How To Prevent Your Carolina Rig From Getting Tangled

Are you experiencing a similar issue with tangled line when you are fishing a Carolina rig?

How can you avoid getting your line tangled even if you are fishing in calm conditions?

The Carolina rig can be tricky to untangle but if you follow these steps, you can avoid this issue!

Check this out!!

How To Prevent Your Carolina Rig From Getting Tangled [VIDEO]

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Carolina Rig Assembly

The Carolina rig is simply your braided line attached to a swivel that is attached to your leader with a hook on the end.

On the mainline, above the swivel, is where you have an egg sinker or a weight of some sort.

The swivel prevents the sinker from going all the way down the line to your bait.

Line Tangling Issues

The swivel itself can cause the line to tangle on a Carolina rig because of the different stiffness in the braided line and monofilament leader.

Braid is very limp while monofilament is sturdier and heavier.

If you are fishing in minimal current with cut-bait, there are two main issues that can cause the line to tangle.

The first being, how you cast the rig out and let it sink to the bottom.

When you cast this rig out, you must be very gentle and utilize a lob cast.

You want to rear back and load up the rod and then swing forward the rig to cast out with a lob motion.

You do not want to snap the rig out on your casts.

If you snap the rig when you cast it out, the rig will spin in the air and tangle up before it even hits the water.

The second reason for your line tangling up is how you rig the cut-bait on the hook.

Once this rig hits the water, the last thing you want to do is leave the bail open and line loose.

Do not let the bait on the end of the rig fall straight down when you cast it out.

The sinker will drop straight to the bottom but your bait will hover and slowly descend down.

There is then the risk your bait wraps around the mainline because it is spinning on the way down.

Proper Casting & Rigging Techniques

When you cast the Carolina rig out, you want to keep some tension on your line.

This will pull the sinker towards you and the rig will fall at an angle keeping your main line away from the leader.

How you rig your bait can affect the way it falls down to the bottom in that it either spins or falls straight down.

You want to make sure your cut-bait is rigged nice and streamlined on the hook.

If you are using the head of a cut-bait and set aside the body, you want to hook the bait in its lips because it will provide a more streamlined setup.

The same applies to the other half of the cut-bait in that you want to rig it up from the tail side.

You should cut the fins off as well as the tail and rig the hook at the base of where the tail fin was.

Do you have any other questions on how to rig and cast the Carolina rig to avoid entanglements?

Let me know down in the comments!

And if you know someone who wants to learn more about the Carolina rig, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Dave Frymier
3 months ago

I know you Salt Strong folks are usually averse to “extra” hardware in a rig, but I believe what is called a “knocker rig” more or less solves this problem by keeping the weight from sliding too far up the main line. It has hook > mono segment > swivel > weight on mono segment > swivel > main line.  The weight “knocks” back and forth between the two swivels. I believe the Carolina rig was originally developed for bass fishing plastic worms in essentially calm and shallow water.

2 years ago

Great technical advice video.Thank u

Gary Beesley
2 years ago

Been doing it wrong forever. Such a simple concept that has eluded me. Thanks Tony for presenting your case in a way that I accept being wrong and will correct it in the future. Tight lines includes when bait hits the water.

Ronald Beckwith
2 years ago

Hey Tony.
What is that spray you always have back there on the rod rack??

Pablo Diaz
2 years ago

Great tip Tony!!! Wanted your take on the leader length to use ?

Bennett Rea
2 years ago

Tony, great vid, thanks for the detailed explanations!

Rex Russo
2 years ago

Put dittos under Andy Hong’s comment. I never thought about closing the bail on entry, and at times I had to dance the tango to get it untangled.

Andy Hong
2 years ago

Great video, Tony! I think the most important tip you gave is to not let the rig sink vertically. If you allow slack on your mainline as the Carolina rig is dropping to the bottom, the egg will sink with much greater velocity than the hooked bait, which means that the egg is actually pulling more braid through it, and then the braid that’s coming out of the bait/leader/swivel-end of the egg is getting longer — and tangling with the braid on the (slack) pole-end of the egg.

Invariably, when this happens, the slack braid ends up getting all caught up in the swivel!

Last edited 2 years ago by Andy Hong
2 years ago

Great advice Tony. One other thing that may help some folks: shorten your leader a bit. You won’t need a four foot leader fishing this type of rig with bait. The line is always free to move through the weight, and once a fish picks up your offering, you’ll know it quickly. The longer the leader, the harder it is to cast. Everyone needs to find their “sweet spot” depending on where you’re fishing, what gear you’re using, and what you’re hoping to catch. Tight lines!

Evan Scott
2 years ago

Would these same tips work for surf casting past the sand bars? Normally I’d have to apply more force than a “lob cast” with a 12′ surf rod. I would still get tangles after several cast. Any advice for this type of scenario?

2 years ago
Reply to  Evan Scott

more bait weight vs. sinker should help considerably.

Franklin Valencia
2 years ago
Reply to  Evan Scott

Yeah I got out of the Carolina rig beach casting all together.. Not only that you can’t cast that far, the helicoptering of the rig we screw it all up especially the risk of losing your bait. High/Low rig is a better option or the Mortician’s rig.

Evan Scott
2 years ago

Interesting. I never heard of the Morticians rig. I’ll have to look into that.

Terry Jamieson
2 years ago
Reply to  Evan Scott

G’day Evan. Greetings from little ol’ New Zealand. We do a fair amount of big, open beach fishing down this way, so if you want a bit’ve a heads-up on a few distance casting rigs, might be worth chucking “Surfcasting rigs NZ” into Uncle Google or YoubyTubey. A whole wealth of intell there – if you can handle our laid-back accents!
Only a suggestion of course, but if you’d like a little overview of the kinda turf I’m referring to, “90 Mile Beach NZ” would probably throw up a few decent visualisations. Regarded by many as one of, if not the, premier Kiwi surfcasting mecca.

All the best and tight lines, Bro.

Art Heiter
2 years ago
Reply to  Terry Jamieson

Definitely going to check out your suggestions!


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