Fort Mill Times

Spring at last

All winter we have been saying; "I can't wait til it warms up," "I can't wait til the fish start biting," "I can't wait til the fish move shallow again." Well, the wait is over, and the time is now. It has warmed up -- the fish are shallow and biting.

So dust off your fishing poles, make sure they have fresh line and get to the lake. If you don' have a boat, find a friend with a boat or hire a guide (there are several good ones locally).

We all wait for this time of year. Whether you decide to ply the shallow spawning coves for bass on the beds, or get out on the points and fish for staging fish that have not moved in yet, either way a Carolina Rig is a great way to go. The slow dragging retrieve is a great fish catcher.

What is a Carolina Rig? A Carolina Rig is created when you move the weight on your Texas Rig up the line away from your worm or other soft plastic bait. This move can be made a couple of ways with the most common, and the method I prefer, by adding a swivel.

Simply thread your weight onto your line followed by a glass bead or rattle (for noise and knot protection) and tie to a swivel. Then, tie a leader (length of line) from your swivel to the hook, usually 18 to 36 inches in length. Thread the soft plastic bait of your choice (a green pumpkin colored lizard is hard to beat) onto the hook, and you are ready to start fishing. I like to have two of these rigs ready -- one with a 1-ounce sinker for the points, the other with a 3/8 ounce or lighter sinker for the spawning coves.

Now, for the easy part, cast it out there, let it sink to the bottom and SLOWLY drag the rig back to the boat. When you feel a "tug" on the other end of the string, reel hard, tug back and enjoy the fight. It really is that simple, but I must reiterate the SLOWLY part. You cannot fish this rig too slowly.

So, whether you are alone, with a friend or guide, head to the lake to enjoy the great Carolina spring weather and the fishing we have all been waiting for.

There is NO substitute for time on the water!

Rusty White of Rock Hill is a professional fisherman and full-time guide on the Catawba chain of lakes, offering full- and half-day services. For more information, visit fishingwithRusty.com.

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