When faced with a weedy river swim this lure set-up is almost impossible to snag up and is great for big perch....
Originally developed by bass anglers in the USA, the Carolina Rig has proven just as deadly for perch on this side of the Atlantic.
Designed to fish a soft plastic ‘creature’ bait close to the bottom and among thick weed, the Carolina rig has the great advantage that it is almost snagless.
This is because of the special wide gape offset hook that is used, and which are now available from several specialist lure outlets in the UK.
With the hook sitting flush with the top of the bait, this rig can be fished amid plants and sticks with little chance of snagging.
The Carolina rig is fished with a slow lift- and-drop retrieve that enables the soft plastic bait to wiggle enticingly as it moves forward and then flutter weightlessly down as the retrieve is paused. This action is very effective for perch and can also be used for zander too.
While drop shotting is rightfully very popular, other tactics such as the Carolina rig are great alternatives and well worth adding to your repertoire.
HOW TO TIE IT
You will need...
• 3AA bodied waggler
• 5lb mainline
• 4lb hooklength
• Size 10 Nash Fang Uni hook
Here’s a precisely set-up float rig to eliminate the resistance perch hate, which also has the benefit of working well for targeting even larger species
Perch are very obliging fish that can be caught in many different ways, but one of the finest has to be on float-fished worm or prawn.
These larger baits help to deter small fish from picking up your bait giving you a good chance of latching on to a larger than average specimen.
Perch do not like a moving bait, so it is much better to nail it to the lakebed by fishing slightly overdepth with a small shot to anchor the float in position.
Having plenty of shot down the line also helps to keep the rig in place and stop it from being moved around.
Perch bites are normally very bold, but with this rig you can shot the float down so that only the tip is showing when the No.4 shot rests on the bottom.
Should you cast out too far, the shot will not be on the bottom and the float will disappear, telling you that you need to fish a little closer. This rig will also work well for other larger fish – bream, tench and carp.
The baggin’ waggler is one of the best ways to enjoy consistent sport. The large, cigar-shaped floats with a small Method feeder attached to their base enable the angler to fish a hookbait in a column of feed.
If you use one of these beasts in the winter, though, you risk killing the swim. But by scaling down and using a pole float and a small bait coil, Dean Jones has created a rig more suitable to the demands of winter fishing.
Baggin’ wagglers have been around well over 25 years. The theory of fishing a hookbait through a tight column of falling loosefeed is relevant at all times of the year; it just needs to be scaled back in the colder months.
There are problems with other forms of loosefeeding. The pole pot is a one-shot deal – once the feed is fed, the pot is empty – and with a catapult, the loosefeed gets spread over a wide area. So when you need to keep loosefeed tight, neither is particularly appealing.
“To solve this problem I came up with the baggin’ pole float. By sliding a Korum bait spring on to the stem of a pole float, I created a mini baggin’ waggler. The results have been nothing short of brilliant,” said the Frenzee and Bag’em Match Baits-backed rod.
“I have found that I am now able to feed with great accuracy, and my hookbait can be fished hard on the deck or up in the water,” said Dean.
Dean’s pole float set-up
The beauty of Dean’s approach is that you can use whatever tackle you want, the only stipulation being that the pole float is large enough to cope with the extra weight of the additional loosefeed packed around its stem.
Dean recommends a float of at least 0.4g but 0.5g or larger is better, depending upon the amount of loosefeed you are planning to fish.
“In the depths of winter, I use a small coil and place a few shot down the line to trim the float correctly,” he explained.
“On milder days, like today, I dispense with the shot altogether and just use the loading of the feed to trim the rig. When all of the loosefeed has broken down, the float rises in the water, signposting that it is time to rebait the spring.”
To create the pole float baggin’ waggler, Dean follows the time-honoured way of making a pole float rig, only with a slight difference.
After threading on the silicone, he then slides a thicker tighter length of tubing on to the mainline, followed by the bait spring and then the pole float. The components are then pushed together. As for the rest of the rig, it is up to the angler to use components they’re are most happy with. Dean opts for Frenzee Vertex 0.15mm (4lb 13oz) mono that doesn’t kink under the strain of the ball of feed because it is thicker.
“I generally fish the mainline through to the hook, unless I’m targeting small carp or silverfish, when I will use a lighter hooklink.
“Hook size depends on the hookbait I am planning to use. Today I have a 6mm expander on the hook, to a size 16. If I was after silverfish, using a maggot hookbait for example, I might use a size 18,” said Dean.
