Know your stuff | What's good about the ronnie rig and how to avoid skimmers

Question 1. I keep hearing anglers talking about the Ronnie Rig. Why is it so good, it looks a bit over-complicated to me!

A) I have used it for a while now, before I had heard the ‘Ronnie Rig’ mentioned. It is a very good rig and one that I had hoped to keep under the radar for a little bit longer. It is the perfect pop-up presentation on clean bottoms. 

It sits incredibly low to the bottom, which I really like. It biggest advantage is its amazing flexibility. The rig will spin round 360 degrees, which is why I have always referred to it as the spinner. When you make the rig, it constantly wants to catch your hand which, to me, says that it will be easily latching on to the carp’s mouth. 

It has similarities to the 360 rig, but I believe it to be a lot safer. I have never had mouth damage and use it in conjunction with a size 4 hook. I hooked 75 fish last winter and lost one, which was my fault. 

To make the rig, I place some shrink tube over the hook, then clip the ring swivel on to the eye of the hook. Then pull the shrink tube over it and add a bait screw. I use a bit of silicone on the shank of the hook and have it level with the barb.

I then shrink tube it down neatly over the hook eye and swivel. Then all you need to do is tie your boom section to it. I use a supple Dark Matter hooklink, but you can use what you like. 

Ronnie Rig

Question 2. What’s the best way to sink your line because my float keeps getting blown out of position?

A) Any line left on the surface causes an increasingly large bow to form. This will drag a waggler unnaturally and ruin your presentation. In order to achieve a decent presentation and fish direct to the float to hit bites, hold the rod pointing directly at the spot you are casting to and follow this two-step process.

Secondly, flick the rod tip sharply upwards. This is enough to sink any remaining line and you usually only have to do this once. Start by overcasting the rig by a few yards and then wind the float back to the spot keeping the rod tip under the water. To help your line sink you can also soak the spool beforehand in a 50:50 mixture of washing up liquid and water.

Question 3. How can I avoid skimmers and pick out the proper bream from my local lake? I’m struggling to get through to them

A) The first, and most obvious, thing you can do is to increase the size of your hookbait. If you’re using a 10mm pellet, for example, move up to 14mm. Bream are capable of getting surprisingly large baits into their mouth.

Secondly, you could try amending your feeding. For example, don’t use too much groundbait as skimmers are drawn to the clouding it can produce. Try using particles instead, or a heavy groundbait that hits the bottom quickly. 

Question 4. Have you got any tips when it comes to using a groundbait and a pole in the margins? 

A) This is a tactic that has become very popular in recent years and it can be devastating in the right circumstances. Groundbait in the margins really comes into its own in warm weather, and especially in margins measuring between 2ft and 4ft deep. 

It’s best to use a heavy fishmeal groundbait that will get to the bottom quickly, paired with a large, stand-out hookbait such as a whole worm or a bunch of dead maggots. Try introducing a couple of large pots full of groundbait to your margin spot, with a few hookbait samples included, then leave it to work its magic for an hour or two while you fish a different line.

Hopefully, before too long you’ll notice signs of life over the primed spot – tail patterns being one of the main giveaways – which is the signal for you to drop your rig over the top and hopefully haul out a lunker!