A zig is a rig that is presented off the bottom using a bit of foam or pop up, it is tied up with mono and a small hook mostly.
Fishing with zigs off the bottom may sound an unusual way of fishing, but if you get a chance to watch fish in a pond ( goldfish or koi ) you will notice that they spend a lot of time up in the water. They find a depth that they are comfortable at, so something at the level they are often taken by them ( even if it is a bit of foam!)
The things to think about when fishing zigs,
What depth your fishing in.
How much weed is about and it’s depth.
Do you want to drop the lead on the take.
How far out you will be fishing.
Change the colours and depths ( don’t sit on your hands!!! ).
When fishing zigs knowing the depths and features your fishing over is very important, for knowing how long to make your zigs, and for judging where you think the fish are in the water. Knowing where the different features in the lake will help you, weed beds are very useful to know, I have done well fishing over weed by fishing a yellow zig about 1ft over it. Ideally it would be better to map out the lake before hand, this will not only help with fishing zigs but all your fishing there. If your fishing a new water or have not mapped out the lake your fishing yet and your worried about casting out a marker float when you think there may be fish in front of you, try and judge by feeling the lead down and work on that until you can map out swim.
The next thing to think about is the colour of the zig. Different lakes, times of day, and depths, can all affect what colour to use. My thoughts on colour would be the nearer to the surface the darker and the nearer to the bottom the lighter the colour. This is just a starting point, but something to work on. Don’t be afraid to change the colour until you find one that works. Also what works one day may not work the next.
The worst thing you can do is just cast out one rod on a zig and leave it for hours, then decide that they don’t work. You have to fish at least a couple of rods on them and work at it. Trying different depths and colours.
If your fishing up to about 50-60 yards I find an inline lead 1- 1 1/2 oz in the distance shape, this works well if it’s not too weedy, also having a lead that’s not too heavy on your line when your playing a fish on a long hook length helps. If your fishing over that distance or it very weedy, I prefer to use a lead clip with a lead of 3+ oz so I can drop the lead on the take.
When making up a zig, there is a few ways of doing this, firstly you can use the Fox zig aligna bits, or you can use small pop ups, and there is the “ziglites” which I use quite a lot with an imitation maggot as a hair stop.
Using the Fox zig aligna bits I find a straight eyed hook and straight point works the best for me. Tying on the hook its best to use a grinner or blood type knot, as the aligna sleeve goes over the eye of the hook and you don’t need a hair. ( full instructions come with the set on how to tie these up ).
Using a pop up or ziglite you can tie the rig up the same, I have been using the Ace zig hook in size 8 and 10, also smaller sizes of chod type hooks work well, 7 and 8’s.
Tying it I find using the no knot whipping 4 turns up to the hair then 4 turns the other side of the hair. This sits very well with the hook sitting ready to prick the fish on the take.
I have been using imitation maggots as a hair stop for a while and feel it give the bait an extra attraction, also you can change the colour easily with the maggots ( even using the glow in the dark ones).
Zigs can be fished on their own with no bait, which works very well, but some waters spodding a sloppy mix over them can produce good results. The type of sloppy spod mix can be made up with lots of different things, but what you have to think about is that you don’t want the items you use to fall through the water too fast to the bottom. I have got an old food liquidiser which I blend up things like sweet corn, hemp, and other particles, to this I add crushed up boilies, ground bait, milk powder, and a small amount of porridge, this is mixed up together with some liquids like condensed milk, any of the bait liquids like glugs, dips, and additives, I also use oils like fish and nut oils as well as sunflower oil ( I don’t use the oils in the winter.) you can also use the ready made mixes from the tackle shops, with them I will also add my own bits to bulk them out. Mixing them up you need to get a consistency like a thick soup but not too runny. This I would spod out little and often over the zigs using a spod with some of the holes taped up or one of the solid ones. To do this you will need to clip up your fishing rods and spod rod up to be accurate.
Most of all work at it, your first fish may be the hardest one but it will confidence to catch lots more.
Get them ZIGS out and catch well.