The float’s loosefeed
For the all-important free feed, Dean reckons that groundbait is the best, with a few particles added to ‘match the hatch’.
The great thing about groundbait is that it creates a cloud that attracts fish but doesn’t feed them.
Plus, if you start with groundbait, it is almost impossible to overfeed the swim.
Yet if the fish are feeding confidently on the day, he will increase the amount of particle to crumb to help hold them in the swim for longer. For today’s session, he found a 70:30 mixture of groundbait and micro pellets was about right. Dean steers clear of Method mixes as they are too stodgy and do not break down nicely in the swim.
“I have found a 50:50 mixture of XP and Commercial Carp works best. The XP is used to create the bulk of the smell and cloud, the Commercial Carp for its binding power. If you do add particles – such as a few pellets – only put them in after the groundbait is correctly mixed to prevent them taking on water and expanding because they can stick in the spring’s coils.”
Once the bait is mixed, it is then a case of gauging the amount needed to load the float. That is the beauty of this rig; you don’t need pole pots or cups, as the baggin’ waggler action of the rig does everything for you.
“Like all matchmen, I am always on the lookout for that next edge that will help take my angling to a higher level. I can’t believe that no-one else has tried this before. It has certainly made a massive difference to my cold-water catches,” concluded Dean.
POLE FLOAT BAGGIN' WAG
1. Once the bait has fallen off the spring the float will rise in the water so you know it's time to refill it
2. The groundbait creates a cloud of attraction. A few pellets will help to hold the fish in the swim for longer
3. With this tactic the hookbait can either be fished up in the water or on the deck
- Pole: Frenzee Precision FXT 16m Pole
- Elastic: Frenzee Stretch Hollow Elastic green
- Float: Frenzee
- Mainline: Frenzee Vertex 0.15mm (4lb 13oz)
- Hook: Frenzee 1420 Pattern size 16
- Loosefeed: Bag’em Matchbaits Commercial Carp, Bag’em Matchbaits XP groundbait
- Hookbaits: Bag’em Matchbaits Super Natural Carp Pellets 2mm, Bag’em Matchbaits Easy Xpanda pellets 6mm
Making rigs isn’t the most exciting part of fishing, but fail to pay attention to every aspect of your set-up and you’ll pay the price on the bank.
Most anglers make sure that their rigs include an appropriate float shape, line strength and hook size, but they often give little thought to other elements that are equally important.
One area of your approach that may see very little effort put into it is creating the perfect hair rig.
It would be easy to think that how you present something so small and seemingly insignificant could matter so much, but top matchman Andy Quarmby knows all too well that such a mind-set can prove very costly.
Attention to detail
A lot of Andy’s match fishing success has been achieved at venues where hair-rigged baits score heavily, and through trial and error he has realised that the slightest variation can make a big difference.
“People think that every hair rig is the same, but the way it is tied can be changed every time to suit the scenario,” explained Andy.
“I have them tied up long, short, with bait bands or bait spikes. Each way has its uses, and your success or failure is often determined by making the right choice on the day.”
The Middy-backed rod believes every angler should get busy tying up a range of hair rigs. Here he reveals his five favourites that will help you keep the fish coming on stillwaters...
FIVE TOP HAIR RIGS
1 Triple corn
Many anglers may think this is what I would use in winter when casting around on the bomb, but it is actually one of my favourites for fishing down the margins. I like to tie the hair rig
long, so that it holds the three grains of corn and also leaves a slight gap between the bend of the hook and the nearest kernel.
A big and bright hookbait is important in the edge, but if you hook three grains of corn directly you are guaranteed to mask the point unless you use an overgunned hook size.
My favourite type of hook is a Middy KM3 in either size 14 or 16, with a 0.20mm hooklength that will easily cope with fish well into double figures.
2 Double 8mm pellet
If you think a bait band can only get one bait in it, then it is time to think again.
On heavily pressured venues where the fish have seen every trick in the book, a couple of 8mm pellets presented tightly together is an unusual offering that can fool even the wiliest carp.
Just make sure the hair rig is long enough, so that none of the pellets get in the way of the hook itself.
3 Hooked band
When I am fishing on the bottom for a wide variety of species, I prefer to hook the band directly. This allows me to use a hard pellet and stops me getting pestered by small silverfish. The bait is presented in a similar manner to if it was directly hooked, and a 4mm or 6mm bait offered like this will help you catch a real mixed bag of carp, F1s, bream and tench.
