Up-and-coming carp angler Tom Forrester explains why using monofilament hooklinks could transform your catch results.
Look through any magazine or carp- related video online and you will see most modern carp rigs incorporate a coated or stiff hoolink section. Very few anglers use monofilament or fluorocarbon.
I find this quite surprising, because match and coarse anglers have used mono for decades for its versatility and reliability. In the right situation it can be absolutely devastating. I began using monofilament a couple of years back because it was slightly cheaper than other materials, and I haven’t looked back. It may not be the popular choice, but it gives a real edge, one I think every angler should have in their armoury. Working for The Monument carp fishery in Shropshire means I get to see lots of good anglers on a weekly basis. I’ve seen a couple of the regular lads using mono a lot and they always tend to nick a bite or two, even when conditions are tough. In an age when every angler is trying to be different from the guy on the next swim it makes perfect sense.
There are a whole host of reasons why carp anglers should have a spool of mono in their tackle box, but the main one for me has got to be the diameter of the stuff. With so many anglers focusing on rig camo and refining their end tackle, I can’t believe more people aren’t turning to this super-subtle material. It still has a relatively low diameter in its higher breaking strains and, being clear, it’s almost invisible.
Although mono has a relatively low diameter, it still has semi-stiff properties, and these make a huge difference when targeting pressured carp. Once a carp picks up your hookbait, the nature of the material means they find it virtually impossible to spit it out, increasing the chance of the hook taking hold. If everybody on the venue you target is transfixed by supple, more flexible materials, using something stiffer can get the bobbins dancing almost straight away.
Anglers can often encounter problems with stiff hooklinks kicking up off the bottom, especially when fishing in weed or over any detritus. Mono is fantastic, though, because it’s kind of halfway between being stiff and supple. It’s an extremely versatile choice that will hug the contours of the lake and stay out of harm’s way.Combine this with the fact that it’s got great sinking properties and you can begin to see why I’ve always got a spool of the stuff in my tackle box.
I’ve studied fisheries management and have spent countless hours looking at carp’s behaviour. I’m sure we sometimes give them a little bit too much credit for being clever. I am, though, convinced they learn by association, so presenting a completely different rig or arrangement can be their downfall. With venues becoming more and more pressured, anglers who try to be that bit different can often reap the rewards. I believe using monofilament could bring more bites on a lot of lakes, especially if the resident carp have encountered most other presentations before.
Mono is available in a whole host of breaking strains and diameters, allowing you to use it in a variety of different situations. Generally, it is best used with a hook that features an out-turned eye, because the slight stiffness of the material can close up the gape on hooks with in-turned eyes. That said, if you use monofilament in a fairly light breaking strain or a lower diameter, you can get away with using any kind of hook pattern. My biggest tip for monofilament is to keep things really simple. You don’t have to overcomplictae things because the material does most of the work for you.
My favourite mono rig has got to be a simple knotless knot presentation tied with an Avid CHD hook. I’ve had loads of success on this rig and I’ve always found the hookholds to be fantastic. This is a great go-anywhere rig, but I generally use it when I’m fishing with PVA bags and casting to showing fish. I suppose it’s my ‘nicking a bite’ rig when conditions are a bit tricky. It can be absolutely devastating when tied using a 10mm hookbait and size 8 hook on a low-diameter hooklink. Occasionally, when targeting bigger carp, I will use a variation on something most of the Avid lads call the German Rig. It’s a super-simple bottom-bait rig that features a curved-shank hook with a hook bead and hook swivel. The nature of the rig gives the hookbait complete flexibility, and it will trick the most pressured of carp. The rig can be used for pretty much ny scenario, but it really comes into its own when you’re out-and-out boilie fishing.
There are a variety of different monofilament materials available on the market, but I tend to stick with hooklinks between 10lb and 15lb. If the fishing is tough and I’m scratching for a bite, I’ll have no problems tying a rig featuring a small hook and 10mm hookbait, tied with a 10lb mono hooklink.
If I’m fishing for larger fish and there’s a chance the carp may come into contact with some form of snag or obstruction, I will up my hooklink to 15lb or 18lb. Over the last couple of months I’ve been playing around with the new Two Tone Zig Line from Avid Carp. It’s a super-strong monofilament which, as the name suggest, boasts a two-tone profile that makes it virtually invisible on the lakebed, even when fishing crystal- clear venues. I’ve found the 12lb version suits most angling situations because even though it has a relatively low breaking strain, it’s still super-strong and abrasion-resistant.
The best thing to do is head to your local tackle shop to see what’s on offer. Obviously the higher the breaking strain, the stiffer the material will be and the softer, the more supple. If you are looking for a small edge for the season ahead, monofilament hooklinks may well be the answer. Mono is strong, reliable and extremely user-friendly. There’s no need to strip any coating or steam it, and it’s got fantastic anti-tangle properties. Combine this with the fact that it’s probably the most underrated and underused hooklink material at the moment and you definitely need to give it a try.