Two Rigs To Do It All- Jack Wheeler
One of the most important aspects of carp fishing is the rig you use to present a bait. Nowadays there are so many different types of rigs to choose from it can be quite overwhelming. However, the main aspect is choosing the right rig for the right situation. The majority of rigs will catch carp and it comes down to personal preference, but the main question is when and where to use the different rigs to maximise your chances of catching.
When deciding what rig to use I look at the makeup of the lake bed, this is the number one factor in determining which rig I am going to use to present a hook bait. Using the right rig in the right situation can be the difference between catching and not catching. When fishing over low lying weed or any debris (leaf litter etc) on the lake bed, I will always fish a pop up to ensure a perfect presentation and eliminate any risk of the hook point becoming masked by any debris. If the lake bed is relatively clear, I will opt for a wafter or bottom bait presentation. It is important to mention I will always prefer to present a bait on the bottom, so I will definitely spend a bit of time trying to find clear areas. This is mainly for 2 reasons, firstly the clearer areas are more likely to be where the carp have fed and cleared off an area. Secondly, I want my hook bait to appear as much like a free offering as possible and the closer to the lake bed the hook bait is, the more it resembles a free offering.
In terms of the rigs I use, I only ever use two rigs for the majority of my fishing, one rig for presenting a wafter and one rig for presenting a pop up. Confidence is one of the biggest factors in fishing and once I have found a rig I am confident in I will very rarely change it. This approach also helps me streamline my decision making on the bank. As soon as I know what the lake bed is like, I know exactly which rig I will be using to present a hook bait.
The German rig is without a doubt my ‘go to’ rig when presenting a hook bait on a clear area on the lake bed. The hook holds with this rig are second to none and ensures the hook ends up nailed in the bottom lip every time. It is important when using this rig to ensure there is very little weed or debris in the area you are presenting the rig. The best way to present this rig is to have the hook pinned flat against the bottom of the lake, lying on its side. If there is any leaf litter or low lying weed on the spot there is a chance the hook could become masked and this will reduce the effectiveness of the rig. My bait of choice for this particular rig will be a wafter, my ‘go to’ bait at the moment is the CC Moore Live System 15mm wafters and they balance a size 6 wide gape hook perfectly. By using a wafter hook bait it will sit just above the hook on the lake bed, which in turn completely masks the hook lying flat on the bottom. Which definitely makes it harder for the carp to visually detect the hook.
The Key Elements to the German Rig:
Bait Screw: The bait screw allows me to change baits in next to no time. I can’t remember how many times I have struggled in the wind and rain to use a lighter and bait floss. The bait screw eliminates all of the unnecessary hassle and it securely holds the hookbait in place even casting at long distances.
Hook Bead: The hook bead is absolutely key and has to be positioned in the correct place for the hookbait to mask the hook. It needs to be positioned along the shank of the hook inline with the hook point. If you test it in the margin with a 15mm wafter you should not be able to see the hook underneath.
Hook: My hook of choice is a size 6 Wide Gape hook which perfectly balances out a 15mm CC Moore Live System Wafter.
Medium Sinker: A medium sinker aids with anti-tangle, ensuring the rig kicks away from the lead and also keeps the rig pinned down on the bottom. It is vital to have the sinker positioned around half way along the rig to avoid the rig sitting incorrectly on the lake bed.
Hook Link Material: IQ2 is the perfect hook link material for this rig, it offers plenty of stiffness to keep the rig lying straight. I try to keep the rig around 6 inches in length, especially when the water temperature is still cold. During the summer I may extend this to around 8 inches depending on the situation.
Anti-tangle Sleeve: I never cast a rig out without an anti-tangle sleeve. It gives me 100% confidence my rig is lying perfectly on the bottom.
When presenting a pop up hook bait my rig of choice is the Ronnie Rig, it took the fishing scene by storm when it first appeared a number of years ago and it is still as effective today. The key aspect of this rig for me is how low the hook and bait sits to the bottom. As I mentioned previously, I want the hook bait to resemble the free offerings as much as possible. So a low lying pop up rig is perfect when I am unable to present a bottom bait or wafter on the spot. The Ronnie rig is also very similar to the German rig in terms of how the hook bait visually masks the hook when looking from above making it more difficult for the carp to detect.
Key Elements of the Ronnie Rig:
Bait Screw: The same principle as why I use the bait screw for the German Rig. It eliminates unnecessary hassle and it securely holds the bait in position.
Hook bead: I position the hook bead on the shank just as the bend in the hook starts. This forces the hook to sit in a relatively aggressive position, so as soon as a carp sucks the hook bait in the hook is primed to take hold of the bottom lip. The hook bead position also helps the masking of the hook by the hook bait.
Spinner Ring Swivel: The spinner ring swivel provides the movement in the rig allowing the hook to turn and catch hold of the bottom lip.
Hook link material: IQ2 is my hook link material of choice, it perfectly blends in with the lake bed and provides enough stiffness to keep the hook separated from the lead.
Anti-tangle Sleeve: A must have to keep the rig untangled during the cast and to kick out the rig from the lead on the bottom.