Punch Rigs for Bass Fishing
What is a Punch Rig?
Fishing enthusiasts often turn to punch rigs when they want to catch bass in areas with lots of vegetation. This rig is designed to penetrate through various obstacles in order to reach the fish deep in their hiding spots. The punch shot rig is often heavy and compact in order to ensure the bait doesn’t get tangled or snagged on all of the weeds and vegetation.
In order to set up a punch shot rig, you’ll need a few key items including a hook, a bullet-head tungsten weight, a bobber stop, and a skirted bait or soft plastic bait. A good weight size ranges from 1/2 to 2 ounces depending on the density and depth of the vegetation you’re fishing in. A heavy-gauge flipping hook is often used since it can handle the rig’s weight and the strength of a big bass.
Punch rig fishing is a very effective way to reach bass in ponds and lakes where bass are extremely difficult to reach. By “punching through” the thick growth you can get your bait through grass and vegetation where bass are more likely to hide.
Gear you will need to setup the Punch Rig
In order to set up a punch rig you will first need a bobber stop that will prevent your weight from moving up and down your line. Another thing you will need is a bullet weight that is sleek and aerodynamic as it falls through those weed beds. The last items you will need include your soft plastic bait and hook.
How to Setup a Punch Rig
To start building your punch rig, first slide a bobber stopper onto your line. This will prevent the weight from sliding up and down the line. Secondly, thread the bullet weight onto the line with the head of the bullet facing the main line. Keep in mind that you will want to choose a weight that’s heavy enough to push through grass mats but not so heavy that it sinks your bait too quickly. Thirdly, tie your hook onto the end of the line with a strong knot like the Palomar or improved clinch knot. Once your hook is secured, slide your bait onto the shank of the hook until it reaches the eyelet of the hook. Adjust the weight so that the butt of the weight sits against the eyelet of the hook.
Keep in mind that it is important to use a heavy gauge hook that can handle the weight of the rig and the strength of a big bass.
Punch Rig Fishing Technique
Begin by casting your punch rig into the targeted grass mats and allow your bait to sink to the bottom. Once it reaches the bottom, lift your rod tip up to create slack in the line and enable the bait to fall straight down. Drop the tip of the rod back down as you retrieve the slack and repeat the process as you reel in the bait.
Keep in mind that often times a bass will pick up your bait on the fall so always pay attention to the tension of your line. If you see slack in your line when you’re expecting your bait to continue to fall, don’t hesitate in setting the hook.
Best time to fish the Punch Rig
This rig is versatile and can be used throughout the year but there are times when it’s more effective than others. Generally speaking the punch rig is most effective during the warmer months when bass are in shallow water seeking shelter in heavy cover or vegetation. Spring and summer are the best times to use the punch rig.
During the spring bass move to shallow waters to spawn, making them easier to catch. As summer progresses and the water temperature increases, bass seek cooler, shaded areas in the heavy cover, making it the perfect time to use the punch rig to penetrate through those dense grass mats and reach the areas the fish are located. With that being said you can always use the punch rig in the fall when bass are feeding heavily in preparation for winter and even in the winter months as well.
Some recommended baits for the Punch Rig
- Craws: These soft plastics are a great way to go because they tend to be more bulky that some of the other soft plastics like senkos. Crawfish are one of the main forages for bass so as you bump the craw along the bottom, don’t be surprised when a bass hammers it.
- Creature Baits: These baits come in different shapes and sizes, some of which are bulky and make for a great punch rig bait.
- Brush Hogs: Like the previous two, brush hogs also have bulky bodies and flailing tails, creating e a realistic presentation that can trigger strikes from even the most finicky bass.
Anglers targeting bass in dense cover often use go with the punch rig punch rig in order to get the bait in front of fish that would otherwise be impossible to reach. This method involves a customized rig with a punch skirt, bullet weight, bopper stopper and hook, tailored to the lure of your choice. By using this rig, the soft plastic bait can be “punched” through obstacles and vegetation to get to hard to reach fish.