Maximizing success with Carolina rigs is all about the setup, Capt. Paul Davidson Jr. said.
"I will stay with braid — 20-pound-test FINS Windtamer — with a 15-pound monofilament leader," Davidson said. "The leader will be 18 inches in length, and tied a swivel that will separate the leader and an egg sinker on the main line."
He said he uses both Shimano Sedonas and Calcuttas, and matches these reels to one particular rod.
"I use Temple Fork Outfitters ML rods," Davidson said. "These rods are very important, especially since you want to be able to feel the taps and tension the fish give when on the baits."
Davidson will use the lightest egg sinker weight he can get away with.
"I’ll use the lighter stuff — 1/8-ounce weight — especially when fishing the shell reefs," he said. "It won’t get hung up as much, and the bait you’re using can really move around freely and take some line."
But he said heavier weights are sometimes necessary.
"If you fish in stronger current in the Ship Channel, you may need a ¼-ounce egg sinker to keep the bait from moving with the current," Davidson said. "If I am using a Carolina rig in the Cameron jetties, however, the current in those waters can be such that I’ll have to resort to using a ½-ounce egg sinker."
But Davidson emphasized that he only uses these bigger weights when he has absolutely no other option.
"You don’t want the weight to stay in the mud or reef and get stuck there," he explained. "The live bait has to be able to move for this set-up to be successful."
McGinnis said he often uses a split shot as opposed to an egg sinker when fishing with live shrimp on the end of his Carolina rig.
"When the fish get on the shell reefs out on the open lake, a split shot will make it a lot easier to work over reefs," McGinnis explained. "It may hang at times, but you can jerk on it and the split shot will come off.
"When the split shot comes off, all you have to do is place one quickly back on he line and re-bait your hook, and you’re fishing again."
Both anglers attach their baits to 1/0 Kahle and circle hook.