For many carp anglers, the technical side of fishing can be overwhelming, and therefore often overlooked.
It is very easy to fall into the trap of buying the latest pre tied rig or follow the current bait fashion, and while this may well put fish on the bank, it may not give you that long term advantage.
Having an understanding of the technicalities can be a major edge to your own fishing. How many of us actually think of, or understand rig mechanics?
I’ve seen so many anglers use a fashionable rig from the magazines because all the big names use it, without really understanding how it works.
Why is the rig effective? Where did they get the idea from? When is best to use it?
I like to think about it, and I feel that I have an understanding of rig mechanics and rig evolution. This can be the difference between ten pick-ups and one hooked fish to one pick up and a hooked fish.
Last week I had a 12 hour session on my local water. Due to work and family commitments this was only my third session this year, so I was very keen to make it count.
On my local pond nearly everyone uses a knotless knot rig and Mainline Cell is the “in” bait. There are so many people using “the cell”, that the smaller carp are on it in a flash. So although people are catching, the average size of carp coming out is between 4lb-6lb, with very few doubles.
I have recently been field testing Berkley’s range of “GULP!” Carp baits, with encouraging results. My theory was that if I could take a decent bait and offer an alternative rig, I might be able to get into a better class of fish, even one of the elusive doubles.
I arrived at the lake early and the bailiff gave me a run-down of the past few weeks. Few carp had come out and those that had were of the average stamp. As I mentioned earlier, I really wanted to make this session count, so I got my gear set up and put out twenty Red Crustacean boilies over two rods.
This was the first time I’d tried the Red Crustacean so I didn’t know what to expect. The rigs I went for incorporated a long hair of around one and a half inches. I was hoping that this tactic would pick out the bigger, more wary carp.
Throughout the morning I was scanning the water for any signs of carp. A few fish were coming out, but again they were fairly small. I’d taken the decision to fish a new bait and a different rig, which was a huge gamble. People around me were catching and I hadn’t had a sniff, but I had to stick to my guns.
As you can imagine, my confidence wasn’t at an all-time high, it’s always difficult when trying something different. But then I had what I thought was a line bite. My bobbin twitched up and down and my Delkim picked up every movement, I knew it had to be a bite.
The next moment, I was in playing a carp and I was chuffed to bits. Not only did my rig work but I caught on new bait.
The hook hold was right in scissors too, which is exactly where I’d wanted it. So with the hook removed and carp care applied as everyone should do, I proceeded to have pictures taken of the stunning little common carp.
At 7lb 8oz this little beauty really did put a smile on my face. I then asked myself if this was a fluke. Were the carp just hungry and they had their eating heads on? And if so was it inevitable to catch one at some point? Well the only way to find out was to see if I could catch another one.
A few hours passed and no more action. By this time the sun had made an appearance, so I decided to introduce some more bait and have a recast of the rods. As I wound in I noticed feeding bubbles in the area I had put some more boilies.
I had to take advantage of this opportunity and prove that I was doing something right. I recast and hit the spot. The water went flat calm, the bubbles stopped. Had I just blown my chance? I set the rods on the alarms and decided to wait.
No one else had seen any action on the lake for a while, and some began to pack up. I watched the water, hoping for signs of fish and made another of my cracking brews. Just then, the magic happened.
Another twitchy take, but I hit it all the same and my rod arched over. The clutch on my reel told me straight away, this was a better fish. The clash of the titans commenced and an adrenaline took over, man versus carp. During a fifteen minute fight the carp surfaced twice, finally tiring, it surrendered to my net.
The sight of its scales was enough to make me feel like a kid at Christmas. I carefully lifted this early spring treasure to my unhooking mat. to inspect the rig and hook hold.
As you can see by this picture the rig worked, but not as effectively as I would have liked. This could be due to hook pattern and size, or even the way the carp was feeding. Never the less, my rig will have changes made and I will continue to test it, until its hooks perfectly.
13lb 10oz of absolutely gorgeous plated mirror carp. This was the biggest carp to come out that day. I would certainly put this catch down to being a bit different in my approach, with both bait and rigs.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had success by trying something different. When many have been hard on the bottom I have used zig rigs and caught. At the end of summer when a lot of people have been using plenty of boilies, I have had success on solid bags.
I’m not saying that every time you visit your local pond you have to be completely different. But having a different approach can give you that extra bite, or even catch a bigger, more wary carp.
Having an understanding of rig mechanics can add a massive edge to your fishing. Sometimes it can account for a multiple catch, on a day when you could just have easily of had just one fish.
One of the best tricks in carp fishing is knowing when to go against the grain. Understanding your rigs will help you know when the time is right to “think different”.