A big lead and a sharp hook: the ultimate combination in hooking efficiency. The most important part of your rig armoury is the hook, actually the point itself. I rarely cast out without honing the point. It makes a huge difference to a carp either getting off the rig or hooking itself, fact! I don’t know how anglers can say that it doesn’t help. The finer the point and the sharper it is, the quicker, more efficiently and deeper it will penetrate.
I mastered a number of ways to sharpen my hook having worked closely with a few guys at JAG Products. Some techniques are more suited to fishing over gravel, where you may need to keep the point stronger; other ways maybe more suited to pop-up fishing. For example, when I fish over a hard bottom, I sharpen the point in the shape of a 50p piece as it retains the point’s strength. When pop-up fishing, where the hook won’t come into contact with any gravel or other hard objects, I sharpen it in a rounded way. There are different techniques for different scenarios. Experiment with your hook points and find the best method for you, it really makes a difference!
Couple your ultra-sharp hook with a heavy lead and you’re creating something that’s rather tricky to eject. By heavy, I mean 3.5oz plus, my personal all-rounder being a 4oz, but try this test: create two mirroring presentations, place a 2oz lead on one rig and a 4oz on the other. Now pop the hook point on the smaller lead lightly on your fingertip and try lifting the whole rig. Be careful, but you’ll notice that you should be able to lift the rig without too much penetration into your skin. Now do the same with the 4oz lead. Unless your fingers are made from stone, or you’re completely impervious of pain, it will be very, very difficult to lift up, if not impossible without the hook penetrating.
This happens underwater and I feel the heavier the lead the better. Not only that, I believe the weights of a lead are severely dulled underwater, so again, the heavier the better. You may worry about the lead weight burying, but I counteract this with a helicopter presentation – a personal favourite of mine.