As the temperatures begin to rise this clever set-up will enable you to change the depth of your hookbait and search the water column for carp
Carp can spend much of their time up in the water column, especially in spring when the surface layers are warmed by the strengthening sun.
You could fish the margins or on top of gravel bars to present a bottom bait at the same depth as the carp, but in deeper venues a zig rig that presents a buoyant bait in mid-water can be much better. While this tactic is most often used on prolific venues, it has also accounted for some very large carp in recent years.
The adjustable zig not only works in any depth of water, but enables the height of the bait to be instantly adjusted, simply by retrieving or releasing line to reset the float height. The float also creates a bolt-effect, making bites easier to hit with fewer opportunities missed. You can also use the float to quickly gauge the depth of the swim. Try starting with the zig bait at half depth. If this produces no bites, then let the bait rise closer to the surface until you find the carp.
How to tie
Tie a size 10 Nash Fang Gaper hook to a one-metre length of 10lb Zig Line using a simple ten-turn knotless knot
Thread a Zig Aligner on to the hook so that the banded section sits opposite the point of the hook like this
Stretch the band on the Zig Aligner and insert zig foam. Place the black foam on the bottom so it’s easier for carp to see it from below
Tie a Ring Swivel to the other end of the hooklength using a twice-through-the-eye, four-turn grinner knot
Thread the metal ring and Zig Float on to the mainline. The metal ring ensures that the float will rise even when fished in weed
Tie the Ring Swivel to the end of the mainline using a four-turn grinner knot and pull into the hole on the top of the Zig Float
Semi-fixed bolt rigs have become common in modern angling techniques, not just for those targeting carp, but for anglers chasing many other species too.
When a fish moves off with the hookbait, with the lead semi-fixed in place, it soon comes up against the full resistance of the weight and either hooks itself or bolts away giving unmissable bites.
Although originally developed for carp fishing, the rig is just as useful for tench and bream in stillwaters, and barbel and chub in rivers. Various baits can be used, from boilies and pellets to worms and maggots. The key, though, is to ensure that the hookpoint is exposed so that there is the greatest chance of it pricking the fish.
In the event of a line breakage, it is essential that the lead should be able to slide free from the rest of the rig to avoid tethering a fish that has been hooked. To do this, a lead safety clip should be used with the tail rubber lightly pushed on to the clip so that the lead can come free with the minimum of effort. Follow these simple steps below and you will create the perfect safe bolt rig set-up.
Thread a tail rubber and safety lead clip on to your mainline. Ensure it will slide off easily
Tie a rig swivel to the end of the mainline using a four-turn grinner knot or palomar knot
Pull the lead clip over the swivel and use the supplied pin to hold the clip on to the swivel
Attach the lead to the clip and lightly push on the tail rubber. Test that the lead ejects easily
Attach your hook using a knotless knot. The hooklink should be weaker than the mainline
Tie the end of the hooklength to the rig swivel using a four-turn grinner knot
When going after tench there are many tactics that can be used, for instance when you are on a larger gravel pit it is a feeder approach that often scores. This is thanks to its characteristic of placing bait close to the hookbait even when fishing towards distant gravel bars and other features.
While the feeder is brilliant for tench, it often has to be rigged-up with a short hooklength stopped close to the feeder to prove successful for tench. This is because tench tend to sift through food and detritus while hardly moving. Use a long hooklength and the hookbait is likely to be expelled before a bite is registered!
Maggots, casters and worms are all brilliant tench baits because they mimic the fish’s natural diet, and this rig can be used with all three of these baits. To make the hookbait stand out, it pays to pop-up the bait. This can be easily achieved using a slither of rig foam attached to the hair, with the bait fished on the hook. Follow the steps below to learn how to tie this brilliant rig...
As presentations go, solid PVA bags offer a number of advantages that few other set-ups can rival.
Firstly, because the rig is safely packed inside the bag, they can be fished over pretty much any lakebed type and you can be confident your hookbait will be presented effectively. There’s no need to worry about the hook becoming masked by any weed or detritus as it falls through the water. This makes it perfect for casting towards showing fish when you’re unsure of what the lakebed is like.
