I suppose I always liked his writing, talks and his general outlook on carp fishing.
This is what gave me the confidence in the late seventies to initially buy his flavours additives etc. New bait company's have come and gone in the meantime, but I have to say Rods gear has always been consistent and reliable and has stood the test of time. Now the thing with carp fishing is there are so many variables to consider. For example if you have a bait the fish are feeding on and like, you can have good results even on basic rigs. If however the fish are indifferent to your bait, no matter how good your rigs are, you will struggle to catch. It's purely down to percentages.
At the end of the day my philosophy has always been to never take any short cuts with baits or rigs. They must both be the best I can utilise in any given circumstances. I will explain the rigs I am currently using in some details so you can see the reasons for their use. For at least the last ten years of my carp fishing I have been aware of how easily the carp on pressured waters have been able to eject hookbaits. This problem has become more acute as each season has come and gone. You only have to compare overall results on most waters over the last five years to see how results have generally declined. Yet the fish are still putting weight on and are eating the bulk of the free offerings going in our waters. I know there will probably never be anything to compare with the impact the hair rig and buoyant baits had in the early eighties but there are still rigs that will hook a greater percentage of fish that pick up your hookbaits.
One of my favourite rigs at the moment is a rig you may have seen mentioned in the angling press. I called it the anchor rig. I designed this rig specifically to stand the hook on it's point on the floor of the carps mouth or where ever it should fall. It behaves awkwardly and is much more inclined to grip instantly. Certainly the addition of this rig to your armoury will put plenty more fish on the bank. I have used it over the last two years and I can honestly say it has out fished any other rig I have fished it against on equal terms by quite some way. The principle the rig works on is straight forward. It works like a ships anchor. If you visualise a ships anchor without the crossbar on the shaft of the anchor to flip it onto the points, it would not grip the seabed. It would just slide across the bottom. Well the cross member of 40 or 50 nylon laid across the shank of a carp hook creates the same action in a carps mouth. After picking up the bait. The carp levels and pulls against the lead see diagram A.
The nice thing about the anchor rig is you can use it with your own personal favourite brand of hook, and it will do the job. At the very least the addition of the anchor to the hook won't do any harm because it's so small on the rig. What it will do though is make an impact on fish that are ejecting the hookbait, you will either hook fish in the bottom of the mouth or occasionally like I have done in the foot of the mouth or the top lip. This is because the anchor will make the hook either lie point down, see diagram A, or the hook will twist and flip onto it's back and rear up like a scorpions tail. See diagram B.
I don't know if you have ever hooked fish in the roof of the mouth, I know I have never before, except very rarely on floater rigs. This I think is an added extra bonus to the rig. One thing said to me occasionally is the rig is unnecessary on waters where the fish have seen very little pressure. Well I can see that point, but I would point out that the anchor rig is basically a mechanical principle, which will simply hook a greater percentage of carp in any water you care to try it.
I have some friends who have used it in France and they commented that the fish they landed on the anchor rigs were hooked better, usually further back in the mouth. The other rig I like to use is another design of my own, I like to call the "Cranked hook". This is quite a radical change in the way the hook is shaped. The hook has a dramatic effect again in the carps mouth. It rotates as soon as the carp moves off against the lead, although it will behave awkwardly when sucked in with the bait.
It is devastating on waters where the fish are dealing with rigs and tends to panic fish that are wary feeders. When I thought of this rig two years ago, only myself and my friend Graham Mills were using it. We fished it against rigs that were as good as we could come up with at that time and we were stunned by the quick very positive action we received on the "Cranked Hook". It totally out fished the other rigs by around 5-1 and I might add we were fishing several different, difficult circuit waters in the North West of England. Graham caught that season ten twenties and a thirty on the rig, which where we live is very exceptional.
The problem we had with the rig in it's early days was that we were having to bend the hooks ourselves, in a fly tiring vice. The hooks were not really strong enough so we were forced to fish them in snag free open water swims and play fish very cautiously. We were keen to have the hooks custom made by a proper hook manufacturer. This has now been done and the finished hook is strong and well made and works excellently. In fact you can use it in any circumstances with confidence. Because the hook is bent, unfortunately it may be branded with the same label as the original bent hook, which bears no relationship to the Cranked hook. The bends on the Cranked hook make the hook behave very different to the other type and I can honestly say without exception that the Cranked hook has never damaged a carps mouth when my friends and I have used it, otherwise I would never use it, never mind write about it. The hook is best used with a supple hooklength so it can rotate easily in the mouth.
See Diagram C
The Cranked hook is best suited to bottom baits although it will still work well with pop-ups. I would suggest if you do use pop-ups, you make them fairly buoyant so the hook lifts properly otherwise the bait, if not buoyant enough, it may drift to the eye of the hook instead of the bend.
See Diagram D
I should point out how I use both the Cranked hook and the anchor rig. As a rule if I am fishing on a hard bottom gravel or sand I prefer a short hooklength 4- 7 inches and a lead that can not be moved easily i.e. a ball lead or pear lead. This tends to slam the rigs home, when the fish mouth the bait.
