Largemouth bass behave differently during tournaments, responding to boat traffic by being more difficult to catch. In the second part of this series on KayakAnglerMag.com, Wilderness Systems pro Alejandro Pérez-Arteaga talks about his favorite tournament lures and how they can help you during the toughest conditions.
The Finesse Carolina Rig
This is a downsized Carolina rig. Its components are a light wire, 2/0 wide gap hook on a 10-lb fluorocarbon leader, a small swivel (Spro Power swivels are recommended), a glass bead and a ¼-oz painted tungsten bullet weight. For a stealthier approach, remove the glass bead, use a 1/8-oz weight on a 8-lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 hook.
Rigging The Finesse Carolina Rig
For ¼-oz rigs a Zoom Centipede in green pumpkin rigged sideways (for a slower fall) is my choice. For 1/8-oz weights I prefer a 4” Yamamoto Kut Tail Worm or Slim Senko in watermelon seed. The key is choosing a subtle lure that glides and wiggles just a bit. Texas-rig with an exposed tip and then just lightly bury the hook tip under the skin.
The Right Kayak Fishing Gear
I prefer to use baitcasting gear for this rig. You need a good-quality reel capable of casting light baits with ease. I love a Shimano Calcutta or Chronarch 50, or the discontinued Daiwa Sol. I use a Kistler KLX 6’9’’ Medium/fast casting rod. I use 20-lb braid main line and a long 12-lb fluorocarbon leader before the swivel. For the hook leader I prefer a short length from 1 to 2 feet.
Where to Fish A Finesse Carolina Rig
I basically use Finesse Carolina Rigs in three situations. Casting parallel to the bank; casting perpendicularly to pronounced drop-offs; and around submerged isolated trees or bushes. It is not a deep-water technique but you can successfully use it up to 20 feet or so without much trouble.
Finesse Carolina Rig Fishing Techniques
Let it sink to the bottom (be patient, particularly with the 1/8-oz rig) and work it very slowly. Drag very slowly by lifting your rod, then wait a bit; retrieve the slack and start again. Hits will come as the bait is resting. Don’t overwork it, slower is better. The gliding lure will do its work by itself. Work it from the top of a drop-off, (you might need to give it some slack to maintain bottom contact). When casting around structure, I prefer the lighter weight, as it doesn’t snag a lot and allows me to work it over branches and rocks without getting stuck.
A Finesse Carolina Rig is always on a rod when I’m on a tournament. It is not usually a big bass producer but it will give you nice, keeper bass when fish are reluctant to try other baits. It really works so it’s definitely worth a try.
Alejandro Pérez-Arteaga is a Wilderness Systems pro, as well as Adventure Technology Paddles, Kistler Rods, Yak Attack, RAM Mounting Systems and a member of the HOOK1 Crew. He lives and fishes in central Mexico.