Soft Plastics

Punching Rig

Thinking of using a punching rig for bass fishing? Find out what it is, how and when to fish it in this detailed guide for beginners!

Recommended Line

Fluoro Mainline

30lb

Braid Mainline

40-65lb

Mono Leader

15-25lb

Recommended Rod & Reel

Rod Type

Baitcaster

Rod Length

7’0”-7’6”

Rod Action

Fast, Extra Fast

Rod Power

Medium-Heavy, Heavy

Punching Rig

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Video Guide

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punching rig

If you are going to be bass fishing, you might want to consider using a punching rig. There are many different types of rigs available for this specific type of fishing, and a punching rig is a popular option. Down below, we are going to be explaining to you everything that you need to know about punching rigs for bass fishing, so if you would like to find out more about this topic, keep reading down below.

What is a Punching Rig?

Punching is one of the best techniques in order to encourage bass to bite. There are times when bass are hiding in thick vegetation, and you might find that using the punching method is the only real way to get them out. Punching is where you plunge your lure through a thick surface of things like weeds in order to reach the bass below it. Bass are known for hiding, especially from fishing lines, which is why underneath weeds are a common place to find fish hiding. As such, if you can get your bait down there it can be a very successful fishing experience for you. 

In summary, a punching rig is a bait that is specifically designed to be able to penetrate thick surface vegetation in order to reach the bass below.

how to fish a punching rig

Best Punching Rig Setup 

You’re not going to be able to just make do with whatever type of rod you have if you intend to punch for bass. You need a specific rod that has the power to pull fish out of very thick weeds, which means that it needs to be strong. As such, when it comes to a rod for this, you’re probably going to find that it is stronger and longer than the others in your collection. Don’t forget that you are going to be pulling a load of weeds out with the fish, and punching rods have been specially designed with this in mind.

You will find that these rods are anywhere between 7.5” to 8” and are used for close quarters fishing. This is so that the handling is easier for you, and you can effectively catch the fish without much hassle from the rod itself. If you’re looking for a specific rod, then you might want to think about the Dobyns Fury Series FR735C. It is a heavy power rod, and gives you the speed that you need to catch the fish. You will be able to catch anything between 12-25lbs with it.

When it comes to the reel, you are going to need something that is high-power. The Daiwa Tatula is a fantastic choice as well as the Daiwa Lexa 100 7.2:1. It will depend on your personal preference and what you find best. Ideally, you want something with a 6.3:1 ratio or better so that you can be sure it has the speed and strength that it requires. You need to also make sure that the reel you choose has good drag otherwise getting that fish up is going to be near impossible. 

How to Fish a Punching Rig 

The best way to fish a punching rig is to approach the grass mat closely and slowly, before punching your rig through the vegetation. Or, if there are pockets or holes in the mat, you can also use these. Once this is done, you should allow the rig to sink right down to the bottom, where you can then shake it into place or bob it up and down. You can then decide whether you want to move on to the next hole or spot in the mat, or if you are in the right place to catch some bass. 

Or, you can use the dragging method in which you drag the bait across the bottom so that it is moving. Reel your line in while still maintaining contact with the weight at the bottom. When you feel it bump something, stop moving and then shake it a little to encourage any bass that are around to bite it. You will find that this is useful if you are trying to cover large areas and there are usually a lot of bass using the vegetation for protection so there should be plenty around. 

Strong and fast is your best bet when it comes to pulling up your line. You don’t want to give the bass a chance to turn around and get away from you, so you need to be quick which is why you need the right equipment like we mentioned above. Set your hook hard, and try to get the fish up as soon as you can to the top of the mat, otherwise you are giving the bass the opportunity to get back into the cover. 

When to Fish a Punching Rig 

The best time for punching is in the warmer seasons. It’s not as effective in the winter as it is in the fall because this is when the bass are more out in the open. When it comes to fishing a punching rig, you want the bass to be under the cover of grass mats or places like this. Grass lines, large flats, ledges and so on are all great places for bass to hide. This is because they are hiding from the harsh sun, making them take cover in the vegetation that grows in lakes and other bodies of water. While it is true that there are some bass that will stick around through the winter months, it’s not as common and you are less likely to see results if you use this method at that time.

Using a punching rig is best where a traditional angler won’t be able to see many results. Due to the conditions in which bass live, it is often difficult to catch them, but that is where a punching rig comes in. When you set up a punching rig properly, you are going to be getting your line where others can’t. Thick vegetation is not easy to get through, especially when you take into account all the weeds that you are likely going to have to pull up when you hook a fish. It is true that there are sometimes holes in the grass mats, but this isn’t always the case, and more often than not you are going to have to punch your way through.

Ideally, you want to stick with the green vegetation as this is healthy. This provides more oxygen in the area which can mean more bass. There are bodies who spray pesticides to attempt to control the weeds, which then means that the vegetation dies, and there is no life around it.

punching rig setup

Best Lure for Punching Rig 

When you’re looking for a lure for your punching rig, you need to make sure that it is tempting to the bass. Bass are known for being particularly wary, so you have got to ensure that it looks natural in the water, while still doing the job that it is designed for. One of the most common lures is a punch rig, which is essentially a Texas rig that has a punch skirt. This gives the appeal and profile of a skirted jig but is made of plastic. 

Or, if you want to use something else, rubber worms are always a good option. The best thing about rubber worms is the fact that they look like the real thing to bass and they feel the same. They feel like natural food, which means they are more likely to hold on for longer than they would be if you were using another lure. By doing this, you are giving yourself more time to set the hook and pull it up onto the mat before it has a chance to get away.

Swimbaits are another soft plastic lure that are popular among anglers due to their realistic 3D design and the fact that they look like they are moving around in the water. There is a whole range of swimbaits available for you to purchase depending on the type of angler that you are. For example, they have swimbaits for beginners, swimbait for those who need speed and so much more.

While spinnerbaits don’t look natural, they use flash and vibration to capture the attention of bass passing by. It’s easy to look at the appearance and be put off when it comes to bass fishing, but they are actually an extremely effective way to get attention. You just need to make sure that you have a solid enough weight in order to get through the grass mat with your spinnerbait. 

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now know everything that you need to about punching rigs for bass fishing. Once you have mastered this technique, you’re not going to want to use any other for bass fishing in heavy cover!

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