Following on from yesterday’s ‘Coming out of Lock Down’ blog, I have received a couple of questions about my bottom bait reverse combi rig, in particular the components as well as asking what I mean by the ‘cluster of baits’ I had referred to. Hopefully the following will be pretty much self-explanatory.
My main go to hook link set up and the one that has accounted for the majority of my fish for the past few years is my reverse combi link.
I have always preferred to choose my own materials I use in my combi links and knot them together rather than use strip back coated braids, although most are quite happy with strip back coated braids, I never have been. It is a personal thing and a pain at the same time as it creates extra rig tying work for me and one of my pet hates in life is rig tying.
I first tied the rig in Texas whilst trying to come up with something to make the Large Mouth Buffalo bolt off when they sucked in the hook bait. They were renowned for giving tiny bite indications.
That is a whole different article in itself, but this rig worked a treat. I caught quite a few carp whilst fishing for the Buff’s, so naturally I tried it back home and soon I found it out fishing my conventional combi rigs.
I guess although a relatively simple set up, it does behave differently to most other rigs I see cast out these days, in as much as it gives decent hook bait movement and doesn’t sit at awkward angles if the hook link ends up over a stone or twig etc - as is the case with relatively stiff so called anti-tangle type set ups I see.
I have swapped about with the materials used a fair bit over the years and this is a question I find myself answering more than once each month. What am I currently using?
Well, looking at my rods now, I have rod whipping thread hairs. I have used rod whipping thread for my hairs for over 35 years now. It was always stronger and softer than the thin nylon hairs that anglers first used. I also liked the fact that I could colour code my rigs as most of my rigs look the same on a rig winder, board, pouch etc. So, my barbless hook rigs usually have green hairs and my barbed ones will have brown hairs. If I am messing around with a different type of hook pattern, then they will have black hairs. All very easy to see which is which. Before I leave this, I have to admit to using bright red bloodworm coloured hairs a lot as well. I’ll say no more, other than it doesn’t put the carp off.
My current choice of hook is the P.B. Products KD Curved. I have used hooks from the PB stable now since March 2012. I started off with their Super Strong in a size 8 and they accounted for so many big carp for me from here in the U.K. in France and in Italy too. That tiny hook takes such a deep clean bite that despite its size, it just always seems to stay in place and being ‘Super Strong’, well, need I say more?
Last year I felt I needed a larger gape hook for a situation I had found myself in and after looking at the rest of the PB range (why would I change what I had confidence in?) I chose the size 4 KD Curved and it worked a treat solving an issue I had with some carp I knew were getting away with it and managing to blow my smaller hooks out. The KD’s had really impressed me and I found myself ordering more sizes to try, thus I am now using these on my reverse combi in place of the Super Strong. The Super Strong had never actually let me down in years and had caught me so many fish that I would still be as happy with them. In fact, they are a stronger hook and I still carry rigs with them on in case I need to be extra heavy on the fish.
I never use tubing or have any extra bits on my hook, I work on the ‘less there’, the ‘less to detect’ principal and also the least amount of alien matter entering their mouth. To aid with bait and hook separation, I keep the hair long enough so that if I am for instance using a 15 mm bait, then the hair will be 30 mm leaving a gap between the bottom of the bait and the hook the same length as the diameter of the bait. By using the soft whipping thread, rather than following through with the hook link on a knotless knot, it really allows the hook to drop fast in the carp’s mouth.
Next part is the stiff part. I tend to choose Fluorocarbon for this taking advantage of its sinking properties as well as its stiffness. I use P-Line Shinsei that I have used for years in 0.41 mm as this goes twice through the eyes of the small hooks I tend to favour. Most Fluorocarbon’s should be fine for this so long as they pass through the eye twice to form a knotless knot (without the hair) to trap the actual soft hair in place.
Now for the supple section of my hook link which is attached to the Fluorocarbon with a Albrite knot.
Last September I had my kit stolen a few days before a French trip, so it was a bit of a panic period ordering terminal tackle bits before I went. Most of what I use come from PB Products, but apart from the Silk Ray I had not really experimented with their braids, as I am a believer in not altering or changing things until you have a problem and I’d always been happy with a braid I had commissioned to be made last century. But I was in a mess, needing things in a couple of days, so I ordered a few different spools to be added to the other PB Products I usually use so had ordered. One I instantly fell in love with was the 20 lb Silk Wire simply because of the weight of it and the softness once soaked. Playing around with it in the margins of the rocky dam of my pool at home, I was really impressed how it appeared to follow the contours of the uneven ground much better than what I had always used and when laid in the silt areas it was soon buried, so it was very much out of sight. The other braid I am currently using is the 25 lb Armabraid which is a finer diameter than the Silk Wire, but doesn’t sink quite so fast. I guess it is a little more discreet when not sat in silt.
Hopefully this adds to and tells a little more than what I told in my blog yesterday.
Before signing off, I have been thinking of filming some questions and answers for those who prefer to watch and listen, rather than read. If you have a question, please send it as a private message with the heading ‘Watch and Listen’ to my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/shaunharrisonangler/I can’t promise to cover them all, but will do what I can.
Best wishes as always