4 Short hair
When shallow fishing for F1s I go the opposite way, using a very short hair with a band on it so the bait touches the bend of the hook. This is because F1s are fickle feeders. The moment they suck the pellet in they are likely to feel it is unnatural and will eject it almost instantly. A long hair rig would lead to you striking at nothing, but a short version gives the fish little chance of escape once they’ve decided to slurp in your pellet hookbait. Fine your tackle right down for F1s, with 0.12mm hooklengths strong enough for even the biggest examples of the species.
5 Long hair
If I am going to fish up in the water for mirror or common carp, this is the only type of hair rig I will consider. I am convinced that the band being sat off the hook gives them an extra second to swallow the bait properly, and this leads to the hook penetrating after every bite.
I tend to scale down when shallow fishing and use a soft elastic to absorb the ferocious bites. A 0.14mm hooklength to a size 16 KM2 hook is more than ample.
ROLFS LAKE DEMO
Oxfordshire’s Rolfs Lake is one of the fisheries where Andy has perfected his attack. The fish were stocked small, but have grown well into double figures as the years have gone by.
“These carp have seen every trick in the book and every detail needs to be looked at. Using the right hair rig is a big part of that,” he said.
Three lines were set up for the demonstration – on the deck at 5m, shallow at 13m and down the margins.
Each had a different hair rig, and in four hours’ sport Andy barely missed a bite, with carp to over 10lb and a few bonus bream coming to the net.
To prove that the hair rig was an important part in the catch, he switched to a short one while fishing shallow and he instantly missed a run of bites.
“I never thought for one minute in the past that such a tiny change could make the difference between landing an odd fish and 100lb. Pay attention to your hair rigs and your results could suddenly rocket,” he said.
Steve Ringer explains the secret tactics behind his match successes
I’m often asked what the secret to success is when fishing big lakes such as Ferry Meadows. Most people think a magic bait or some kind of secret trick is involved.
The reality is very different. I believe a lot of my wins are down to accurate casting, and use of the right rig.
It makes perfect sense. After all, you can have the best bait in the world but if you can’t cast to the same spot twice then you are never going to be able to build a swim, and this is crucial when fishing for bream.
My hooklength is attached to the tiny loop at the end of the twisted loop using the loop-to-loop method. At Ferry Meadows the bream run big, so normally I will kick off with 50cm of 0.17mm N-Gauge line to a size 14 MWG eyed, barbed hook. This is tied using a knotless knot but instead of a hair at the end I tie in a Speed Stop.
This way I can hair-rig pieces of worm and this prevents them wriggling over the point of the hook, something which can be a real problem when hooking the worm in a more conventional manner.
2. Mainline and shockleader
When fishing accurately at range for bream it’s essential that you use braid for your mainline.
There are two big advantages to using braid for distance work. First, its low diameter enables you to cast further, and second, it has no stretch, so both accuracy and bite detection are massively improved.
I’m currently testing a new braid for Guru called Pulse8 in 0.10mm diameter, and to say I’m impressed is an understatement.
I then attach a shockleader of 10lb Tournament ST to the end of the braid.
Being so fine and with so little stretch, braid isn’t ideal for casting off and can cost you when playing fish under the rod top as it’s so unforgiving.
I like to have around four or five turns of the shockleader on the reel when the feeder is in the casting position.
3. Anti-tangle set-up
The most important quality of any feeder rig is that it doesn’t tangle, and this is particularly true when fishing for bream at range.
To avoid this I use a mixture of a stiff feeder link and a twisted loop. Firstly I make a 6cm feeder link with 20lb Korda IQ fluorocarbon line with a small snap link swivel at one end and a Hobbycraft ‘seed bead’ at the other Both of these are crimped in place.
My mainline shockleader is then threaded through the seed bead at the top so the link can run freely on the mainline, and a feeder is clipped on to the snap link below.
Once the link is on the line I thread two tiny beads on to the shock leader to act as a buffer and protect the knot from damage during the cast.
The next step is to twist up the last 15cm of the shockleader and tie it off with a double overhand loop knot. This twizzled loop makes the line below the feeder much stiffer, which again greatly reduces the likelihood of a tangle. Finally, the hooklength is tied to the twisted loop, loop-to-loop style.
4. The right feeders
There are two types of feeders I use for distance work. The first are Kevin Leach feeders, which I find the perfect pattern for distances between 40m and 70m.
