Floater Fishing Discussion
By James Armstrong
To achieve Hi-Vis pink hookbaits: You can use the following Goos:
Series 1 - Raspberry Plume Bait Smoke
Series 2 - Almond Supreme Bait Smoke (for soaking).
Series 2 - Almond Power Smoke (applying straight to the hookbait.
Series 3 - Squid Supreme Bait Smoke (for soaking).
Series 3 - Squid Power Smoke (applying straight to the hookbait.
Use the Bait Smokes and Power Smokes together for additional effect and attraction.
Kiana Carp Goo is available from all good tackle shops throughout the EU.
By Dan Bruton
The use of PVA products has been very limited in my carping exploits over the last few years. Due to fishing large weedy waters I have always favoured using the chod rig and for those clearer areas my all time favourite fluorocarbon rig when fishing hard on the deck. Confidence is always paramount when fishing for a low stock of carp and the chod rig has enabled me to know that I'm fishing with live rods. Its horrible putting rigs out and having that niggling doubt in the back of your mind that it may not be performing as it should.
That manor of fishing has always lent itself perfectly to boilie fishing, which I also have huge faith in at certain times of the year. Sometimes we are faced with situations where the carp either aren't having it or a particular type of weed and depth of weed can hinder most set-ups. Cue the solid bags. First and foremost, what are solid bags going to achieve? In my eyes there are two main factors.
The first factor is that it can pretty much be cast anywhere if used safely. It comes back to confidence. When the weed is at its peak during the summer months we can encounter tall weed fronds and sometimes surface weed with clear areas underneath it. I would be very hesitant to cast any form of bare rig into weed situations such as those. How do you know that the rig is 'fishing'? As we know, carp absolutely love weed, it's full of natural food and can be one of the safest places for them because most people avoid fishing in it, favouring the clear spots surrounding it. I must mention at this point, that some types of thick weed really must be avoided at all costs, if you are struggling to pull a marker float or bare lead through a weed bed, it's simply not safe to fish. There's zero point in hooking a fish you can't land.
The second factor and one that I love about solid bags, is that you can try and tempt a bite when other baiting strategies are failing. Many things can cause a carp to be wary. Piles of boilies, piles of particle, or just the fact that they are being very cagy in certain danger areas. So many factors can put the carp on edge, so doing something different will always prompt a bite out of nothing. I would say that this type of use for a bag would normally be on waters where the carp are pressured or have been hammered for a period of time. You're creating a different scenario that the fish may not be aware of.
Dans New Bag strategy is paying off.
That takes me on nicely to what you can put inside the bags. The world really is your oyster. Primarily I'm a user of boilies, and so I use my knowledge of the components within my boilies to get the basis of my bag mix. I've been exclusively using the freshwater shrimp boilie from Trent Baits for a while now, I know what's in it and I know that the carp love it, so in keeping with that theme I'm able to replicate certain components to make up a powerful bag of attraction without filling it with round balls.
The main part of my bag mix consists of various types of pellet. I start off with a very fine salmon fry crumb, it's almost a powder, which is kicking out a strong smell, with zero breakdown time, and if anything disturbs the spot it will kick out a smell far and wide in the area. I then have a few different sized pellets, ranging from 2mm to 5mm, for different break down times. I'm always looking for a variation so I'll go with an ultra marine, betain and also pellets which are made up with the same flavour pack as my freshwater shrimp boilies. It oozes natural attraction and I know that the carp go wild for it. Just to add something a little different I also put milkimin pellets into the mix because they sit at different levels in the water column pulling fish down that would otherwise just carry on their business. It could be the difference between a bite or not. To finish off I'm using a strong powdered attractor which can be anything but I prefer either krill or liver because I know how devastating they can be. Both of those speak for themselves. Finally I add salt to bring the whole lot to life and again it's kicking out another type of signal. That whole part of the bag is built around proven attraction and it means that I can be as varied as I like when it comes to the actual hook bait.
