The Ronnie Rig
Big fish angler, Greg Ellis, explains why he favours the Ronnie, why it'll never blow, and the reasons for this slightly 'bulky' version...
Whilst we’re focusing on the Ronnie Rig here, I know you also use a Blowback arrangement. What are the main factors which see you use that rig with a bottom bait/Snowman presentation over the Ronnie with a pop-up?
“Usually, I always use both. Normally I’d have two rods on a Ronnie and one with a Blowback Rig. I’m more of a boilie-approach angler and often fish over quite a lot of bait. When I boat-fished on Kingsmead Island Lake, I’d always have a fair bit of bait left after a bite on the spot that was fished with a pop-up. With the bottom bait/Snowman presentation though, there was never much left. This told me the pop-ups were getting picked up quicker when a carp came to the feed - perfect if there’s a fair bit of bait out there, eh?”
What first attracted you to the Ronnie, and why do you favour it over other pop-up presentations?
“I sort of stayed away from the Ronnie when it first came to light and everyone was getting on the ‘going’ rig. I’d always done well keeping things simple and there was no need to try the Ronnie. One day curiosity got the better of me though, and the rest is history, as they say. I swear by it now. I love the low-lying presentation and the 360-degree spin; couple this with a stiff boom section and it’s indestructible. The rig will always reset itself, whether a bird picks you up or a fish gets away with it… even the crayfish can’t stop you fishing with this rig. It’s an all-out winner for my style of angling.”
Do you ever fish a wafter or bottom bait with a Ronnie, or is an out-and-out pop-up rig in your eyes?
“No, I only ever use this rig with pop-ups. I know some people like to use wafters and bottom baits and that they work well too. I’ve got my trusty Blowback set-up for that though.”
Do you buy into the theory that, with everyone using Ronnies the rig loses its effectiveness? Surely looking down on a Ronnie Rig on a lakebed, it doesn’t look any different to a 360 Degree Rig, a Chod Rig or a Hinged Stiff link?
“Most definitely not. To be fair I don’t think any rig does. Like all pop-up rigs, it’s designed in a way that the hook can’t be seen from above by a human, let alone a carp. I’m so not into the whole ‘rig game’… I’ve kept my rigs simple for years. The Ronnie is the most complex I’ve ever gone and that’s probably the easiest one to tie these days. Will the Hair Rig ever blow? Never!”
Can you talk us through why you’ve selected the components you use to construct the rig?
“I’ve chosen these components as I need super-strong and reliable end tackle for my style of fishing. From the waters I choose to fish these days, I don’t catch many carp and to be fair, the way this year’s going I’ll be mega-happy if I have five of Burghfield’s inhabitants… it’s been a really slow spring and the summer looks just as lively! If I hook a carp, it could be the best carp in the land and I need to know that I’m going to have half a chance of landing it. I love the RM-Tec Size 4 Curved Shanks for my Ronnies; they’re mega-sharp out the pack and super strong. I’m confident using them and that’s why I do.”
The RM-Tec Camo Stiff Hooklink is probably the stiffest coated hooklink material on the market. Do you feel that stiffness is a big edge when used in conjunction with your Ronnies?
“Yes, the RM-Tec Stiff Coated Braid is the stiffest I’ve come across and it suits my style when I’m targeting the crayfish-infested waters I do. They can’t deal with it, and the coating doesn’t crack and kink the rig like some. The other option is a stiff fluorocarbon boom. In my current situation though, I’m looking more at the strength and considering the snaggy nature of the pit. My tackle is more upgraded strength-wise at the moment.”
Finally, are there any little tweaks you make when tying this rig, that you feel enhance it?
“Not really; the rig’s pretty standard, albeit a bit ‘bulky’ at the moment as you can see the size 8 swivel on the hook end. I’d usually use the smaller size 11 and tweak the bait to balance it perfectly with a bit of tungsten putty. Burghfield has crayfish though, and they love anything that contains tungsten; that’s why I’ve opted for the bigger swivel. I need to get my rig down on the deck with no added extras, so to speak; it works a treat this way. It’s not like a carp would notice this from above anyway, all they see is the hookbait.”
What you need:
1.Start off by threading a piece of shrink tube onto the shank of a size 4 Curve Shank hook. Next, attach the QC Heli Ring Swivel to the hook and then slide the tubing down over the swivel, making sure it doesn’t sit over the barrel - this will reduce how freely the hook can spin.
2. Next thread on your Micro Swivel, followed by a Hook Bead.
3. Tie the hook to a length of the Stiff hooklink material using a Three-Turn Grinner Knot. This stuff is really wiry so you only need three turns. Thread on an Anti-Tangle Sleeve and then tie on a size 8 Flex-Ring Swivel. Job done!