They are wire cage feeders with all the weight round the bottom, which ensures they fly straight on the cast. I use 30g and 40g sizes the most, and the further I’m casting, the heavier the feeder.
Anything over 70m and I’ll opt for the Matrix Horizon feeders which have a bullet at the base to help them cut through any cross or head wind. With these, distance can still be achieved in even the worst conditions.
In terms of weight, normally it’s anything from 40g to 60g, depending how far I’m looking to cast.
HOW TO CAST A FEEDER ACCURATELY
1. Longer drop
Often I see anglers try and cast with too short a line between feeder and rod-tip. I like to have the feeder just above the halfway point of the rod. This allows me to compress the blank so I’m working the whole rod, not just the tip.
2. Pick a marker
Once you are about to cast it’s important that you have some sort of marker to aim at – this can be a tree or a building, basically anything that’s easy to spot and isn’t going to move. Boats are not reliable markers! Once you have your marker you need to ensure you’re aiming at it every cast.
3. Give it some welly!
Don’t be afraid to compress the blank and give it some power. You have to make the rod work.
You need to point the rod at the marker all the way through the cast, and that way you’ll know the feeder will fly straight and true.
MEASURING THE DISTANCE
Measuring sticks are something I first started using around four years ago after seeing them at the World Feeder Champs in Italy.
Now I can honestly say I wouldn’t be without them.
Basically they are two bank sticks with a length of string between them. The idea is that you place them a set distance apart determined by the string and then use them to measure how far you are casting.
The way they work is that you drop your feeder by one stick and then wrap the line round the other and then back again until you reach your clip. So for instance, if my sticks are at 3m and I go round 20 times then I know I’m fishing at 60m.
To sum up, by using the sticks I know exactly how far out I’m fishing and I can easily clip up other rods to fish at the same distance.
Drop shotting has taken the nation by storm, but Middy’s Craig Butterfield has taken the tactic to new levels by incorporating it in a deadly new pole rig.
Bites can be hard to hit when fishing shallow because of the pace the carp attack the bait, slurping in the pellet and ejecting it before you’ve even had chance to react.
But Craig’s new rig removes the need to strike. Instead the fish hook themselves almost every time.
“If the fish swims down it hooks itself against the weight of the pole tip, and if it swims sideways or upwards it is the weight of the drop shot that sets the hook,” he explained.
“Self-hooking pole rigs often get a bad press, many saying they take the skill out of fishing, but I don’t agree. They give you no more help than a Method feeder with a short hooklength or a bolt rig when specimen fishing.
“The skill with this tactic is correct feeding and working out at what depth the fish are feeding.”
The rig looks a tad confusing at first sight, but it is very simple to tie if you follow the five-step guide below.
1 Thread a metre of mainline on a size 18 eyed hook so that it is around 30cm from one end.
2 Tie a 15mm loop with the hook running freely inside it to help it sit correctly and look natural.
3 Place your fingers 3ins either side of the loop and twist in opposite directions.
4 Hold the line together and tie another loop to create the stiffish paternoster.
5 Add a drop shot weight to the shorter length of line and a pole float as a bite indicator.
6 The final ‘drop shot’ rig is a valuable component of any commercial angler’s armoury.
This technique is brilliant for tackling the margins. It was made famous by John Wilson, who has used it extensively for carp on many of Britain's lakes to catch countless fish of all sizes. It works with almost all baits, including boilies.
A The lift method works best if the float rod is placed upon rod rests. This ensures that the rod tip and the line remains stationary, and subsequently the float isn't pulled off line.
B It's best to use large, unloaded floats that offer a lot of buoyancy. When set correctly the float tip should only just break the surface. When a fish takes the bait and therefore lifts the shot that lies on the bottom, the float will rise to indicate a bite.
C Use the bare minimum of shot to lock the float upon the line. Ideally the shot should not even make the float lay flat on the water's surface - that's how little this rig requires around the float.
D You will need to plumb the depth accurately when using this rig because all the float's shot loading needs to ble placed well down the line so that it sits on the bottom. This not only anchors the float, but if it is placed at the correct depth it will pull the float down so low that only the tiniest hint of the sight tip shows above the water's surface.
This rig is ideal for both pike and zander, close in or at long range. It is very simple to create and can be used in water of all depths as the float is not locked at a specific depth - it slides along the line until it hits a stop knot.
A Use a powergum stop knot followed by a bead to prevent the float from sliding all the way up the line. This rig works best when the float's depth is set deeper than the water, eg set the rig to 12ft deep when fishing in 8-10ft of water.
