The Carolina Rig: Is it a “New” or “Old” Technique?

double hoocked inside the plasticSome fisherman may think that it’s very new or at least just a few years old, while others will tell you that it’s a very old technique from the old school. It might be because you hear more and more about it being a winning go to bait. But, I can remember fishing in 1982 with 2 outstanding fishermen who gave me as a young lad a true lesson in the so-called Carolina-Rig fishing debate.


These two fishermen called their systems the same thing and it was known as the “Do-Nothing” Rig, instead of the C-Rig as we know it to be. One major point to be made about one of these gentleman is that he later on became the 1985 BASS MASTER CLASSIC Winner using his proven method of the “Do-Nothing” system, but more of this later on in the show!


Let me start off by saying that in 1982 I was just starting into the Bass Fishing World and was getting a few local tournaments behind me. Then a club member asks me if I would like to fish a tournament on Lake Eufaula and I said sure. It was later told to me that the tournament was a Red Man Tournament Trail stop over and we would be paired with a Pro, and I ask, can we do that? He said sure, just pay the dues for a non-boater and get drawn out and then go fish, sounded easy enough to me, so off to Lake Eufaula we went.


It was mid June and it was very hot and once I saw the size of Lake Eufaula, I was scared to death. I had never seen a lake of this size before, much less fished one and knew nothing about the lake or the fishing, so I was going to have to rely on my river fishing back home to help me.


Friday evening involved the Pre-Tournament meeting and pairing of Partners and I was paired with a gentleman from Phoenix City, Ala. After the meeting, we talked about the lake & the conditions that we would be facing the next morning. So here we were, Sat. morning blast off, sitting in a Ranger Boat and nervous to death. The flag was dropped and the blast off was under way! Some where between the fighting rough waters and wiping wind tears from my eyes, we stopped in the middle of the lake with no sight of land and I’m thinking to myself, what on “earth” are we doing here? There are no banks here, no grass, no Island to fish around, nothing, I mean nothing but water, about that time my partner pulled out 2 of the longest Lew’s rod & reel rigs I had ever seen and he rigged both of them up the same. To my surprise, he handed one of them to me and said, let’s caught some fish here, he must have seen the look on my face because he smiled and then started to explain what we were fixing to do, this was the first look of what I would later on know as the “DO-NOTHING” or “CAROLINA-RIG”.


This new technique was designed to be threw out with a heavy lead sinker with a swivel tied on with a leader about 2’ long with a short 4” worm that he had hand poured & rigged with 2 small hooks inside the worm. They were called his “Do-Nothing” worms and all you did was nothing at all. You just threw the rig out as far as you could and slowly reeled it back in with no type of rod action.


We didn’t win the tournament, but we caught lot’s of good bass and we managed to get into the money, well, enough to help pay some of our expense’s for the trip of a lifetime. My partners name for this tournament with his “Do-Nothing”/C-Rig style technique you ask? Well, his name was Mr. Jack Chancellor, who later became the 1985 BASS MASTER CLASSIC Winner. Jack’s “Do-Nothing” technique was the same as our up to date technique that we call the “Carolina-Rig”, just some 22 years later.


Another friend of Jack’s was a firm believer also of the “C-Rig, his name was Mr. Ron Savage, who also made his own version of the do-nothing worm, which still can be found in some tackle shops! Ron’s worm was a 6” bend worm pre-rigged with 2 small hooks and a 24” leader already tied on, which you trimmed as you need it. Both of these fine Bass Fishermen used the “Do-Nothing” or “Carolina-rig” to catch lots of Bass and there is one fact still true today, even after 22 years, “it still works & still catch’s bass” no matter what technique you call it. Even thought our names & worm’s have changed some during the years, the technique has proven itself cast after cast!


What was so funny after returning home from Lake Eufaula was that there were several times while fishing the c-rig that boats would pull up to me and ask if I needed help or needed gas, because there I would be, out in the middle of a river or creek and looking in the other direction than the bank fishing the underwater points and people just couldn’t understand what was going on, surely I was broke down! But like all good things, the secret got out about a funny looking worn and rig that was catching bass and then everyone was fishing the ole “Do-nothing” system and catching fish.


As for using the old or new C-rig, you could write a Novel on just the techniques, (fishing rocks, brush piles, grass lines & standing timber), the different baits (worms, French fries, Lizards, tubes, creature baits and finesse worms), the length of leaders, and the style of hooks and colors of the baits. Its funny how something “OLD” sometimes becomes something “NEW”, but is the same thing. Kind of like when a Bait Technique becomes hot on the West Coast, like “Drop-Shot” and slowly works it way across our fine Bassin’ country until it makes it to the East Coast and vise versa, East going West.


This is the same for the Old & New Technique’s, sometimes they are the same, but in another time frame, which reminds me, it’s time to go pull out a few bags of Do-Nothing worms, rig them on my Carolina-rig and go pull on a few good bass!


Tight Lines & Happy Fishing!

Ricky Ingram

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