When To Use A Weightless Texas Rig For Bass

Senko worm rigged weightless
Image Source: Bassmasters

A weightless texas rig is used in calm, shallow water near lily pads or any underwater structure. This slow-sinking presentation is great when the bass are finicky, allowing your bait to be in the strike zone longer.

But let’s rewind it back a bit…

Suppose you’ve never used a weightless rig before. In that case, you might wonder if there is any real difference between a weighted and unweighted rig. After all, does it make a difference to the bass? Is one better than the other?

More than that, how do you use such a rig?

Keep reading and learn more about using a weightless rig below and when might be the best time to use it. 

Weighted vs. Weightless – What’s the difference?

The difference between the two boils down to presentation, the water depth, and weather. Let’s break down the main differences between these two rigs when bass fishing.

Weightless Rigs

Weightless rigs are simply the traditional texas rig setup but without the bullet weight. Therefore, having the lighter tackle and meatier plastic bait is all you need to be able to cast this rig far enough into the water.

The best time to use a weightless presentation:

  • When it’s not windy, and the water is calm
  • When you want to have your bait suspended in the water column longer where the fish are hanging out
  • When you’re fishing in shallow water 10 feet and under
  • Using thicker, heavier plastic baits like Senkos

Understanding Weightless Rigs

Weightless Texas rigs aren’t as common as its counterpart, but that doesn’t mean that one is better than the other.

As mentioned before, the type of rig you choose mainly depends on the type of presentation you’re after, water depth, and weather.

Fishing Method

  1. Cast your bait out to your target area
  2. Let the bait sink slowly down in the water column
  3. Raise your rod up to suspend the bait back up
  4. Let it slowly sink back down again
  5. You can also vary your rod raise with a quick jolt to mimic a baitfish in distress and let it sink to the bottom

Since there is no bullet weight, it will perform differently. It tends to flutter into the water column, but its exact movement will depend on your fishing tackle, such as your fishing line, rod, reels, etc.

This kind of movement will be perfect if you’re fishing in clear water. It will also be ideal if the water is cold. When the water is cold, the fish in the water will be slower and less likely to chase your rig.

Weighted Rigs

The main difference with a weighted rig is adding a bullet weight to your main line before tying your hook.

The best time to use a weighted presentation:

  • Fishing in deeper water, usually over 10ft deep
  • When you want to get to skip the bait from off the bottom where the bass are hanging.
  • If you want to use a finesse plastic worm, crawdad, and other creature baits best suited for this presentation.

Fishing Method

  1. Cast your bait to your target area
  2. Let it sink to the bottom
  3. Twitch your rod tip using short jerking motions, this will have your bait skip on the bottom

Understanding Weighted Rigs

Use a weighted presentation when you’re in deeper water and need to get your bait down to the bottom quicker.

Which One Is Better?

When Texas rig fishing, is there really a difference between the effectiveness of weighted and unweighted rigs?

The first thing you need to understand is that both rig choices work great. One is not better than the other from a general standpoint.

However, one may be better for certain water conditions than the other. It all depends on what kind of area you’re fishing in.

A weighted rig is very versatile but isn’t best for all fishing conditions. In particular, a weighted rig is good if you’re targeting bass in deep waters.

This rig is also very good at getting through the thick vegetation at the bottoms of lakes and rivers.

And, of course, you can’t miss out on how effective it is at flipping and pitching. You also have to consider the temperature of the water itself. 

A weightless presentation works great to keep your bait in the strike zone longer in shallower water.

And sometimes, when you’re fishing in a community lake. The bass living in those waters have probably seen it all. So presenting your bait in a way that isn’t commonly used is usually all it takes to get a reaction bite when nothing else seems to work.

In fact, Keith Jones, director of research at the Berkley Fish Research Center, did a study on bass memory.

“After two months, the second group of bass still tested below the original response level. The results show that under some circumstances, bass can remember lures for at least up to three months and perhaps much, much longer.”

