freeline-23 - Page 106

Rotary Letter
Ed Betteridge
It seems like a lot of the lakes around
the country have woken up now and
a few chunks are getting caught. I
hope everyone has bagged a few fish.
Lee asked about fishing zig rigs with
a slack line or back leads, and he
wondered what our experiences were
like with regard to bite indication in
these situations. I’m in no way a zig
expert, but I don’t fish a tight line on
zigs for bite indication; I fish it to help
the hooking potential of the rig. I’m a
big believer in the theory that a tight
line will convert a higher percentage
of pick-ups into bites/fish on the
bank. But I also believe that it can be
counterproductive whilst fishing on
the deck. However, with zigs in deepish water I’m convinced a tight line
helps hook a few extra fish, and to be
honest the zig rig is easily the worst
hooking rig in our carp fishing
armoury, so we need all the help we
can get. I have seen fish deal with the
rig so easily, sucking it in and spitting
it out without any effort. I suppose a
very long hooklink with a small hook
is never going to produce a high proportion of hookups!
When I say a tight line with regards
to zig fishing, I mean tight. I use a 5 or
6oz lead fished very lightly on a lead
clip system and a heavy bobbin of
around 30 to 40g, and then tighten the
line up to as much as it will go without moving the lead too much. I then
lock the rod in the rests and ensure
the clutch will only give line if it has
too. My theory is that if the fish gets
pricked by the hook and lifts the lead
slightly, the lead will lose purchase on
the bottom and swing back slightly
and put a bit more pressure on the
hook. The fish will then, (hopefully)
panic and shake its head or move off,
this is where the lead will eject and
allow the fish some semi slack line or
“enough rope to hang itself”. It will
then, (hopefully again) bolt off until
the line tightens against the rod and
brings the hook home. I’m sure it
doesn’t always work in this way, but
I’m sure it has produced extra fish for
If bite indication is all that is
required then I’m sure a semi-slack
line with a very light bobbin set at
half mast will be more sensitive than
a drum-tight line (I’d be interested to
hear if the rest of the team agree on
that?) and it will get the line down
and not be as spooky to the fish.
However, I did fish a zig in this way in
the winter when I didn’t want to put a
26lb, caught on a bottom bait whilst the chod rig next to it blanked.
tight line out near the two bottom
rods, and I received an aborted take.
The light bobbin slowly dropped back
and there was nothing there when I
picked up the rod. I don’t know what
difference it would have made if I had
fished it on a tight line – maybe I
would have banked the fish, or maybe
the result would have been the same.
After that occurrence I went on to fish
at least two rods on zigs with a bow
tight line and I didn’t receive another
bite. So maybe Lee is right about fish
spooking off the sight of a tight line,
although the water wasn’t clear on
the pool I was on, but the fish in small,
pressured waters certainly know
when they are being angled for.
Maybe I would have had more action
if I had fished a slack line or used back
This brings me around to another
situation I found myself in… I was
fishing Willow Lake on the Linch Hill
complex a few summers ago. It was a
warm sunny day and the fish were up
in the water. I was concentrating on
my floater rod, but I also had a margin
rod fishing under the bush to my
right. I wanted to fish another rod
near the surface but I didn’t want a
tight line in midwater, so I cast out an
adjustable zig, put a backlead on and


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