Carolina Rig vs. Texas Rig: 8 Differences Explained

Need help choosing between the Carolina rig vs. Texas rig? Although they look similar, each one works in different situations. For example, Carolina rigs are for shallow waters, while Texas rigs are best for deep waters. And the differences don’t stop there. In this article, we’re pitting the Carolina rig vs. Texas rig against each other so you can learn their differences and ultimately decide which is better for you. 

Carolina Rig Vs. Texas Rig: What Are the Differences?

DifferencesCarolina RigTexas Rig
Water DepthDeep WatersShallow Waters
LocationOpen water, heavy currentsArea with plenty of vegetation
Water ConditionsCold waterWarm water
Weather / Season Winter, Spring, Summer, Cloudy, WindySpring, Summer, Sunny days, Cold days
CoverIsolated brush piles, fallen trees in the waterBushes along a flooded river, weed bed
RiggingUse a leader line of up to 24 inches to separate the sinker from the lure.Sinker is placed directly below the hook
LureLizards, creature bait, craws, flukes, stick baits, soft plastic jerkbaits, and crankbaitsCraw worms. Bulky jigs, crawdads, leeches
Hooks & Weights Worm hook, extra-wide gap hook, and heavy fixed weights of up to 2 ouncesStraight shank hook and  a bullet-shaped sinker
SetupBullet weight, glass or plastic bead, leader line, EWG worm hook, and soft plastic bait.Straight shank hook, bullet-shaped sinker, and soft plastic bait.


If you are bass fishing in areas with heavy currents, reach for a Carolina rig. This type of rig uses a heavier sinker that can withstand strong currents. That is not to say that it remains still in the water. It has enough movement to make the soft plastic lure enticing for bass to bite. 

You can also use a Carolina rig in open water areas like big lakes and dams, as it casts longer.

Texas rig is best for areas with thick vegetation. Unlike the Carolina rig, it uses a lighter weight, allowing your bait to move through underwater foilage like weeds without snagging.  

Water Depth

Texas rig works best in calm and shallow waters because it uses a lighter weight. Don’t worry, though. Fish are usually slow in shallow waters and will have enough time to locate your lure and induce a bite.

On the other hand, Carolina rigs work best in deep waters. Remember, these rigs use heavy sinkers to get your lure down without affecting your lure’s swimming speed.

Tip: Avoid using Texas rigs when the fish are actively feeding.

Weather/ Seasons

Deciding which rig to use also depends on the weather and season.

When the weather is cold or sunny, bass takes cover in thick vegetation, making a Texas rig better. But you’ll need to switch to a Carolina rig during winter because bass move to deeper waters. 

If you are bass fishing during spawning season, they move from different depth ranges looking for ideal nesting sites. A Carolina rig will be the best option as it is more versatile to cover large areas with different depths.

Post-spawning period, use a Texas rig because bass moves to shallow waters to protect their young ones. 

Tip: Remember, you can use either of these rigs during summer, as bass feed will be moving and feeding from everywhere. However, since it’s sunny most of the summer, you will use Texas rigs more because bass like hiding in covered, shallow areas.


The type of cover determines the kind of rig you will use. Texas rigs work best in areas with heavy cover, especially vegetation along a flooded river. 

On the other hand, Carolina rigs work best in deep waters covered with fallen trees and brush piles. As mentioned, this lure uses heavy sinkers that can move 20 feet down without affecting the casting distance.

Fishing Rig Setup

For an untrained eye, the Carolina and Texas rigs may look similar, but there is a distinct difference – the Texas rig’s weight is positioned above the hook.

Texas Rig

diagram showing the a Texas rig setup

To set up a Texas rig, follow the steps below:

  • Step 1: Collect your straight shank hook, bullet-shaped sinker, and soft plastic bait.
  • Step 2: Thread your hook by passing the tip into the nose of your worm.
  • Step 3: Poke the hook point and pull it back out of the worm through the new hole.
  • Step 4: Pull your hook through until the nose and the eye are close together.
  • Step 5: Lay the hook into the plastic to cover it.
  • Step 6: You can peg your sinker to the line to prevent it from moving constantly. Ensure the glass bead is placed after the sinker to prevent it from damaging the eye.
  • Step 7: Throw your rig into the water and wait until it touches the bottom. If you don’t get a bite, raise the rod, drop it, and ensure you’re winding the slack.

Carolina Rig

photo showing a typical Carolina rig setup for bass fishing.

To set up a Carolina rig, follow the steps below.

  • Step 1: Gather a bullet weight, glass or plastic bead, leader line, EWG worm hook, and soft plastic bait.
  • Step 2: Pass your line through the bullet weight.
  • Step 3: Insert the bead into the line.
  • Step 4: Tie your swivel onto one end of your line. This prevents your line from twisting.
  • Step 5: Secure the leader line but tie it to the other end of your swivel.
  • Step 6: Attach the hook to the leader line through the Palomar knot.
  • Step 7: Attach your soft, plastic bait to the hook and then gently move it in the water. You can use the 11-3 o’clock motion to entice the fish from taking a bite.

Tip: For a more comprehensive Carolina rig setup tutorial, read our Carola rig guide.


Carolina and Texas rigs use sinkers to help the lure reach the required depth. However, the types of sinkers they use vary in weight. 

Carolina rigs use heavier sinkers of up to two ounces to get your lure deep down without affecting the lure’s swimming speed. Contrastingly, Texas lures use lighter sinkers of up to ¾ ounces.


Texas rigs work well with a heavy to medium rod with enough length to cover a reasonable casting distance. However, that depends on the type of weights and lure you’re using. For example, if you’re fishing using soft plastics in an area with thick vegetation, you need a heavy rod.

Ideally, you should use a 7-foot rod paired with a baitcaster for heavy soft plastics. Pairing your rod with a braided line is also advisable to increase sensitivity when a fish takes a bite.

Since Carolina rigs use heavier weights, you need a rod to withstand the weight. A fast-action, heavy-medium rod works best because it is easier to make long casts. 


Carolina rigs are versatile and can work with live bait and plastic lures. Some popular lures include lizards, creature bait, craws, flukes, stick baits, soft plastic jerkbaits and crankbaits, and ribbon-tail worms. On the other hand, Texas rigs work best with craw worms: bulky jigs, crawdads, and leeches.

Tip: It’s advisable to use plastic lizards for inactive fish because they swim slowly, and a fish can see them better. If fishing for active fish, use worms because they move a lot, thus enticing the predators swimming nearby.

Carolina Rig Vs. Texas Rig: Which Is Better?

Both rigs are essential and work best under certain circumstances.

Carolina rigs work in deeper water with heavy currents, while Texas rigs work in shallow water with heavy cover. However, Carolina rigs are more versatile, and you will use them more than Texas rigs.