If you call yourself a bass fisherman you know the three basic soft-plastic rigs, the two named after states and the one that’s wacky. Each has traditional retrieves and functions, but some pros use them in unique ways. Here are tricks pro anglers use with common rigs to catch more bass.

Sweet and Weedless Carolina Rigs

There are times when you need to go slow with this rig, usually during post-front, bluebird days, but bass love a Carolina Rig fished faster than that. B.A.S.S. Elite Pro Terry Scroggins uses a Carolina Rig as a search bait.

“I use it a lot during practice,” he said. “I mostly just keep on moving it.”

Scroggins pulls and pauses, but he uses long pulls and short pauses, until he feels something interesting.

“I’ll let it sit longer when I feel it hit a stump or rock, but usually I’m working it pretty quick.”

Jason Christie, currently No. 1 on the BassFan World Rankings, used a Carolina Rig during the 2013 season to add to a tournament-winning bag of fish. In that tournament he eliminated the pauses altogether.

“The smallmouth were moving in to spawn and I noticed that every bite I was getting was while I was moving the bait,” he said. “So I just left out the pauses and used the reel to move the bait. It wasn’t super slow, but somewhere between that and medium-speed.”

One problem associated with the Carolina rig is that the weight can slip into cracks in rocky bottoms, those places where rocks, wood and all kinds of “junk” on the bottom eat lures for every meal. Lure designer and big-bass expert Mitch Looper beats this type of “sticky” bottom with a weight change.

“The reason you get hung in those places is because the weight gets caught,” he said. “Use a banana-shaped weight like the Lindy No Snagg. It’s made for walleye fishing and has a wire that contacts bottom and keeps the weight up.”

Surprising Texas Rigs

Traditional Texas-rigging normally means bumping a worm or craw off the bottom, or flipping a craw or creature bait into shoreline brush and cover. Like the Carolina Rig, though, the Texas rig doesn’t have to be fished slowly with a lift-and-pause retrieve.

Alabama fishing guide and tournament angler Jimmy Mason sometimes uses a Texas Rigged lizard like most people use a hollow-body frog.

“It’s a great alternative when everyone’s throwing frog on the grass mats,” he said. “Rig it with very little weight – just enough to get a good cast – then just pull it along on top of the mats and let it fall a little in any open holes.”

Mason resorts to this rig when the fish appear finicky or reluctant to hit a frog, but he also uses it as a follow up when a fish misses the frog. You don’t have to be fishing mats, though, because this Texas-Rigged lizard works everywhere bass get into shallow weeds.

Everyone knows that B.A.S.S. Elite pro Alton Jones is a fan of the YUM Dinger, but he uses it more extensively than most anglers. Most anglers believe this soft plastic stickbait should only be used weightless in water less than 6 or so feet, but Jones doesn’t hesitate to add a weight as heavy as ¾- or even 1-ounce and fish the Dinger deep, especially when he’s targeting big bass in big-bass waters.

“It’s just as good down deep as it is up toward the surface,” he said. “At Falcon Lake, it’s one of my go-to rigs. It’s a big, fat meal that gets their attention, but it doesn’t move much, so it’s also easy to catch.

Another Falcon move with the big weighted Dinger is to thread it to the trunk of deep submerged trees, then slowly work it back up, banging it into as many limbs as possible on the way up. Use heavy braid.

Wacky World

Legendary FLW angler David Dudley fishes a Dinger or Mighty Worm wacky style when bass are in shallow water, but like most fishing geniuses he does it differently than most. The rigging is the same, a hook impaled through the midsection or egg sack area of a straight plastic so that when held by the hook eye, the worm drapes downward on both sides like an upside-down “U.

Traditional retrieve is to cast, allow the bait to sink a bit then give it a couple of twitches with the rod tip before letting it sink some more. It’s an effective retrieve when fishing a vertical structure such as a dam face, weed edge or against bridge or dock pilings, but most of the time Dudley is fishing it fast to cover water and pick off fish relating to sparse shoreline cover or cruising. His rod is almost always moving, twitching quickly while he reels in the slack.

“You want the two ends of the worm coming together in almost a clapping motion,” Dudley said. “It’s like it’s saying, ‘You come eat me now or I’m getting away.’”

Another wacky rig modification is to use a finishing nail impaled straight into the tail end. The nail adds a little weight for casting and gives fish a different look as it sinks.

This last modification can make you the hero from the back of the boat. How many times have you spotted a great spot to throw a wacky worm, but you miss it because of the captain’s heavy trolling motor foot? A great solution is to rig a wacky worm Dinger below a small float, either a traditional tear-drop shape or a fly fisherman’s casting bubble.

With this rig, you can cast to the spot and feed out line as the boat moves away, allowing you to slowly and thoroughly fish the spot. Giving the rig a few twitches now and then provides all of the action the rig needs to trigger strikes. Use the longest rod possible and non-stretch braided line to get a good hookset from a distance.