The scope of rig variation constantly seems to roll out with anglers having an almost dizzying array of options and choices.
As the variety of clever little riggy components slowly inflates, so does the broader acceptance of novel rig ideas that incorporate them, as technically minded carpers seek to add small tweaks and improvements to their tried and tested rig designs.
Take hook mounting as an example… The conventional knot has always functioned effectively, and always will, as hook patterns have evolved in parallel with rig development so that shapes perfectly suit the nature of the material they are normally coupled with. For instance in-turned eyes and soft hooklinks, or out-turned eyes and super stiff ones, and all the variations and combinations in between.
Anyone with an ounce of scepticism would (rightly) ask if it is even necessary for this format to change from the decades that these combinations have served us all so well and the obvious answer would emphatically be ‘if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it’. But without evolution and variation in our angling the journey would be less interesting, at least for anglers that look at rigs as a pivotal part of a bigger picture.
Mechanically, conventional rigs still work exceedingly well when constructed correctly, but the revelation that was the Ronnie, and then the tweaked German rig that also incorporated a small Target Kwik-Lok swivel for attachment through the eye, opened up many anglers’ eyes to a new option and the opportunity to use this method of hook attachment on other rigs too.
Technically speaking, the combination of a freely rotating link to the hook makes perfect sense, but I wouldn’t necessarily go beyond the actual mechanics of a soft link on the basis that soft hooklinks tend to allow this movement anyway. What the swivel style links do very nicely is achieving a greater level of control in the manner that the hook settles, as well as necessarily extending the hook shank and adding a bit of weight to counterbalance pop ups and balanced hookbaits. In essence any one of these improvements on their own is pretty damn easy to achieve, but the fact that the simple addition of the swivel on the eye does all this in a single step (as well as offering the uber convenient option to swap hooks if you so wish) which all together means the benefits are far more tangible as a whole package.
It also means that you can keep a super consistent and effective end section and change the other bits to suit the individual circumstances – changing hooklink materials to suit the nature of the lake bed or the basic raw strength you need to successfully land fish form a given spot, WITHOUT having to worry about the effectiveness of the hooking mechanism. That bit is consistent across the venues as the variants all work so effectively there’s no need to consider radical changes, at least not yet anyway.
Now don’t for one second confuse shank mounted (360 style) with sleeved hook eye attachment! Despite the 360 having proven fish catching pedigree some anglers vocally challenge the rigs safety, alleging that the hook eye has a propensity to catch on nets. But as I have never seen evidence of this happening any more than any other rig that is nicked just inside the fishes mouth or where the hook point id exposed (as the hook has pushed the rough the flesh0 and catches the net I tend to take negative rhetoric with a very healthy pinch of salt.
The options on shape and format of hook dedicated attachment swivels and clips will inevitably continue to expand in the future, and the current favourites (C-Loks and XT Flexi Rings) will be supplemented by more, potentially improved tools. Logically, where one format will suit one angler, another format clip will suit another angler better. Not all options/variations are necessarily function driven designs, but the product adaptations may simply suit one persons rigs and styles more than another.
What will be the next stage in the rolling evolution? It’s got to be hooks and specifically patterns like the soon to be released Rigga CVR, that was designed very much with this style of rig in mind and evolved from understanding of Mugga hook mechanics. This pattern takes the whole concept a little further by bringing together the perfect angle of drawer with an overall shape that works amazingly well with both flexi style (ringed) swivels and straight kwik-Lok styles.
The recent adoption of swivel hook attachments has opened up a new avenue of exploration for anyone that wishes to fine tune and tinker suitable rigs, with the potential to continue developing adaptations with different hooks and methods of hook bait mounting all coming into play. Indeed, these are interesting times for the technically anal amongst us!