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Rigs
27 Oct 2017
by CARPology
Do you need to scale down your rigs for winter?
It's a well-rehearsed saying, but is this (a): something you do and if so, how light/small do you go and how much effect has it had on your angling or (b): is it a load of rubbish?

Lewis Read

"It does really depend"

“It really depends upon what type of approach I am using. Do I fine down my main line? Hmmm, not really would be my honest answer. Do I refine my rigs in winter? Well, yes, but only when I have altered my approach to ‘bit fishing’ tactics. Something like a tiny pop-up or a balanced maggot cluster requires a slight refinement to ensure that the rigs are brought into balance with the small hookbaits. I have tinkered with fining down over the years – and whilst I think it has a place for fishing on well stocked waters with a reasonable head of small to medium fish, as soon as you get on a big fish venue you’re potentially just making it easier for a big fish (with a big mouth) to get away with sampling the hookbait. In that scenario I tend to stick with tried and trusted big fish rigs, like the Hinged Stiff and Clone Rig. Something that I can cast out, be confident it isn’t tangled and does the job when a cold water chunk sips in that hookbait.”

Matt Jackson

"I'm convinced it helps"

“There is no doubt in my mind that scaling down can help to get pick-ups, but in reality it’s not always practical to do so. Most of the lakes I fish are very weedy pits, even in winter, so I will scale down slightly but not to a point where I feel the likelihood of landing a fish is compromised. Size 8 hooks and 15lb hooklink are generally fine enough but if the lake/swim is suitable I would definitely go lower to increase my chances of a bite when the going is tough.”

James Parry

Scale down where you can

“I believe you should scale down whenever you can. I use size 10 Kamasan B175’s which are tiny when compared to many out-and-out carp hooks, and are my first choice if the situation allows. Carp can become lethargic when it’s very cold, so their ability to discern a bigger hook isn’t going to be a particular concern, but contradicting that slightly, I use heavy 0.33 fluorocarbon from reel to hook. Concentrate on a pick-up registering when the carp has made a mistake by optimising your indication system, which is far more important.”

Dave Magalhaes

"It won't make any difference"

“Many years ago, I used to scale everything right down, but these days, with the vast majority of my winter fishing being overnighters, I’m mainly casting single pop-ups out in the dark, so would never drop below a size 6 hook or a 15/16mm bait. As I touched on in The Rotary Letter, I don’t think a big hook will make a difference when fished on the bottom.”

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