Following on from my last article, I’ll go into a bit more detail with some rigs that are a bit more complicated to make up and how and when to use them. Whatever rig you use you still have to think about what you are fishing over by feeling the lead down every time you cast out.
I’ll start off with the chod to get it out of the way, I don’t want to come over as anti chod but I do feel it is used far too much, and think it can cost you fish by using it all the time. I know it’s an easy rig to use being one you can nearly cast it anywhere within reason and be fishing, but carp don’t always want a bait off the bottom. Think about what you are fishing over, how would a chod look over clean gravel or clay? There has been lots been put in magazines and videos about how to tie chods so I won’t go into that, but will say think about the length of them. They will work really short or long and everything in between. I have used chods as short as an inch and up to 5 inches. I would not use chods near to snags or anywhere that there is a chance of the lead getting caught up. Think of the safety of the fish at all times.
Another way to fish with a chod would be to put it on the end of a boom section and fish it as a hinged stiff rig, on a lead clip or helicopter set up. I feel this is a better way of fishing it instead of a normal chod. You don’t have to use a stiff boom section, a soft coated braid works very well with it especially over a bit of weed or chod on the bottom. I would use a stiff boom when I know the bottom I’m fishing over is clear or a small amount of weed. I keep going back to knowing what you are fishing over, which I feel is one of the important things to think about when you fishing. It surprises me when I’m fishing that still see quite a few anglers still don’t feel the lead down. A good way of finding out about the lake your fishing is to fish with zigs and casting regularly in deferent areas of the swim your in and making a note of what you feel on the bottom then moving on to the next swim and do the same, working your way round the lake. I have done this my self quite a few times and it’s definitely helped with my fishing, also I have caught extra fish while finding out about the lake. Even if you don’t catch anything while doing this it is not waisted time, as every bit of information you can find out puts you one step closer to putting all the pieces together to catch the fish you are after.
Enough of my ramblings lets get on with rigs. The hinged stiff rig is a great rig with lots of different ways of making it. Using different materials it can be used in different situations, generally the cleaner the bottom the stiffer the material you can use. 20 or 25lb stiff material is good for a boom section, you can crimp it or tie a loop. I have been using the korda size 6 crimps with 25lb mouth trap but using the size 7 slot in the crimp pliers ( I’ve been using the wynchwood ones lately and they seem to be doing a good job on them for me ). This seem a good point to talk about the rigs I have been using lately.
Firstly I’ll talk about what I’m fishing over, the lake I’m fishing has depths down to around 20 feet, it’s gin clear with lots of reeds around it and a mixture of different types of weed growing in depths down to 15 feet including ” Canadian, Chara, Silk weed, and a type of kelp “. The lake bed is a mixture of gravel, clay, and silt. By casting around the swim I am looking for a clear spot in the weed, hopefully one that has been cleared by fish feeding. Once I have found a clear spot ill cast around in it to see if I can find a firm smooth polished spot. I am fishing with braid as a mainline which helps me feel the lead down having no streach in it. There is a difference between a clear spot and a polished spot ( where I feel the fish have fed hard on it ) when feeling the lead down on the clear spot it would be a donk, and the polished spot would be a crack nearly vibrating the rod in your hand. Spending the time to find these spots can mean the difference between blanking and catching.
Because the spots I’m fishing over are so clear I’m using a lead clip, ( the Taska Kwick LinQ ones with their tungsten tail rubbers as they are nice and soft, which helps to drop the lead on the take ). I make my own leads, and I am mostly using 3.5oz distance ones as I’m fishing at ranges of 70-100 yards.
Onto the hook link I start with 25lb mouth trap, at one end I crimp a loop that has a Nash hook link tail rubber to cover it when placed onto the link on the lead clip. ( when I crimp I blob the end with a lighter ). Onto the other end I crimp a size 11 ring swivel with a small loop.The length of this is 8.5 inches from the loop to the end of the swivel, I tie up quite a few at a time and test them with a knot puller in each of the loops, this helps straighten them and gives them a good test as I’ve found about one in ten can give way ( best to find out now and not on a fish ), this length I have found to be a good starting point, I will lengthen this a bit when the bottom is not as clear. I have been using this for a few years now experimenting with different materials and lengths, and found this works the best for me.
I use this boom section for a few different rigs that I use, the most obvious one would be tying a chod rig onto the size 11 ring swivel, this has worked well for me but I am having more success with a snowman rig tied on the end at the moment, especially over the polished clear areas I’m fishing over.
Tying the snowman section of the rig I am using a size 7 ace boilie beaked point hook ( I like a beaked point hook with a slightly turned down eye, there are quite a few hooks that are like that to choose from ). I am using a soft uncoated braid the Korda super natural in 25lb for the short hook link. And on the hook for a line aligner I’m using a Taska tungsten aligner long shank size 2-6.
Tying this up I start by tying a loop in the end, this should be long enough so when you put a bottom bait and a pop up on it the knot should be in the bottom bait to hold it away from the hook ( I’m using a 15mm bottom bait and a 12mm pop up at the moment ). When I’m tying up my rigs I like to tie up a few at a time, that way I can keep them all the same. When tying on the hook I use a Solar hair gauge to get all my hair lengths the same, ( it’s a very handy piece of plastic when tying the knotless knot to get accurate hair lengths ).
With my snowman rig with a 15mm bottom bait and a 12mm pop up I use the 22mm peg on the hair gauge which I find is just right when I use the Korda Medium extenda hair stops which goes nicely into the pop up. After tying on the hook with the knotless knot I then put on a Taska tungsten aligner, I find using a splicing needle is the easiest way of doing this to get it onto the braid then slide it over the eye and knot on the hook shank, you may need to moisten it a little bit to help it go on. Now comes the awkward bit of tying the loose end to the swivel and not making it too long, I like to aim to have a length of around 1 to 1 1/2 inch from the eye of the swivel and the end of the aligner on the hook. The way I do this is going through the swivel twice, then pulling down to the hook as short as possible and tying a 4 turn grinner knot. Before you pull the knot up tight hold the turns of the knot and only pull the loose end to tighten up the knot and gently tease the knot up to the swivel before fully tightening it. Hopefully the photos will help to show you how I do this.
I have found that using the same boom section can also make a good pop up rig by tying on a similar braid hook link on the end but with a size 7 or 8 hook with a straight point, ( I feel a straight point hook works better with a pop up ) with a short length of shrink tube to make an aligner, and I use the fox kwik change pop-up weights on the end of the boom section in size BB which I find work well with a 15mm pop up. I tend to use this rig on runs waters, and it’s good for casting at showing fish.
These rigs are what suits my fishing, and I have fine tuned them over a few years for my fishing, they may not suit your fishing but could be a good starting point for you to work on, always try and adapt things to suit you by thinking what would work the best in the situation you are fishing in. By thinking about your fishing and not just following the latest fashion will make you into a better angler, ( if you think of all the top anglers they have got there by thinking and not following ).
Cast straight, feel it down, think for your self, and catch lots.