I’m a great fan of the Hinged Stiff Rig. I’ve been using it for many years now with very good results. It’s just one of those rigs that quite simply catches carp, so when Lewis at Gardner sent me some new hook link material to try for the boom section of the rig I was at first a bit dubious. This was mainly because I was using tried and tested Amnesia as my choice of material and had been for some time. My philosophy towards big fish angling is similar to most of my peers, being “if it’s not broke then don’t fix it”. However, I’m always open to new tactics, styles of fishing and tackle items if it will improve my chances of putting some of the ever increasingly wary carp that I target on the bank. I finally received the newly named Trick Link in 20lb breaking strain and was immediately impressed with its colour. This is something that tends to let the Amnesia down as its black in colour, which makes it stand out on the lakebed far too much for my liking. After using Trick Link for quite a few months, I’m satisfied that it literally disappears into anything it lands on due to the camouflage effect it has. It’s very translucent and takes on the colours around it, which gives me the confidence to cast it over any bottom I might happen to be fishing over.
The formula of the material lends itself perfectly to hinged stiff link boom sections. When tying up the loops on either end it keeps the roundness superbly, this is probably the most vital part of this section. It’s no good tying the loops for the curved section only for it to kink or become deformed after casting, either of which could defeat the mechanics of what the rig is designed for.
The feel of the material is very different to Amnesia or any other boom section materials I have experimented with. You will know what I mean when you handle it and pull the loops apart to get that straightness. It’s not springy like mono or Amnesia but gives a little whilst still retaining its stiffness. It’s quite hard to explain but it’s like it locks the loops into place and retains the straight section after being pulled under pressure, thus maintaining its shape. It doesn’t have as much memory like other materials; hence it stays just how you want it to whilst retaining a good degree of stiffness. I’ve been very happy with the performance of this addition to the rig, it’s helped me land a new PB this year and given me even more confidence in this approach.
Lewis recently sent me some of the 25lb Trick Link which is just that little bit stiffer when needs arise for fishing over a clearer, flatter lakebeds and when you need just that bit more strength. I recently took it to Sandhurst Lake; a popular day ticket fishery with a lot of history, to test it out for a couple of nights. After tying up a couple of the rigs and dropping them in the margins it was clear that, like with the 20lb version, the rig just disappeared on the bottom. A couple of spots were found, the rigs were dispatched, bait was scattered around the area and I sat back to take in the evening sunset on this lovely lake.
I was rudely awoken at 5am to a slow but steady take on one of the rods and after a strong, spirited fight by a Sandhurst carp, I managed to slip a scaly mirror of around 21lb+ into the waiting net. After sorting out the fish and taking a couple of pics, I checked the rig ready to cast it back to the same spot as I always do this. Unsurprisingly, I had to re-tie the curved hook section as that was rather mangled after the fight, but with a pull of the loops (using a couple of pieces of old rod tip that I have cut down and sanded to use to pull the loops of the boom section tight and keep them as round as possible) I found that I didn’t have to replace the boom section as even a slight kink came out after stretching it out.
The difference the Trick Link gives you is, that Amnesia, I would have had to either retie a new section or would have had to fire up the kettle and steam it straight again – which is another plus for the “Trick-Link”,I’m really liking this new addition to the Hinged Stiffy and can’t see me using anything else for this rig. In fact, I’ve started messing around with Trick-Link for my bottom bait rigs now, tying up a nice D section with the material to allow more movement for balanced hook bait presentations. I’ll let you know how I get on with these and I have a feeling that I’ll be using this material quite a bit in my fishing from now on…