Friday, March 4, 2016

Why Carolina Rig Fisherman choose Dobyns Rods, and you should too

If there was one technique I have always wanted to spend more time on, it has to be the Carolina-rig aka the C-Rig. This technique offers anglers the perfect combination of noise and life-like movement and it's incredibly versatile in that it can be fished at any depth, bottom type and/or structure. Not to mention the bait combinations are endless, from traditional lizard baits, swim-baits and even senkos.

The C-Rig is known to put big fish in the boat and yet it is highly under utilized (even more so in northern Canadian waters). I believe the reason behind this simply comes down to confidence, confidence in the technique and confidence in your equipment. Rod choice is paramount when working the Carolina Rig and the wrong rod will not only effect your ability to properly fish this technique but it will also mean missed bites and missed fish.

 If you're like me and would like to learn more about why Carolina Rig fisherman choose Dobyns rods, read on....

Eric Turner

Lake Oachita

I used to hate fishing a Carolina Rig or as some call it the C-rig. That was until I gained the confidence in it. I could normally catch a few fish on it but never had great success. I have tried everything there is to perfect the technique and to me I believe I have done just that. I will explain my complete set up and why I chose each item. To begin with, rod selection is as important just as important as the reel and the line. You want something that is stout yet still a bit flexible in the tip. Gary Dobyns has designed the perfect rod for this technique. It is the Dobyns Champion 804C and is called the C-rig special. The feel of this rod is amazing and I have not used another rod for C-rig that compares. 

Next is the reel and line.

                  I pair the Dobyns 804c with a Lews BB1 Speed Spool (7.1:1 gear ratio). Lews has one of the smoothest casting reels on the market and the 7.1:1 ratio will allow you to retrieve line quickly to connect with fish on longs casts. I will spool the Lews reel with 17 pound Vicious Pro Elite Fluorocarbon. I want line strong enough to fish brush and abrasion resistant when I am in and around rocks. 

Now that we have the rod, reel and line covered, its time for the most important detail in a C-rig setup which is at the opposite end of the rod.  I started with a standard weight (tungsten or lead), a bead (glass or plastic), and a clacker but I was not satisfied with the sound. To me it was not natural. I looked to a company called Stoney River Sinkers. They manufacture stone sinkers. When a baitfish scurries or more so a crawfish they will push rocks against rocks. Once I tried the rock weights my bites increased considerably. This rock on rock noise is what both the fish and I needed. I use two rock egg sinkers weights on my C-rig. Always use weights you are comfortable with. I use ½ oz. and ¼ oz. and the sinkers will stop at a swivel allowing them to slide. It is imperative to have the “slide”. It is what makes the sound that calls the fish in and also has very little resistance when the fish bites.

Following the swivel I use 12 pound Pro Elite Fluorocarbon leader. Leader length depends on what the fish want. I start off with 2-3 foot and will make it shorter to see what the fish prefer. Attached to the leader I have a 3/0 Owner J hook. I use Owner hooks because of the three cutting edges creating less resistance of any other hook in its class. You can use just about any plastic bait on the market and it all boils down to what you have confidence in throwing.  Use the offset hook and skin hook your plastic bait. My bait of choice is a creature or craw style bait to mimic the sound of my sinkers.  Location is still critical when fishing a C-rig. Focus on long points, shallow humps, or deep ledges. The technique can work anywhere. Use your electronics to find fish. Cast your C-rig and drag slowly along the bottom.  Stay in touch with the bottom. Vary your retrieve and leader length. Remember what you were doing when you get bit and duplicate it. I have gained the confidence I need in the C-rig not only succeed but win tournaments.  You can too!


Justin Brouillard

Lake Champlain

As soon as the Smallmouth have finished spawning on Lake Champlain, the first thing I am looking forward to is breaking out the Carolina rig. Its not that i don't enjoy the month or so in between of non stop top water and jerk bait fishing, but the Carolina rig is one of my favorite ways to both learn more about the lake and absolutely crush some big fish in deep water. The think you are able to do with this bait on a lake like Champlain is pretty fun! I use this tactic to learn the bottom of the lake, learn how to use my electronics, and of course catching fish in places other people may not look! Just as important as the bait, the other pieces (hooks, line, weights, rod, and reel) of equipment that I use for this tactic are just as important.

