The world of recreational fishing changed forever with the creation of the Texas rig worm.
It was during the 1950s, when soft plastic worms had just been invented and were starting to become popular. By threading the soft plastic worm on their hook just so and using a sliding weight, anglers were able to attract and catch fish in a way that was never possible before.
In this guide, we'll go over Texas rig basics and how to make a Texas rig, then dig a little deeper to discuss tips on where and how to fish with a Texas rig.
Let's get started!
What is a Texas rig?
Fishing with a Texas rigged worm is extremely effective in bass fishing and when targeting other species. It's used primarily in freshwater but can also be effective in shallow saltwater fishing scenarios. The rig sinks quickly, can penetrate grass or wood cover, and hugs the contours of bottom structure. Anglers can use the Texas rig with a wide variety of worm sizes and styles, so it's a great tool for matching local forage.
The Texas rig consists of a hook, a bullet weight, and a plastic worm. Optionally, you can include a peg to keep the bullet weight from sliding up the line.
Let's get into the details about those four components.
Texas Rig Components
First, we'll drill down into the best kind of hooks and weights for Texas rigs, briefly discuss worms, then look at when you should peg your weight.
1. Texas rig hooks
A Texas rig is usually made using an offset hook, which is one that features a short, right-angle bend near the eye of the hook. That "offset" bend helps secure the head of the soft plastic worm. It's best to use a wide gap hook if you plan to thread on a chunky bait that requires the extra room in the hook gap. For slender baits, a normal size gap is preferred—look for "round bend" hooks. Typical Texas rig hook sizes range from 2/0 to 4/0.
2. Texas rig weights
The bullet weight is an important part of a Texas rig. Anglers vary the size to find the best weight for achieving exactly the right rate of fall that the fish will react to. The cone shape of a bullet weight allows the whole rig to glide through grass cover and deflect off wood and rocks.
3. The worm
Any style, size, and shape worm will work with this rig, just be sure to use a hook that's the right size for the worm you've chosen.
4. The optional peg
When you're fishing with a Texas rig, you'll almost always be dealing with wood or grass cover, or possible rocky structure. In every scenario excerpt fishing grass, you should peg your sinker.
Products exist for this purpose, or you can use a toothpick. If you don't peg your weight when fishing in wood cover or along rocky bottoms, the weight can easily fall on one side of a rock or limb, with your hook and soft plastic worm landing on the other side. That can cause you to miss strikes, and it can also lead to more frequent hang-ups.In grass, however, an unpegged weight gives you an advantage because there are no hard objects to hang up on, and letting the weight move up the line can allow the bait to swim freely for a more natural presentation.
How to Set Up a Texas Rig
The steps for how to rig this classic configuration are straightforward. First, slide the bullet weight on your line before attaching the hook. If you're not sure how to tie on the hook, a commonly used knot is the Improved Cinch knot.
Worm setup is easy. When threading on your worm, insert the point of the hook into the worm, straight into the nose, about a quarter inch, then exit. Slide the worm down the shank to the eye of the hook. At this point, you need to turn the bait 180 degrees and guide the offset bend through the head of the bait.
Next, insert the hook point back through the worm so that the bait will end up perfectly straight. This takes some practice. Try holding the eye of the hook and letting the worm hang alongside. Note where the hook bend is and hold the worm in that spot. That's where you'll run the hook point through the bait.
With the worm straight and the hook point located outside the worm, it's time for the final touch. To make the worm weedless, push the worm up slightly and slide the hook point under the surface of the soft plastic. Now the rig can get in and out of the thickest cover.
Texas Rig Benefits
Here are seven benefits of using a Texas rig—this is why it's been so popular for so long!
- Casting distance - The rig's dense lead weight allows you to cast greater distances. Pairs perfectly with a casting rod and reel setup.
- Casting accuracy - No matter the size and shape of your soft plastic, it goes where the weight goes, so you can hit targets with deadly accuracy.
- Fast sink rate - The Texas rig's lead weight gets your bait into the strike zone fast.
- Nose-down presentation - Your soft plastic will fall and sit on the bottom in a nose-down position, which imitates a foraging baitfish or crawfish.
- Extremely weedless - With the hook point buried securely in the body of your bait, you can drag the Texas rig through any kind of cover without getting snagged. The smooth, curved surface of the bullet weight adds to the rig's ability to snake through dense grass, wood, or rock piles.
- Hook positioned for action - The nose-down orientation mentioned above means the hook is pointed up, which will increase your ability to get a solid hookset when a fish strikes.
- This rig is adaptable - The Texas rig is versatile, allowing you to present a wide range of baits in a huge number of fishing scenarios.
How to Fish with a Texas Rig
You can use a Texas rig worm in a wide range of depths and in all sorts of cover, and in most cases, you'll want to use fairly heavy tackle. Especially when throwing this rig into heavy wood cover, you'll need a heavy-action rod and abrasion-resistant line.
A Texas rig is especially effective for bass. When a bass hits a Texas rig worm, the angler will usually feel a couple of solid 'ticks' telegraphed up the line to the rod handle. A quick, solid hook set is critical, and you'll need to steer your fish away from cover as fast as possible. A good bass rod will serve you well here.
The Texas Rig—A Classic for Good Reason
Fishing with a Texas rig has been popular for so long because it lets anglers present the worm in all kinds of cover and rarely gets hung up. It keeps your bait rigged straight, allowing for a more lifelike presentation, and the stout, single hook helps fisherman land any fish that strike.
The next time you're rigging up a soft plastic worm, consider using the most popular rig of all time - the Texas rig!
If you want more on rigging, check out our Carolina rig guide.