The Texas Rig Technique (2019 updated)
The Texas rig is one of the most effective tools available if you’re targeting bass. It sinks to the bottom fast and can be fished very close to cover and structure. You can use it with a huge range of worm styles, sizes, and colors, and that allows you to match your presentation to whatever the bass are feeding on.
Texas rig fishing is so popular because it allows anglers to cast the worm into all sorts of cover without getting hung up. This weedless rigging style keeps the worm perfectly aligned with the hook, which is good, because and a straight worm has a more natural action as it falls. A Texas rig for bass is made up of specific components, described below, but the term “Texas rig” can generically refer to the practice of hiding your hook point in a soft plastic bait to make it weedless.
The Texas rig is very simple, involving three parts: a plastic worm, a hook, and a bullet weight. OK, realistically, you need one more item—a toothpick to peg your weight, or better yet, a pack of rubber weight stops. You can buy all the components of this rig in a convenient Texas Rig Kit on Amazon. Each piece is of the highest quality, with durable painted bullet weights and strong, sharp Owner Hooks.
Best Hooks for Texas Bass Rigging
The best hooks for Texas rig fishing are offset hooks. The term “offset” refers to the short, right-angle bend near the eye of the hook that helps keep the head of the soft plastic worm in place. When selecting offset hooks, you can choose round bend hooks or wide gap hooks, referring to the main bend that’s down near the point. When the hook is inserted into the worm, a round bend hook will position the point more in-line with the worm than a wide gap hook will, but the rigging is virtually identical. The video below will help illustrate that aspect of the rig. Texas rigs for bass often include wide gap hooks instead of round bend hooks if the angler has selected an especially bulky worm, where the fat body of the bait needs more room in the gap of the hook.
A common Texas rig hook size is 3/0, but you should have some 2/0 and 4/0 hooks on hand. To take advantage of the rig’s versatility, you’ll want smaller hooks for slimmer baits and larger hooks for bulkier baits. Having a few different hook sizes in your tackle box allows you to scale up or down as conditions change.
Best Weights for Texas Rigging
Texas rig bass fishing involves using a bullet weight to get your worm into the strike zone. You slide a weight on your line before tying the hook on. You can fine-tune the rate of fall by changing the size of the weight. Additionally, the cone shape of a bullet weight helps the bait come through grass cover and bounce off rocks and limbs.
Speaking of grass and wood cover, when you’re using a Texas fishing rig, you’ll almost always be dealing with one type of cover or the other. That’s what will determine if you should peg your weight or not.
In wood cover, peg your weight. If you don’t, then as you bounce through the cover, the bullet weight will fall on one side of a limb, with your worm falling on the other side. At best, this makes it hard to feel a strike; at worst, it’s a recipe for getting hung up. With a pegged weight, you can bang the bait through thick brush with confidence—that’s a technique that commonly triggers strikes from bass buried deep in the cover.
Fishing in grass cover is a different story. Do not peg your weight. In grass, the downside of having your worm and weight get separated from each other is not a factor because there’s no hard cover to wrap you up. In fact, allowing the weight to slide freely on the line can help create a more lifelike presentation in grass. In some cases, especially if you’re using a floating worm, your weight will be bouncing along the bottom, hitting rocks, while the worm glides through the weeds above.
Some say that a free-sliding weight makes fish hold onto the bait longer because they don’t feel the weight. They also say that it prevents the fish from throwing the hook because most of the weight is moved up the line, away from the hook. While both notions are grounded in truth, don’t let these factors stop you from pegging when you need to (i.e., when fishing in wood cover).
If you’re interested in more information about choosing the right weight for worm fishing, visit the Plastic Worms page.
How to Texas Rig a Worm
After sliding the weight on the line, attach the hook using an Improved Cinch knot or a Palomar knot. At this point, you can introduce the worm to the hook.
When anglers first learn how to Texas rig a worm, it seems like a strange process to thread the worm through the hook in two separate places, but the reason for these rigging steps soon becomes apparent. It’s a way to firmly position the head of the worm near the eye of the hook and keep the hook point buried safely inside the plastic, all while allowing the worm to remain perfectly straight.
To attach the worm, simply insert the point of the hook straight down into the nose of the worm about a quarter inch. The goal is to insert it as far as the distance between the eye and the first bend. In many cases, inserting the hook up to that first, sharp bend near the point is very close to the right distance.
It’s also important where you insert the hook relative to the worm’s body. The side furthest from the hook will be the side where the hook point will rest. With a lizard or a flat-sided worm, you’ll need to account for the shape when inserting the hook.
After you’ve pushed the hook point through the head of the worm, slide the worm down the shank until you reach the eye of the hook, then turn it 180 degrees. You can work the offset bend through the head with your fingers to make it rest securely in the bend.
The next step is of critical importance in Texas rigging. You’ll push the point of the hook back through the bait, but the insertion must be in the correct place in order for the worm to be rigged perfectly straight.
To find the right spot, hold the eye of the hook so the worm and hook hang straight down. Next, observe where the final hook bend is located, the bend right next to the hook point. Grab the worm in that location, and, using your finger as a reference point, insert the hook through the worm’s body right there.
Allowing the worm to hang freely in that step serves two purposes. It helps show you where to insert the hook, and it also helps you ensure that the worm is going to be rigged straight, and not twisted on the hook. Most worms have a visible seam that can be used as a guide to verify that your bait is rigged straight on the hook.
With the hook point pushed all the way through, the worm should look straight, and the point of the hook should be positioned outside the worm, but very close to the body, and parallel to it.
The rig is almost finished. In fact, if you were on a body of water that had no grass or wood or rocks to get hung up on, you could start fishing. With the hook point so close to the worm body, the rig is semi-weedless even with the hook exposed. However, in almost all scenarios, it’s best to skin hook the worm.
When you skin hook your soft plastic worm, it’s the final step in making it completely weedless. Simply push the worm up a little bit and slip the point just under the surface of the plastic. To get a better idea of how to thread on a worm for a Texas rig, watch the video above.
How to Fish a Texas Rig Worm
Texas rig bass fishing is most effective when practiced in thick cover, be it grass or wood. That calls for a very heavy-action rod and tough line. You need equipment that will help you achieve a fast hook set and let you move the fish away from cover quickly.
When you get a strike, you’ll feel a ‘tick-tick’ transmitted up the line and into your rod handle. That’s your signal to set the hook. A swift, upward movement of the rod tip will ensure that the hook point will penetrate the fish’s mouth. Once you’ve hooked a bass, steer it away from cover as quickly as you can.
A Texas rig worm can be used at a wide variety of depths and fished in almost any type of cover you can think of. Whether you work it through dense lay downs, bounce it over a rocky drop-off, or drag it near a weed line, the Texas rig worm is a proven winner in the world of soft plastics.