Rigs and in particular lead systems are all that many anglers, magazines and DVD’s want to talk about. Long range rigs, chod rigs, lead eject rigs even the rotten bottom rig – the list is long and there is a rig for every occasion, many when used correctly are great for catching Carp but some are better at catching anglers than banking fish.
It is not too difficult to put together an effective rig. There are enough manufacturers making all the leads, swivels and beads for you to build a good rig and it goes without saying that it should also be a safe rig a rig as you can make it. Leads and lead systems have not leapt forward technically but have evolved gradually to the point where we are now with some very safe lead systems, like the lead clip system which allow us to fish much safer rigs than we did years ago.
However, with so many rigs to choose from where do we start? Firstly, we need to understand where and how we are going to fish. Inline leads by their very nature are a simple lead system to use and require the least amount of components to make them work. This simplicity reduces the potential for the rig to tangle and snag up. With the leader passing through the middle of the lead and exiting, and the front (heavy end) the fish feels much of the weight of the lead much quicker than with swivel leads. They are great for fishing over hard or gravel bottom lake beds.
Running rigs are a very safe rig set up as the lead can simply run up and down the line, when used with a swivel lead are much more aero dynamic and with the rig components trailing behind the lead on the cast makes them more suited to long range fishing.
Lead clips or lead eject rigs have revolutionised rig making. The rig was designed with the bolt effect of a fixed lead hooking the Carp when they pick up your hook bait but with the potential of dropping the lead if the fish swam into weed or snags. The problem we used to have with the old bolt effect rigs that did not have lead eject was that the Carp would often run into snags or heavy weed and get the lead trapped in the snag and then become tethered. When correctly set up a side clip rig is now 100% safe simple to set up and easy to change leads if and when needed.
The simplest of rigs to set up and without doubt one of the oldest rigs around. However just because it is old does not mean it not effective this is the most sensitive lead set up available. This rig will give you great bite indication due to the lead act like an anchor point when you get a run, which means which ever direction the fish run in your bobbin will always lift making it great for fishing slack lines. With the lead freely running up and down the leader/mainline this set up is particularly suited to venues where you are fishing barbless hooks as the fish cannot use the free running lead to help bounce the hook from its mouth. Always make sure if you are using a leader that the lead can freely pass over the leader main line knot. This rig is good on hard or soft lake beds but do not use near or in weed. Finally don’t forget this rig when you are winter fishing to help you see those delicate bite from the cold Carp .
Lead clip/ Lead Eject Rigs
Possibly one of the most popular lead set ups on the bank today with many anglers using them. A relatively single rig to set up and if set up correctly is 100% safe.
Take time to build you rigs using only one manufactures parts to ensure the system works correctly. By interchanging parts you can very easily create a rig that at worst is a tether rig and at best dumps the lead as soon as the lead hits the water surface.
Never store your rigs with the tail rubber pushed onto the lead clip system as this will cause the tail rubber to lose its tension and become less effective. Before you cast you rig out test the rig to ensure you can pull the lead from the lead clip without too much force. If you are in any doubt always read the manufactures instructions. This rig with its lead semi fixed in place will cause you several issues. When using barbless hooks the Carp when it shakes its head in an effort to eject the rig can use the weight of the lead to bounce the barbless hook out. Secondly with the lead fixed in relation to the hook length if you fishing slack lines and light bobbins the Carp can pick up the entire rig and lead and swim off without you ever seeing an indication. This rig is best use in weedy or snaggy condition and with a heavy bobbin setup.
In line lead set ups will offer you instant hooking if that is what you are looking for because most of the leads weight is concentrated around the hook length swivel. The Carp will feel more of the impact of the rigs weight much quicker with this set up than any other lead set up. In line leads can be used in both a running and bolt effect style and as such features the same positive and negative attributes as the previous two rigs. To minimise your hook length from tangling make sure your leader or rig tube is longer than you hook length. With the hook length exiting from the front of the lead be careful when casting into silty or soft clay lake beds as the lead can become stuck in the silt/clay when it impacts into the lake bed. A lead stuck in the lake bed may be very difficult for the fish to move if it picks up your bait and as such you not get any indication. If this is happening try feathering the cast or slowing the lead down completely by fishing clipped up and as such the lead enter the water and a dramatically reduced speed.
