Free Rig Fishing For Bass: Setup Guide & Underwater Demo

Published by


Free rig fishing setup

Free rig fishing is a versatile and effective bass fishing technique where a free moving weight is allowed to move up and down your line. This allows your soft plastic bait to fall slowly in the water column and mimic the movement of natural prey. Although it looks similar to Texas or Carolina rigs, it is its own distinct rig. Besides Bass fishing, anglers can have success with this rig at catching other species such as Crappie and Walleye.

Key Advantages Of The Free Rig

The main advantage is its ability to mimic the natural fall movement more effectively than other kinds of rigs. The free rigs movement allows the soft plastic baits to move with the force of water and gravity. More specifically, the way the weight easily moves along the line allows for a more natural movement that is subtle versus a Texas rig or even a jig head which will have a more abrupt bait fall.

Essential Gear

Choosing The Right Rod And Reel

The best rod and reel for free rig fishing depends on how you’re fishing. One option is fishing around cover like weeds, logs, and other structures. In this case, you’ll want to go with something a little bit heavier like a medium-heavy rod with fast action paired with a 3000-3500 series reel. In contrast, if you’re going with a finesse setup, I would recommend a medium-light to medium rod with fast action paired with a 2000-2500 series reel. You can use a spinning or baitcasting setup, this comes down to preference of course.

Free Rig Line

As far as the line goes, I use fluorocarbon for this rig. If I’m using a heavier setup, I will go with 17-pound fluorocarbon. If I’m using a finesse setup, I’m going with 10-pound fluorocarbon. I find that fluorocarbon allows the weight to slide easier, however, if you prefer a monofilament line then that will work too.


Free rig weights should be bell sinkers that have a sort of tear drop shape, as seen in the demonstration, to move along the line correctly. These rigs use the same type of weight as drop shot weights. I typically will use around 1/2 ounces and adjust as needed, there is no right or wrong answer here. It will come down to your preferences and what the fish are hitting, as well as how fast you want your soft plastics to free fall.

Hooks & Baits

The best hooks to fish a free rig will be an offset worm hook, offset finesse wide-gap, or a straight shank hook, all of these work for a good hook set. Depending on the bait size you choose and how you rig it, adjust your hook size accordingly.

Bass anglers should use soft plastic baits, such as creature baits, Craws, or other similar soft plastics.

Setting Up Your Free Rig For Bass

Setting up a free rig is extremely simple, let’s see a visual.

Step-By-Step Guide

The setup starts by putting a bell sinker onto the line before tying the hook. This weight is followed by your bait of choice and then rigged weedless for the best performance.

step 1 of setting up for freerig for bass fishing

Step 1: Gather needed materials.

step 2 of the free rig for bass fishing, put your sinker through the line

Step 2: Put your sinker onto the line.

step 3 of how to tie the free rig for bass

Step 3: Tie your hook to your line.

step 4: select your bait to free rig bass fishing setup

Step 4: Add your bait, my choice is a Kraken Craw

Underwater Free Rig Demonstration

Best Techniques To Fish The Free Rig

Casting Techniques

Cast your line out and let your bait sink to the bottom, making sure that you reel in your slack line so you aren’t creating resistance against the lure and weight. This will ruin the natural presentation. Cast your bait near dropoffs, weed lines, structures, and rocks.

Retrieval Methods

Try to fish with different rod movements to explore various presentations. Try gentle lifts, shakes, twitches, and pauses. Generally speaking, a slow retrieve with intermittent pauses will work well, but it also depends on water temperature and seasons. During the cold months or when the water is cold, be slower. When the weather is warmer, speed up your presentation.

When you get a bite, give a firm and controlled hookset. Don’t set the hook too aggressively or you’ll rip it right out of the fish’s mouth.

Learning The Free Rig For Bass Fishing

In conclusion, bass fishing the free rig is an awesome technique that has a natural and enticing presentation. By understanding the basics, having the right gear, and knowing how to use it effectively, you can add another versatile rig option to your knowledge base.