Bit and particle fishing is a successful summer method and whether incorporating it as a short session stalking method or part of session fishing, it’s a tactic that should never be ignored. My favourite ‘bit fishing’ rig is one that was shown to me by edge fishing supremo ‘Little Jon’ Coxhead and it is a presentation that I have used to bank countless carp.
A few seasons ago I was fishing a few different lakes and I was looking for a little edge, something that was a little different from the norm. I had noticed during the warmer months just how well carp responded to little baits like pellet and corn and how pre-occupied they could become. I didn’t have a lot of disposable income, what with being fairly young and mortgaged up. A twenty five kilo sack of pellet, a few tins of corn and a pack or two of artificial baits seemed to be much kinder on the wallet. Naturally this approach had its draw backs, such as the fact that it would encourage species like bream and tench. I knew in my mind when I wasn’t stalking it was always going to be a lottery if I couldn’t see the fish. If I invited all species to the party and plugged away I hoped that a big carp wouldn’t be far behind. Playing the numbers game was par for the course.
I needed a rig that would work well with small baits whilst being super strong, uncomplicated and offered something a little different. The idea of the rig is that an oversized hook, in this case a size 8 Covert Mugga sits flush to the lakebed with my chosen hook bait (normally a piece of artificial corn) sitting upright the length of the hair and can waft around above the bend of the hook matching the way the free offerings behave when a fish feeds around the rig. For this arrangement I favour a fairly long hair, far longer than I normally use when using a standard boilie rig. A long hair helps separate the hook from the hook bait, enabling the hook to twist and turn pricking the carp in the process when it sucks it in. A final refinement to the rig is the addition of a small section of 0.5mm Covert Silicone tubing onto the hook shank (opposite the barb) to help secure the hair and hook bait in position.
A short hook length, in this case 15lb Gardner Sink Skin, is a must when fishing over small food items such a pellets and particles. Often a carp’s mouth will hug the bottom as it feeds sucking and searching out each individual morsel of food. A short hook length in these situations is important when fish are not moving far between mouthfuls. I favour one of 4-6 inches long as fish are not up ending and moving as much between mouthfuls as they would if they were feeding on a spread of boilies.
I like to add a small pea sized lump of Critical Mass around an inch from the eye of the hook. This enhances the already aggressive turning action of the Mugga, which in turn increases the chance of the hook point pricking the fish when it tries to blow the rig out. I always fish the rig with a small Micromesh PVA bag of pellets. I prefer to scald the pellet so they become soft as this really boosts the attraction that the pellet releases into the water. I add a little blended pellet to just take off the wetness so I can create a little stick of instant attraction whilst making the rig virtually tangle free. This works well with a small scattering of corn but not too much as I want these to be picked out amongst the dark pellet. I often use this rig as a stalking rig or when setting a trap in the margin, however, I have also used this presentation successfully when fishing over beds of particles out in the middle of the pond.
My favourite way of fishing (on those rare occasions that I have time on my hands) is to try and achieve a big hit especially out in the pond by finding a chosen spot, ready my rig according to the lakebed and mark out distances, then steadily apply bait throughout the day – sometimes for even several hours with the swim devoid of lines and pressure. By doing this I’ve often found that I’ve built up the swim after inviting as many fish to the free lunch as possible and gained their confidence. Sometimes it’s hard to restrain yourself if you can see them fizzing or rolling on the spot that you’ve steadily primed, but if the conditions are stable think of this as an investment.
My approach is slightly different to most in that I never stacked multiple pieces of corn for hook baits; instead relying on just a single piece mounted length ways on the hair for the hook bait. This tweak works well not only in terms of numbers of fish but also at picking out the ones that rarely graced the banks. It works on a plethora of waters ranging from gravel pits and estate lakes to busy day ticket venues.
Whilst targeting a club water that contained around 70-80 carp, I banked forty different fish plus repeat captures in one season on day only or short evening sessions. Amongst them were the venues three biggest residents.
I have shown friends of mine the rig and shared my ideas with them and to be honest I think they all disbelieved me and thought that I was keeping something else from them. It was only when these same people would be commandeered to take pictures or assist with the weighing of fish that they would see my rig left beside the mat or hanging in the rod eye and be shocked that a tiny piece of yellow plastic and a basic rig arrangement could be such a winner. This rig will work virtually anywhere provided it’s used accordingly.
Tying Ian’s Bit Fishing Rig
Ian recommends a size 8 Covert Mugga hook, 15lb Sink Skin, Critical Mass Putty and Covert Silicone Tube and a grain of Enterprise buoyant imitation corn.
Step 1 – Using a Peel and Pull stripper tool remove around 3 inches of coating.
Step 2 – using the exposed supple section form a simple hair loop.
Step 3 – Thread a small piece of Covert Silicone Tubing onto the hook length and thread over the hook point and position it until it is in line with the point of the hook.
Step 4 – Position the hair at the correct length and tie a simple knotless knot.
Step 5 – Measure the hook length to the correct length and tie a simple double overhand loop knot.
Step 6 – Mount a piece of buoyant imitation corn onto the hair length ways.
Step 7 – Simply add a dumbell hair stop to keep the hook bait in place.
Step 8 – Ian’s finished rig ready to go.