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

Angling Times (UK) - - COVER STORY -

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.

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