Soft plastic baits are among the most popular bait that fishermen targeting bass use, but the baits are lures that must be rigged before they are useful in a fishing application. While rigging them takes a little bit of time, the fact that anglers can fish soft plastics on a variety of rigs increases their versatility, meaning anglers can use them in many situations.
Select the method you want to use to rig your lure. Three of the primary and most effective ways to rig soft plastics are the Texas rig, for heavy cover; Carolina rig, for sparse cover and when bass are scattered; and wacky rig, for when bass are in shallow water or suspended in open water.
Create a wacky rig by inserting the hook into and through the middle of the soft plastic. This is an especially effective rig for plastic worms and straight-tailed baits. When the plastic bait is retrieved, it forms a "U" shape, and when it is given time to sink, it falls through the water slowly and in a tantalising fashion.
Rig a Texas rig by threading a slip sinker on the fishing line, then tying a hook to the end of the line. Push the hook into the top of the soft plastic bait and bring it back out about 1/4 inch down the bait. Thread the bait up the hook shank until it rests at the top of the hook. Turn the hook so its point faces the bait, and finalise the rig by pushing the hook point into the bait, making it weedless. The bait should be straight and not have any twists or kinks. The Texas rig is well-known for fishing plastic worms, but other soft plastics can be used, too.
Secure the bait on a Carolina rig by threading a sliding sinker on the fishing line, then two glass or plastic beads. Tie a swivel on the end of the line, then a 3-foot length of fishing line to the other end of the swivel. Tie a hook onto the end of the leader. Rig the bait onto the hook in a weedless manner if there are snags and other bottom obstructions that the hook could snag on. Otherwise, keep the hook point exposed, which will increase the number of fish that are hooked.
Texas-rigged plastics work best in heavy cover when fished along the bottom. As a result, they are better when fish have been located in a precise spot. Carolina rigs are a better choice when the location of the fish has not been pinpointed.