A short hooklink in conjunction with an inline lead offers unrivalled hooking potential as fish come into contact with the weight of the lead much quicker. Cast out on it’s own, this set-up could easily bury into silt but, as it’s placed inside the bag, this isn’t a problem.
Tying up a few bags prior to your session means you can have all three rods fishing in no time at all and, once the bag melts, you’re left with an irresistible mouthful of bait around your hookbait.
How to make a solid PVA bag
How to tie: A supple braid hookline for solid PVA bags
This subtle but clever variation on the typical hair rig enables you to fish more effectively with soft baits such as worms
Legering with worms, especially the more delicate lobworms, can be tricky if you need to fish at range with a heavy weight. Sometimes the worm can be smashed off the hook as it hits the water, or the worm may wriggle free or even mask the point.
All of these problems can severely reduce your catches, so a solution that holds the bait better and lessens the risk of bites being missed is important, especially for specialist anglers.
Normal hair rigs are great at hooking fish, but with soft baits, such as worms, they are less effective as often the bait is lost. This led to this variation on the normal hair rig which incorporates two small discs of foam to cushion the bait on the cast. A Quick Stop is used instead of a normal boilie stop, so there is no chance of the stop being lost when a worm tries to wriggle free.
Another advantage is that this rig works just as well with barbless hooks, as you are not reliant upon the barb to hold the bait in place. This makes it ideal for many commercial fisheries. So, if you are intending to leger worms for carp, tench, bream or perch then give this rig a try to see how effective it can be.
how to tie
Gardner tackle's Lewis Rhead walks us through the rig of the moment and how to tie it...
There are rigs and then there is the "Ronnie rig". Some rigs stand the test of time and work year after year. Others are more transient in nature, their tangible benefits are the figment of a twisted mind, and they don’t offer any real advantage in terms of catching carp or being easy to tie!
This one, however, is very special. It’s a rig that’s been used successfully on the quiet for a few years now, being deployed as a tool pivotal in catching some phenomenal big carp from a number of waters. But now the word is out and everyone want's to know how to tie this amazing rig
The Ronnie rig is easy to tie and offers the benefits of a super-consistent low pop-up presentation, fished the height of a hook and a swivel of off the lakebed, but without the issues of a naked hook eye that has the potential to snag in landing-net meshes (one of the main problems associated with the original 360-style rigs).
It offers all the advantages and awesome rig mechanics of the hinged stiff rig, but without the need to trying to fish it low to the lakebed, which isn’t the optimum arrangement. When it’s tied right, those of us that have used it extensively have pure unadulterated confidence in it because hook-pulls are almost non-existent. I can’t remember pulling out of a single fish with the Ronnie rig.
Luckily, it’s amazingly simple to construct thanks to the use of a size 12 Covert Kwik-Lok Flexi Ring Swivel mounted on the eye of the hook. That, combined with a Gardner Mugga hook, offers a highly aggressive, fast-reacting presentation that is ruthless in the extreme!
It’s also extremely versatile. I always have a number of pre-prepared hook sections ready to go, and I tailor the hooklink material to suit the lakebed or the lead arrangement.
That could mean a lead clip with a long, supple, skinned hooklink such as Ultra Skin in silt, or a helicopter-style arrangement and a Subterfuge fluorocarbon boom on clean sand and gravel.
Personally, I think balancing it like a hinged stiff rig works best – so the hookbait is slow to sink. Why? If you overbalance the hook by moulding putty around the shrink tube, the hook has a tendency to lie over further and this inhibits it from twisting and turning as quickly as it could (the same drawback you get with a hinged stiff rig).
Realistically, mounting the swivel through the eye means you need to use a ‘nice’ sized hook, and the size 4 Mugga or Continental Mugga are both perfect. You know, some rigs work with some hooks better than others, and this is the one. The Mugga’s curved swept shank and 20-degree inturned eye complement and enhance the mechanics, lining up the shrink tube naturally in a way that gives maximum ‘twistiness’.