Keith Jones

Putting it All Together

Now that you know the difference between weighted and weightless Texas rigs, you might wonder when and how to use them. As mentioned before, shallow water is best for weightless rigs because of how slowly they sink in the water. For that reason, you won’t want to waste your time casting a weightless rig into a deep body of water. 

Otherwise, you’ll sit around for hours with few or no bites to speak of. To save yourself some time and energy, find a nice spot that isn’t too deep but also isn’t too shallow that it wouldn’t be home to many fish. Preferably, you will not only want to pick a shallow area but also an area rich with vegetation. 

A weightless Texas rig is not likely to get tangled in vegetation, and it is perfect for drifting through a water column where some bass might be. But, of course, there is some technique to throwing out a weightless rig. So instead of casting it out and letting it sit, you should twitch it several times before finally letting it rest.

As mentioned before, weightless rigs tend to have a unique flutter when they start to sink through a water column. After twitching the rig and letting it fall, its natural movements should be irresistible to the fish in the area. So getting a bite from some bass shouldn’t be hard as you let the rig fall. 

Be Prepared

If you’re not careful, a fish could make off with several feet of your fishing line before you have a chance to reel it in, risking the bass spitting out your bait before you can set the hook.

It’s not uncommon for bass to strike your bait once it hits the water.

Be prepared for this and act fast.

If you throw this rig long enough, you will get that instinct when your bait isn’t behaving normally.

For instance, when you start seeing your slack line tightening up before you had a chance to reel any line in. You’ve got a fish on.

Get ready to set that hook!

But what if you’re doing all this but still not getting many bites? In that case, it may have something to do with the type of weightless rig you’re working with. For example, the color of the rig might be holding you back. 

Choosing the Right Kind of Weightless Texas Rig

As with any type of lure, many weightless rigs exist. They come in all different sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes. Some anglers believe that your bait’s color isn’t that important, but this isn’t true.

The bait’s color actually has a lot to do with how successful that rig is. For example, suppose that you’re fishing in shallow, clear water. Bass will be able to see quite well in this kind of water, so it wouldn’t make sense to use a rig that is brightly colored, such as orange or yellow. Brightly colored rigs are usually only best for murky or deep bodies of water since fish can see them even if the water’s visibility is poor. 

A bright-colored rig in clear water sometimes will look unnatural, and the bass in the area won’t be likely to bite because the rig won’t resemble the fish’s usual food. Instead, use more realistic colors that match the color of baitfish, crawdads, etc.

Not to say bright colors won’t work in clear water, it all depends on the mood of the bass that day.

Rig Fishing Tips

When fishing in clear water, you will want to choose a rig color similar to the food that bass tend to eat. Usually, shades of red or brown should be ideal as those colors mimic crawfish and other similar creatures that bass feed on.

For example, suppose the water is slightly murky or very murky. In that case, you can stand to use colors that are a bit brighter but preferably not too bright or unnatural. 

You should also think about the size of the weightless rig. Some rigs are 4 or 5 inches long, while others are much larger or smaller. Therefore, it is important to understand the size of the fish in the area before you choose your rig.

Don’t think that smaller baits in the 3″ range can’t catch large bass. When presented, bass will usually target smaller plastics because it feels like easier prey to ambush. High reward, low risk.

Final Thoughts

There are more than 30 million bass anglers in the United States alone, and you might soon be one of them. Bass is one of the most commonly pursued fish in the country, and there are a wide variety of ways to catch them.

If you’re looking to catch bass in spring, this rig should be in your arsenal of lures to throw.

Using a weightless Texas rig doesn’t have to be hard, but there are some factors you will need to consider. Knowing the difference between weighted and unweighted rigs is important as to when to use each type. Weightless rigs are ideal for shallow areas filled with vegetation and are also good for the bass are overcritical of other lures. Tight lines!

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