Lac Chateau Cavagnac Reopened!

Feb 07 2012 No Comments »

Just to let you all know, the lake we featured in our last special article has since reopened! Davide has taken on the job of managing the lake himself, and it is now detatched from Nash.

You can check out their new site here or visit their Facebook page here (thanks to Steve Robbins for pointing us towards this).

The rates are actually cheaper than when Nash ran the lake, and for the price this is an absolute bargain and fishing dream!

Every Conceivable Carp Rig !

Jul 26 2008 5 Comments »

boilie rig

carp boilie rig

carp rig

bait dropper

boilie rig

boilie rig

terry hearn boilie rig

helicopter boilie rig

inline boilie rig

boilie rig
boilie rig

boilie rig
boilie rig boilie rig

helicopter rig

bolt rigs




The Hinge Rig is another pop-up rig. Made famous by Terry Hearn, the hinge rig is made from stiff monofilament (my personal favourite material for stiff rigs is ESP Stiff Rig Bristle Filament) A hinge is created by two interlocking loops on either piece of mono. A loop is also used to attach the swivel, but flexi-ring swivels perform the same task as the loop. A good knot for tying on swivels using stiff mono is the two-turn blood knot, it doesn't tend to mess us thick line like grinner and palomar knots can. This rig is normally fished with a boyant bait, so if you use one then remember to add a counter weight. As I have pointed out in the diagram, the counter-balance should be added to the bottom of the loop so that the hook always ends up pointing away from the swivel (as you can see in the diagram). Although you don't have to use a D-rig set up with this rig, I think it helps to let the bait move more freely when using stiff mono

The Hinge Rig

Snake Bite Rig Here's a rig which I use quite a lot and you can make with Kryston's Snake Bite. The stiff part of the rig makes sure the rig straightens out as it lands on the bottom and helps to avoid tangles. An inch to two inches of the snake bite before the hook has been stripped off, this lets the bait behave naturally in the water. If I decide to use a pop-up I put the counter-balance on the end of the stiff part just before the point where it is stripped off.

Snake Bite Rig

Critically Balanced Rig This is a rig I have used quite a lot in the past. When critically balancing your bait, the aim is to get it as light as possible so that is is only just being held down by the weight of the hook. The theory is that if a carp decides to taste your bait, it is sucked straight into the carp's mouth before any other bait, and hopefully the hook will then become caught in the carp's mouth. This is to try and trick the carp that are not necessarily attempting to eat the bait, but are just tasting it or sucking in your free offerings. Start with a piece of rig foam that is a bit too big and makes the bait float, then cut off small pieces until it only just sinks in the water. You don't have to use boilies, I have fished it with Pepperami which you'll find is very boyant and requires little foam. Fishing this rig over a bed of freebies, particles or with 'the method' can be effective because the carp might inadvertently suck in your bait whilst foraging for the particles.

Critically Balanced Rig

The Snowman Rig This rig is a variation of the ciritically balanced rig. You get two boilies, one which floats in water and one which sinks. By putting the sinking bait onto the hair below a floating bait, you should find that the pop-up sits at the top with the sinker holding it down. It is possible to achieve a situation whereby the net boyancy of both baits and the hook leaves the setup 'critically balanced' (see above). This can be achieved by changing the size ratio of the boilies, pushing short lengths of lead wire into the bottom bait to decrease boyancy (I think you can buy wire intended for this in tackle shops), or adding foam above the pop-up to increase boyancy. I like to use boilies of the same sort for this but I suppose there's no reason why different flavoured boilies couldn't be used in combination.

The Snowman Rig

nail rig


popup rig


This is a pop-up rig made of Braid and a 'Depth Charge' weight, although a single shot would do the job.

‘Hinged, Pop-up, Stiff rig’

pop up rig

Pop-Up Rig

The Helicopter rig. The Helicopter rig was originally used for sea fishing and later adapted for carp fishing because of its anti-tangle properties. The baited hook-link rotates about the main-line axis by the use of the loose fitting hook-link swivel, usually on anti-tangle tubing or lead-core. The Helicopter rig is best used with a two or three bait ‘Stringer’, a ‘Stringer’ is usually free offerings of your hook-bait that are threaded onto dissolvable P.V.A. string and tied to your hook


amnesia D-rig

Amnesia D-rig

scorpion rig


scropio rig

various carp fishing rigs

confident rigs

basic carp rig

Here is the original rig that I used to use. At the time I was fishing the Valley waters a lot and the "helicopter"rig was the in thing for long range work.

hair rig

anti tangle rigs

The Lay-on Rig

lay on rig

This addition also protects the hooklink once the fish has hooked itself and is running with the bait. The longer the piece of tube the better the protection. Another definite advantage is the fact that both Korda flatliners and Korda swivel leads both come ready coated in a durable plastic finish. The gravelly brown version is absolutely spot on. It camouflages the lead against most gravel bottoms and gives it a cushioning effect prolonging the life of the lead.

