Watching carp I have already caught feeding has illustrated the reasons why they fell to my rods, and helped catch those that haven‚Äôt.
When it comes to rigs you can over-think things. Of course, you can turn everything on its head and really fine down your tackle, and this is a subject I want to cover in part two. It begs the question ‚Äì is it better to have a rig they can‚Äôt see, and thus take more readily, or use a rig with a better chance of not being ejected, that could be a little more blatant?
When you use a small hook, you are reducing the ‚Äògape‚Äô, which is essentially your chance of hooking them. I‚Äôve waffled on about ‚Äògape efficiency‚Äô before, and I believe this is an important point.
In my opinion, hooks, and rigs, can be measured upon their ‚Äògape efficiency‚Äô, the ‚Äògape‚Äô being the distance between the eye of the hook, and the point. This can be extended with shrink tubing, or stiff materials, but this is the area I‚Äôm talking about. This is the section that is all-important when hooking the carp ‚Äì the less gape, the more chance of a rig simply falling out of a carp‚Äôs mouth.
There are flaws in this theory ‚Äì which Mike Winstone illustrates regularly with his aggressively cranked ‚Äòclaw‚Äô type rig. How this works I don‚Äôt know, perhaps it is because he always uses an over-shotted pop-up, and the bottom lip of a carp gets wedged, or sandwiched in the gap. In my eyes, Mike has simply ‚Äòmoved‚Äô the ‚Äògape‚Äô to a new place.
Mike Winstone‚Äôs cranked over pop-up rig. I know it works, but it makes little sense and throws a spanner in the works to a lot of our rig thinking!
Because of this idea I have, I favour longshank hooks on most occasions, with a bent-hook created using shrink tubing. I‚Äôve favoured a blowback element to my rigs ever since I read a Tim Paisley book, went carp fishing, and caught my personal best on a blowback rig! I‚Äôm sure it doesn‚Äôt hurt, and the amount of times I‚Äôve unhooked a carp to find the bit of shrink tubing I use on the shank has been blistered back over the eye of the hook, sometimes even passing over the line-aligner and onto the rig itself! Some people have tried to argue that this happens during the fight, but if my observations of carp are correct, I doubt this to be the case.
The blowback effect illustrated well (below). The weight of the bait should help the hook point drive further in once a carp has pricked itself.
Carp will hoover up most of the lakebed on most occasions, and then suck and blow to filter out what they don‚Äôt want. It‚Äôs mad sometimes because they will suck in and blow out the same few items over and over again, before finally accepting their ‚Äòpolished‚Äô item. They use quite a lot of force to do this, so by utilising a blowback element in our rigs, we can use this force to help drive a pricked hook even further into their lips.
But what if the hook never pricks? What can we do to make sure it does? One rig that immediately springs to mind is the ‚ÄòNo-Advert‚Äô rig, which I won‚Äôt illustrate! I will, however, show you an alternative, safer version of the rig I have used myself. This particular rig resulted in two pick-ups for me the first time I used it.
A safe adaptation of a dangerous, yet theoretically-sound, rig helped bank this lovely dark mirror, just shy of the magical 20lb mark.
It is based upon Ian Chillcott‚Äôs safe version of the ‚ÄòNo Advert Rig‚Äô, which he revealed to me on the banks of Conningbrook, in Kent ‚Äì which I later convinced him to unveil in the pages of Crafty Carper. It basically works on the principle of having two hooks, facing each other. The second ‚Äòhook‚Äô is created using Stiff Bristle Filament, cut and shaped into position. As I say, the version shown here worked instantly. It creates a ‚Äòclaw‚Äô section, which confuses the carp.
My original version of the ‚Äòclaw‚Äô style rig.
Imagine combining this extra ‚Äòhook‚Äô with an Anchor Rig style arrangement, a Recoil Rig section, and a proven hook setup? Why shouldn‚Äôt we go the whole hog, to give ourselves the best chance of catching a carp?
I tried the Recoil Rig earlier this winter and caught on it straight away. I simply tied up little Recoil booms that were probably only an inch or two long, combining them with my usual longshank setup. I caught a 19lb common, and my good pal Chris (DontKnowMuch) nabbed one of the Recoil sections off me and proceeded to catch the second biggest carp in the lake at 32lb. This was at a time when nothing had been caught for weeks, following a few blanks for Chris and me.
A capture on the Recoil rig, the first time I ever tried it.
I‚Äôm sure the Recoil made the difference, if you‚Äôve ever seen it yourself you‚Äôll know that it really pulls back! Compare it with a standard rig ‚Äì I bet you‚Äôll want to give it a try.
In its normal state, the Recoil boom just looks like a piece of silicone tubing trapped between two swivels.
Because there is braid inside that is twice as long as the tubing, it stretches, so the rig pulls back on a pricked fish.
When I think about rigs, it‚Äôs hard not to think about baits. My good mate Jason Hayward said: ‚ÄúThe best rig in the world is a bait that they want!‚Äù Maybe I catch in spite of the rigs I‚Äôm using? Maybe we all do…..Until next time, Mat Woods