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!