Scott Karabowicz's Bottom-Bait Rig: The Claw
Scotty K explains his thinking behind a set-up that’s more than proved itself on a couple of waters
This is a rig I first used back in 2005 on a busy club lake in Berkshire. The fish were big boilie eaters, and this was especially the case with the largest of the residents. I like to fish the rig with a straight-out-of-the bag bottom bait over hard gravel, sand and clay, and it’s one of my favourites for fishing over a large bed of whole boilies.
Hook size to bait size
I tend to match the hook size to the bait. If I’m using an 18 or 20mm boilie, I’ll use a size 5 beaked-point hook with a Hair length that leaves a matching gap between the bait and the hook’s bend. If I’m using a 16mm bait, I’ll drop down to a size 6, again with a matching gap for the exposed Hair.
I prefer this arrangement to a conventional rig with a Knotless Knot, as the hook has to travel into the carp’s mouth bend first, rather than perhaps go in backwards like it can do with the standard set-up. I like to trap the Hair with silicone so it hangs directly underneath the point. This I believe aids the turning ability of the rig as the heavy hookbait drops down in the mouth.
Rather than have the excess Hair crossing the gape of the hook, I like to make three or four turns around the bend of the hook to keep it out of harm’s way, before beginning the Knotless Knot - thanks to Paul Claridge for that one! This also allows you to adjust or shorten the length of the Hair if required, without the need to tie a whole new rig.
I like to use the rig on a helicopter set-up, with a size 8 ring swivel, but I’ve found it better to have the smaller swivel eye travelling on the leadcore, rather than the larger one. I believe this helps reduce the possibility of tangles in flight when using softer coated braid materials. I’ve found this to be an effective anti-tangle set-up, especially when using a 20mm bait.
It’s much easier to strip off the right amount of coating first, then slide the small piece of silicone for the bend down so it’s still on the coated section of the braid, before you hook the hook point onto the silicone tubing. This helps the hook point go through it without nicking the braid and pulling threads from the braided section in the process. I then add a very short kicker of shrink tube to the eye to keep everything neat, and to make the angle at the eye of the hook slightly more aggressive. A Five-Turn Grinner is my chosen knot for attachment to the swivel. I use a small piece of putty about a third of the way up from the hook, which I also believe helps with the turning capability and of course, it keeps it pinned down rather than it looping up from the bottom.
My preferred hook for this rig nowadays is a Thinking Anglers Curve Point in a size 4, 5 or 6, depending on bait size. The sequence shows our 25lb Silt Black Camskin hooklength, a size 5 Curve Point hook, size 8 ring swivel and our Gravel Brown shrink tube in medium, as well as our new, soon-to-be-released Tungsten Droppers, rather than putty which can move.
The rig proved itself during my time on the club lake with really secure and central hook-holds, and my first UK forty succumbed to the same set-up twice in a month that autumn. I went on to use the rig during my first season on Yateley’s Car Park Lake the following year and managed to catch Dustbin, and the very wary Arfur using it with a single-hookbait presentation.