A European gentleman turned up at Vaux one day last year when I was fishing. His first question was could he fish the lake, to which my reply was no. His second question was how big are the fish, because he was an angler who had travelled around to many European lakes where he had caught some large fish. We chatted generally on fishing topics whilst I continued to tie a stiff boom rig. This caught his eye and so I went on to show him half a dozen rigs along with baiting and tactics which, as a UK angler, I use.
He then wanted to share his most popular rig with me. His hook length set-up does not incorporate a hair. Instead his preference is to use soft hook baits, such as potatoes, beans and soft paste boilies which he makes himself. He presents his baits by drilling a hole through the given bait and pulling the hook into the bait so it is embedded in it. This is fished on a free running set-up so that, as he explained to me, the fish is allowed to take the bait and run, allowing sufficient time on the take for it to crush the soft boilie from the hook and so self-hook itself. If he is using potatoes or beans he would strike into the carp. He only uses small leads so the weight of it is light enough just to set the hook. He would then wind down and strike into the fish.
After I had shown him my normal set-up incorporating the stiff boom plus soft braid hook length and size 6 or 7 hook, he asked if he could tie and show me his version of a stiff boom rig with the hook he normally uses for carp fishing. Taking materials which I had in front of me, he went off and returned with the boom rig just as I would tie it, but with a double hook set-up. I was shocked, to say the least. He confirmed that this was normal practice for him and I asked whether the hooks were sold as predator or carp hooks. He replied that they are not specified and are sold for either… you make your own choice. He explained that he rarely loses a fish and never has a hook hold move in the mouth of any fish, large or small and so there is no mouth damage. Comparing the hooks we use, both barbed and barbless, with his double hook, his parting comment was that he believed our hooks would lead to mouth damage and that their double hooks are more humane.
Makes you think doesn’t it?
Chas, Etang de Vaux