In this short chapter I shall be going over zig rig carp fishing, my zig rig setup and why it is a much underrated tactic when carp fishing.
It is a known fact that carp do not spend 100% of their time on the bottom of the lake feeding, they infact spend most of their time mid water, this is where using a zig rig can catch you carp when a bottom bait would not.
The zig rig is a tactic that an angler cannot afford to not have in their armory. Many carp anglers do not have much confidence in the zig rig setup and tend to reel it in after thirty minutes or so. For this reason I suggest starting out on a runs water (easy lake) to get used to the setup and build up your confidence on the rig. Make sure to use the zig rig on both rods and throughout your whole session to give it a fair chance.
Zig rig carp fishing is usually a more pro active form of fishing. You have to ensure you are fishing in the correct depth and using the correct hookbait; using a zig sometimes means a lot of chopping and changing. Getting your zig rig hookbait at the exact depth is critical in succeeding with the zig rig, this may mean you sometimes have to change the length of the rig a few times, the good news is that once you have found what depth the carp are then it should be easy fishing!
There are two different types of zig rig fishing. One involves the carp taking your hookbait as a food item and the other one takes advantage of the carp’s curiosity. It is a good idea to go with the food approach on well stocked lakes; this is done by spodding a cloudy mixture over your spot. This creates competition as the carp get into a feeding frenzy mid water (most fishing championships are usually won using this carp fishing tactic). On a low stocked lake it may prove pointless to spod over your spot as there may not be any fish in the area and the spod mix will just sink to the bottom. This is when the factor of curiosity comes in to play; unflavored hookbaits regularly out fish their flavored counterparts in this situation. A piece of cork or black foam is a great hookbait option that may seem unattractive but catches a shed load of carp; due to them mouthing the hookbait out of curiosity and getting hooked as a result.
Zig rig setup – My zig rig setup has changed over the years, but I now believe I have the perfect zig rig setup for my carp fishing. Getting the zig rig set up is critical to success with the rig; your end tackle must be light enough to be held up by the small hookbait but at the same time strong enough to withstand a fight with an angry carp!
My two favorite zig hooks are the Korda Mixa hook and the Drennan Barbel hook, they are perfect for my zig rig setup. Both hooks feature a big gape for their size, a straight eye and a straight hook point that is needle sharp. You can use other hooks for your zig rig setup if you wish, hook choice is a personal thing and many anglers have their favorites when it comes to their zig rig setup.
I have settled on Fox Zig Line for my zig rig hooklink material. When looking for a hooklink for my zig rig setup I wanted it to tick a few boxes, the Fox line does this. Zig line has a thin diameter and is very strong in relation to the 10lb breaking strain that I use it in, a good zig line should be thin in diameter but also strong at the same time. Many carp anglers make the mistake of using a fluorocarbon hooklink material, I would not suggest this as fluorocarbon is a very heavy material, the last thing you want is the hookbait not being able to suspend your zig rig mid-water.
Use light leads – My zig rig set up always features the lightest lead that I can get away with. A heavy lead will cause you all kinds of trouble when you have hooked a carp and when you are playing it. Having a 4oz lead bounce around during the fight can and will lead to hook pulls. Ideally you would want to drop the lead, however I don’t suggest for you to drop the lead with every fish you catch.
The zig rig is an all year round tactic and not just for summer carp fishing. Of course it is very effective in summer as carp spend most of their time in the surface layers soaking up the sun. However it is also very effective in winter, albeit much harder to work out what depth and areas to fish. When winter carp fishing you will find that the carp rarely want to a feed, this is where the advantage of the curiosity factor comes into play again, when using the zig. The zig rig can be a fantastic tactic to use on warm winter days and especially as it starts coming into spring with the surface layers being warmer.
In conclusion I will say that I personally used to neglect the zig rig (even on perfect days for it) but the more I used them the more I caught and my confidence grew. Get the zig gear out and start catching!
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