Home Fishing Tips & Advice How to Fish a Sliding Sinker (Carolina Rig)

How to Fish a Sliding Sinker (Carolina Rig)

The sliding sinker rig is also sometimes called the Carolina rig. This is one of the most popular and common fishing rigs among anglers. It is useful, versatile, and can be altered depending on each situation. 

Sliding Sinker Rig

A sliding sinker is easy to use and will work best if it drags or hops along the bottom. It can be easily cast, reeled, or drifted. This method can be used for both experienced and novice anglers for catching a range of different fish. The setup can be altered with a variety of different weights, bait, and hook combinations meaning that it is a versatile and adaptable rig. It is a great method if you are fishing in either a current or a river in any season and can be used all year round to fish trout, perch, catfish, and bass. 

How to Tie a Sliding Sinker Rig

The sliding sinker rig is simple and quick to set up. It usually consists of a non-fixed weight of any size or type which is connected to the main-line, before it is tied at the end to a swivel. Part of the leader is tied to the opposite end of the swivel. The hook and bait or lure are tied to the other end. 

Tying this rig is relatively easy. Start by running the main-line through your sliding sinker. Then push it through a smaller bead and tie the line onto a swivel. At the opposite end of your swivel, tie on a leader of your desired length. Then simply tie on the hook to the leader’s other end. 

Adding the bead to the rig is optional but it will help to protect your knot by shock-absorbing the impact as well as the edge of the sinker. It may also make a small clicking sound when it is used as part of a Caroline rig. Soft rubber beads are preferable over plastic alternatives, however, they are usually more expensive. 

How to Choose the Rig Set-up

There is a range of different sinkers that can be used for this rig, however, egg-sinkers are likely the most popular among anglers. While they do work for this set-up they are not the only option available. Once the line can slide easily through the sinker without it getting caught up, things will work fine. 

When choosing the weight to use for your rig, remember that the selection should generally match both the depth of the water you are fishing as well as the type of bottom. A walking-sinker will be more useful if the bottom is muddy or rocky. While a bullet-weight or egg sinker is helpful in underwater vegetation. This rig is usually used in combination with night-crawlers, leeches, or other live bait, many people also choose to use artificial lures. Many choose to replace the leader with a pre-set-up minnow, spinner, or crawler harness. 

Simple Sliding Sinker Set-Up

If you desire an even simpler set-up, you can choose to run the line through a sliding sinker and simply tie it straight to the hook. You will then need to push a split-shot onto your line at a point between your slip-sinker and hook. The sinker will then be unable to slide over the split-shot. 

This rig is quicker to set-up initially however the split-shot may cause the line to weaken or break as you pink it. It is important to consider whether the time-saved is worth the potential risk of breaking your line. 

How to Use a Sliding Sinker Rig

The sliding sinker rig can be utilized in 2 alternative ways. It is often used for fishing bass with plastic lures. The soft plastic is reeled in slowly as the sinker hits the water bed. Depending on the buoyancy of each lure, the sinker will either reach the bottom slowly or immediately drop to the bottom. Anglers use a variety of lures with this rig including those resembling crayfish, worms, or lizards, depending on whether they want the lure to sink to the bottom or float.

This rig can also be utilized for stationary fishing methods which are also known as bottom-fishing. This may be the method for which sliding sinkers are most commonly use. The angler casts and allows the rig to settle on the bottom. Once the sinker reaches the bottom, it will remain there. If the angler decides to use free-moving bait such as floating boats or minnows, they will float above the sinker and conceal it underneath them. Bottom-baits such as worms or dough-balls will remain on the bottom near to the weight. 

The rig will keep the bait in a stationary position without it being pinned down. If everything is properly set up, the fish will bite and swim away without it feeling any type of resistance. This ensures that the fish does not become wary or spooked. This is a great method if you are hoping to keep things appearing natural. 

Catching a Large Fish with a Sliding Sinker

If you do choose a slip-sinker set-up and you catch a large fish, you must make sure that your rod is not pulled into the water. A normal-sized catfish or carp can easily pull your rig into the water. However, there are a few things that you can do to avoid this situation from occurring. 

The simplest way to prevent your rod from being pulled into the water is to hold it all the time or make sure you always stay close by. Another way is to allow the drag to loosen so that the line can be easily pulled off your reel. If you do choose to do so, you will have to quickly pick up your rod and alter the drag so that it is tight enough for you to catch the fish and this can be difficult. 

To Sum Up

A sliding sinker rig is a simple and easy set-up that works in every season for a range of fishing conditions. Whether you are an experienced angler or a novice, it is a great option for successful fishing.