B Mainline needs to be at least 12lb breaking strain. This rig is best used with mono rather than braid.
C Use a bead here to prevent the sliding float from hitting the knot and the wire trace, potentially damaging it upon the cast or when playing the fish.
D Place enough large split shot upon the wire trace to anchor the rig. You may need 3SSG shot at least.
E Mount the deadbait tail first and cut off the fish's head to ensure that the juices escape, adding attraction to the bait.
F The best float to use when fishing with this rig is a straight balsa, often referred to as a pencil float. Avoid using loaded pencil floats as they simply are not sensitive enough to provide instant bite detection.
This float rig is ideal when casting tight to an island to catch the carp that patrol around its margins. As you will be casting to a feature you can actually use this rig with the line clipped up because a hooked fish will not be able to swim away from you - it can only swim to the side or towards you.
A Use a loaded, bodied float that is attached to the line with a fixed float adaptor. Alternatively a couple of tiny split shot will suffice. The best float to use is a straight bodied waggler because they pop up to the surface very quickly, ready to detect a bite straight away.
B Mainline needs to be strong enough to cope with carp and the problem of hooked fish reaching any snags. We suggest using no lighter than 4lb.
C Make sure that the depth is plumbed accurately so that the rig is set cotrrectly and that the bait touches the bottom.
D By using a swivel to link the mainline to the hooklength esnures that a replacement hooklength can be attached quickly, and as this rig will be cast a lot of times, the hooklength will not spin up as the bait revolves when it is being drawn back to the bank.
E Ideal hooklengths for this rig need to be 0.14mm and above. The best baits for this style of fishing are either sweetcorn, maggots, casters or a piece of worm.
This simple pole rig is perfect for fishing with chopped worm for a number of reasons - it's stable so the bait remains still, it pushes the bait to the bottom quickly to avoid smaller bait-snatching fish, and it is perfect for lifting and lowering the bait to entice a bait.
A A rounded or body-down pole float is ideal for this rig. They can be held back against any surface tow well, in windy conditions.
B Always attach your pole float using three silicone strips of tubing to ensure it does not slide along the line.
C Mainlines and hooklengths for this rig should be quite strong as you may encounter tench or carp when fishing with chopped worm. A mainline of 0.14mm tied to a 0.12mm hooklength will suffice.
D Using an olivette around 10in from the bottom will ensure that the bait is forced through the depths quickly, straight past any smaller fish that may snatch at the bait as it drops. Olivettes also help steady the rig in adverse conditions.
E Use two dropper shot equally spaced between the olivette and the hook. No8 or No10 shot are ideal for this as they are light enough to provide a slow, gentle and natural drop of the bait through the final 20 inches of water.
F Fish your bait around 3-5in overdepth, and remember to use a strong hook. One of the best for chopped worm fishing is a Kamsan B711.
This rig is brilliant for tackling chub and barbel from small rivers and streams. It requires very little tackle and can be fished with either an Avon rod, a quivertip rod or even a substantial waggler rod.
It can be fished in two styles - either by holding the rod at all times to feel for bites, or by placing the rod in rests and occasionally paying out line from the reel to allow the rig to trundle downstream.
It's a deadly technique for running baits downstream and underneath overhanging snags, weed rafts or within undercut banks where big chub and barbel live.
A You can use either braid of mono for this rig. But whichever you decide, always fish it direct to the hook. As you may be fishing tight to snags opt for a strong mono of no less than 6lb.
B The right amount of weight is an issue with this rig as you must use enough weight to keep the bait on the bottom in the flow. Using a snap link swivel stopped by a couple of BB shot is ideal as you can clip-on any additional Arlesey bombs to cope with stronger flows when roving different swims.
C Although this rig is commonly associated with meat, it can be used with almost any bait providing it sinks. Experiment with hair rigs if you are missing bites, and remember to use substantial hooks to battle with the big fish in strong flows.
If you learn how to wobble a deadbait you can put yourself in a prime position to catch many more pike and zander from lakes, rivers, canals and drains. It is a deadly technique that predator anglers use to great effect...
All too often predator anglers will mount their deadbaits upon their pike rig, cast it out and sit for hours on end waiting for that drop-off to fall, the alarm to scream or the float to go under. Meanwhile, there could well be a double or even a twenty-pounder making its way around the marginal shelf, seeking the odd roach or two to eat, and that’s an opportunity not to be missed.