Originally designed for casting at long range due to the lead systems anti tangle properties. Originally the rig used length of lead core with a distance lead on the end it then had two beads pushed onto the lead core with a swivel trapped between the two beads then a short stiff rig was attached to the swivel. During the cast the bait twisted around the lead core just like a helicopter blade this is how the rig got its name. Carp anglers soon realised that this rig was great for silt fishing as the hook length could be positioned high up along the lead core by simply pushing the beads up the lead core. This rig was soon being used to cope with fishing over bottom detritus and with a modified hook length the chod rig evolved. The helicopter rig is a great long range rig with excellent anti tangle properties. The rig does have a few issues you have to be aware off as already mentioned any fixed lead system will cause lots of problems if you have to use barbless hooks and you try and fish slack lines to the lead.
Without doubt the chod rig is a one of the most popular/fashionable presentation rigs among many UK carper’s. The rig as almost identical to the helicopter rig so it’s practically tangle free, lies perfectly over any type of bottom debris and Carp find it very hard to eject. This is due to the ultra-short hook length that you employ.
The chod rig is a specialised pop-up presentation and has to be tied carefully using the correct components. A stiff hook length material is an absolute must because it allows you to form that all-important curve that Carp find so difficult to eject once sucked in. It also needs to be used in conjunction with a mega-buoyant pop-up such as a cork ball design.
If you try and use this rig over heavy bottom weed like Canadian pond weed remember you need a long leader to make sure the rig sits on top of the weed rather than being pulled into the weed. You can get over this problem by not using a leader at all and simply putting the chod rig onto your main line, this is often called the naked or invisible chod rig and need you to be using a strong 15lb or 18lb main line. The chod rig hook length components are tied as normal and locked in place by beads which are a moderate grip on the main line. This setup allows you to have the hook length at whatever distance you want from the lead within reason.
Your lead system may only be one small part of your fishing but like every part it is very important to get it right. Take your time to better understand the topography of the lake bed and the lake bed composition, understand the ranges you will need to be fishing at and the bait type and size you need to use. Once armed with all of this information select a rig that is at its best when faced with the conditions you are facing in your chosen swim.
If you are faced with a pressurised lake and the fish are getting very rig shy try swapping from a swivel lead to an inline. The inline will start turning the hook as it leaves the Carps mouth a lot quicker than a swivel lead and the fish will feel the weight of the lead much quicker resulting in more hook ups and hopefully more fish on the bank. Be aware though that this rig is not suited to weedy conditions and you should always make the rig as safe as possible.
As stated before, there are times when you just have to use a side clip/ lead eject system. The design of the side clip coupled with the free movement of the large eyed swivel on top of the lead means you can in some situation have as much as 25mm of rig movement before the fish even starts to feel the weight of the lead. For me this is totally intolerable I want to have the fish when it picks up my baited rig to feel the weight of the lead as soon as possible and to this end I have been modifying and adapting my swivel leads to give me a much better pick up scenario.
The first rig is a standard side clip/lead eject set up which will allow a lot of swivel /rig movement before the fish feels the lead and starts to get hooked.
The second rig is a standard side clip/lead eject set up with a 12mm long length of 3mm silicone sleeve placed over the big ring swivel. This limits the swivel from moving from side to side but still allows the swivel to twist. This set up allows about 3mm of rig movement before the fish feels the lead and starts to get hooked. This set up is much better than the first rig and will certainly result in more hook ups when the fish are picking up your baited rigs.
The last rig is a standard side clip/lead eject with the large eyed swivel cut off the lead. You have to make sure the brass loop in the top of the lead is large enough to fit over the plastic clip and enlarge the brass eye if it is too small. This set up has virtually no movement in it all making this now a very effective rig compared to how we started. The shorter lead /clip height makes this a much easier rig set up to fit into a solid PVA bag presentation as well.
Finally, take a little time to try and get your rig as inconspicuous as possible, select a lead core or plastic leader that matches the lake bed to the best of your understanding. Take along a few permanent chisel tipped marker pens and break up the silhouette of your rigs and don’t just camo the leaders do the lead and lead clips as well and all of the terminal tackle as well. Take your time think about your fishing and put your best possible rig in front of your quarry once you have done the best you can do the rest as they say is up to the fish.