Academy Q&A – Braid, Lead Core, Hook Length and Knot Types

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This month Ed Sabatina asked; “The majority of the day ticket waters around the Liverpool area have a no braid and no lead core. Can the team give some ideas on hook length type and knots etc to use as an alternative. This would be a massive help to me and my friends.”

Darren says:

Thanks for the question Ed. I am going to assume that there is a total braid ban (hook link and leader) as well as a lead core ban. For me fluorocarbon is the answer. It’s a material that strikes fear into the hearts of many a good Carp angler and for very good reason. I have to be brutally honest and the reason so many people have problems with it is that the fluorocarbon that has flooded the carp market isn’t of the highest quality. Fluorocarbon is a very expensive material and when a gap appeared for it in the Carp market they all went for the cheapest they could find. This resulted in all the breakages and other problems. The good news is – that if you go to the game section in your tackle shop there are loads of good quality fluros available. Yes, they are expensive, but they won’t let you down. For leaders I use Seaguars ace hard in 19lb. In the States they use this stuff for Bonefish angling in the ocean and if you have ever seen a Bonefish fight you will know that this material won’t let you down. I use a back to back grinner to attach it to my mainline and put about six turns on my reels, which equates to about 20 feet. It’s very heavy, virtually invisible and like tow rope! Just make sure you bed the knot down neatly and you will have no problems with it. I use it straight through to the leadclip, for hook links I use two different materials; if I want a stiff rig then it’s the rigmarole camH2o in 15 or 20lb. It’s very easy to work with and unbreakable with any knot you choose to use. For a softer suppler rig I use grand max soft in 15lb, which is a supple fluorocarbon. Avoid strangulation knots(blood knots), but any other knot will be fine. Hope this helps and be sure to let us know how you get on.”

Good luck.


Ed says:

I’ve not really heard of a braid hook length ban before, but I do know quite a few waters where braided main lines and leadcore are disallowed. My first choice in rig for fishing a clean hard spot would be the hinge stiff rig on a fused leader. My Hinge Stiff Rigs comprise of a size 8 Choddy hook, to 20lb Mouth Trap and 20lb IQ2 Soft Fluorocarbon. For how I tie it up please see this link (page 46). I attach it via a quick change link to the swivel on a lead clip system; this allows plenty of movement to ensure a good presentation. I also use a fused leader instead of leadcore to prevent tangles and pin it down onto the lake bed.

IMG_6729“If the water is weedy or silty, I will use a naked choddy, but I’m sure Matt ‘Chod Master’ Eaton will go into more detail on this rig.

“The other rig that I would consider is a rig that has been forgotten about recently and that is a simple mono rig. I tie it to the hook via a knotless knot and looped at the other end to fit on to a quick clip. This rig is very simple, yet very effective, I have taken a good number of decent fish on it over the years and I’m sure it will continue to do so. Most people that I have seen use it, tie the hair with the mono, but I like to add a bit more natural movement to the rig by using a braided hair, which seems to work really well and I’m sure that even the keenest of bailiff won’t mind a braided hair!”

Ed Betteridge

Matt says:

There seems to be plenty of venues where the owners appear to have lost sight of the fact that their customers are supposed to enjoy their fishing.  On a personal level I’d be inclined to fish somewhere where the rules aren’t so draconian, unless the water contained something pretty special, but if these lakes are all that are available to you, you’ll have to work around the rules.

“A lot of waters ban the use on braid but this usually concerns main lines and does not affect your choice of hook length material.  If this is the case then a rig tied with a standard coated braid should be fine.  If that isn’t allowed then the alternatives are monofilament or fluorocarbon.  Both of these materials are suited to the use of Palomar, Grinner and Knotless knots as well as the figure of eight loop.

“Thankfully one of my favourite, and possibly the most successful pop-up rigs around, the stiff hinged rig, can be constructed without the use of braid.  A short, stiff nylon bristle section by the hook is connected to a boom of either mono or fluorocarbon via a mini ring swivel, which will be well within the rules.  For bottom baits, over a clear lake bed, I’d be happy a using simple mono or fluorocarbon blow back rig.

The naked chod would form the mainstay of my approach

The naked chod would form the mainstay of my approach

“The third set up that I’d employ, and to be honest would probably form the mainstay of my approach, is the naked chod.  It suits my mobile approach and is perfect for casting at showing fish as it will be presented well, regardless of the bottom make up.  You’ll find it particularly useful if the venue is weedy as it negates the need to find perfectly clear spots.  The naked chod requires no leader or tubing as it runs on the mainline, thereby keeping you within the venues regulations.  With these three rigs at your disposal you’ll be able to cover the vast majority of situations and ought not to feel handicapped by the venue’s limitations.

“Although the fishery bans the use of braid it may allow you to use a fused leader above the lead but this is unlikely and you will have to use tubing or, as in the case of the naked chod, nothing.  There is some very good, tungsten impregnated, tubing available these days which sinks well and, to a certain extent, follows the contours of the lake bed.  If you prefer to fish with just main line then pay some attention to the avoidance of tangles.  The naked chod is almost impossible to tangle and, although the other two rigs I have suggested are pretty resistant to getting wrapped up, you may want to incorporate some PVA to give you some peace of mind.  A two or three bait stringer or tiny mesh bag will decrease the risk of tangling which will increase your confidence that you are fishing effectively.”

Good luck!

Matt Eaton


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