Gravel Rigs

The reason for using this system is it holds the hooklink above the lead as the rig hits the lake bed. So the lead hits first and the hooklink comes to rest afterwards as it is lying above the lead. This reduces the risk of hooklink damage as much as possible. You can add a piece of 1 inch silicone to the hooklink swivel to gain extra protection as described with the Flatliner rig.

Roughorshallow Rig

Shocker Rig

This rig works so well for a couple of reasons:- It allows you to use a short hooklink at range in silt knowing it is perfectly presented at the top of the silt. Short hooklinks in my opinion give the carp less chance of rejecting the bait before the fixed lead comes into play. It also means you can use stiff hooklinks as well if you want to. Don't be afraid to use 3-5 inch hooklinks, believe me they will get the bait in their mouth!!


silt rig


carp fish bait bags

Bait Bag

system rig

fishing rig

anti tangle rig

Carping Basics – The Helicopter Rig

Jul 12 2008 1 Comment »

OK a bit more advanced and fiddly involving all manner of small rubber objects ( so definitley Euro ) is the Helicopter Rig. So called because the leader is attached to a swivel on the mainline causing the leader to rotate about the line on casting like helicopter blades.

Why bother? Well it’s a good long range, anti-tangle set up. Again I’m not going to debate the merits and variations ( as usual there are slightly different ways to skin this cat ), rather illustrate how it’s tied and leave the debate for another time.

This rig can be bought in ready to assemble kits and I would recommend these as they’re usualy safer. However I don’t think its so bizarre and specialised that it can’t be made without the custom made components either.

The kit I’m using here is by Korda. Here are the components.

1. Rig tubing
2. Lead weight
3. Buffer bead
4. Rubber bead
5. Swivel bead ( a wide bore swivel will do the job as well )
6. Tail rubber
7. Leader ( stiff leaders work best – I’ve used coated braid here ) Apologies – the leader shouldn’t have a swivel on it

Step 1

Thread your mainline through the tubing and push a tight fitting rubber bead over the tubing.

Step 2

Thread the tail rubber onto your leader and tie the leader to the swivel bead.

Step 3

Push the tail rubber onto the swivel bead and slide the swivel bead onto the tubing. Then thread your buffer bead onto the tubing.

Step 4

Tie the lead weight to the mainline and slide everything nice and tightly together. Job done :)

Bolt Rig Basics – Method Feeder

Jul 12 2008 2 Comments »

While I’m at it might as well include the Method. A method feeder is basicaly a frame around which groundbait is packed into a ball. The rig is constructed in the same way as an inline bolt rig (see here ) , substituting the feeder for the weight.

I’m using the korda ( before anyone asks no I don’t work for them ) method feeder, since it has the right size clip socket for my swivels.

So, thread it together as per an inline lead

And clip the swivel into the socket at the bottom end of the feeder to create the semi-fixed bolt rig setup.


Job done

I’ve checked their site and while Wacker Bait don’t have Korda feeders, the Fox and Anchor method feeder are available and work in exactly the same way.

All other components I’ve used are available there as well ( no I don’t work for them either! ) incuding safety bolt rig kits, tubing and inline leads.

Its well worth checking with them about getting the correct size swivels for individual method feeders. Size 8 swivels are usualy the right size for inline leads in my experience.

Bolt Rig Basics – Inline Rig

Jul 12 2008 1 Comment »

This is one of the most widely used set-ups, the Bolt Rig.

The principle is simple ( see below. )

In Step 1, the fish picks up your hookbait on a slack leader, taking with it the hook..

In Step 2, as the carp moves away the leader tightens and the weight of the lead comes into play.

The carp ‘bolts’ ( hence the name ) and the weight of the lead helps pull the hook home.

Right, here’s how to construct a simple in-line bolt rig.

First you need your components.

