Bass pro Woo Daves may be from Virginia, but, it’s an innovation from Carolina he loves.
Daves used a Carolina rig and the NO-SNAGG sinker by Lindy Little Joe to find the smallmouth bass he needed to win the 2000 BASS Masters Classic held on Lake Michigan in Chicago July 20-23.
“The NO-SNAGG is the only weight I will ever use for Carolina rigging,” said Daves, who took home $100,000 in cash and prizes and the potential of endorsements totaling $1 million. “It’s the only weight I will ever need.”
Daves uses a plastic worm rigged Texas-style when cover is on the shoreline. But, when weeds or brush piles or rock lie in deeper water, a Carolina rig gets the call anytime after the water warms to 50 degrees. He says it remains a go-to method through autumn.
Carolina Rigs Are Easy To Use
Carolina rigs are simple to assemble and easy to fish. They’re nothing more than a weight, a bead for color and to protect the knot, a swivel, a leader and a hook. Add your favorite plastic. Daves likes a 4-inch Centipede by Zoom, known in bass circles as a French Fry worm.
The Carolina rig is also a tremendous search tool. Position the boat on a point over deeper water and fan-cast the Carolina rig to the shallows. Soon, you’ll know the location of every boulder, weed patch and stick on the spot. Retrieve fast until you feel the weight bump into something. Then slow down to entice a bass to strike. If you get nothing, reel again until you feel more cover. Then go slow again.
Daves uses a heavy 1-ounce or 3/4-quarter-ounce Rattlin’ NO-SNAGG at first to better feel the bottom. Once he has a mental picture of the point, he switches to lighter weights, 1/4-ounce or 1/2-ounce, to better feel the fish.
If he connects with fish shallow, he’ll reposition the boat in close to shore so he can cast parallel to the bank to stay in the effective zone longer. If he’s deep, he moves the boat so he can fan-cast through deeper water. Once through the strike zone, he reels the rig in and starts again.
Leader lengths vary from 14 inches to 20 inches in the spring when fish are shallow around brush, to 3 feet in summer, and 4 feet to 5 feet in the fall. He uses larger plastic baits in summer, too.
One tip is to keep the hook-size relatively small to avoid hampering the bait’s action. A 1/0 or 2/0 will do.
Daves Searches For Smallmouth
For the BASS Master Classic on Lake Michigan, Daves began practice fishing in the Calumet River, a tributary. He caught some largemouth bass, but they were small and scattered. He decided to search the main-lake shoreline for structure that might hold smallmouth bass, the larger of the two species of bass in the system. He was rewarded when he found an aging seawall near the mouth of the Chicago River, just a 1/2-mile from the launch site. He tried a Carolina rig along its face.
“I caught two fish on back-to-back casts,” Daves said.
Rough water forced Daves to resort to a tube jig to control his presentation 8 feet to 12 feet down along the face of the wall. Believing the lightest weights provide the best feel of what’s happening below, he used 1/8th-ounce jigs often, and went to 1/4-ounce when the wind blew the hardest.
He used green/pumpkin tubes and dipped the last 1/2-inch in chartreuse dye. He covered it Jack’s Juice Crayfish to mimic the scent of a hungry smallmouth’s favorite meal.
Another key was line size. He cast twice the first day with 6-pound line and caught two fish. Fearing a break-off, he switched to 8-pound line, but caught nothing. He returned to 6-pound line and began catching fish again. When able, he tossed the Carolina rig along the seawall’s face and caught a keeper that allowed him to cull and add to his slim winning margin of just 1 pound, 2 ounces.
14 Smallmouth, 27 Pounds, 13 Ounces Wins
His total was 14 smallmouth weighing 27 pounds, 13 ounces. He could weigh five bass each day. He culled one or two each of the first two days, and he lost his fifth fish on the final day.
Daves is sold on the NO-SNAGG sinkers.
“I can go through a box of those round weights in a day,” Daves said. “But, I didn’t loose one NO-SNAGG after fishing for 10 to 12 hours in rocks and brush. You can’t catch fish when you are sitting in the bottom of the boat retying.”
It just goes to show that nothing could be finer than to use a Carolina’.