How long kickers can transform your fishing
Lewis Read retells the day he first clamped eyes on a really long extension kicker...
I remember, many years ago, being sat on the banks of the wonderful ‘Herts Club Lake’; it was the start of the season and the draw had been reasonably kind… I was in one of my favourite swims for the illustrious first day.
The chugging SW wind was pushing up the lake towards the islands and shallows, and I was sure that the area I was in would see some carpy traffic. However, instead the fish hung down the southern end, making the most of what residual warmth was in the water, milling around the multitude of big, shallow bars that crisscrossed the area. A couple of anglers were having it right off down there!
As always, location was key, but these were also Colne Valley stalwarts that had fished Savs and many other historic waters in the area with great consistency. Consequently I was unable to control myself from having a good squint at the rigs on show as one of them walked past with his rods folded. You know how it is…
I was gobsmacked to see what looked like an outrageously long kicker on the hook - it must have been a couple of inches long! I was dumbstruck and confused by the concept. How, or why, could a carp inhale something that is so obscenely obvious? But I was missing the point. The use of a long kicker may look a little garish and cumbersome, but the mechanical benefits far out-weigh the preconceived perception of what a rig should look like - historically subtle and as visually unobtrusive as possible.
The application of a decent length extension to the hook shank ensures that the hook goes in and stays in the right orientation; so the point is facing back towards the lips and most importantly stays that way even when it’s swirling around in a big carp’s cake hole as it huffs and puffs and (tries to) blow the rig out.
The XL Kicker also effectively pushes the pivot point further away too, and this makes the hook act more aggressively as the weight forward clawing action is accentuated and enhanced. Combine this with an in-turned curve and the added weight afforded by tungsten-impregnated compound and the combination is hugely effective as a hook arrangement that works with most bottom bait combinations (balanced or straight out the bag).
If you’re fishing for decent size carp then why not have a dabble? You just have to fiddle with a rig that has been constructed with an XL-Kicker to understand quite how much of an improvement this component creates in terms of hook reaction and point positioning whatever hooklink you combine it with.