Over the past three or four years the use of zig rigs have really taken off and with more anglers being confident using them (and other anglers showing there worth) which only encourages people to use them on a more regular basis than ever before. For me fishing with zig rigs has always been one of my favorite methods of catching carp. When you get it right, the method can take places apart.
As for many anglers, it can be a confidence thing, when I first tried a zig it felt very strange and after one hour of casting out I just wanted to reel the rod in. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine had a good session one summers evening, that really got me thinking. From that evening on, I’ve never really looked back to be honest and I rarely hesitate to cast one out nowadays. Whether its summer or winter, zig rigs can play there part.
As the temperatures rise zigs do come into their own and instead of siting it out with more conventional bottom bait rigs scratching for bites or having to wait for the night and morning come round, why not have some fun on the zigs during the day and catch some bonus fish.
There are a few key points to consider when ensuring you are fishing zigs effectively and they are the depth of zig, chosen hook baits, terminal items and whether to apply bait over the top of them or not. I will explain these individual key points below:
Depth – It’s very important to make sure you get the depth of your zig exactly right. This can vary depending on the depth of the lake you are fishing and the weather conditions too. For example if it was a warm and sunny, but windy, you may want to have your zig 2–3 feet under the surface where the fish will be cruising. On the other hand if it was 25 degrees and a flat calm sunny day, you might be better having your zig rig set either on the surface (over depth by 1ft) or around 1ft under the surface as the fish will be cruising right up on the top of the water. The best way to determine this, is to use a marker rod and plumb the depth of the area where you wish to cast the zig. Once you have found the depth, make a zig rig up and count 1 foot off at a time on your tackle box and this will give you an exact measurement.
Hookbaits – The main things to consider before deciding on the choice of hookbait is their size and colour. I quite often see anglers casting out 16mm or 18mm pop ups and 9 times out of 10 the fish can suss these out and will continually swim past them. I always prefer to use a smaller hookbait, such as a small piece of trimmed down Zig Rig Foam or a small 8mm CC Moore Mini Bites pop-up. I don’t think the fish see these size baits as danger and just see them as a tasty small food item. Colour can play its part too, so it’s worth trying a few different colours until you find one that’s working and then switch all of your zigs over to the winning colour.
Terminal Items – I always set my zigs up with a Covert Lead Clip system and fish the rig as a long tail. Depending on if there is any weed or snags, I may be inclined to drop the lead on the take and step up to 15lb Zig Link. I would also be inclined to drop the lead if I was fishing long zigs, anything in excess of 6 foot, just to prevent hook pulls. My typical zig set up would consist of a Covert Lead Clip system, a 2–3oz lead, Covert Anti-Tangle Sleeve, 12lb Zig Link and a size 8 Covert Incizor. It is always good to have a Rig Bin with various depths zigs already tied within them. Not only will it keep your rigs tidy, but will also save you time when you are fishing.
To Bait or Not – If fishing heavily stocked venues then spodding a sloppy mix over your zigs can be deadly where the fish are coming to the dinner bell sound of the spod. If deciding to apply this tactic make sure your mix is perfect and very sloppy. When spodding I use a Bait Shuttle with the insert removed so all of the mix can be released through the holes. My favourite mix is based around CC Moore Sweet Nut Cloud mix, which has great attractors and creates a perfect cloud. It is always worth adding a few different types of particles to the mix, so they fall through the water at different times and can create a bed of bait on the bottom for the night as well. If I was fishing on the surface with zigs (over depth) I would normally introduce some floating baits to get the fish feeding confidently on the surface. Lastly zig rigs on their own can be very effective especially on low stocked waters or in the cooler months – the hook baits can be made more appealing by dipping/soaking them in an attractor/glug such as CC Moore Hell Raiser glug pots.