Because of the boilie replication of the powders and pellets I'm able to use something very different to the usual food type bait on the hair. After all I'm looking to grab a bite from nothing, or pull a fish onto the bag, which could be grazing in weed or simply passing through. Hookbaits are always a very personal thing, whilst chod fishing I'll tend to stick to using a cork ball pop-up which is exactly the same as the feed boilies but with an extra boosted punch to it to stand out from the crowd. So I also want the hook bait in my bag to be much more prominent. Due to tapping into the inquisitive nature of a carp I tend to use a very bright hookbait. If you lower a finished bag into the margin and look at it once it's broken down, the hook bait sits right in the centre and it will enable the fish to home straight in on it without missing it. Playing around with colours can also be the difference in getting more bites.
Now, the next part of my bag which has seen many a heated discussion is the introduction of the goo. Being generally a bit pit angler, fishing for a bite at a time, it was something that I will admit to not having tried until I realised how powerful it was. We all get caught up with what we do and sometimes I can be quite stubborn in not wanting to fix what isn't broken. However I have played around with various Goo's now and it's added whole new dimension to the attractiveness of the business end. Craig at Trent Baits had sent me some new pop-ups he had developed and one that blew me away was his pineapple flavour. It's very different to anything else out there and I was keen to give them a bash. Me being me, I always boost my hookbaits, so I doused them in the pineapple goo and it has given them huge pulling power. I have also added other goo's to different flavours of pop-ups. I will even add goo to my finished bag by squeezing some straight onto it before the cast. Once it settles, it splays out creating enormous amounts of attraction. People can make up their own minds, but one thing I will say is that it pleases me that I'm usually the only person on my waters using it because it is certainly giving me an edge.
Raspberry Bait Smoke Goo was the final addition to this bag.
Rig wise, I'm always looking for an aggressive kick off the hook in the simplest way possible. My fluorocarbon bottom bait rigs and chod rigs give me that desired effect but they obviously can't be used in a solid bag situation. So for the suppleness of getting it in the bag neat and tidy, I'm using a short length of supernatural braid fished in a KD style with a Kaptor Kurv hook. It sits very aggressively and it ensures that all of the weight is on the point of the hook when it's sucked in. Having a straight point also means they are sticky sharp straight out of the pack. That is something that can't be compromised with any rig you are putting out but even more so when using a short rig. Once it goes in it very seldom comes back out until you are unhooking a carp.
To make the whole set-up work properly in every situation, the lead system needs to be neat and streamlined enough to sit in the bag whilst also being safe. I wouldn't use anything other than a pear inline drop off lead. Once the fish has picked up the hook bait and felt the prick, it's pretty much game over. Being such a short rig of anywhere between 2 and 5 inches, when hitting the lead it almost instantly sinks it home and if the carp tries to use the weight to rid the hook, it falls off with ease. To ensure this I flatten the eye of the swivel, which loosely plugs into the bottom of the lead. It literally falls out and then one slight shake pulls the top of the lead out of the sleeve. Not only is that essential for weed fishing, but any carp that knows danger and tries to use the weight won't be able to, which will stack the odds in your favour of landing the carp. It's a great set-up. So that I can get my bags ready for a session I tie the rig and assemble the lead system onto a length of IQ leader, it means I can get the rig baited up and bagged up ready for action just by simply tying it straight onto the mainline via a leader knot. I also have more bags made up ready so that if a fish comes along or I'm moving swims I can be fishing in double quick time.
These powerful bags of out and out attraction have certainly added a new dimension to my fishing with fantastic results, and although these are my own thoughts on them you really can do anything you like with them. There is a whole world of bait that you can put into your bags but hopefully these few little tips will set you on your way to getting bites from fish that are otherwise not having it, or simply not being fished for in the weed.
Get power baggin' and be lucky.
The Unconventional Zig Rig
By Ali Hamidi
Most people will be familiar with the zig rig these days and in this piece Ali Hamidi talks about a zig with a difference. Spring is finally here and now is the time to put this method through its paces, Ali explains why.
Over the last few months, most of us will have been catching very little in the way of carp, it's the hardest time of the year and it shows. The drought is almost over though and it's time to start catching carp again. I don't know about you but I can't wait!
