The fundamental basics around my own personal angling have, and always will be, based around the age old adage that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. The older I get, the more I see within the advancement of rig mechanics, however, I see just as many successful anglers sticking to tried and tested components that they ultimately have 110% confidence in. If you don’t have confidence in what you are doing then it goes without saying that you are surely not angling anywhere near as effectively as you should be! Carp fishing information is a veritable minefield these days, you could be swayed at every turn, yet the people who I look up to for inspiration are the anglers who share the same ethos as me really. They to, very rarely come out of their comfort zone, why? Because they don’t need to and maybe, just maybe, we give our quarry far too much respect in that aspect. Location, location, location would certainly be my focal point before worrying over any new form of rig.
I only use two rigs within my own fishing, obviously one is a pop-up rig, which I use 99% of the time, and I also have a bottom bait rig. The vital piece of the jigsaw puzzle is that both must be able to reset themselves and be capable of ‘fishing again’ should any bird life pick the rig up, or should a carp manage to dislodge the hook. I fish a great many overnight sessions, it is what I’m renowned for, therefore time is very limited. I literally have 11 hours at my disposal in order to try and get it right. Without a shadow of a doubt I have to be content and sit under the stars assuming I have done everything I possibly can in order to catch and, without a rig that resets itself, my personal opinion is that your chances are diminished massively.
I only use one type of hooklink too, which is the RM-Tec stiff-coated hooklink in 30lb. This ticks all the boxes for me and what I like about it more than anything, is being able to manipulate it back into position without the need to steam continuously. I’ve now used this product for over 18 months, and in an abundance of situations and it has never let me down.
My go-to rig is the Multi-rig. I have a saying which is ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’ (KISS) and it really doesn’t get much simpler. However, this is a devastating rig especially for catching big carp over my favoured approach of fishing over a wide spread of boilies. I notice that most people tend not to use a hook bead when using this rig but for me it’s an absolute must for numerous reasons. Firstly, when casting at extreme range I can be assured that the rig remains set in exactly the manner I want it to be, especially in conjunction with a stiff hooklink material. Secondly, if I retrieve my rig and happen to find that the bead has moved down to the eye of the hook, well I know those crafty carp have got away with it and I’ve been done. This element of the rig I really do advise giving a try – and the hookholds are sublime. Depending on what the lake bed is like that I’m fishing over (I tend to locate deep silt if possible), I just extend the length of the rig and again with the hooklink being 30lb, it sinks like a brick. I tend to favour using longer hooklinks too, as again it is just something slightly different to what most people tend to do. Refusing to be ordinary can go a very long way. Another thing to mention is that I like to use large hooks and I don’t care what time of year it is, I never scale down and have the utmost faith in using a size-4 hook. Obviously when using a Multi- rig you need a hook with an out-turned eye and my preference is an RM-Tec size-4 Chod hook. They are strong, reliable and have caught me some of the most sought after fish in this country.
The second rig I use is a German rig. Again it is so simple to create, just like the Multi-rig and still has those excellent resetting properties I crave. I’ve never known hookholds like it when using this rig, especially when using it snowman style. I personally believe the weight of two larger baits leaves those carp with absolutely no chance when it is made in conjunction with a nice sharp hook. When using the German rig, I opt for a size-4 RM-Tec Curve Shank hook. I like to use the exact same, stiff-coated, hooklink as before and again, fish it longer than most would.
You may be wondering why I use longer hooklinks and my answer is that ultimately we never truly know what we’re fishing over, unless you’re placing a rig by hand, or able to see via an aqua scope, etc. I don’t have that luxury over on Wellington Country Park and so I’d rather give myself more of a chance by having something that can lie over any potential hazard. I do only fish the German rig as a snowman set-up, although if fishing over my profiling mix I would use a wafter, but something that is basically balanced out accordingly. Further to this, it is a rig I certainly use when margin fishing and actually hand placing my rigs as I love the way it behaves so naturally, although I will shorten the hooklink considerably to suit the situation I’m faced with. I can imagine those big carp coming in and creating all sorts of movement in and around where they are feeding, this rig just sits there cocked and ready for one making that mistake.
In summary, this is something I’ve written about and stated within the folds of Carpworld on numerous occasions now – and that is that there is no right or wrong within our wonderful sport. Everything evolves in life, but I go back to what I said at the beginning, it is about you and what you are confident in. That doesn’t mean you have to follow the trends. Find something that consistently works over along period of time – even when you go through those tough periods, which we all do (I’m on a 35-night blank at present). Will I change anything though? Absolutely not! This is part and parcel of carp fishing and there will be lots of other factors to take into account above and beyond your rig selection.