Now the weather has started to warm up the fish are moving up in the water and are often seen cruising in the surface layers, a lot of anglers choose not to go after them with floater gear as they have limited fishing time and wish to relax behind static rods, while others find it too frustrating. There is an alternative to surface fishing, the zig rig, that could well help you bank one of those cruising carp.
The zig rig is a statically fished suspended bait on an extra long hooklink. The most popular hooklink material for zigging and floater fishing is Drennan Double Strength .
The use of zig rigs is a very productive tactic on days were the fish are up in the water but is a tactic that is normally overlooked due to the difficulty of setting them up and getting them out into the lake due to tangling. Tangling can be reduced by the use of soluble rig foam or better still a small mesh bag filled with floaters nicked onto the hook. Kordas’ Boilie Funnel Web PVA System is particularly good for making small mesh bags and melts quickly with no residue.
Setting up a zig rig is easier than many anglers think, a simple lead clip will be more than enough in terms of a lead set up. Firstly you need to find out the depth of the area you wish to fish. To decide these areas observe the carps patrol routes as they cruise just below the surface.
Once an area and its’ depth has been selected, the next step is to decide the depth under that water you wish to present your bait. As I said earlier this can be determined from observing the fish you’re targeting and estimating how far below the surface they are. Now you have decided on the depth you wish to fish you need to tie your hooklink to the correct length. For example, if you have choosen to fish an area that is 8ft deep and the fish are cruising about a foot under the surface then you need to tie up a 7ft hooklink. Once you’ve tied up your hooklink you’re ready to go.
A few tips that might help with using zig rigs.
Lay the hooklink down on the ground or coil it round in the bottom of a bucket to cast the rigs out.
Coiling the hooklink up and tying it in a coil with pva tape can make casting easier.
Try as many different colours baitwise as possible to determine the best colour to use, black foam works well as it stands out against a light sky. Gardner Tackle do a good range of Zig Rig Foam including black.
If the fish are up in the water try and observe what they are eating if anything, especially this time of year as there are a lot of fly hatches which will get the fish feeding on food items up in the water. Remember if there is a fly hatch happening and the fish are feeding use a small piece of dark foam, flies aren’t bright yellow!
I believe that colour is the key with zigs and not the flavour, you are trying to imitate natural food items or induce a take from a curious carp, you are not normally trying to get the carp feeding on free offerings. Although feeding free offerings can be a good tactic on heavily stocked waters. Spod a sloppy mix that doesn’t contain many free offerings over the top to bring carp into the swim and get them feeding up in the water where the zigs rigs have been placed.
Hook choice can be a crucial factor. You need a strong, small, sharp hook that will sit at the optimum angle two patterns to try are the ESP Stiff Rigger , especially for pop ups or the ESP Big T Carp Hook for foam. A size 10 or 8 should be sufficient.
Lead size is also crucial, use the lightest lead you can to achieve the distance you need. The reason for the light leads is so that you do not bump the fish off while playing it on a long hooklink
Give zig rigs a little thought and adapt them for your water, you could be pleasantly surprised with the results.