OK this is what I’m using here ( ps this just my own personal preferences – obviously there are other makes and types etc. ) My rig here consists of 8″ Kryston Snakebite leader with a size 8 Fox Uni-swivel to a size 8 CarpRus Longshank hook tied with a hair rig. 3oz Fox inline lead, tail rubber and 12″ sink tubing ( your tubing must always be longer than your leader, about 1.5 times the length is ideal. )

Step 1: Thread your mainline through the tubing and then thread on the tail rubber, which must slip over the end of the tubing.

Step 2: Thread on your weight, attaching it to the tail rubber.

Step 3: Take your leader swivel and push it into the rubber or plastic housing. This is an essential move, since this housing creates the ‘semi – fixed rig’ set-up essential to a bolt rig. IT MUST NOT be jammed in too tightly so that if the line breaks or the lead gets snagged up the swivel can be pulled free of the lead. At the same time if the swivel can come free too easily when the carp picks up the hookbait the bolt rig effect is lost as the weight of the lead will not come into play.

Step 4: Push the housing into the lead weight and there you have it.

Just want to re-iterate the ‘semi – fixed rig’ thing. The important thing here is that the weight is fixed to the leader so the weight helps drive the hook home. But it is important that the swivel can come free under pressure. If, for example, a mainline break occurs it is important that the leader can come free of the weight so that it is not going to have to drag around a length of line attached to a lead weight.

This will often eventualy kill the fish, why such fixed rigs ( for example, tying the lead weight to a mainline ) are known as ‘death rigs’. Its important to get a balance whereby the swivel is fixed enough to the weight to allow the ‘bolt rig’ efect and loose enough to pull free in an emergency.

HOW TO: Setup a side-clip system using a leader

Jul 10 2008 1 Comment »

The lead clip system is possibly one of the most popular lead systems and is used by the vast majority of carp anglers today. They are designed to eject the lead should it become tethered whilst playing the fish so using a side-clip in your rig is critical to fish welfare.

It’s easy to put this system together incorrectly so the leads will not eject and the fish will become permanently connected to the snag. In this article I will show you how to correctly assemble a side-clip system to ensure complete fish safety.

Side clips can be put together using leaders or by using rig tubing. In this article I will show you how to use a leader.

What you need


– Safe zone leaders
– Size 8 ring swivels
– Lead clips
– Tail rubbers
– Silicon tube
– Swivel lead
– Heavy latch needle

It is vital that you use a single manufacturer’s products to build your side-clip system. Different manufactures components are not always compatible with one another.

Method Step 1

Thread the side clip onto the heavy latch needle

Step 2


With the side clip on the heavy latch needle insert the loop of the leader into the latch and slide the side clip onto the leader.

Step 3

Thread the tail rubbers onto the heavy latch needle. Now with the tail rubber on the heavy latch needle insert the loop of the leader into the latch and slide the tail rubber onto the leader and slide the clip and tail up the leader.

Step 4

Now pull the swivel into the lead clip, the swivel should be a tight fit and you should hear and feel the swivel pass over a ridge in the lead clip housing. It is very important that the swivel is a tight fit in the lead clip if yours is not tight then you can use a small piece of fishing line slipped down along the side if the swivel as it is drawn in to tighten the fit.

Step 5

Select the swivel lead you require and place a small amount of silicone sleeve over the bottom of the swivel to help minimize tangles.

Step 6

With the lead in place wet the ridged section of the clip and slide the tail rubber over the ridges. It is very important that you do not force the tail rubber completely over the ridges as this will stop the lead from ejecting if the lead becomes tethered.

Only push the tail on 3 or 4 ridges at most the tail rubber is shown about four ridges in.

Your rig is now complete!

All that’s left is to tie the leader to your mainline (a grinner knot is good for this) then add a quick link to the ring swivel, attach your hook length and bait and you are ready to cast out and start fishing.

Tight lines!

Ian Gemson is a PAA Qualified Professional Angling Coach offering training courses and one-to-one sessions for new and Experienced anglers alike. For more information regarding his services, please visit his website at

HOW TO: Use small solid PVA bags

Jul 09 2008 No Comments »

Solid PVA bags, unlike PVA mesh, have no holes in them. This makes them ideal for transporting liquid attractant into your swim. Setting up a solid PVA bags is relatively simple and requires a few simple steps to get the best bag set ups. It is important the bag is tied really tight, this will make the PVA bag cast well and will ensure the bag does not burst on impact with the lake after the cast.

In this article I will demonstrate how to effectively tie a small solid PVA bag.

What You Need

A good quality PVA product makes tying tight bags a lot easier.

We are using PVA from The Fishing Bag Company for this feature.


