I like Rob Hughes. He was my landlord once, you know, and a jolly decent one at that. He’s also good at fishing and I reckon since he delved into the underwater world it’s had a positive influence on his fishing. Don’t you think it’s a bit weird how much time Rob spends underwater? I call him an underwater sex pest for reasons I cannot divulge here, but if you bump into Rob, ask him about the warm water salt bath story. Though, I must admit, after a ‘Below The Surface’ CARPology feature with Rob last year, my fishing changed massively.
See, a lot of my fishing is done on windswept pits of varying types and the role of undertow is something that cannot be underestimated. It’s influence is huge and you must never take it for granted. During the photo shoot with Rob, he demonstrated two things to me. Firstly, how much undertow lifts your line off the bottom, no matter how much line you keep paying out to slacken it off, and secondly, how much ‘bounce back’ you can get hitting the clip hard to reduce the line drag in a crosswind.
My German rigs were landing fine and presenting themselves perfectly, but the bit behind the lead was, for me, a problem. Rob’s recommendation was to stick a fluorocarbon leader on rather than a spliceable material. No matter how heavy leadcore or lead-free leaders were, in a big wind, they’re off the bottom. So rather than it being 2mm thick and out of place, it may as well be something that at least tries to be transparent.
One thing I couldn’t really find, however, was a fluorocarbon leader material I really liked. Initially I tried some of the obvious ones, without joy. Crap knot strengths or too much memory. Then I went through some sea fishing brands, but they were all a little stiff too (good hooklinks, though). I settled eventually with the stuff Rob had been using himself, after he told me the slightly coloured fluorocarbon was actually better than the clear stuff because when it was off the bottom, it remained hard to detect. He’d put a lot of time and effort into this underwater and had found that fluorocarbon, when it’s mid-water, can zing through the water like a laser beam, sticking out like a sore thumb. These stories were mirrored by people like Rob Hales, Ryan Need and Ian Russell, who’d all used fluorocarbon on waters where they could use a boat, where they could see just how blinging fluoro is when it’s not pinned to the lakebed. I spoke to them about fluorocarbon main lines and they told me not to bother. Fluoro leaders, however, were another matter, as it was more likely they’d be on the deck.
This gave me an idea: what if the fluorocarbon wasn’t just clear? What if it wasn’t just translucent brown? What if it was both? So whether it was on the bottom or off the bottom, its outline would be difficult to follow? We already knew at Avid Carp how a two-tone line could transform our results (the Avid Zig Line is two-tone and the results on the material are outrageous) so could this be transferred into fluorocarbon?
This presented us with a few product development issues. Where to source the best quality material? Could they dye fluorocarbon? Could they dye it in set lengths to make it truly two-toned? Luckily, we got somewhere really quickly and ever since myself and most of the Avid crew have been using the same prototype fluorocarbon leader material.
It must have been good, because some of the resolute Grand Max Riverge users were abandoning that in favour of the new prototype. We were onto something.
One thing all the lads said thereafter, it was a main line they could use in combination with the leader. Something that was the same colour, but not fluoro. Subsequently, the Avid Carp Outline range of monofilament reel line and fluorocarbon leader/hooklink materials was born.
In learning more about these materials, I’ve seen a number of our lads out on the bank and watched how they fish. Loads of them use fluorocarbon leaders, or no leader at all, and some of what they do is something I think those reading this could really benefit from incorporating into their fishing.
The first are Tungsten Rig Drops on the line. I noticed some of our lads going through packs and packs of these, but I knew why. They were using two or three behind the lead, just to get that last metre or two down on the bottom. Not only is it effective, especially when used with a fast sinking line or fluorocarbon, it’s streamlined for casting. They’re line-friendly and from looking around our local syndicate waters, mega popular amongst the lads catching the most fish!
If there’s a bit of a chop on, or they’re fishing at longer range, they incorporate the Avid Line Droppers instead of the Rig Drops. These are larger, heavier, but equally as easy to use. I started using this particular arrangement straight after my underwater experience with Rob and I’ve not looked back. I set them up pretty loosely so I can use them no matter how much weed is around.
My results on a number of different gin clear venues using this set-up, on massively limited time, beggars belief! I got to watch this all unfolding on a few sessions at Baden and I couldn’t believe the difference. Whereas before my baiting spots would kick off and then get quieter as time went on, this time they kicked off and the fish kept coming. Almost like, previously, the spots were being sussed because of my leadcore leaders. What the other lads catch on the same set-up is frightening, it’s impossible to ignore.
Granted, this isn’t the most technical of Pro’s Secrets, but when so many people ‘in the know’ are doing the same thing, it’s only fair CARPology tells you about it. Even if it does take a bloke in a rubber suit to convince you it’s worth it. Cheers, Rob!