The texas rig has been acknowledged as one of the most effective and successful ways to present a soft plastic. Interestingly enough, it is said that it originated around the same time that we saw the introduction of the soft plastic worms to the fishing population.
This dates back to the 1950’s when Nick Crème, a machinist by trade, believed that plastic was an ideal material that could imitate an earthworm. So as an “ideas” man he developed what is today I believe, the singularly biggest impact we have seen on the fishing industry. I pray that he put a patent on it ☺!
However, we now have a chicken or the egg scenario: what came first the plastic worm or the idea behind the texas rig? Hmm I like to sit on the fence, so I am happy to say around the same time.
What Is The Texas Rig?
In very basic terms, it is the act of taking a soft plastic, a bullet sinker and a hook and adding a pegging option like a toothpick to keep the plastic close to the sinker. However the variables we need to consider are related to hook sizes (depending on the size of the plastic) and sinker sizes, relative to water depth and the surface on the bottom.
Below is a very good example of how the rig needs to be presented:
The major consideration here, is the choice of an offset hook and how to attach it to the plastic worm. Basically, this is a 3 step process:
- The first thing you need to do is to insert the hook into the head of the worm around ¼ of an inch or roughly to the first bend of the hook.
- Next we need to turn the hook a little and have it exit at the side of the head of the worm.
- We then slide the worm up the hook till it reaches the eye. The bottom of the hook is then pushed into the middle of the worm, ensuring the worm is lying flat and natural.
The following YouTube video is worth watching if the above is a little confusing. You can view it at
Let us consider the options we would need to look at with this rig:
Hook size and style
The size and style of the hook will need to be adapted to the size of the soft plastic. This is vital when we fish for bass, which this rig is most famous for. However there is no one perfect hook here: many of the best pro bass anglers will have their own preference.
Size wise look at 3/0 to 5/0 and in the EWC range. This is a worm shank hook produced by Gamakatsu which is versatile and extremely popular. Its great feature is that it is perfect for those bigger and thicker plastics with a bigger gap. However, many others prefer the offset hook as the hook or strike rates can be higher. These hooks are either round bend hooks or wide gap hooks.
The last style of hook you need to consider is the straight shank hook. This is suitable for those longer worm plastics of some 10 inches in length. One with a barb will ensure the plastic does not slide down the hook but are not great for fish and release.
Your bullet shape sinker weight selection will dictate the type of bottom you will be fishing in. Consider how fast you want the sinker to drop based on where the fish are sitting in the water column. In shallow water a light jig head is the way to go as it will float down slowly.
On the other hand if your area is weedy and rather deep, the fish will tend to sit towards the bottom, so a jig head around 1 ounce or more is a good choice. It is a good idea to fish “weedless” where the hook is not exposed which can stop you getting snagged when the plastic hits dense weeds.
Also look at what the weight is made of: you can choose either tungsten or lead. Tungsten is more expensive because it has a greater density than lead which many believe gives the angler a greater feel at the bottom, therefore better chances of hook-ups.
Range of Soft Plastics
There are a number of soft plastic baits available that can be used with the texas rig. These include the plastic worms, senkos, beaver, craw baits, lizards and curly tails. Not surprisingly, they all need to be fished and retrieved in different ways. I will look at this in more depth shortly.
Another variable to look at is the pegging device; this is used to keep the sinker close to the hook and lure. This is important when we need the lure to work its way through thick weed or other cover to ensure the plastic doesn’t move. Choices here are stoppers or simple pegs, like tooth picks.
Finally, to “bead or not to bead”. I know, a horrible Shakespeare pun. However if you want your soft plastic to have some noise or sound on the drop, then look at attaching a small glass bead directly above the sinker.
Fishing The Texas Rig – How To Fish The Texas Rig
In simple terms, cast beyond where you believe the fish are located. Of course, if you are lucky enough to be in a boat, then your sounder will tell you where the fish are holding up. You now have a choice once the lure has hit the bottom, to either bounce or shake it or simply slowly retrieve the bait back to your position.
The important thing here is to ensure the lure stays in contact with the bottom as much as possible, with the occasional rod tip lift to let the lure float back down in a life like motion.
So let’s look at how we should fish each specific lure:
First thing we need to do here, is to ensure the worm is flat on the hook, with no bunching up. Throw to a specific spot and let the lure drop with controlled slack; don’t be afraid to let the plastic sit on the bottom for a short period.
This is known as stick baiting and has some wonderful results. Also if the fish are feeding aggressively, don’t be afraid to use a bigger worm. Often the bigger the lure, the bigger the fish can be the result.
The senko is a worm like soft plastic but that is where the similarity ends. This lure must be fished with no weight and can be cast a reasonable distance as the lure has some substance.
The key here is allowing the senko to descend naturally in order to take advantage of its fluttering action.
As the name suggests, this is one of a long line of creature baits. It is compact in nature, which allows it to be cast into very small target areas. The lure relies heavily on its flipping action, which can lure big predators out away from their cover.
It makes sense that heavier tackle is used here as you really need to “manhandle” the bigger fish away from their snaggy environments.
A craw bait as its name suggests, imitates the many varieties of cray fish one could encounter in American waters. There are three types of craws available, differing according to their actions. They are the realistic, flappy and finesse craws; there is no need to elaborate here as the names give you all the information you need.
The lizard lure is very much a soft plastic that imitates its name sake. As a result, it is often fished around wooden and vegetative shorelines, where the real ones are commonly seen. Sizes can range from 4 inches up to 8 inches, which is an extremely big lure. It can then be dragged through those areas that look “fishy”.
This lure is mostly used in either a grub or worm shape. However, it is the curly tail that gives this lure its great success. Any slight movement with the rod, can make that tail really flutter and twist. Even the most stubborn predator struggles to not show interest.
So where is the Texas Rig Heading in the Future?
If you follow trends and read plenty of bass fishing articles, they will tell you that this well known rig is on its way out. Let’s look at that comment and see if it carries any substance.
There is no question that a great many anglers are changing to finesse fishing methods. What that means is that they choose to fish lighter, therefore lighter lines with little or no weight. This is why the standard drop shot rig has attracted so much interest; the fact that the rig has the lure floating with the sinker on the bottom, gives the angler great feel.
However if you really want to be a great angler, you should have both rigs in your arsenal on all fishing trips. A great angler is a versatile angler, who has the ability to adjust or adapt to ever changing fishing conditions.
The ability to change it up and either fish around shorelines or shallower water with the texas rig or find deeper spots with the drop shot allows you to cover all of the water column.
My belief is that the texas rig is going nowhere; it’s a legend like a texas barbecue or hot dogs!
Yes, in the Pro Bass Tournament circuit, it may not be so popular but remember that pro anglers are looking for any advantage and need to be as cutting edge as possible. The old saying “you snooze you lose” is very much appropriate but recreational anglers shouldn’t care.
Fishing is meant to be fun and relaxing so that should be your number one priority. The texas rig is pretty easy to set up and is one of the most popular ways to present a plastic worm so why change? Just make sure you have another rod rigged with a different setup , in order to cover more than one base. Do I do this? Hmm the answer is not as much as I should.
Heck, my favourite technique at times is to stick a rod in the rod holder attached to my chair and let it sit there for a while. How long? Well as long as it takes me to take my beer out of the cooler box and have a long sip or 3. ☺