The design, development, testing and manufacturing of hooks is one that takes a huge investment in terms of time and effort. It’s a critical terminal item that must be right in every way and therefore new hook patterns literally take years to come to fruition.
In the context of the new Rigga patterns this project was initiated back in 2013, in parallel to the Covert Dark upgrade of existing hook patterns. Whilst the Covert Dark patterns rolled out in 2016, we were busy testing initial samples of the Rigga hook patterns and making sure that the design concepts and mechanics worked as well as we anticipated – making sure hook holds remained solid and unmoving.
The two patterns that made it from drawing board concepts (initially 4 patterns) to production have been named the Beaked Chod Rigga (BCR) and the awesome Curved Shank Rigga (CVR).
Of course the benchmark for any curved hook is our Mugga pattern; but how do you improve or evolve a hook like the legendary Mugga? This was essentially the quandary we faced when we initially sat down to design and develop the new Rigga CVR pattern! After all the Mugga, in both its standard and extra strong ‘Conti’ forms, is probably one of the most popular and successful hook patterns available to carp anglers today, so trying to ‘better’ it was going to be more than extremely difficult.
Instead of trying to better a pattern that we have complete faith in, we decided to create the new pattern around the key design features that we knew actually make the Mugga stand out and work better than other ‘run of the mill’ curve shanks also available to carp anglers. To this end we scrutinised the key characteristics that we know are pivotal in making it work.
Without doubt one of these is the shallow angle between the alignment of the hooks exquisitely sharp straight point in relation to the Mugga’s in-turned eye. Reducing the ‘angle of drawer’ like this means that there is less resistance to the hook fully embedding safely down to the bend, thus creating similar mechanics to a beaked point and in-turned eye combination. Normally, if this was done on a curve that doesn’t feature the additional feature of an in-turned eye the alignment would reduce the working gape to virtually zero.
However, with the aggressive in-turned eye that is featured on both the Mugga and now the Rigga CVR, the working gape can be described as the distance from eye to point, as the fulcrum (the flip point) is the eye itself. Subsequently, the mechanics is that the hook twists aggressively so the point takes initial hold and then the hook can pull straight in quickly and cleanly to give the strongest possible hook hold.
The shape and alignment of the point really means these hooks also excel as a barbless pattern, as the hook holds stay firmly in position in a similar way to a beaked point – but with all the benefits of an awesome long tapered straight point taking hold at the earliest possible opportunity.
The other key considerations were the length of the shank and the wire gauge. As with most designs the length of the shank was dictated by the shape of the bend and the final position of the eye. We didn’t want it so long that it could create a lever action or be considered a ‘long shank’, but conversely it needed to be long enough to maintain that all important working gape as the hook flipped.
Similarly, practical experience showed that a stronger wire is vital on curved shank hooks to maintain reliability across the most demanding angling situations, and also in terms of the wires rigidity as flexing hooks can create problems in terms of hook movement within the fish’s mouth. Think of it like this, the strong wire locks the hook in place and keeps it there.
The resulting CVR pattern has proven itself REMARKABLE during long term testing. Whether combined with conventionally rigs like blow back rigs, or on specialist rigs like the German and Ronnie the CVR’s design offers genuine mechanical advantages in terms of initial pricking and maintenance of the strongest possible hook hold. There is no other hook pattern quite like the CVR – which is the ultimate expression of curved shank hook mechanics.
The BCR pattern was a much more straight forward process, as we had a crystal clear idea of what we were aiming for right from the outset. A super strong, beaked point chod pattern that would combine the basic gape and shank length ratio from the exceptional Covert Dark Chod hooks, but also feature a couple of key adaptations to make them the perfect beaked point chod pattern.
This brand new pattern features a deliciously long tapered, gently sweeping beaked hook point that has an awesome razor sharp needle point at the business end. We didn’t want this to be too aggressively in-turned, but needed to be certain that it maintained the basic mechanical benefits that beaked points offer – improved penetration through a positive angle of drawer and the gripping effect once buried that gives really secure hook hold. Just one look at the shape and profile of the point and you know they’re spot on.
The pattern is also incredibly strong having been made from extra strong top grade high carbon steel that is both forged and double tempered and we have introduced a larger diameter eye too.
The key characteristics related to the angle of the out turned eye and the relationship between the point, the length of the shank (and its orientation to the point) have all come from many years of experience in hook development – and going on results during testing these are absolutely perfect as hook holds have been spot on when used on all sorts of Chod, D and Hinged Stiff style presentations.
Finally, the last decision we had to make was which finish to apply on the new patterns. In the end we chose a tried, tested and trusted dull ‘PTFE’ finish as an alternative to our popular Covert Dark plated finish. In essence we knew that this would maintain the high standard of our hook points (we’re VERY fussy on this critical facet) and it would also give that nice smooth finish that helps reduce friction as the hook pulls in. Of course it also offers customers a choice of finishes on Gardner hooks. If they wanted a Covert Dark hook we’re already well covered with them!
To say that we’re excited about the Rigga hooks is a massive understatement!