All you need is your pike rig, a full-bodied deadbait, a large split shot and that’s it!
Tie your pike rig to your mainline and pinch the split shot (an SSG or a few AA is ideal) onto the swivel end of the wire trace.
Mounting the deadbait needs to be done head first. Push one hook of the mid-trebles through the bottom lip of the deadbait and out of the top lip. Now work the bottom-most treble into the flank of the deadbait. And that’s all you need to do.
The split shot upon the line will help sink the deadbait when you stop reeling in, and a gentle flick of the rod tip will see the bait shoot upwards or sideways. Continue doing this – reeling, resting and flicking – and you’ll make your deadbait look just like an injured food fish. And that’s pretty hard for any nearby pike to ignore.
The best baits for wobbling are freshly killed trout because they wriggle and bend as they are flicked. Other great wobbling baits are long eel sections, herrings, roach and smelt. Mackerel are often just too large for wobbling.
If you want to get more bites when fishing a groundbait or open end feeder, try this neat trick and twitch your rig back. It’s easy to do and can trigger even more bites than you’ve ever had before. It works brilliantly for bream, carp and tench – even roach too when you’re fishing a maggot feeder.
It is very simple and relies on the fact that you’re drawing your hookbait right over your loosefeed – simple really!
After casting your feeder rig, leave it for five minutes as you may well get a bite straight away. But if you don’t it’s time to twitch your rig to tempt those fish into taking your bait.
The only thing you need to think about before you start twitching your rig is to remember the length of your hooklength. For this example, let’s say that it’s 3ft – an average length for a typical feeder rig.
Pick up your rod and gently move it to one side to take up the slack so you have a tight line to the feeder (A).
Now gently begin to pull your rod tip further to dislodge the feeder (B). You’ll feel the feeder bounce. Once it dislodges, continue moving your rod tip very slowly by 3ft. No more than that or you will have defeated the object.
Now your feeder will have emptied the remainder of the bait trapped inside it, your hooklength will have straightened and your hookbait will have been pulled across the bottom, right on top of your feed (C).
Leave the rig in the water for another five minutes to see if you get that extra bite. If not, wind it in, re-bait and recast, and repeat the process all over again.
All anglers know that carp are suckers for bread crust fished on the surface in the summer, but it is often a very underused bait at all other times of the year. Here we show you how it can be used to catch more carp just off the bottom of stillwaters at any time of the year.
Bread crust and bread flake, by their very nature, are buoyant baits. So they are perfect for use just off the bottom, above any silt or blanket weed.
This is a really simple rig to create, it’s virtually tangle-free, and it’s really productive too with many carp being caught in pleasure and match sessions over the past season.
Here’s how to create it…
A Your mainline needs to be quite substantial as there is a high chance that you could encounter some very big carp. We would suggest using 6lb as a minimum.
B In order to ensure that the rig is as resistance-free as possible, it’s best to use a short length of line between your leger bomb and your swivel. A 4ins length of strong mainline will be ideal. At one end tie a large swivel, and at the other tie a snap link swivel as this will allow you to chance your lead in seconds if you need a different weight of lead to cast further.
C A leger stop is the ideal item to use to prevent the swivel from slipping down to the hook. If you do not have any leger stops, use a small split shot.
D Your hooklength shouldn’t be too long. Around 6ins is about right. Again you will need to choose a lien that’s strong enough for the carp, so 6lb is a good starting point.
E A large hook is paramount here. Something like a size 10, 8 or even 6 could be used as the swollen bread will help mask the hook once it’s submerged.
A note worth mentioning here is that you will need to cast very gently to prevent the bread coming off the hook. Use a gentle sweeping motion to launch the rig, rather than a punch.
When it comes to surface fishing, the best way to do it is to keep everything simple. Always feed the swim first, get the carp taking your baits confidently and only then introduce your hook bait. Surface feeding carp are cautious at the best of times; feed them in to a frenzy and you can almost cast right on top of them!
Always cast your rig past the feeding fish, then slowly draw the hook bait back in to the feeding zone. Carp are not the best at taking baits from the surface so you need to keep a keen eye on the line and not always the hook bait. It’s best to keep the line fairly tight to the controller, not allowing for any bow in the line, therefore you’ll be able to hit takes a lot easier. It also pays to use either a floating mainline or grease your line to ensure that the mainline floats; this will also help you to hit takes swiftly.
Another tip is to use a slightly different hook bait than your loosefeed. A little edge is to use a floating pellet when feeding Chum Mixers, attached to the back of the hook using a bait band.
