Bass Basics - The Texas Rig

By Ed Nelson

Over the next couple of months we are going to look at some of the basic rigs used in bass fishing. This month we’ll focus on the Texas Rig. Why start with the Texas Rig? Well, it’s probably the most commonly used rig in all of bass fishing. It’s extremely versatile in both size and application. It can be fished on 10 lb/test line and spinning tackle, skipping 1/8oz. bullet weights and small soft plastic worms under docks, to 65 lb/test braid on 7’6” heavy action baitcasting rods and 1 1/2oz. tungsten weights punching big creature baits through hydrilla mats. It can also be fished weightless anywhere in the water column. It’s an all season rig that every bass angler needs to have in their arsenal.


    The basic Texas Rig consists of a bullet weight, a hook and your choice of soft plastic bait.



    To rig it, first place the bullet weight on your line then tie on your hook. The rule of thumb for choosing a weight size is to use the lightest weight you can use and still maintain good bottom contact. Hooks are a little different. They are determined by the size and type of soft plastic you are using.


Next to rig the worm; Insert the hook into the worm until the head of the worm hits the bend in the hook, Bring the point of the worm out the part of the worm you want to be the bottom, Slide the worm up the shaft of the hook and rotate the hook so the off-set in the top of the  hook shaft comes out the bottom of the worm (this should also cause the eye of the hook and your knot to be hidden in the head of the worm), Lay the hook next to the worm and see where it fits naturally, Insert the hook point and barb into the worm so it lays straight.



     There you have it, the basic Texas Rig.


 complete rig

    The easiest way to fish it is to simply cast it out into the lake and slowly drag it along the bottom. You can also cast it to fish holding targets like weeds, logs and boat docks. Old Mr. Largemouth is going to find this one hard to resist.


    Another type of Texas Rig is to fish it weightless. It’s rigged the same way but the bullet weight is omitted. This rig falls much slower than the traditional Texas Rig and can be casted out and allowed to sink to the bottom, twitched up and let fall, then twitched up again. It mimics a wounded or dying baitfish. If the fish are a little more active you can twitch it faster as soon as it hits the water and it will stay just under the surface. For as many variations of the Texas Rig there are as many different ways to fish it. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Texas Rig. You can rig soft plastic jerkbaits, frogs, lizards and an endless number of creature baits. 


    The Texas Rig is a true multi-tool to bass fishing and definitely worth your time to master. For a more in-depth discussion on Texas Rigs or any other bass fishing questions feel free to come visit me at Bass Pro Shop. Just ask for Ed.


Tight lines to all and to my bass fishing brethren “See you at the scales”


Guide to Buying a Family Tent

Just in time for the camping season Bass Pro Shops is having their Camping Classic starting May 20Th and running through to Memorial Day!  Lets go camping! 

The first thing you will need of course is a tent.  When considering purchasing a family tent you need to know how big is the family. How many will it sleep? Most manufacturers will indicate sleeping capacity by a diagram of sleeping bags on the floor of the tent. It will usually be "tight", maximizing the floor space, and you may want to consider more room accordingly. The second thing to consider is height. Ideally it should be high enough for a person to stand up in.  Next, one should consider the overall shape of the tent and its accessible interior room.  Manufacturers tend to quote floor size.  A 10' x 10' dome shaped tent will have considerably less maneuvering room then say the same size tent that has near vertical walls with a pitched roof.  Some tents have partitioned side rooms that extend from a center "hub".  Just remember that you may not be able to stand up in those smaller side rooms.  Some tents have screened front entrances that may be included in part of the overall dimensions, which would render the sleeping area smaller than indicated.  You can visit and check out some of the following models that  illustrate what I've been writing about:  Bass Pro Shops' 3 & 4 room Dome, Bass Pro Shops' 3 room Cabin, Coleman's Elite Weather Master, and Prairie Breeze, and lastly, Columbia's Bugaboo and Cougar Flats models.

Now that we've helped you decide the style and size of tent to fit your needs, lets discuss features.  There are 2 basic support methods to tents; free-standing and non free standing.  Non free-standing tents require the floor to be staked out first and then the poles are erected to create the tension to the walls and roof of the tent.  This can be a disadvantage in terrain that doesn't permit a stake to be driven where one is needed.  free-standing tents mean that the body and frame are connected and once assembled can be picked up, turned, shifted or even moved.  Tent poles of today's tents are usually aluminum (thought some sections may be fiberglass) and should be shock-corded.  if your poles are not shock corded, I highly recommend that you purchase a kit and do it yourself. There is nothing more frustrating then trying to piece together pole sections, especially in the rain.  Alternatively, you could color code each end of your poles with markers or tape.  Depending on tent design, poles may be thin to provide flexibility, or thick for stability.  Poles may run through sewn-in sleeves, or provide an external framework to which the tent is clipped.  I find the clipping method to be quicker and easier.  After the tent is erected, a rain-fly of coated nylon is thrown over the assembled tent to protect it from rain.  An important feature to look for in rain-fly design is its length.  Does the rain-fly come all the way down to the floor (better), or does it just barely cover the windows and doors?  Does it extend outward over windows and doors so that they can be left partially open in a rain and still provide view and ventilation.?  Also, does it have additional ways of securing it to the frame such as a velcro strip?  Does it have a way of attaching additional guy-lines to help secure the tent in windy conditions if needed?  Another important feature of tent design is a bathtub floor.  This is where the waterproof floor of the tent extends up the side wall to meet the body of the tent rather than be seamed at ground level.  This feature eliminates the chance of rain splash or run-off leaking into the tent.  Most new tents today are seam-sealed.  However, if they are not, all joined panels in the floor and fly and where the tent floor is sewn to the tent walls should be sealed with seam-sealant. 

Some other nice features are a central hook or clip from which to hang a lantern, and some corner clips or D-rings to hang a netted loft, or to string internal lines to hang things from.  For obvious safety reasons only a battery operated lantern should be used inside a tent.  Some tents have the option of clipping up an interior partition for privacy.  To protect your privacy bear in mind the shadow casting effect on the walls of the tent from interior lighting.  Most tents will also have little netted pockets for easy accessibility and storage of small items such as flashlights, glasses, keys, and toiletries.  Lastly, a ground sheet such as a painter's plastic drop-cloth, tarp, or builders Tyvek, will go a long way in protecting the floor of the tent from dirt and abrasion.  It must be cut 2" to 3" shorter than the perimeter of the tent to prevent rainwater from catching between it and the floor of the tent.

Outdoor retailers usually have sales associates that are very knowledgeable of their products.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  Buy the tent to fit your needs and get out there.  Pull up a chair next to the campfire and roast some hot dogs, or marshmallows and tell scary ghost stories.  It's an experience you'll never forget!