For many years now the solid PVA bag approach has long been one of my favoured tactics. Far from being a ‘chuck it and chance it’ method this approach requires a dedicated rig set-up to ensure the overall presentation works at its optimum efficiency. Following several seasons of modifications I finally arrived at this rig in which I have complete confidence in using, so let’s take a look at it in more detail.
Rig components and mechanics
Braided hooklinks are perfect for PVA bag fishing because their soft supple nature ensures they can be easily folded into the confines of a small PVA bag. Also, because I prefer to fish with ‘critically-balanced’ hookbaits, a semi-stiff or stiff material would push the hookbait away from the pile of feed as the hooklink straightens and consequently compromise presentation.
Reflex: The supple braid that’s ticks all the boxes for my solid PVA bag rig
I use the Fox Reflex Braid, which fulfills all the above criteria and to construct the rig we start by tying a simple Overhand Loop in the braid to form the Hair-loop. Having already mentioned that I prefer to fish a critically balanced hookbait this would comprise a small 10mm pop-up, which would be popped-up around one-inch. So that the hookbait would be just visible through the pile of the feed once the PVA has dissolved.
With the hookbait threaded onto the hair and secured in place a size 8 Arma Point SSSP hook would then be tied on via a simple Knotless Knot. The addition of a small piece of shrink tube, steamed in place down the shank fixes the hair
in position, and a longer section steamed in place over the eye of the hook acts as ‘kicker’ to improve the hooking potential of the rig.
Adding a little putty to a tungsten sinker allows me to ‘balance’ the pop-up hookbait precisely
Next we slide two tungsten hooklink sinkers onto the hooklink. The first one will come to rest just above the hook to which tungsten putty can then be moulded to counterbalance the buoyant hookbait. The second sinker is set at the mid way point of the hooklink to ensure it doesn’t kick-up off the lakebed.
The hooklink is then finished off by tying an Overhand Loop at around three- to four-inches from the hook to determine the length of the rig. Initially this short hooklink makes it far easier to load the rig into the solid bag. Vitally, it also means when the fish are feeding on an isolated patch of feed (the contents of the PVA bag) and not moving between mouthfuls the short hooklink in effect hooks the fish at the moment the bait is sucked in and the hooklink is tightened against the weight of the lead.
An inline lead set to drop-off is essential to the performance of my solid PVA bag rig,
An in-line lead is the obvious choice for PVA bag work as they are more compact than other lead arrangements. I prefer to fish them ‘drop-off’ style and I do this by incorporating the Edges Drop Off Inline Kit fished on a Submerge leader.
These Kwik Change Swivels provide a speedy rig change facility
The set-up is made complete by splicing a Kwik Change Inline Swivel onto the end of the leader. This allows me to change rigs in a matter of seconds and the trimmed down anti-tangle sleeve secures the rig in place.
As you can see the rig needs to suit the compact nature of the final bag
Although this rig can undoubtedly be used in any manner of angling situations I feel it works particularly well when fished in conjunction with a spod mix consisting of similar small food items. In some respects the contents of the PVA bag imitates another pile of spod mix, and on more ‘hungry’ waters this approach can be hard to beat.