The rig I use is semifixed. The two John Roberts’ rubber beads used to fix the hooklength are pierced through the side using a baiting needle. The mainline is then looped over the needle and pulled through the bead. This locks the swivel in place, but if a breakage occurs the carp will easily be able to pull the hooklength from the mainline.
Give surface fishing a go as it’s the most exhilarating way of carp fishing - the anticipation is intense!
This simple yet very effective feeder fishing rig is perfect for catching river barbel, chub and bream. It’s easy to make and can be used in deep sluggish rivers through to fairly shallow and swift flowing rivers.
The beauty of this rig is that it can be used to catch all of our larger river species, providing you use an appropriate bait and loosefeed to tempt them.
All you’ll need to tie this rig is a variety of different weight of feeders, some eyed hooks, some hooklength braid, strong mainline, a snap link swivel and a buffer bead.
Buffer beads are small rubberised sleeves that fit over half of a swivel. They can be found at all good specialist fishing tackle stores and are ideal for stopping your swivel from hitting knots and potentially weakening them.
The most important part – and often the most technical – is choosing the right weight of feeder. The feeder must be an open end type. Cage feeders simply release their load of groundbait too quickly, whereas open end feeders hold on to the groundbait until the feeder hits the river bed.
Getting the right weight of feeder requires a few experimental casts. Pick a feeder that you think might offer enough weight to hold still in the flow, cast it out and see if the feeder remains static on the bottom. Ideally you should choose a feeder that only just holds still in the flow – one that will easily dislodge and begin rolling if a fish were to pick up the bait and nudge the feeder out of position.
Two of the best baits for this rig are either large drilled halibut pellets or fishmeal boilies – bream, barbel and chub love them. But you could use maggots, worms, casters, sweetcorn, anything you wish.
The feed you put inside the feeder ought to match the hookbait you’re using. If you decide to use a halibut pellet or a fishmeal boilie on a hair rig, you will do best to use a fishmeal groundbait and pellets in your feeder.
HOW TO TIE THIS RIG
A – Larger baits like pellets and boilies should be hair-rigged. You’ll need a strong eyed hook for this and the best way to tie a hair rig is to use the knotless knot.
If you intend to use more conventional baits, just choose a strong hook of a size to suit your chosen bait.
B – It’s your choice whether you decide to use a mono or a braid hooklength. If you decide to use a mono hooklength pick one that will cope with a barbel, so 6-8lb breaking strain will be ideal. If you opt for braid, chose a 12lb breaking strain.
C – Your loosefeed should match your hookbait. Fishmeal groundbait and pellets is an ideal match for boilies and drilled halibut pellets. This combination scores well for river specimens.
D – Your open end feeder should have enough weight in the lead to just hold still in the river’s flow.
E – Use a quick-release snap link swivel to attach the feeder, and a buffer bead to attach your hooklength.
F – Your mainline needs to be strong enough to cope with a big barbel, so choose 8lb or 10lb breaking strain.
Anyone who fishes commercial carp waters will know that islands are a prime area to target for good carp weights. Float fishing is almost impossible due to the amount of line hanging underneath the float - this can catch in overhanging vegetation, so the only effective way to fish tight to an island is to use a feeder rig set up.
Here we show you one of the very best feeder rigs to use when fishing tight to an island feature, in a handful of easy-to-follow steps to make sure you can easily create this rig.
It's worth bearing in mind the style of feeder used here - it's a cage feeder. These feeders are the best choice to use in shallow water around an island as the large holes in the sides allow water to enter rapidly, therefore the attractive groundbait inside escapes quickly to leave a cloud of scent in the water.
A simple tubular extension on a strong carp hook can make all the difference between a lost and landed fish. Richard Farnan explains how...
The line aligner was first published by Jim Gibbinson many years ago. The principle behind the set-up is to create an angle that in itself creates a very effective anti-eject rig.
By using a length of shrink tubing cut at an angle, you elongate the overall length of the hook’s shank. Leaving the ‘tail’ of the tubing makes the hook go into the carp’s mouth in a straight line as the fish sucks up the bait. Upon ejection the hook flexes and spins giving it more opportunities to take a hold.
This set-up is best used with popup boilies presented approximately two inches off the bottom, held in place with a small blob of putty upon the hooklength.
