Coiling your hook link may sound bizarre, but there is method in the madness as Martin Locke details a setup he’s used to catch carp in excess of 60lb.
Here’s a rig that, for want of a better phrase, flies in the face of convention. With almost all rigs being designed to lay straight and flat along the lakebed, this one ends up sat in a tight coil.
The way it works is that you thread a small PVA mesh bag onto your hook link as normal, pulling the hook link through the center of the bag, but that’s where the normality ends. The bag is positioned roughly four inches from the hook and then the end of the hook link, between bag and hook, wrapped around the knot in the bottom of the PVA bag.
Once the hook is almost touching the PVA bag, nick it into the mesh to hold the whole lot in place. You now have an 8in hook link compacted to just four inches, the first four inches stretching from the swivel to the end of the PVA bag and the rest of the hook link wrapped around the end of the bag.
Once on the lake bed the PVA bag dissolves leaving a small parcel of bait with your hook link sat right on the edge of it and some of the hook link coiled underneath it. A carp will usually suck up the entire mouthful of bait, from close quarters, in one go. The result is that the freebies, hook bait and the coiled hook link ends up inside its mouth. This make the rig extremely difficult for the fish to eject, causing them to panic, bolt off and hook themselves in the process.
The hook holds that I, and a number of my friends, have been getting with this setup are incredible, rock solid and often two to three inches inside the mouth, and the takes a ferocious. Better still, I’ve used this rig successfully on all manner of waters, from day-ticket runs waters in the UK, it was the setup I was using in my last Total Carp feature at Elphics, through to the mighty Rainbow Lake in France, where I’ve landed carp to over 60lb on it so far. The size of the hook, bait and strength of the hook link is altered to suit the venue, but the rig and its mechanics stay the same and it works everywhere I’ve used it.
I have to be honest and say that usually, messing around with new rigs is not really my thing. I have a few setups that I’m confident using and after that I put far more emphasis on the bait I’m using and its application. As such, this isn’t a rig that I developed, it was a guy that works at Solar Tackle, Sam Rozier, that first showed it to me after he and a few friends had done well on it. Since then I’ve shown it to a few guys, all of which have caught well on it and they’ve done likewise… and so it goes.
There are a few key points to note with this setup. First of all, and most importantly, is the hook link. It must be a supple braid and one that sinks well so that the hook link stays neatly coilied on the lakebed. The rig was developed using Solar Unleaded, with the 15lb, 25lb and 40lb breaking strains all making for good hook link material depending how severe the fishing. Not only is this exceptionally supple, but it’s a heavyweight braid and sinks like a brick; in fact, it sinks like lead core without the need for a stiff, lead-wire inner (hence the name).
Make sure that you wrap the hook link around the PVA bag just above the knot, and not around the fatter part of the bag. You want to keep the coils small so that a carp can easily get the whole lot into its mouth. This does mean that you end up with a small blob of PVA left on the coiled hook link once the bag melts, but far from being a disadvantage this can sometimes work in your favour. By carefully retrieving the setup if you haven’t had a take, you can tell whether the rig has been disturbed. If the small, PVA blob is still holding some of the coils together then it hasn’t been disturbed and if not, there’s every chance that it has been.