The reason for using a short (6 inch) or a long (12 inch) hooklength has often been a question I’d like answering. I use both sizes and both have caught me carp. Fishing over weed or silt I use a longer hooklength due to using a pop-up – anything from 1-3 inches up off the bottom. On clear waters or over gravel, I tend use a shorter length. That’s been my approach for a while but I don’t fully understand the thinking behind each one. I’ve had finicky bites that are not quite takes and have wondered if I’d used a longer or shorter hooklengths, would it have made a difference. I am confident in the rigs that I am currently using, it’s just the length in different situations that I’m unsure about. Thank you for your time and hopefully you will be able to advise me... Kind regards, Andy Michie Hi Andy,
You almost hit the nail on the head – the most important aspect of rigs is to use the right one in the right situation. If I’m fishing hard, clear lake beds I’ll use rigs as short as 3 to 4 inches, yet on the silty and choddy areas, I will use anything up to 18 inches in length without hesitation.
The reason for this is simple – it’s down to the movement of the carp while feeding and what the carp can get away with. Carp are a lot more difficult to catch over these harder lake beds as the rig is easier to deal with and this is why we shorten the rig, as it gives them a lot less room to move around.
Out in the weed or silt it is much harder for a carp to detect foreign objects such as hooks and generally the bait is more spread out. Making a carp move further between its food items is key to tripping them up.
Another reason we fish the hooklink in a longer fashion is to be clear of the silt and not have the hooklink dragged down into it, consequently masking the setup. Of course, you can combat this with setups like the helicopter rig, this would allow you to have the best of both so to speak. As with many things in carp fishing there’s a lot of trial and error involved. I will often fish wafters or pop-ups in the silt and weed but almost always like to use a bottom bait from the bag when fishing clear hard-spots, as I believe that with all the free offerings carp feed on these days, a bottom bait is probably the most naturallooking on this type of lake bottom.
This carp was caught on a very short rig when fishing over a hard bottom, i.e gravel
I will often use a wafter when fishing over silt or light weed
The length of my rigs can vary tremendously, based on what ground I am fishing over