Nick Simonson

Summertime and the living's easy. The fishing is pretty good too as predator species begin to enter a warm-weather pattern of eating, eating and more eating. Bass hide along weedlines, under docks and around stumps in wait for any prey to swim by. One of the most effective rigs for bass at this time is a Texas rig. For newcomers to this niche of angling though, the set up might not seem as easy to rig and fish as more familiar tackle. What follows will help anyone refine their Texas rig, and put more bass in the boat.

A brief history

Texas fishing rigs are about as old as the first soft plastic worms. Developed by Nick Creme in the 1950s, the first plastics were reusable, flexible and downright effective on bass. Throughout the past five decades variations on the originals have spawned not only new styles of worms, but also entirely new bait categories as well. Tube, fluke, shad, lizard, creature, and crawdad plastics of various sizes, shapes and colors can be found on the walls of tackle stores throughout the country. All are effective in catching fish, some more than others depending on the situation.

Accompanying some form of soft plastic in a Texas rig is a hook. Hooks, well, they've been around forever; so long I'm certain no one can put an exact date on it. There are over 20 pages in the Cabela's Master Catalog that deal solely with varieties of hooks. Some are suited for Texas rigs, but most are not. Going with the keep-it-simple theory, lets examine a 2/0 worm hook from the VMC company. This hook is a basic hook; it has an offset gape, is moderately thick and is fairly inexpensive. For my efforts on local waters, these hooks have fit the bill when it comes to largemouth bass.

Texas rigging steps

Place hook in worm, cast worm out, catch fish, it's that simple right? Not really. Well, it IS, but probably not to a person who has never done it before. A Texas rig involves a little twisting of the bait, some tweaking of the hook, and the addition of weight. Follow along with the sidebar guide and go step-by-step until the process becomes habit.

Getting Started - Necessary, of course, are a hook and a worm (or other soft plastic) and a weight if the situation calls for it.

1 - Place hook in worm: I like to position the hook in a little bit deeper than the length of the neck of the hook. Usually on a 2/0 VMC, that depth is about 1/8-inch deep before I turn it out through the bottom of the plastic.

2 - Thread the hook through the worm: Carefully slide the length of the hook through the hole you have created in the plastic until it looks like the second picture. The eye of the hook can be inside the plastic a little or it can be out. This variation can be determined by your preference or that of the fish.

3 - Insert hook into plastic again: Leave the point buried in the plastic for a pure Texas rig or pop it out for a "Texposed" set up. If there's a bend in the worm, that's ok, it may provide added triggering action.

4 - "Texpose" the hook: When fishing sparse cover, Texpose the hook by pushing the point all the way through the plastic. Then pierce the point into the underlying plastic to prevent vegetation from accumulating on the lure. Just remember, if the hook point is not out of the plastic, you will have to set the hook harder to penetrate both the plastic and the mouth of the fish.

5 - Add a weight: Attaching a bullet sinker of varying size at the front of your offering will help you deliver your snag-proof, fish-catching composition to any depth and at any rate of fall. I recommend Water Gremlin's BullShot sinkers, like the one in picture five, for their easy-on application on the water.

Texas-rigged lures are great for slithering off of the shoreline into shallow weedy areas. Since they don't snag up as often and look more natural when they don't fall out of the sky into the water, this approach can be very effective. This rig has worked well for half a century, and now it is time to add it to your arsenal. Expand your horizons this year - try out a Texas-rigged soft plastic for bass in the region, and enjoy the easy summer fishing…in our outdoors.