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Sunny days and cold air means zigs for carp
IT’S BEEN a busy time at Korum HQ, preparing for the new season and another set of great coarse fishing products for 2014.
We’ve just got back from the Big One Show, where we had another superb two days. Thanks to all of you that visited the stand – so many of you walked away with Korum gear from our supporters Danson and Davies Angling, we must be doing something right!
Above: A zig caught 34lber. I watched the fish take an overdepth zig. Mad!
Zig rigs are a huge leap of faith. To suspend an inanimate object somewhere midwater in the hopes a carp will come along and take a bite is akin to casting out a lure for pike and not reeling it in to make it move – it seems ridiculous, but carp are very, very different creatures to most fish.
I can remember writing about zig rigs when I worked for Crafty Carper magazine. A few anglers had learnt of their effectiveness and had caught some really impressive fish using the tactic. Back then, a yellow pop-up or piece of cork was the hookbait chosen, before somebody started messing around with bits of buoyant foam in yellow, white and black. That totally changed the game.
Rather than sneaking the odd fish on a zig, you were suddenly getting multiple catches on them. I remember one trip to Oxford where I managed 8 fish in 8 casts on zigs, most of them 20-pounders. It was exciting and a true journey of discovery.
It does seem, however, that zigs are at their most effective when the carp aren’t on the surface. In late winter/early spring they are at their best, where the contrasting weather and water temperature has the carp searching for the most comfortable layer to sit in. There also tends to be more oxygen in the water, making the carp more active and more obliging.
My first choice for zig hookbaits is black foam, of varying shapes. Avid Carp High Lites and Zig Lites are perfect and it’s worth using the two-tone versions if the fish get I sometimes glug these in liquids if I’m on a heavily stocked water, or rinse the zigs in water then roll them around in powdered additives. My favourite is a Sonubaits Super Octopus Flavour Shaker – boy that’s caught me some fish!
When it comes to selecting the right hook and hooklink, in my opinion the new Avid Carp CHD hook is the perfect option. Straight point, super sharp and a slightly out-turned eye. Anyone who’s match fished for carp will know how much more effective an out-turned eye is with mono hooklinks – you can’t beat it. In my opinion the size 10 CHD is as good as it gets, or a size 8 in weedier venues.
As for the hooklink, well here I change it depending on the amount of weed or snags. Preston Innovations’ Reflo Power hooklink is quite good in 0.24 and 0.26 for really open water, but the new Xpert Reel Line in 8 or 10lb is tough as old boots and absolutely perfect for zigs. This hooklink is unreal, in that you cannot kink it. You can straighten it out by pulling it tight through your fingers just once. It transforms it into the perfect monofilament for big fish fishing in weedy swims as it has more abrasion resistance than most monos. I love it!
One thing I also prefer for Zigs is a leadclip arrangement with a big lead on. A 3.5oz at least, with the leadclip set to release the lead right away. Playing a fish with a 10ft hooklink and a big lead swinging around is a recipe for lost fish, so set the tailrubber to drop the lead, or use an Avid Carp Zig Clip with no tailrubber, using PVA tape to secure the lead.
Rods are a personal thing but I definitely prefer lighter rods for zigs. My Korum 2.75s are permanently set up with zigs on. When I arrive at a lake I will chuck out two or three zigs as soon as I arrive – and then start setting my gear up, plumbing, etc. It’s caught me some quick fish before now and I’ve ended up not needing to fish any other method!
I also fish with tight clutches on zigs. Don’t set your baitrunner or clutch loose. If the fish get up a head of steam, you’ll lose more fish. Fish tight, so the fish come up high in the water as soon as they’re hooked. This also encourages the lead to come off. Play the fish with the rod low and only lift it up if they get weeded or they’re ready for netting. It’s a great way of landing more fish.
So there you have it. Quick and easy tips on fishing zig rigs. Give them a try on at least one rod, you’re sure to end up with some beauties in the net.
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