Daniel Winter - Consultant.
One of the biggest talking points in carp fishing today is rigs. It seems to go head and shoulders above anything. Pick the going rig and you’ll catch, right?
To a degree yes, but in truth I think people pay too much attention to rig detail and not enough emphasis on actually fishing. Firstly, location and bait in my opinion should be your number one priority. Find them, feed them and then comes the catching (we hope).
But let’s stick to rigs for the moment and assume you know where to cast and you’re using bait you’re confident in.
It’s no secret to those who fish or have spoken to me, I’m not a great lover of braided rigs, not that they don’t have their place. Everyone has their own opinion on what a rig should do and I wouldn’t deny some of the greatest anglers we’ve seen to date, make their name in carp fishing catching on simple braided rigs.
Despite their angling success, I believe that a braided rig is too supple and easily manipulated, no matter what rig or coated material you’re using. Although the stiff coated braids do offer in my opinion a lot more in the way of hooking potential. Anglers are extremely focused on the flip and turn of the rig and do everything in their power to allow for movement near the hook. The Ronnie rig and the 360 rig aside, I believe this is only giving the fish ample opportunity to do the very opposite.
Before I put down every braided rig in history, let’s look at the benefits of what a braided rig can offer because they do offer some qualities. They are abrasive resistant, they hug the contours of the bottom better than anything else, and offer a variety of colours that cover any lake bed you can cast a lead at. They are also very good at being taken from any angle and often leave more than enough rope for a fish to hang themselves on with the fact that braid will bend quite nicely into a fish’s mouth at the slightest suck of a carp’s lips.
However what usually happens with braided rigs is the mechanics only come into play when the rig tightens against the lead, creating the all-important flip and turn. It also means that a greater attention to detail on style of baiting and length of rig is needed to maximise its efficiency. These are variables I think leave too much opportunity to get wrong and firmly hand the advantage to the carp. For there is more than enough time for a fish to dispose of your beautifully tied rig before it eventually straightens, turns and hooks. Often with a fish simply sucking it in and blowing it out, like rejecting an empty snail shell. I’ve also found braided rigs visually stand out more on the bottom but that is a matter of opinion, many would say that they blend in very well.
This is where stiff fluorocarbon rigs in my opinion, come into their own. It’s for exactly the opposite reasons braided rigs are believed to be good. The fluorocarbon and bristle filaments blend in a lot better and don’t require the same bits and bobs we put on braided rigs to get the same desired effect.
Fluorocarbon rigs don’t offer the same contour hugging properties or the abrasive resistance of braid, or its suppleness. So, why is the chod rig arguably the most versatile and successful rig of all time? Further to that, one of the best bottom bait presentations is the straight through fluorocarbon D rig (of all varieties) which also shares similar qualities to the chod in a different way. This is a rig I also use heavily in my own fishing.
Stiff rigs offer a no compromise situation to a feeding fish. Its stiffness almost negates any chance of a fish blowing the rig back out. Meaning once a fish accepts your bait, it’s nearly impossible to reject. You get to see this perfectly in the underwater eight films where Tom dove and Ali Hammidi who both have had incredible success on their favoured braided rigs. Were found frustrated at how many times they were rejected so easily. Up comes Mr Fairbrass, the first 3 fish that take his D rig fished with a wafter are hooked, all without a single failure.
Going back to the chod rig, without relying too heavily on Korda’s underwater filming too much to prove the point, we find Danny catching The Box Common on a hinge stiff rig. Which essentially is a chod rig with a boom section for arguments sake.
The Box Common had struggled in picking up Ali’s bait and it was clear to see that the larger fish struggle to get down as low and as flat to the bottom as other carp. It clearly had lost sight of the bait on approach and missed it altogether. Its first sight of the hinge stiff rig and it darted for it like it was its last meal. It was the first time a fish had gone for this rig and it was hooked first time. The stiffness came into play and made it hard to reject. But the story doesn’t end there.
Here is where I go back to details and what you’re trying to achieve. It’s often spoke about that certain pop up rigs are “big fish” rigs. I completely agree with this theory and there is a method to the madness.
In a carp’s logic, there is no place that food doesn’t at some point exist. It’s not just on the bottom or the surface. A large amount of a carp’s diet is food items found suspended in mid water. To a large carp, seeing a bait higher than others, almost like fly’s rising from a hatch, is not something spooky or to be turned away from. If anything its more appetising because it’s easier for them to snatch and there could be an element of ‘grabbing it while it can’ simply on sight before another carp does. Although to other smaller carp who can get a closer look, there’s reason to believe they aren’t as eager because they can see the horrid truth of its blatant intent from a different angle.
Now, earlier I mentioned the Ronnie and the 360 rig were exempt from the principle of movement equals missed opportunities. This is because in my eyes they offer the prefect balance between the two with identical properties to each other. They can both be fished on a braided boom or a stiff boom and it offers both movement and stiffness. At the business end the rig can swivel which allows the point to face the right direction at any given opportunity, but the large hook and swivel combined, limits its lateral movement making it a semi stiff spinning rig, maximising its hooking potential in all situations, at all angles.
Another detail to consider is they sit nice and low to the bottom offering large carp an easy meal, but just low enough for the smaller carp to be tricked by it as well. This is why I think both these rigs have had such huge success and if it wasn’t for the chod rigs versatility, they would no doubt be the best all round rig you could use.
Hopefully this will give many of you some food for thought for your next trip.