Variants of some rigs come and go, but the Ronnie rig is one that I know will stand the test of time. Like all presentations, it isn’t the panacea of all things riggy, but what it is is the best low pop-up rig that I have used.
Now it's time to show you how to tie this amazing rig so you can go out and use it for yourself!
How to tie
Maggots are a superb bait in early spring and are my ‘go to’ tactic when times get hard. The key in is to use a maximum amount of attraction and minimal food. I see a lot of anglers using bucketfuls of maggots, but I really don’t think you need that many.
At this time of year, if you can find the fish you only need a small amount of bait to tempt a bite. Multiple catches can be made using small PVA bags of maggots.
I like to customise my maggots a little, in order to maximise their pulling power. Normally I apply a splash of liquid additive to them the night before, my favourite being L-Zero 30-T, which is naturally very salty and fishy. The maggots take on the flavour of the liquid and by the morning will be oozing with extra attraction.
When I’m buying maggots in the tackle shop, I always ask for them to be sieved. With no maize meal or sawdust, they will sweat up quickly, and so to prevent this I add some Krill Active Mix or powder. Krill works brilliantly with maggots and they will again take on the flavour of the powdered additive.
I use the ‘boosted’ maggots in a PVA bag and add some crumbed Krill boilies too. I hook the bag on to my rig to add all that taste, smell and the small amount of food around the hookbait.
On the rig, I like to use a 12mm Signature pop-up fished just off the bottom. Then, I tie five maggots to the hair loop of the hooklink using a length of bait floss (see sequence, below). I find that five is enough to catch the carp’s eye, but not too many to affect the buoyancy of the pop-up, which would change the way the rig is sitting.
This is fished with a simple combi-rig, with the supple section coming near the hook. This allows the pop-up to sit just off the lakebed, anchored down by a blob of putty. Adopting these tactics has helped me catch some special fish over the last few years. Last autumn, I had a number of carp to over 41lb using this approach - at a time when the lake hadn’t been fishing well and the carp had been hard to catch!
How to tie
This is my favourite set-up for all my open end feeder fishing. It’s a very simple rig for wire cage and plastic frames, and the stiff boom which is tied in the end of the mainline means tangles are kept to a minimum.
As it’s free running it’s completely safe, too. Use it for bream, tench, roach, perch and even carp. All you need is your reel line, your feeder with a swivel eye or snap link attached, a packet of No8 Preston Stotz weights and your chosen hooklength.
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.
Here Alan Scotthorne reveals the knot that he uses to join a hooklength to his fishing mainline. It's a variation of the loop-to-loop method, but with a twist. It's easy to tie and incredibly strong...
Alan Scotthorne was never really happy with using loop to loop knots for joining his mainline to his hooklength namely because it can potentially cause tangles and it's untidy.
After experimenting with lines he came up with this knot. Well, it's actually not really a knot - it's more of a way of wrapping and twisting a line onto a loop of line. This makes this knot very strong indeed, and therefore reliable enough to be used on silverfish through to commercial carp waters.
But it's developer and creator proves just how reliable and effective this knot it. If it's good enough to a five-times World Champion to use, it must be good enough for every other angler!
Here's how it's tied...
1 Tie a small loop in the end of your mainline and then pass your hooklength line through the loop like this.
2 Hold the line in your left hand and then double it up with your other hand to create a loop in the hooklength line.
3 Twist the end of the hooklength that is held in your right fingers. This causes the line to spin and twist around the other section of hooklength line.
4 Pass the other end of line, with your hook attached, through the loop that is created when twisting the hooklength line.
5 Moisten the line and pull the knot tight. The tag ends should be trimmed right down as this knot refuses to slip.
Although detailed here using a spade end hook, the Domhoff fishing knot can be used around the shank of an eyed hook, and when tied securely this is an incredibly reliable knot to use.
It is made up of a series of eight whips around the hook shank. This creates a neat lock upon the hook that won't slip and will not lose any strength as the line is pulled tight.
Most anglers do use this knot for tying their spade end hooks (if they don't own a hook tyer) but if you're suffering lost hooks or broken knots when fishing with eyed hooks you really ought to give this knot a try as it's super-secure.