Using your Electronics and Find the Key

The other thing about throwing a Carolina Rig that makes is so fun is that it is an opportunity to learn your electronics while you cover water. Typically when I am in exploration mode on the ever complex Lake Champlain I am pin pointing areas with my Humminbird Helix 10 SI that fit what I am looking for. I look for small area that stick out to me that I don't think others would notice. With the amount of people who fish the lake, that may be difficult, but I still feel confident in my ability to locate something a little different. I find the places the look good and then scan and drag through until I can find the key spot. Often times I am able to locate a key spot by dragging a Carolina rig and watching the graph. I am able to feel the bottom, while watching the bottom on the graph, and by doing so I am able to find things that are not obvious on the graph, or something I miss. I am looking for a spot I can lock into and make repeated casts or sit on and pick apart with a variety of baits and techniques. Its a great way to catch fish and learn the fine details that you may not understand on your fish finders. On lake like Champlain, with very deep water and many reefs, humps, points, islands, and grass, it can often times be very convenient to fish the obvious places because with the many places to fish, there are indeed places that anyone who drops a boat in the water is going to see and fish. Most likely there will be fish there, and they will catch them. I like to look deeper and explore anything that looks good, no matter the depth. Sometimes that extends to over 50'.

The Gear

The equipment for this tactic is as important as the presentation. I like a heavy rod and a fast reel. My go to almost 95% of the time is a Dobyns 735C. The Savvy or Fury Series will both prevail for this tactic and I pair it with a high speed Daiwa Tatula Reel with 17-20 pound Gammafluorocarbon line. I like a 1 OZ weight most of the time because I want the bait to get to the bottom fast and I want constant bottom contact. Being able to feel each rock on the bottom is important and the sensitivity of the rod allows you to differentiate between a bite and bottom contact. The drawback with a heavy weight is you do snap off more often but I will always make the trade for bottom contact. The heavy weight allows for a slower drag especially when fighting in the wind. When I am fishing a grass edge for Smallmouth (and Largemouth) I will sometimes drop down to a lighter weight and make the switch to the Fury 734. On lakes where wind and current can be a determine factor, the heavy weight and heavy rod is key and the ability to get a solid hook set and keep the fish hooked makes all the difference.

The Fury series works perfect for throwing a Carolina because the rod is the perfect mix of backbone and sensitivity. Another key with the 735, spooled with 17 or 20 lb fluorocarbon, I can easily make the switch to another tactic. I love to mix and match rods and put them to absolute test with as many uses as possible on any given day. The Fury line up will certain make you a better fisherman and the Carolina Rig is just one of many things I use my 735C for.

For other uses and more information on the Dobyns Fury Series, check out my top 5 Fury rods and read about all of the different ways I am able to use them during the course of a fishing season

Jason Kincy

The Carolina Rig is often a go-to technique for me when I’m in need of finding some fish on a tough day. Using a C-rig to cover a lot of water while keeping the bait low and in front of the bass seems to work on days when not much else will.

I’m primarily a kayak angler from Northwest Arkansas and will fish rivers, small no motor lakes and FLW Tour stop, Beaver Lake. Even though these types of water are all different, a C-rig can play a part in each one, whether I’m dragging it deep in the clear waters of Beaver Lake, or attacking wide flats near the main current in a river system. My favorite places are often gravel and chunk rock gently sloping banks in spring or areas of standing pole timber in hot weather. Generally I’ll use a pretty standard setup with a large Carolina weight, along with swivel and hook. Depending on the situation, weather and water color I will choose either a YumDinger, Yum Wooly Hawg-Tail or a Yum Lizard as the bait.

Like most kayak fishermen, I’m looking for good equipment at a lower price point. I’ve become a huge fan of the Dobyns Fury rod series, which is a great rod at an affordable price. For a C-rig I use the Dobyns Fury 704C, which is a 7’ Heavy Fast Action stick along with an Ardent Apex Grand 7:3:1 reel. It’s also important to a kayak angler to be versatile on the water, we can’t carry a dozen rods on an outing like a bass boat fisherman. The Dobyns 704C is also a great option in case I need to switch to a Texas Rig, Jig, Spinnerbait or Horny Toad. By adding a Dobyns Fury 705CB and a 734C to the mix, I can throw just about any baitcast technique I need. Give the Dobyns Fury Series a try, you will be surprised what a quality rod you can get for the money.

Special thanks to Jason Kincy, Justin Brouillard and Eric Turner, 


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