Step 1

Start by nicking your hook into the bottom corner of the bag. This bag is large enough to insert the lead in the bag with the baited hook and pellets.

Step 2

As you start to fill the bag with pellets try and lay the hook length across the bottom of the bag as you fill. A soft un-skinned braided hook length is usually best to use then PVA bag fishing.

Step 3

As you fill with pellets keep layering your rig until you have about 3/4″ (75mm) of bag left. Now twist the top of the bag until making the bag really tight.

Step 4

Now with a tight bag, using PVA string tie two overhand knots to lock the bag in place.

Step 5

Cut off the excess PVA bag and string above the knot to make the bag tidy.

Step 6

Manipulate the bag to get the pellets to settle. When you have a small amount of slack in the bag pull the bottom corner tag of the bag out and wet with a little saliva. Now pull tightly and stick the corner to the bag. Repeat this process with the remaining corner.


Make sure the bag is tight so that it casts well and does not come off the hook length during the cast.

Step 8

With the bag finished all that is left to do is cast out into the lake. Make sure your line, rod and reel are all up to casting what can be a heavy bag. Ensure your reel’s clutch is tight to avoid line slip during the cast.

This set up will work with side clip systems as well but you may need to tie the side clip shut with PVA string to prevent the lead coming off as the lead and bag set up hits the lake surface.

“Ian Gemson is a PAA Qualified Professional Angling Coach offering training courses and one-to-one sessions for new and Experienced anglers alike. For more information regarding his services, please visit his website at

Zig Rig Fishing

Jul 02 2008 4 Comments »

Why Zigs?

You might well ask yourself “why fish zigs” when you see the majority of other anglers with a bait nailed to the deck, well the simple fact is that carp spend a great deal of time off the bottom. And having a bait, no matter how good or well presented will not produce a carp when they are a number of feet above it. It’s in these circumstances that a zig rig could well produce a carp.

“Will carp high in the water get caught on a bottom bait?”


After deciding to put a zig rig out, the next question is, at what depth to fish the bait? As a rule of thumb I start off by setting the hooklink at around half the depth of the water you are fishing in, so for example in 10ft of water fish a bait at 5ft. Alternatively, if I am going to commit more than one rod to the approach then I do things a little differently, then I fish the rods at different depths until I hit on the depth the fish are at. So in 10ft of water I will set on at 4ft and one at 6ft, if the rod at 6ft produces a fish then I will change the other rod over to 6ft. Zigs are often fairly instant, if no takes come within a couple of hours, change the depth.

“If no takes are forthcoming, change the depth”

Set up

The next thing to look at is how you are going to set up you rig. What I generally use is a hook in Sz 10 usually a ESP Big T, a hooklink made up of either 10 or 12lb Drennan double strength mono, depending on how snaggy the swim is. At the swivel end I use a Lead clip to attach the lead, this is always set so that the lead can eject on the take, this is to make it much easier to play the fish, as you can imagine its very difficulty playing a carp with 2-3oz of lead swinging 5ft+ above.

“My preferred way of setting a zig up”


There are a number of baits you can use when fishing zigs, from pop-ups to cork balls. My preference is to use a 15mm brightly coloured pop-up, but instead of using it straight out of the tub, what I do is to whittle the bait down, so it is around 12mm in diameter but of a rough appearance, this takes the glare off the bait and gives it a more natural appearance. The bait is always hair rigged, but care has to be taken to ensure the bait is the correct distance away from the hook, I’ve found that my best results have come when the bait is very close to the hook on a short hair.

“The ideal bait for zig rigs”

Next time you are out give Zigs a try, you may find it produces a fish when nothing else is working.

“The result of a zig rig, not a big fish but a result when nothing else worked”

Written by John Hinckley (Thanks to Carp-UK.Net)

Rig Thinking – Part 2

Jul 02 2008 2 Comments »

Watching carp I have already caught feeding has illustrated the reasons why they fell to my rods, and helped catch those that haven’t.

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 – is it better to have a rig they can’t 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 ‘gape’, which is essentially your chance of hooking them. I’ve waffled on about ‘gape efficiency’ before, and I believe this is an important point.

In my opinion, hooks, and rigs, can be measured upon their ‘gape efficiency’, the ‘gape’ 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’m talking about. This is the section that is all-important when hooking the carp – the less gape, the more chance of a rig simply falling out of a carp’s mouth.

There are flaws in this theory – which Mike Winstone illustrates regularly with his aggressively cranked ‘claw’ type rig. How this works I don’t 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 ‘moved’ the ‘gape’ to a new place.

