Rich Tauber's Tip...

Weightless Carolina rig — Ultra-finesseful technique for ultra-clear water

In the West, we fish a lot of ultra-clear water, and we learned long ago, that not all clear water fishing is deep water fishing. There's the obvious sight fishing patterns in the spring, but it's amazing how much of our fishing starts with eyeballing a cruising fish in clear, shallow water, all season long. The best way to catch these fish is usually to use lures that anglers from other parts of the country think of as 'crappie tackle'.

My favorites are the 2½" Fin-S Fish and the 3" Hellgies. Using a light spinning rod and 6 pound test line, I'll rig them on a weightless Carolina rig, where just the weight of the swivel, 12" to 14" up the line from the hook, is all I need to sink the bait. When I see a fish, I cast past it, and ahead of its path. I hold the rod up, and slowly reel the lure until it's about to intersect the path the fish is swimming along, then I drop the rod tip and let the swivel sink straight down. This gives the little bait a diving action, followed by more of a drifting kind of motion after the weight of the swivel hits bottom and stops pulling the bait downward. If you've got the timing right so the fish just catches a glimpse of the bait as it dives, it seems to trigger a response, even if the fish wasn't in a feeding mood.

The best colors for these little lures seem to vary with the mood of the fish, but the clear ice color (#2) and "phantom" ones like #10 (Silver Phantom) and #101 (Blue Phantom) are very reliable choices, as is the Black and Green laminated (#58) Hellgie.