Effective carp rigs – don’t let them get away with it!

I recently watched the Korda Underwater videos and what struck me was just how often a fish will come into a swim feed hard, probably suck in your bait, yet give you hardly any indication at all.

I remember a similar situation when I was fishing on my own venue a few winter’s ago. In fact three of us were on the bank that week and for the first 24 hours I suffered a series of single bleeps that didn’t develop. I had up until that point been getting belters, so I patiently waited for the fish to trundle off. Well it didn’t happen and I blanked that first night. I called in on one of the other chaps fishing the other lake and he had landed three fish to upper 20’s. I must say I was quite impressed. I lamented at only having had a few single bleeps, when he informed me that this was also the only indication he had received as well but had struck each time, resulting in three banked carp…it was one of those Duuuh! type moments when you think, “Why didn’t I consider this?”

Anyway to cut a long story short the next night saw me with a nice brace of fish to my credit, and you guessed it, both on single bleeps.The Korda clips then got me thinking, how basically unsophisticated, ineffective and crude our set ups are. Yes the hair-rig was a huge leap forward (how did we ever catch a carp before it?) but fish still get away with it far too often.

What can we do?
Well the videos show that you need to be constantly tweaking your rigs all the while. They of course had the luxury of seeing a fish suck in and spit out a rig, the rest of us naturally won’t have this benefit. We have to proceed by trial and error. Here then are a few points I think worth considering.

  • Firstly I’m convinced things must be made as difficult as is possible for the carp. Odd shaped baits, double baits, line-aligners to curve the hook, or (where allowed) long shank hooks. All these make it hard for the fish to spit the rig out. We saw that Danny’s small, to my mind too small, hooks were easily dealt with by many fish. The longer shank seemed to be an advantage however, and I would argue that a wider gaped, larger size hook might also have given the carp a hard time with ejection.
  • He use cut down boilies, which made them an odd shape and more acceptable to the fish compared the round baits. This makes sense as a round uniform sized boilies can eventually be sussed by a fussy fish. Could this then be why snowman, or sight-bob baits as Shaun H calls them get more runs? I believe the fish again has a harder time with the shape and the countered buoyancy of the pop up or plastic bait surprises the fish, forcing it to take it further into its mouth and thus find it more awkward to eject.
  • Hook links also seem a crucial part of the set up. I’ve become a big fan of combi-links, as it offers a stiff section, to avoid tangles, and a supple section to aid hook movement and increase hooking efficiency. Various set ups with this type of material should be tried and experiments undertaken.
  • I have in the past also used the D-rig that he shows in the film, and to great effect. Terry Hearn was also a great fan of this set up. I think that in general, stiff rigs are harder for carp to deal with than say straight braid, yet the movement allowed by the D set up acts somewhat like a combi-link, causing the bait to move unpredictably on ejection, and hopefully prick more fish.
  • Another issue is baiting. I think that this is a very important aspect. I have witnessed this with our Quest videos and filming Shaun fishing. He mostly uses a mixture of sized baits 14mm, 20mm and 22mm, chops and mixed particles. His swim is a feast of different sized food objects. A fish can’t just hoover it with equal suction. It needs to actually go after each mouthful. Add to this the improved hooking potential of a double or snowman type hook bait and the fish is likely to be in trouble. On the Mangrove video Shan was using 22mm baits, again it is this change in size that caused more fish to slip up.
  • Finally it is evident from the film that had he been able to hover over his rods and not have to yield the constraints of a video shoot, he might have banked a few more carp. The camera seemed at times to record an awful lot of activity on the indication with no strike. In a less false fishing situation perhaps striking more often and more immediately would have seen more carp landed. This serves to emphasise how crucial it is to remain by your rods and that even a few yards away can seen you miss fish.

The first series of these videos were far from impressive, but the recent batches have been brilliant to watch and really give us all food for thought. Well either that or make us want to take up golf.


One thought on “Effective carp rigs – don’t let them get away with it!

  1. Jon Perkins says:

    I know we are always trying to improve on the efficiency aspect of the rig, but personally I don’t think that modern day rigs can be improved much further, and I have to say that there needs to be an element of “getting away with it” on the carp’s behalf – it is what keeps things interesting, if every time you went fishing you caught what you were after it would become very boring very quickly ! I recently spent a week on a French lake where my friend and I caught 162 carp in 6 days, it was very boring ! If carp fishing is too easy, it is not interesting, and if you had a rig that hooked a carp every time it was picked up……

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