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17 Aug 2016
by CARPology
Is the Palm Test any good? Or is it a load of rubbish?
Is it the biggest load of rubbish going or is there actually something in it? Mat Woods and Ian Chillcott debate...

Mat Woods

“Yes and no. It’s not really a fair representation of the inside of a carp’s mouth, but it does show you how your rig will perform when tension and lateral movement is applied. It’s no coincidence that many of the great rigs out there perform well in the palm test, but there are exceptions to that rule. It cannot be ignored that line-aligner arrangements and other set-ups that enable to hook to grab hold of the nearest bit of flesh are very effective, but I don’t think it’s a totally reliable test.

“I can remember Mike Winstone using a rig where the shrink tubing was cranked over so much you could barely get your little finger in there, but he would catch more fish than most others around him, and consistently too! The palm test obviously doesn’t take into account the vortex of water that will be present when a carp sucks in your bait. The forces of gravity that enable the palm test to work effectively are muted in the underwater environment, so short of chucking it out in the lake you’ve no real way of finding out if your little rig creation is any good or not. 

"The underwater films have highlighted how rigs that each angler has total faith in are perhaps working at an efficiency rate much lower than anticipated. I bet Danny et al still have nightmares about some of the things they’ve seen. I mean, would you use a rig if you were told you’d got a 6/1 shot of it actually grabbing hold when the hookbait was picked up? Ideally we want Evens, but let’s be realistic. Carp are wild creatures that are quite adept at recognising when something just isn’t right.

They do, however, behave totally differently when in feeding mode. When their guard is dropped and you’ve created a competitive feeding situation, I reckon you’d catch them with any rig. Get those fish in your palms and you’ve passed the test!”

Ian Chillcott

“I think it’s probably a bit harsh to call the palm test a load of old rubbish, but I have to say I think it proves nothing whatsoever. A carp’s mouth is a far more complex place than the palm of someone’s hand and was designed by evolution to allow the carp to separate that which he wants to eat from that which he does not. And it’s a pretty frigging awesome filtration system too! There is also the fact, if you hadn’t already noticed, that a carp lives underwater. Without that particular medium in the mix, then there is no way any practical conclusions can be drawn… can they?

“I have had to endure many peoples’ excited attempt to impress with a palm test of their latest wonder gadget thingy rig, and on every occasion I have nearly lost the will to live. How, pray tell, can you test the effectiveness of the rig when you have a balanced hookbait attached to the Hair, or a pop-up, or a double hookbait, or a nut, or a… well, I think you get the message. I can’t help feeling that carp anglers have forgotten that the carp has picked up the hookbait because he actually wanted to eat it. He doesn’t actually eject the hookbait, but he does try and eject the hook, although not a carp on the planet knows what a hook is, it’s just his instincts telling him it’s not something to eat.

“And finally, when, after a carp has picked up a hookbait, is the hooklink pulled from the swivel end, thus drawing the hook through the carp’s mouth. Never would be the answer to that question and is probably the one single point that proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the mechanics of a palm test are painfully hopeless. If you want to know how good a rig is, cast it out in the pond and let the carp decide. A fish in the net is all the confidence boosting I will ever need.”

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