Is there a body of water you drive by every day and dream of fishing it? Could this be a new honey hole for bass, catfish or crappie? Every time you drive by it, your son or daughter asks to go fishing there. You would love to take them, but you just can’t decide on the best way to catch fish there. The good news is there are fishing rigs that work in all waters, and we list them here.
Many of us learned how to tie a fishing knot when constructing our first Texas rig. The bullet-sinker, offset hook and a six-inch soft plastic of your choice have caught more fish than you can shake a stick at. By simply changing the soft plastic out, you can use this rig to catch most anything. This rig is known as a bass slayer, but trout and even blue catfish have fallen prey to the Texas rig.
The great thing about live bait is that it is also a natural attractant. You can use live crawfish with a tail rig to catch trout and bass, and it is probably the best catfish bait. To build a simple crawfish rig, thread the hook through the tail with the hook coming out the top and line dragging the crawfish by the tail. It’s a good idea to twist the claws off to keep them from grabbing the line. You can fish the crawfish rig with almost any rod and reel or rig them on a trotline.
Mepps Musky Rig
The Mepps Flashabou has caught fish in the cold northern waters, southern reservoirs and ponds all across North America. The musky rig is a favorite of fishermen after musky and northern pike. They tie on a 12-inch, seven-strand wire leader with a ball-bearing swivel followed by a Mepps Flashabou. If you don’t have a wire leader handy, you can tie on directly and catch bass, trout and bluegill.
The Ned Rig seems simple enough, but it is often hastily rigged, and that can cost you. The most common mistake is to thread the soft plastic stick bait onto the ned rig jig head and leaving a hump or twist in the stick bait. Fish will still hit it, but many will pass it by. The ned rig is a killer smallmouth bass rig if you keep the stick bait straight with no bow. Don’t be afraid to fish this anywhere; there is almost no fish that won’t hit it.
If you’re a fan of bass fishing tournaments, you have probably noticed many professional fishermen using a dropshot rig. In reality, fishermen have been using this rig for decades without an official name. The drop shot rig can be fished in shallow or deep water and can keep the soft plastic bait above the grass. Since the weight is below the worm, you can bounce the weight through the weed bed while keeping the worm floating just above the weeds. The drop-shot rig is also a great rig for bass and walleye.
Popping Cork Rig
Many saltwater fishermen are familiar with this rig and use it to catch speckled trout and redfish. Freshwater fishermen may call this a popping rig. The sound of the popping cork is an excellent attractant, and you can follow it with a variety of artificial and live bait. Because this versatile rig can be rigged heavy and large or light and small, you can use it to catch both saltwater and freshwater fish.
The wacky rig is one of the simplest to rig and easiest to fish. Rig a soft plastic Senko style bait or stick bait by sticking an offset hook through the middle of the lure, leaving the hook exposed. Simply cast out and let it sink. You will want to fish this rig slow and with an occasional pop of the rod tip; the worm will rise and fall a few feet at a time. As this bait falls, its action is that of wounded bait, and fish can’t resist it.
Jug Line Rig
You can get creative with this rig, and it’s one of the most fun ways to fish there is. You can use most anything for a jug, but many fishermen use Colibrox jugs with great success. This swimming noodle/PVC pipe rig will lay flat on the water while the bait dangles below via heavy fishing line or leader. Once a fish hits the bait, the jug will stand up straight, and you can then see the bright-colored swimming noodle from far away. Depending on the bait you use, you may find catfish, carp, bass or walleye on the end of your jug.
There is probably not a body of water where nightcrawlers won’t catch something. There are also as many ways to rig nightcrawlers as there are fishermen. You can rig nightcrawlers by threading multiple worms on a barbed hook with a heavy sinker and heavy line. Nightcrawlers are a great choice for bottom-feeding fish. For lake trout, you can inject a single worm with air or an oily attractant to float them off the bottom. The movement and scent of the worm is a natural attractant for trout.
These rigs are great for all water, and you should be familiar with what works best in your neck of the woods. Most of these rigs are inexpensive to make, and you probably have everything you need already in your tackle box. Now it’s time to throw your fishing gear in the truck, load the kids and find out what’s in that lake for yourself.