After what he thought was his most effective rig was ‘done' right under his nose, Avid's Jamie Simpson started playing around with a very interesting lead arrangement.
Watching and observing fish feeding is a fascination to me as an angler and I will often be found wandering around my local syndicate lake with a small bucket of pellets and boilies, placing a few baits here and there. We have all seen the numerous DVD’s that various companies have released, showing underwater feeding scenarios and just exactly what goes on underwater. Having witnessed what I consider to be one of my most effective rigs being ejected by a mid-double mirror, I started playing about with a few bits from my tackle box, to try and ensure that it wouldn’t happen again.
The rig I had been using was a reverse combi pop-up rig with a curve-like Chod Rig and a supple braid section of about five-inches to a swivel and lead clip. I have caught loads of fish on this rig and had, until this point, total confidence in its use. What had happened was that the fish had sucked the rig in and blown it back out without feeling enough resistance from the lead. I felt that I needed to put together a rig that wouldn’t allow for hardly any movement before the full weight of the lead would be felt in the carp’s mouth. The rig needed to be able to turn freely like a Chod Rig does and by playing about with a length of Pin Down and a 2.5oz In-Line Groove Lead I developed a rig that I felt would instantly put the full 2.5oz or more onto the hook point.
I set-up a little bag with the rig inside and lowered it in the edge. When the PVA melted the rig swung upright and sat above the pellet/groundbait mix I use for my solid bags. The hooklink was just too long to begin with, so I shortened the Chod to sit about one-to-one-and-a-half-inches above the pellet. Perfect!
The first time out with the rig I found a group of fish cruising up and down a reed-lined margin and I felt certain this would be the perfect opportunity to put the rig to the test. I had a take within a few minutes but 30 seconds later and the fish had come off. Gutted! I reeled in and straight away the penny dropped. On such a short hooklink I needed to eject the lead from the rig. I am certain this was the reason the hook had pulled out and knew exactly how I needed to adjust the rig to suit this.
Basically I went through my leads to find the loosest fitting inserts I had so that the lead would fall away when the fish bolted. What had happened was that, on such a short hooklink, the weight of the lead hanging so close to the mouth of the carp had weakened the hook hold and worked it free from its mouth. I must add at this point that in all my fishing hook sharpness is paramount and I suppose it is Jason Hayward that really emphasises this better than anyone. Nowadays there are quite a few seriously sharp hooks available straight from the packet and the new hooks that we have been testing at Avid are certainly amongst the sharpest I have ever used. I do touch them back-up with a fine 320 grit stone that breaks down really well and gets them sticky sharp again in no time.
Second time lucky
Now all I needed was another opportunity to present itself to me where I could see the response to the rig. I found a few fish in a bay where the wind was pushing and plenty of fish could be seen in the area. With a bit of colour in the water and so many fish showing I suppose it was not the perfect situation in that it may not truly prove its effectiveness with a large amount of fish being present. I had to put it through its paces though, so lowered it in the edge and took up position behind a small bankside shrub. A couple of fish passed by the rig almost oblivious to the parcel of food I had presented. Within a couple of minutes though, a mid-double mirror dropped down and bang, it was nailed straightaway. Once in the net, I quickly checked the hook hold position: smack bang in the middle of the bottom lip. Excellent!
I was not totally happy though with the scenario I had caught this fish in because I wanted to put it in a far less competitive environment where a more cautious carp may slip up.
A few days later I decided that the weather conditions would be ideal for a few fish to be in the shallow back channel and, with good light conditions, I would be able to get a truly better picture of the whole occurrence. Sacrificing an evening’s work I just had to get down there and give it another go. Polarising sunglasses on and I was off on a steady stroll around the 15-acre syndicate lake. It wasn’t long before I could see a few fish in the usual marginal places, I just hoped there would be a few fish in the shallow back channel which I knew would be perfect for me if a few had made their way in during the afternoon. Carefully making my way down the channel to the small bay at the end, my prayers were answered as I found maybe a dozen fish in the quarter-of-an-acre bay. All I had to do now was get them to feed and I would have my perfect chance.
I carefully threw a few boilies in and retreated back from the water’s edge. Straightaway a common and a mirror swam over the spot, turned and dropped down on the 15mm boilies. I knew this was the chance I really needed. I made my way back to the van for a couple of rods and the rest of my stalking kit. I must admit at 40 years of age and being slightly more rotund than I used to be, sprinting 400yds back to the car park is not really advisable. I was a sweaty mess making my way back round with my kit. Excitedly I knotted on one of my pre-tied bags and when all was clear, lowered the rig into 3ft of margin.
Crouching down and hoping my presence wasn’t detected by the carp in the area, I patiently waited for my chance. It couldn’t have been more than two minutes before a mirror swam close by. ‘Please, not you’ I thought. Then out of the corner of my eye a spotted a larger common carp heading in towards the rig from the right, it was right on course for the little trap. The presentation looked perfect and the little pop-up sat just above the morsel of pellet/groundbait mix I had placed in the bag.
Straight down on the bait and with gills flaring it almost immediately felt something was wrong. A quick shake of its head, an about turn and it headed out into the bay. I actually saw the lead shake free and though the lakebed was initially heavily disturbed by the disruption of the stunned and angry carp that was heading off as fast as it could swim, I could actually make out the discarded lead once the sediment had settled.
The rig worked that was for certain, two fish had picked it up and both had been nailed straightaway. Bingo! I couldn’t have imagined the rig to have done its job any better than it did. I now just needed to try it in a few more situations and against other rigs and to see if I could improve it further.
Whilst I have since added a few more aspects and tweaks to this rig in its essence this is as effective as I have found and can be made with products freely available in the shops. I have caught enough fish on it to feel it is a vital part of my fishing and whilst it doesn’t cover every situation it certainly is the most efficient rig I have ever developed for my fishing. My thoughts are that if you can hook them in the margins where they are I am sure more on edge and wary then it is far easier to catch at range. This is now my number one choice for solid bag fishing.