The loop knot at the swivel end ensures no tangling upon the cast. Personally I prefer to use an in-line lead with this set-up and by using a leadcore leader everything is pinned to the lake bed, thus not alerting the carp to any danger. This combination is very effective indeed!
When fishing for carp over very silty lakes, it is essential to choose a set-up that ensures your rig will not get buried in the soft silt and ruin an otherwise good presentation. And the best rig for this is the Chod rig.
It was specifically designed for just this sort of fishing. The chod has proved to be very successful and has accounted for a lot of big fish recently. It should be used with very buoyant baits and will work superbly in silty areas.
It works upon the principle that the rig can be adjusted to position the bait anywhere along the leadcore leader, so no matter how far the lead sinks into the silt, the bait will be in a prime position to sit above the bottom debris.
This rig incorporates a spliced leadcore leader and fairly tight-fitting beads that allow the hooklink to be semi-fixed anywhere along the length of the leader. Shop-bought Chod rigs are available, for those who don't want to tie their own.
The rig has safety in mind, and the soft beads will easily pass over the spliced joining loop, allowing the hooklink to pull free of the leadcore should a breakage occur.
Here's how to tie your own Chod rig...
A Use a lightweight swivel lead - 1oz is perfect. Keep the lead as light as possible because when you are playing a fish the hooklink will slide down to the lead, so the lighter the lead, the less chance of the fish being bumped off. A short strip of silicone tubing helps neaten the lead swivel.
B This is a leadcore leader. It offers enough weight to sink to the bottom. A 3-4ft length is about right.
C If you want to fix your Chod rig you can place a bead here, between the lead and the hooklink swivel. They need to be semi-fixed - a rubber bead sitting on a short piece of silicone is perfect. It is a personal preference whether you use a stop between your ring swivel and the lead.
D Flexi ring swivel of either a size 11 or 12. It should offer just enough weight to anchor the pop-up. This type of swivel provides a full 360 degree movement, so if a carp sucks at the bait from any angle, the swivel will ensure that the bait can easily move and be sucked up.
E The top stop bead. When fishing in deep silt or weed this bead should be at least 2ft up the leader, but for cleaner bottoms it can be much closer to the lead.
F 2-4ins of very stiff mono hooklink line. ESP and Fox produce some of the best stiff links for the job. 15-20lb breaking strain is about right.
G The hook must have an out-turned eye with a D-Rig knotless knot whipping on the shank. This rig works well with a big hook, even if you are using a 14 or 16mm pop-up boilie. And the perfect bait for a Chod rig is a 14-16mm pop-up boilie that will not sink, regardless of how long the rig is submerged.
We've all done it at some time - foul hooked a carp in the fin or flank when pole fishing tight to the margins or an island. It's almost inevitable that the feeding carp will, at some time, swim into our lines and become foul-hooked.
Not only is this unsporting, but playing a foul-hooked carp is twice as hard as normal, putting your pole, elastic, hook and line under incredible pressure that often ends in disaster.
Although we cannot guarantee that this technique will prevent carp becoming foul-hooked, it will certainly decrease the chance of that happening. And in turn it will increase your confidence too.
Here's how it's done and how to tie it...
The key tackle requirements are a strong hook (eyed or spade end, it doesn't matter), strong mainline and a short dibber pole float. Then you'll need a handful of No8 shot to dot the float down to the bulbous sight tip.
When we say strong mainline, choose a high-tech line of around 0.18mm to 0.22mm diameter (between 6-10lb). That will be strong enough to cope with the rigors of this style of fishing.
All your shot should be placed together, in a line, below mid-depth.
You'll also need strong pole elastic. A grade 18 will be spot on, but you may get away with a 16 if the fish aren't enormous.
Finally, to fish this technique effectively you will need to use as short a line between pole tip and float. The reason for this is simple. You're going to have to push your rig as close to the margins or island as is possible. Having a short length of line above the float will help you do this effectively.
Plumb the depth carefully as your bait should just rest on the bottom an inch or two. Now you're ready to take the swim on, feed it and start catching.
The trick to the effectiveness of this rig is really very simple. If your rig is presented as close as possible to the margins it'll be positioned just out of the way of the feeding carp. Also, when a carp does pick up your bait and you strike, there's a very high likelihood that the carp will swim directly away from the margins and into open water, where you'll be able to gain control of it quickly. Obviously there's no way the carp can swim forwards, because of the island or the bank.
Take a look at the diagrams below and you'll see why it's important to fish as close as possible to the feature.
THE RIGHT WAY
THE WRONG WAY