If I am fishing on silt or soft clay bottomed lakes I like to use a longer hooklength 10-20 inches. when used in conjunction with the above mentioned leads. Although now I tend to use tri lobe riser leads all the time in silt, I find these excellent, and have used this type of lead exclusively for some years now. I find these don't stick in the bottom at all. They gently plain down and rest nicely on the top of thick silt. So I know my hookbait is never buried out of sight. You can still tighten up nicely to the lead too.
If I am fishing at long range I use 4oz tri lobes. These leads may not be the best for absolute maximum range but I think that apart, they are the most useful lead you can use. Another good use for them is for fishing over weed. I think they are probably the only lead available that won't sink into thick weed. Like when used on silt, they plain down and rest on top and avoid burying the hookbait, this can make all the difference on an awkward weedy water. Another good use for this type of lead is for when you want to fish over close in snags. The lead will rise to the surface on the retrieve and save you snagging under water obstructions. The third rig I use which I find effective is based on a long shanked hook, usually a Kamasan B800. These are very sharp and strong enough for the job. What I do is to use them with a D rig which goes down the back of the shank. A stainless steel ring slides up and down the D and you tie your bait to this.
See Diagram E
I find this rig effective over baited areas especially with 10-14 ml small baits. You can also if you wish combine this rig with an anchor to increase it's effectiveness further. If you pull this rig over your palm, out stretched flat you will find it rotates very well and grips 9 times out of 10. Another thing to point out is this rig performs better with a buoyant bait, used so it stands the hook upright. I think a good aid to presentation is to get some tungsten putty, roll it in your hands till it gets softer and more pliable and wrap a ball of it around your hooklength especially on braids, then slide the putty back and forth down the whole hooklength. The putty will impregnate the braid and it will lie flat on the bottom, when you test it in the margins. It saves you messing about putting other materials on the hooklength which can be messy and time consuming.
Another thing I think worth a mention is you should never forget nylon is still a great hooklength material. It is always worth fishing one rod on nylon especially on waters where no one else is using it. If you are fishing waters that are clear it can be especially beneficial. Throw a nylon hooklength and a braided one in the margins and see which is the least conspicuous. The technology with nylon has come on unbelievably in the last few years so you can buy some nylons that are supple, transparent and strong, so think on.
A good tip for those people that like to use spade end hooks i.e. Owners, Kinyrus for their rigs is to heat up the spade end of the hook with a cigarette lighter. You then dip just the spade in some lead coating powder that sticks to the hot metal. Then simply re-apply the flame to the coating on the spade until it blobs neatly. This then will protect the knot from being cut on the sharp edges of the spade, so you can use them for snag fishing safe in the knowledge they are sure to hold up. The size of lead you use can make all the difference in the amount of fish you catch.
Its a very interesting subject in it's own right. I think too many anglers are a bit blinkered in this respect. Let me give you a classic example of something that happened on a water I fished called Capesthorne Hall, a Stoke on Trent angling Society club water in Cheshire. Well around 4 years ago the club deemed it would impose a lead limit of 3/4 oz. This was to stop anglers casting right across the lake to far margins, and to stop some anglers getting into arguments about crossing each other on this narrow estate lake. As you can imagine 3/4 oz does seem a bit extreme so there were quite a few disgruntled carp men around. In fact quite a few seemed to behave like it was the end of carp fishing on the lake.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The lake having seen nothing but 2-4 oz fixed or semi fixed leads for the best part of 10 years, fished it's head off. Where in previous years people had been experiencing single bleeps or odd takes, carp, were now thrown into confusion by the light running leads in use and it was noticeable how some fish were much deeper hooked than before. Some people could hardly see the rig as fish were hooked right at the back of the throat.
Takes were fast and very positive. If you fish waters where people use mainly heavy leads then get on light running leads quick, you will probably surprise yourself by the carps reaction.
To be honest I was not going to mention this next rig as I have yet to get the best out of it myself but as a follow on from the previous mention of light leads, I think it's a shame to leave it out.
This rig literally enables me to fish a 1oz lead at 140 yards plus if I wish, so in effect I can get the advantages of the light lead, confusing the carp, but have the light lead out in the middle of the lake where the carp have only seen heavy fixed or semi fixed leads used previously. (Even if you use a running lead at range you will have a fixed lead a lot of the time on silt, as the lead buries it self and stops the rig being free running.) As you can imagine the carp will be able to deal with the old familiar situation very well.
Here's how to set up my rig
See Diagram F
You use a 3oz lead fitted with a 5ml split ring. This enables the lead to disengage from the anti tether clip as the rig hits the water. It does cost you a lead and a split ring with each cast but you can use the rig in an alternative way by using the 3oz lead attached up the main line by a 4 lb nylon weak link. This does two things, first of all you don't lose the 3oz lead and secondly you can, depending on how long you make the weak link, chose how far you want the fish to move before it hits the 3oz lead. The fish is usually well hooked and panics before it hits the bigger lead. Tie the weak link to the main line with a sliding stop knot.
See Diagram G
The only slight reservations I have about this rig is the anti tether clip would be better made from metal, for greater strength, and also due to the 1oz lead being the only thing to tighten up against, you will have to fish slacker lines than you may be accustomed to.
Apart from that I think the rig will take some of the pressured carp by surprise. Think about it how many times have they seen single baits attached to heavy leads at long range. Too many I think. All the best.
by Frank Warwick.