How to Tie a Carolina Rig for Surf Fishing

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Anglers, over the years, learned to use different fishing techniques and tactics in catching their trophy fish. One of the best surf fishing rigs popular in Southern California is the Carolina Rig, where large snappers and groupers are encountered on the boat.

Learning how to tie a Carolina rig is a useful skill you can keep as a bass angler. This fishing rig is useful when you want to hook fish, especially when you’re bass fishing.

Listen to more surf fishing tips on the Cast & Spear Podcast

What You’ll Need

  • Swivel
  • Sliding egg sinker
  • Leader line
  • Hook
  • Bait of your choice

Steps in Tying the Carolina Rig

Carolina Rig
  1. Start by cutting a piece of the leader line. Generally, the leader length is around 18 inches will work.
  2. Tie your hook to your swivel with a Palomar knot, although unis, jam, and improved double clinch are acceptable knots for the Carolina rig.
  3. On the other end of the line of your leader, tie on your swivel using a Palomar Knot.
  4. Attach the leader to your main line by making a loop and pulling your whole line through the loop. Pull your hook first, then pull your swivel through the loop of your main line.
  5. Moisten up your finger and the knot, and make sure it’s flat before you tighten it.

How To Use

Using the rig, you want to cast and drag it across the spot in the water where you want to target. You can drag, positioning your pole parallel to the water’s surface and moving the lure in a sweeping motion over the spot. A smooth sweep works in the water with this rig, so jerking the rig is unnecessary.

Carolina Rig Advantages

  • It has a more natural presentation without losing contact with the bottom
  • It allows the fish plenty of movement with this bait attached to the hook
  • You can cast it extremely far, getting more chances to hook a fish at the bottom of the water as your drag

Carolina Rig Disadvantages

  • It is not very snag resistant
  • It can tangle
  • Problems are encountered when you don’t keep tension on the line of your rod as you cast it

Carolina Rig Tips

You can choose to rig Carolina with or without beads depending on your preference. The bead helps protect your line from your weight in the water. With this rig, you can run a chunk, live bait, or even a texas rig plastic on the hook.

When you’re fishing in any water with sand, using this rig proves to catch sand-loving fish species like the California corbina and the bass species.


A good alternative to the Carolina rig is the Fish Finder rig. It is almost the same as the Carolina, only that instead of the weight of the egg sinker, you will use a pyramid sinker as the weight to your Fish Finder Rig.  

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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