Rob Hughes draws on all his underwater experience to reveal when and how to use the chod rig...
I have had a couple of exchanges with people who feel the chod rig trumps the PVA bag and if they could only fish with one rig for the rest of their days it would be the choddy.
Now I don’t dispute that this rig is a winner in certain circles, but it does have its pitfalls as well as its benefits.
Starting with its benefits, it really is the 4x4 of rigs in that it can go almost anywhere and doesn’t need to see the track first. It’s not something that I like to fish over a clean bottom but in the weed or choddy bottom it’s a winner.
If it is set up correctly it is very hard for the carp to deal with once they have picked the bait up and I think the reason behind this is that they can’t use the lead to spit the hook as they would do with a ‘normal’ rig.
Some people advocate “chucking a choddy at ’em” all the time, and again I agree that it will catch fish, but for me it is more of an opportunist method for a quick hit or a ‘mugging’ rather than a stealthy and seasoned campaign.
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m certainly not anti-chod, and I have caught some cracking fish on them, but I feel that it can be quite tricky to get the setup right, and if it goes wrong it can be a real fish loser rather than catcher.
The best way to master your chodding, as with any new method, is to get out there and do it. Go somewhere that you will get a few bites and refine the tactic so you know it will work and then you can find out where you are going wrong if the bites aren’t coming or the fish are falling off on the way in, as they do have a tendency to do with a chod.
The first time I used them properly was a few years ago while fishing a pit in the Colne Valley when I was the first angler to use the chod on that particular lake. The results were fantastic for the first month or so and I ended up catching a couple of fish that had been on the missing list and also one carp that no one actually knew existed.
If they haven’t been used before they can be deadly but I found that as more people used them and the fish wised up a bit I started losing fish. I remember one night when three fell off on the bounce. One straight after I lifted into it, the other half way in and the last one not far from the net. No rhyme nor reason to them and no pattern at all but I felt the losses were as a result of the hook not sliding down to the lead fast enough.
I changed to a looser bottom bead and after that had no problems, so it is very important how you set everything up. The top bead wants to be pretty tight so it will only move in the event of a serious pull and the bottom one wants to be loose. Some of the safety naked chod beads that are around at the moment do the job perfectly, holding the rig in place and only moving when they need to.
I tend to avoid using leadcore with them, preferring the naked setup as leadcore sinks too quickly for me and also stands out too much as if I am fishing a chod it will usually be over weed.
Through my diving I have seen some real nightmares with a chod. One bloke used a bottom bait, another was convinced it would fish anywhere and cast it into thick weed where it got buried, and another didn’t check the balance properly so when he cast out the rig slid all the way up to the end of his leadcore where there wasn’t enough weight to sink it and it popped up about a foot off the bottom.
I would hazard to say that fishing the chod is arguably one of, if not the, easiest ways to fish once you have mastered setting it up. You can cast it almost anywhere, it doesn’t tangle, and it does catch a lot of fish. It’s incredibly economic as well because it is a brilliant single-bait method, and a bright-pink Hellraiser with a smidgen of Talin rubbed on it will catch fish all day long.
If you struggle to tie the rig up or are unsure as to how it should be done simply rock up at the tackle shop and buy yourself a pack of ready-tied rigs (there’s three in a pack) and a pack of naked chod beads and you’re ready to go. Like any method it’s worth mastering and having it in your armoury as there occasions when you can’t beat it.
Hughesy’s Top Tips for Chodding
Use ready-tied rigs to begin with
Tie the hooklink as short as possible
Use a very buoyant bait
Ensure you balance it with putty on the swivel
Use a tight top bead and loose bottom bead
Use a soft buffer bead over the lead
Set it 1.5 times the depth of any weed