With the transition between winter and spring now in full swing, the carp are beginning to wake from their slumber. Having laid dormant for long periods of time, they're going to start venturing around the lake and with an increase in daylight hours and a rise in temperatures, the carp won't need much persuading either. Carp much prefer the warmer months and as soon they're able to absorb some of the suns rays they will start seeking it. It is because of this that zig rigs can be so effective at this time of year, as the fish begin to swim around the venue, at all different levels of the water column.
Beautiful 25lb Scaley on a cold spring morning.
An important thing to remember is that these fish aren't necessarily going to be looking for a feast, they've only just woken up and food in large quantities won't quite be on their minds yet; a quick and easy meal will be accepted far more readily. A single hook bait boilie fits the bill perfectly but I try to make the most of the zig fishing during the early spring, as I believe they spend more time up off of the bottom.
I'm currently sat at my local syndicate lake with zig rigs attached to all of the rods. This particular venue is relatively deep, over 10 feet in most places, which is perfect zig territory. With this said, I am fishing with three hook baits suspended not too far from the bottom. To be exact, I have them set at two and a half feet, three and a half feet and four and half feet. There's a lot of weed present in this venue during the summer and at this time of the year most of that weed will be laying across the bottom. This weed will often hold natural food, the last of it in fact, and carp will regularly glide around above this low-lying vegetation. This makes for the ideal place to position one of my zigs. I have located areas of weed and placed my baits above or near it, in the hope that I will intercept passing carp.
Large leads help to set the hook and ensure that the lead drops off on the take.
It is very rare for carp to find anglers baits suspended just a few feet off the bottom so not only are they going to approach the bait with little or no caution but if I do start to get action then I can almost guarantee that no one else will be doing the same thing; an obvious bonus. So, that's why I use this method covered, now I'm going to talk about how I go about tying and baiting the rig.
The rig itself is tied using the Kruiser Kontrol monofilament, a clear hook link that boasts neutral buoyancy, which lends itself perfectly to the zig rig. The hook link is suspended by the hook bait when using zig rigs so it is important to use a line that isn't too obtrusive, the harder it is for the carp to see it, the better. This hook link is simply threaded through a Zig-Aligner and then tied directly to a size 8 Mixa hook, before the foam is added to finish the rig. I was always an advocate of smaller hooks for zig fishing, a size 12 Mixa for example, but nowadays I would rather a larger hook. With the bait suspended in mid water I am convinced that the fish are far less concerned, if at all. It's the length of line beneath the hook that I want to disguise.
The hook length is tied directly to a Hybrid Lead Clip, which has had the large ring removed. The reason I like to remove the large ring is so that I am able to incorporate an Anti-tangle Sleeve. These sleeves have had a huge impact on my fishing since the Underwater 8 filming and I never cast out without one anymore, especially when zig fishing. The prevention of tangles is incredibly important with any rig but even more so when using light lines such as the Kruiser Kontrol.
A must have, Anti-tangle Sleeves.
The most important part of any rig, in my opinion, is the hook bait and I am an avid fan of foam when zigging. Using foam ensures that my hook bait is incredibly buoyant and stays that way no matter how long it's in the water. This is very important when trying to achieve the perfect presentation. The last thing you want is for the zig to end up lying across the bottom because your hook bait wasn't buoyant enough. The colour of my hook baits is something else that I pay a lot of attention to too, and fortunately it is available in a variety of different options. Now, a piece of foam is just a piece of foam until you take it upon yourself to change that. I am able to transform my foam into something the carp find almost impossible to resist, by soaking it in Goo. Having several Infuza's filled with foam and different Goo's enables me to play around until I find one that they want most.
The Goo has changed the way Ali fishes forever, he NEVER casts out without it.
Something I find very important when zig fishing is to chop and change, regularly recast, try different length hook links, different colours and different flavours until you've found the a combination that works. Once you have what they want and you're able to put it in front of them, the zigs really can be devastating.
When I arrived at my syndicate yesterday there had been less than a handful of fish caught since before Christmas, and I'm pleased to say that I was lucky enough to catch one this morning. To make my smile even wider, the fish was an absolute beauty, a heavily scaled mirror of over 25 pounds. This carp is proof in the pudding and rounds off my trip nicely.
Get on the mini zigs!