How to change your Chod set-up to transform your bite indication
Mat Woods continues his look at lead set-ups...
In my first piece in this new series, I talked about the Running Chod, leaving a large distance between the lead and the top bead and allowing the Chod Rig to settle as naturally as possible on the lakebed. It’s been the option for lots of anglers for a very long time, but it’s not always the best arrangement.
My main worry with a Running Chod, as I explained previously, is the Chod Rig itself staying down by the lead, due to how you hit the clip, or the leader not laying out quite right on the cast. The only way around this – to ensure your rig ends up at the correct distance you want it from the lead – is to semi-fix it between two beads. And for me, this comes into its own in a couple of situations.
Firstly, is when there is weed around. If you know there’s at least 1ft of weed and at most, 3ft of weed, what better way to present a bait in that area than to semi-fix your Chod rig 4ft up the leader?! When you’ve found fish in a weedy part of the lake and don’t want to lead around and spook them, this can be a brilliant way of presenting a hookbait quickly and effectively.
The other situation where this set-up is worth using is when nobody else is using it. It can be an edge for a number of reasons. Firstly, it connects the carp to the weight of the leader and lead right away. No freedom for the rig to slide like on a Running Chod – the fish is pretty much hitting tension as soon as it moves your rig. Secondly, it provides much better bite indication.
Now you might be wondering, ‘how?’ Well, don’t take my word for it, take the word of underwater expert Rob Hughes. On my Below The Surface feature with Rob, he explained how the closer the bead was to your rods, the better the indication was when the rig was picked up. This is because for your bobbin to move, the carp don’t need to move your lead, only the line. This usually manifests itself as a ‘bouncy’ take, a very slow lift, or rod tip knocking. By semi-fixing the rig closer to the rods by having it a long way up your leader, your bobbin is better-poised to react to what happens when a fish picks it up.
The other obvious benefit is that carp have a tendency to blindly panic when met with resistance. The Bolt Effect! When I fished at Weston Park, in Shropshire, Chods had been pretty well used for a couple of seasons. Due to the shallow water, weed and soft silt, the Chod was easily the best presentation for most of the situations confronted there. However, most of the anglers were fishing them the same way, and subsequently you still got bites on Chods but most of the fish fell off during the fight.
I abandoned the Chods for the summer, concentrating on baiting the clearer areas and fishing with wafters and snowmen rigs. When winter came, however, no amount of bait made a difference to clear the lakebed, there was so much dead weed and leaves drifting around you had to switch to pop-ups.
I thought again about Chods and the idea of them ‘blowing’, but surely not all 200+ carp had figured them out. In fact, it was probably more that everyone fished them in the Running Chod style that was popular at that time. Sure enough, everyone I ever saw fishing with Chods had virtually identical set-ups on.
I decided to try the Bolt Effect Chods, semi-fixing the Chod Rig right at the very end of my leaders between two beads. I was using mega light leads, and what I wanted to happen was maximise my bite indication and react to any lift on the BoBBin.
The result? Nearly 60 carp between January and April 1st, almost all caught on that very set-up. I was using hooks sharpened within an inch of their lives, and the smallest leads I could get away casting with. Which wasn’t very big by the end of my baiting campaign, where I was basically baiting up by hand and fishing the marginal areas everyone else was ignoring.
What was interesting, looking back, was how what Rob told me had played a part. At the time, I didn’t really think about it, I just noticed that most of my bites were very tentative, just a bleep or so, and when I wound down into the fish it was then they would bolt away from the spot, almost like I’d struck into them. If I take what Rob explained into account, what was happening was that because the bead was 6ft or more away from the lead, as the line was lifting from the lakebed I was getting an indication. It was like fishing the lift method, only the BoBBin was acting as the float.
These days I tend to fish with the Bolt Effect Chod with a fluorocarbon leader, rather than leadcore or Pindown, but there are times when the Pindown is unbeatable due to how supple it is. When you have a lakebed that is up and down a lot, or patchy weed, the Pindown is far better than a naked set-up, as no fluoro or mono in the world is supple or heavy enough to follow the contours of the lakebed as you’d like.
The essential ingredient to all of this is a supremely sharp hook. Back in those Weston days I was sharpening Continental Boilie hooks, truly the best hook of all for getting the point right down as fine and as sharp as possible. These days I use a prototype straight-pointed pattern or Avid CHD. Both sharpen very well. Because of the straight point, I also feel I get more chances than I can with a beaked point.
Hooks are personal, so use what you like, but remember to have a mega buoyant pop-up and balance it out to match your feeding pattern. The rest is down to you, but don’t discount the Bolt Effect Chod without trying it. Like all lead set-ups, it has its place and when used effectively, the results can be incredible.