Best Weight for a Texas Rig: Focus on the Cover
A Texas rig is most effective in flipping/pitching situations around shallow cover. The type of cover you are fishing will to a large extent determine the correct sinker size for any given situation.
As you probably know, bass (especially the big ones) love to sit deep in the middle of cover, and this means you need to get your bait right into the thick of things. In order to do this, you will need a bullet weight that will penetrate the cover and present your bait where it needs to be.
For sparse cover, stick to lighter weights as this will present the bait in as natural a fashion as possible.
For dense cover where you need the bait to punch through to get into the strike zone, you need that sinker to act like a battering ram and thus need to size up.
See some hypothetical cover situations and suitable sinker sizes below:
Sparse cover with minimal submerged obstructions
Stick to smaller weights in the 1/32 to 3/16 range. This will give the lure the most natural possible action and give the lure more “fall time” in the strike zone which is more often than not where bites take place.
Dense wooded cover, thick grass or layovers
Now you are getting into the zone where you need some assistance from your sinker to penetrate cover. Up size to the ¼ ounce to ½ ounce range to ensure your bait can bash its way through to where it needs to go.
Matted grass, Moss and Dense Vegetation
To get your bait to “punch” through cover like this and get into the strike zone, you are going to need some serious weight behind it. This is where up sizing to anything from ½ ounce all the way through to 2 ounce sinkers are necessary. Gauge this based on just how thick the vegetation is and always try and use the lightest weight you can get away with while still getting your bait through whatever you are punching.
Always use the lightest weight you can get away with while still being able to effectively fish your target cover
How Finicky the Fish are
The bigger the sinker you use, the faster it will fall. In cold water conditions where bass are lethargic and reluctant to eat, try and stay on the lighter side. Lighter weights in the 1/32 to ⅛ range will produce a slow, steady rate of fall and that will always give you a better chance of enticing finicky fish.
If the fish are active and biting, go ahead and upsize. A fast rate of fall is attractive to fish that are aggressively feeding and it will also allow you to cover a lot of waters as you will spend less time waiting for your lure to sink each time you cast.
The Bottom of the Lake/River
That may seem like a strange heading but this is actually super important! If the area you are fishing has a lot of wooded cover, it most likely has a silty/muddy bottom. In this case, you want to avoid heavier weights (if you can) as a heavy weight will cause your bait to dig into the mud/silt and as a result be hidden from the fish.
If you know you are fishing somewhere with a murky bottom, using a light weight will maximize your lure’s exposure to the fish you are targeting by keeping it off the bottom for longer.
The Depth you are Fishing at
This article has assumed that your Texas rig is going to be used in pitching/flipping shallow water applications. In the case that you are fishing a Texas rig offshore or at a depth of more than 10 feet, you are going to want to stick to heavier weights to get down to where the fish are.
Here you are usually best off with weights around the ⅜ and upward range.
As with any form of casting, the wind is always a menace. The lighter the presentation you are casting, the more of a nightmare casting in the wind is going to be. If you are finding yourself losing accuracy or getting backlashes as a result of high wind, it is always a good idea to upsize your weight accordingly.
Pitching with a Texas rig is all about efficiency and covering a lot of targets so you need to make sure you are not wasting time making poor casts and pulling out back lashes.
If there is no wind and you are pitching well with no issues, stick to lighter weights to give the bait the best possible action and get as many bites as possible.
It is also worth considering that with no wind chop on the water, bass tend to be a little more skittish and finicky which calls for using a lighter weight to get bites. In windy conditions, they tend to be less skittish and a heavier weight can thus still be very effective.
As with just about any question relating to bass fishing, the answer to the question: “What is the right size bullet weight for a Texas rig?” is….. It depends. Hopefully the key considerations outlined above will help you analyze the environment you are fishing in and make a better informed decision. One little personal tip from me, always use the lightest weight you can get away with in any given situation as that just seems to get the most bites and keeps the lure falling in the strike zone for longer.