Mike Winstone’s 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’ve 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’m sure it doesn’t hurt, and the amount of times I’ve 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’t want. It’s mad sometimes because they will suck in and blow out the same few items over and over again, before finally accepting their ‘polished’ 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 ‘No-Advert’ rig, which I won’t 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’s safe version of the ‘No Advert Rig’, which he revealed to me on the banks of Conningbrook, in Kent – 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 ‘hook’ is created using Stiff Bristle Filament, cut and shaped into position. As I say, the version shown here worked instantly. It creates a ‘claw’ section, which confuses the carp.

My original version of the ‘claw’ style rig.

Imagine combining this extra ‘hook’ with an Anchor Rig style arrangement, a Recoil Rig section, and a proven hook setup? Why shouldn’t 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’m sure the Recoil made the difference, if you’ve ever seen it yourself you’ll know that it really pulls back! Compare it with a standard rig – I bet you’ll 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

Rig Thinking – Part 1

Jul 02 2008 2 Comments »

For a lot of us, thinking about our rigs is just a passing thought. With serious evidence that even the most effective rigs are being ejected regularly, surely we should have a serious re-think?

A Horseshoe carp. A weedy venue where the Half Withy setup seemed to be the way forward.


It’s near enough impossible for a rig to go into a carp’s mouth with absolutely no chance of coming out. Surely that’s what this term means? There are many things we can do to improve the anti-eject qualities of our rigs, but as for finding something that provides a pick-up every single time your hookbait gets mouthed – I’m fairly sceptical.

I do, personally, use what would be deemed an anti-eject rig. It’s basically the line-aligned blowback rig Frank Warwick has been advocating since the dawn of creation. The only reason I keep using it, is that it keeps working.

My favoured longshank line-aligner setup. A blowback rig that works extremely well.

I fish at different lakes all the time, due to work commitments and my own preferences. I have to concede at some of these venues that my mainstay rig is not the ideal choice, normally the weedier venues. On this type of lake, I tend to go with short braided hooklinks in a solid PVA bag, with a small hook and a half-Withy arrangement. Why this works better I have no idea, is it because of how the rig presents itself on the bottom, or is it the way these carp tend to feed?

The half-Withy works extremely well in weed.

The now-popular Short Rig, or Chod Rig, is also an ideal choice on these kinds of lakes, especially when boilie fishing. Is it the shortness of these rigs that proves so effective? Or is it to do with the pressure-cycle, with many anglers choosing long hooklengths and slow sinking baits for fishing over weed?

The Short Rig presents itself perfectly over weed and chod.

On the silty venues, the line-aligner rig comes up trumps all the time, and being between 9 and 12 inches long on most occasions, it gives them enough rope to hang themselves. I’ve never really done that well on silty venues using short rigs, although I know people who have – however, I have noticed that they lose more carp than I do, which surely is no coincidence?

I am a bit too reliant on this arrangement for my fishing.

On the gravel pits, I’ve definitely found that a stiffer hooklength comes up trumps. I use coated hooklengths quite a bit, and have found that my usual, fairly supple rigs aren’t the ideal choice on clean gravel areas. Changing to a stiffer material, like Korda’s Hybrid in 20lb, seems to provide more action than anything else. I have also done well in recent times using a stiff-ish fluorocarbon hooklength, with the 360 Rig. I’ve seen carp on these lakes feeding, and quite often they are much more selective than carp in different waters. Having a stiff element to your rigs helps keep the hook in their mouths for a longer period of time, which provides them with problems trying to eject the rig. Mike Kavanagh is to thank for most of this thinking, and you only have to look at his success, and the success of rigs like a stiff combi rig, Terry Hearn’s Hinge Link, and the Chod rig, to see there’s mileage in the theory.

The Korda Hybrid was perfect on the gravel features.

The 360 Rig is also a fantastic option when you feel they are getting away with it.

These types of hooklinks tend not to present themselves that well in silt, but you can combat this by using a Helicopter arrangement, setting the top bead just beyond what you believe the depth of the silt to be. I’ve found on most occasions that the lead won’t penetrate the silt too much anyway, so between 6 and 12 inches is a good distance to have between the lead and the semi-fixed bead.

These are all generalisations, taken from the various experiences I’ve had over the last four years or so, along with observations of the anglers around me.

More rigs thought from me soon in Part 2, as always do make your own assessments, you may find the waters you target to be a totally different kettle of fish……………Mat Woods