THE HARD CORE RIG
It doesn’t get any simpler – a hook, a hooklink and two BB shot – but it’s a combination that’s accounted for a host of big carp for NIGEL SHARP
JUST over a year ago I began to develop a rig for bottom-bait fishing.
There are many coated braids on the market today, many of which are great for presenting baits hard on the deck. However, when I first began carp fishing the only braids available were the soft, uncoated types, and I still prefer the suppleness these offer, even though they can tangle easily on the cast.
I also like to keep things simple with my rigs. Shrink tube is all the rage these days for making angled ‘kickers’ just below the eye of the hook in order to help it to flip over on the take and grab hold of the carp’s mouth better.
I used to incorprate a silicone line aligner to get the same effect back in the early 1990s, but to me shrink tubing is just a pain, and a time-consuming one at that. To get the best out of it you need to have a kettle at your disposal - so it’s little use when you’re on a day session and only have a flask with you.
When I joined Rig Marole years ago I came across a material called Hydrolink. Rather than being a coated braid, it’s a fluorocarbon filament with a soft braid coating. The ease with which it could be used to make combitype rigs was instantly apparent.
You can pull the braid back, cut out the inner core (fluorocarbon) and tweak it in different ways to get the effect you’re after. What’s more, you can make kickers and stiff sections without having different-coloured pieces of tubing bolted on to your rig, so concealment is improved if you choose the right colour for the lakebed you’re fishing over. It really is a unique and highly versatile material.
Trapping the hair on the bend of the hook was the next element I looked at. This was always traditionally done with a piece of silicone, but a chap called Andy Mann once told me how he used to nick his hookpoint through the hair to trap it against the shank. This allowed you to position the hair exactly where you wanted it to be, and did away with the need for a D-ring. I took on board what he said, but I thought it would be much neater if you reversed it – in other words, doing it back-to-front up the inside of the hook and then through the eye the correct way.
What you end up with, without having a kicker, is effectively a D-rig without the D getting in the way. This reduces weight around the hook and you have no shrink tubing because of the built-in kicker formed by the fluorocarbon core. It’s simplicity itself - there are no extra bits and bobs, it’s just a hook and a length of hooklink material.
Add a couple of shot to ensure the hook is always being pulled down into the carp’s mouth and you’ve constructed a rig made up of three components, instead of five or six.
I’ve added weight to the middle of my hooklengths for quite a while now. The added weight helps the rig to fall straight, but more importantly helps the hook to flip over and catch hold in the mouth of any inquisitive carp in the vicinity of your hookbait.
Even when I use a fully coated braid for casting out rigs I’ll add extra weight to their centre, as it really does help with the hooking process. It means that the rig is tightened even before the fish feels the full weight of the lead.
Similarly, the added weight will help with hooking when the rig slackens off during a pick-up, so it’s a vital component to the rig. It provides the same effect as a hinged stiff rig, or any pop-up rig does for that matter, only with a bottom bait.
Nigel keeps his rigs short and ties a large loop at the end for easy attachment and removal from his terminal set-up.