The big question
Do you believe items such as rig rings and pieces of silicone on the hook shank makes any difference to a rig’s performance? Do you really think they have an effect when you consider the speed at which the rig enters a carp’s mouth?
“Yes and no would be the answer to that question, but there is a lot more to it than that. Confidence is everything to me in carp fishing, as it is for most people, therefore the angler is going to use what he has the most confidence in… is he not? The problem, as I see it, is that most of the tinsel we attach to our rigs is just that, tinsel. In an era where anglers struggle to find something new to make them look good, a never ending supply line of minute adjustments seem to take place. “Put a swivelly thingy doodah here and a ringy whatsit firkin there… and in time I think you will come to realise that I am a God”, is how I read most of the rig talk today. In essence what has happened is something has been added needlessly in a vain attempt, I presume, to try (unconvincingly where I am concerned) to make said writer look better than he actually is.
“One item of tackle, however, that I am convinced makes a difference is shrink tubing added to the eye of the hook. I used to nick the stuff from the REME vehicle mechanics before it was even in the shops and used it to make the angle of the hook more aggressive. I have never believed in the palm test, because for one it’s not a carp’s mouth, and secondly, it isn’t in water. Results are the definitive answer here, and the addition of shrink tubing makes the hook sit in the perfect position most of the time. Anything else, in my world at least, is simply more decoration on the Christmas tree so to speak and personally I just don’t see the point in doing that.
“The basic mechanics of the Hair rig remain as good today as they have always been. Unfortunately, some anglers have striven for glory by overcomplicating things somewhat. Rings, swivels and other paraphernalia have never caught me more fish and I don’t think they ever will. And whilst I am not worrying about my rigs I can concentrate on the more important carp fishing problems... like does the local Pizza Hut deliver to the lake!”
“I most certainly do! Especially in the raw terms of trying to control the orientation of the hook and hooklink as it settles on the lakebed, but the effect of incorporating these accruements goes far beyond that one single aspect.
“More often than not, the addition of a swivel or rig ring achieves higher degree of flexibility, ensuring that the critical free movement of the hook in uninhibited (and therefore reacts quicker) when the hookbait is inhaled. This means that the point gets into a position where it is able to take purchase. I am happiest with the less cluttered approach of using dull coloured Covert Rig Rings – but I do appreciate that those that have incorporated the mini swivels and embedded them in hookbaits (so only one swivel eye is protruding from the bait) are convinced of the beneficial merits so it’s on my to do list. It’s not all rosie though…
“Rigs like these can be prone to sit untidily on the lakebed (especially if not controlled by using semi-buoyant hookbaits) and there are still circumstances when I would go back to the tried and tested ‘Hair trapped under silicon’ method. As the position of the hookbait in relation to the hook and hook point is more firmly set, the rig tends to stay effective even if the fish are bashing it about all over the place!
“The position of the Hair can be vital to how successful the rig is too. With bottom baits and balanced bottom baits, a good rule of thumb is to have the Hair exiting the piece of silicon tubing (to hold it in place) opposite the barb on the hook. Many anglers like trapping it further round the bend (and adding a bit of shrink tube onto the eye to help kick it over even more) and this has a long-standing track record for catching lots of carp too. Just make sure that the Hair is long enough to let the hook settle tidily down, unobtrusively out of harm’s way – until the hookbait is sucked in and all hell is let loose…”