Most artificial rubber or plastic sweetcorn grains, maggots, casters, pellets and the like float and that gives anglers a challenge when it comes to presenting them correctly.
Such artificial baits like bread and dog biscuits don’t pose so much of a problem as they are designed to be fished on the surface anyway, so you don’t have to make great alterations to your rig – you can simply fish these baits as you would fish real bread or dog biscuits.
Most other artificial baits need treating differently though, to ensure that you present them as close as possible to how the natural baits look when they come to rest on the bottom.
HOW TO DO IT
Let’s take a grain or two of artificial sweetcorn as an example. First of all you are going to have to fish the rubber or plastic corn kernel upon a hair rig because there’s no way that your hook will ever pull out of the bait if it were side hooked - you’d lose every fish that you hook.
Now, once the bait is on the hair rig it will float unless you alter your rig slightly so that the bait is pulled down to the bottom.
To do this you need to create an anchor for the bait and two of the best forms of anchor are either split shot or tungsten putty. Kryston make arguably the best and it’s called Heavy Metal. This malleable tungsten putty can be rolled between your fingertips to warm it up slightly, then it can be rolled onto the hooklength to create a streamlined weight.
WHERE TO ANCHOR YOUR BAIT
This is quite critical as the position you place your anchor will determine how far the bait sits off the bottom. And then you will have to take into account the make-up of the venue’s bottom. Is it free from weed? Is it silty? Does it have an abundance of Canadian pondweed on the bottom? All these things will make a difference to where you position the anchor for your bait.
On clean and clear bottoms placing your split shot or tungsten putty anchor around 2in away from the hook works well. This will make the bait sit off the bottom by 2in, obviously!
A 2in lift off the bottom isn’t going to look too unnatural, and believe us you’ll get plenty of runs with a bait presented that far off the bottom.
If the venue is silty we would recommend having a 4in to 6in gap between the hook and the anchor weight/s as the weight may sink into the silt but the distance between the weight and the hook will ensure that the bait sits proud of the silt where the fish will be able to find it.
If the venue is very weedy try using a gap of 12in between the hook and your anchor weight so that the imitation bait rises up through the weed and doesn’t become entangled within it.
HOW MUCH WEIGHT TO USE
The amount of split shot or tungsten putty you will need to use down the line will depend upon the buoyancy and size and number of fake baits that you intend to use. As they all vary slightly in buoyancy the only way to find out is to bait your hair rig with whatever fake bait you’re using, add a little weight onto the hooklength and lower the hooklength into the margins to see how the bait performs under the weight of the shot or putty that you’ve used.
The rule of thumb here is to use just enough to pull the bait down – don’t use excessive amounts of shot or a big lump of putty as it’s not necessary. In most situations a BB shot will be enough, or a chunk of putty the size of a 1p.
THE RIGHT HOOKLENGTH
The key to success here is to use a flexible hooklength, so that rules out thick fluorocarbon as that stuff just refuses to bend!
The best hooklength to use is braid as it is soft, supple and will bend really easily at the shot/weight to create a hinge up towards the popped-up bait.
Monofilament is second best as it prefers to lay straight and won’t produce a perfect L-shape at the point where the weight is placed.
As regards the length of the hook link material, that’s up to you. Generally speaking a Method hooklength will be anywhere between 3in and 12in, a specialist semi-fixed bolt rig hooklength will be around 4in to 8in, while a general purpose feeder/leger hooklength will be anywhere between 12in and 3ft. The choice is yours.
POPPING UP OFF THE LEAD
This is a technique that many anglers use when fishing the Method. The buoyant fake bait is fished upon a short hooklength of between 2in and 6in that is tied directly to the bottom swivel of an in-line Method feeder and no weight is used to anchor the bait to the lake bed. Once the rig is cast out the groundbait around the frame feeder breaks down and the fake bait rises upwards to sit between 2in and 6in above it.