fishing category. Power fishing implies heavier applications that can cover plenty of water and are generally able to deal with heavier cover/vegetation.
The Texas rig includes a hook, a soft plastic, a stopper, and a bullet weight. The stopper and bullet weight goes on the mainline first, followed by the hook. This means that the weight sits just on the head of the soft plastic.
A soft plastic on a Texas rig is rigged in a weedless fashion, meaning the Texas rig is suitable for fishing heavier cover. The bullet weight’s main function is to ‘punch’ the bait through any sort of vegetation on its way to the bottom.
Pitching a Texas rig is an incredibly efficient way to cover a bank loaded with attractive isolated cover. The bite on a Texas rig is more of a reaction bite, as the angler’s aim is to make several casts and hopefully fall into a bass’s strike zone.
Texas Rig Setup
The setup for a Texas rig needs to cater for heavier forms of cover as well as dealing with big bass in these threatening zones. Bass aren’t afraid to take you into the heavy stuff once you’re fighting them, so you need the necessary leverage and tackle to fight them back.
Rod Selection for the Texas Rig
This application is generally thrown on a baitcasting rod. The reason for this is efficiency in casting, as well as accuracy.
A lot of the time you’ll be making shorter casts with a Texas rig, sometimes known as pitching. This is why it’s actually more comfortable having a longer rod, starting from 7’3”. This gives you the necessary reach to make those short but accurate casts into those tight zones.
A longer rod will also give you leverage and the ability to take up line faster which will directly impact your hook setting ability.
A heavier power is also important for a Texas rig setup. A medium-heavy or heavy power will give you that added backbone and strength to get any size bass out of a situation that could potentially cut you off.
The hidden hook point on a Texas rig also requires a faster action. A fast or extra-fast action will mean there is less bend from the tip of the rod, helping with a clean hook set after a bite.
Reel Selection for the Texas Rig
The Texas rig is a technique where you may want to put on your best baitcasting reel. A strong, tough drag is key for getting bass into the boat quickly, and a free-flowing spool will help with covering water effectively and efficiently.
Another key feature is having a slightly faster gear ratio, such as anything from 7.1:1. This will help with taking up slack line quickly as well as potentially catching up to a fish that may have turned straight toward you after they eat.
One thing to consider is that as you go up in gear ratio you lose out slightly in torque, so don’t feel like you should go too fast in gear ratio (such as 9.1:1+).
It sinks and is supposedly less visible underwater while having minimal stretch - key to a clean hook set.
One should base their line strength on the type of cover they’re fishing. If you’re looking to fish around heavy vegetation, one could look to 20-25lb fluorocarbon, but if you’re fishing more open water, you can fish 12-15lb for a more natural presentation.
Gamma Edge is a personal favorite for me, especially when I'm fishing in the seriously thick stuff!
Terminal Tackle for the Texas Rig
The choice of terminal tackle will also play a major role in your success with the Texas rig. This will come in the form of a stopper, a bullet weight, and a hook.
This is a small cylinder-shaped rubber ring that goes onto your mainline first. This plays a key role in keeping your bullet weight from disconnecting from your hook/bait.
The bullet weight plays a key role in getting your bait into your target zone. Tungsten is ideal when choosing bullet weights as it’s much more compact and dense, helping with sensitivity.
Weight size should be based on the type of cover you’re fishing. Generally, you’ll get more bites on a slower, more delicate fall, so you should downsize in weight if you can - 1/4oz to 1/2oz is really versatile.
If you’re looking to punch through heavier vegetation such as weeded mats or thick brush piles, one should look to a heavier weight such as a 1oz.
This may very well come down to personal preference, but hook selection is vitally important to your overall hook-up ratio.
Your two main choices are a straight-shank hook or an extra-wide gap (EWG) hook. The straight-shank hook is better suited to glide through vegetation and many feel they get a more natural presentation out of their bait with this style of hook.
The EWG hook or offset hook is preferred by some as they feel like they fit larger-profile soft plastics onto their hook. Many will use this style of hook for more open water situations. The Gamakatsu Offset EWG Worm Hook is my favorite for sure.
Best Baits for the Texas Rig
Bait selection is always fun with a Texas rig. Most anglers will have their go-to bait and this really just come down to personal preference. Creature baits have always been popular patterns for this application and we’re seeing more interesting baits than ever on our shelves.
Beaver-style baits really changed the game for the Texas rig and Reaction Innovations should be thanked for that. However, traditional stick baits and literally any soft plastic will do the job on this versatile rig.
Understanding what is needed for a Texas rig setup will take you a long way in being successful with this technique. The fact is we’re generally fishing in the heavy stuff with this lure and we need to tackle to deal with any threats.
You can save yourself plenty of frustration by going heavier with tackle and you’re guaranteed to land more fish.
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