It can be used to tie the tiniest of hooks through to whopping size 2 speciimen eyed hooks - all you have to to is match the strength of line to the hook size and guage and you're on to a winner.
Here's how to tie the Domhoff fishing knot in six easy to follow stages...
Make a loop in the end of your line. Lie the loop against the shank with about 1cm beyond the bend of the hook. Hold it tight in place between finger and thumb.
Now take the free end of the line and start to wind it up the hook shank, holding the loop between thumb and forefinger and securing the other part of the line underneath the coils. Keep everything under tension.
After eight turns or so trap the whippings with your other hand to reveal the loop.
Now pass the loose end through the loop.
Dab with a touch of saliva and tighten by pulling on the main part of the line. Make sure the line leaves the hook from the front of the spade or the eye and the coils are neat.
This is the finished knot. Tie off the tag end neatly.
This relatively new knot is one for the angler who needs to catch, bait up and fish at speed.
It gives the angler the hooking power of the knotless knot, while at the same time provides the angler with the ability to attach hard baits like pellets, on to the hair, really quickly.
There's no need to use a drill, a baiting needle or a hair stop when using this knot - the tiny bait band grips around the circumference of the hard pellet secrely enough so that the bait can be cast.
Thread your hooklength through the front of your eyed hook then through a bait band. Now pass the hooklength through the back of the eye of the hook.
Adjust the length of the loop that holds the bait band until the top of the bait band sits at the top of the bend of the hook
Hold the bait band and hooklength loop securely. Take the tag end of the hooklength and whip it around the hook and hooklength loop. Whip the line around eight times, keeping tight turns at all times.
Ensure all the whippings are secure and tight, then make one final whip up and over the previous whippings, then thread the hooklength tag end through the back of the hook's eye.
Add a drop of Superglue to the whipping to secure it in place, then trim off the tag end as close as possible to the eye of the hook.
This knot is widely used by match, pleasure and specialist anglers wordwide, for linking hooks and swivels to either mainline, hooklength or even braid.
It is a very strong and relaible knot that should be dampened thoroughly before it is pulled tight.
As this knot features a small amount of whipping above the swivel or hook eye it does not 'strangle' the item being tied, therefore it retains a huge amount of strength.
Pass your chosen hooklength through the eye of your hook or swivel twice. Pull 4ins of the hooklength through. Now form a loop with the tag end of the hooklength.
Thread the tag end over the hooklength and through the loop four times, making sure it exits through the loop.
Moisten the knot thoroughly with saliva and gradually pull it to lock the knot against your hook eye or swivel eye. Trim any waste from the hooklength tag end as close as you can to the knot.
The Stop Knot is commonly used by match anglers who need to floatfish a waggler in water much deeper than the length of their rod, but it is even more commonly used by predator anglers when they create their float rigs.
A well-tied Stop Knot provides a moveable point that helps prevent your float from sliding all the way along your mainline, and if it is tied using a length of flexible mono, it will cast through the rings of any match rod on the market.
Specialist anglers tend to use powergum to tie their stop knots, which will still pass through their rod's rings because of the large internal diameter of them.
Lay a 6in length of powergum or thick mono alongside your mainline.
Form a loop with the powergum or mono and thread one end through the loop and over your mainline.
Repeat threading the powergum or thicker mainline through the loop and around your mainline four or five times.
Moisten the knot with saliva, slide it into position upon the mainline then pull it tight. Trim the tag ends to around an inch from the knot.
This knot has many uses for the angler. It can be used to link hooklength to mainline, it can be used to join a paternoster link to a mainline, and it can even be used to join mono to braid.
Many angler's use this knot to link their pole mainline to the hooklength, especially when fishing delicate rigs, because it is far more direct than the more commonly used loop to loop technique.
Lay the two lines you wish to tie alongside each other.
Form a substantial loop using the two lines
Ensure the two lengths of line are together and thread the pair of tags ends through the loop three times.
Moisten the knot with saliva or water and slowly pull it tight. Trim off the tag ends accordingly to either create a straight profile when joining a mainline to hooklength, or cut the tag ends to create a paternoster link for legering purposes.