Going The Extra Myle
Myles Gibson talks zig rigs; what they are, how to tie them and what makes them so good.
Zig rigging is a method that some of you may never have tried before – and those of you who haven’t are missing out. I have enjoyed some of my best fishing whilst using zigs and it can be quite surprising how effective they are; at times it can almost seem easy.
The great thing about zigs is that they enable you to target fish at all levels of the water column, rather than waiting for them to drop down and feed on the bottom.
I have found that zigs work all year round, particularly on the higher stocked venues where large shoals of fish move round together, but my favourite time to use them is during the colder months: winter and spring. During these periods the carp spend much more time up off the bottom than they do feeding on the deck, and this makes them more susceptible to zigs. Large beds of food are a welcome sight for the carp during the summer and autumn when that style of fishing can be hard to beat, but this isn’t the case when the water temperature is lower, and zigs can easily out-do the bottom fishing methods.
The key to successful zigging is the depth and, although there are several other determining factors to consider, it is the depth you must get right. For this reason, it pays dividends to use a marker rod and float in order to determine the depth of water you’re fishing. Once you have discovered the depth, it’s a good idea to start with your zigs at varying depths. I use the maxiumum number of rods permitted and have a different length zig on each, generally starting at around three-quarters depth and playing around until I receive action. Once I’ve had a bite at a certain depth, 10 feet for example, I will then switch all three over to that depth, or at least very close to that depth. Eventually you’ll work out which depth is the most effective. This can change during the session, of course, so be sure to keep playing around if you’re not getting bites.
Second to getting the depth right, your hookbaits must be right too, and I have found that some definitely work better than others, from day to day and venue to venue. More often than not I use black, red or yellow, sometimes combining them. I have also done well using a marker pen to create something a little different to what other anglers might be using. This can be particularly effective on venues where the zigs get a lot of use. Like any method in carp fishing, the more anglers doing it, the quicker the carp will wise up to it and the harder they become to catch.
Both the hooks and the hooklinks you use are absolutely crucial, and it is important to remember that you must not sacrifice the strength of your tackle in order to get more bites. You must choose your length, strength and hook size based on the venue you’re fishing. If there are savage bars, weedbeds or snags around, you cannot use a 6lb line; if it’s deep and clear, you can. You just need to think logically and keep the carp’s safety in mind at all times.
I always use a lead clip arrangement coupled with an anti-tangle sleeve, which does exactly what it says on the tin and helps to stop tangles. The reason I use a lead clip is because it enables me to attach a very large lead and then drop it once a fish is hooked. I use large leads for a couple of reasons. Firstly, to ensure that the hook is properly pulled home to the point of no return, and also to make sure the lead detaches on the take. When you’re playing fish on zigs, you don’t want that lead attached if you can help it, as it makes life hard and getting in direct contact with the fish almost impossible. Without the lead on, playing and landing the fish is much easier, especially in weedy situations.
When choosing your swim, I would advise that you try to get somewhere central, or at least somewhere that receives a lot of fish traffic. The more fish you have passing your hookbaits, the better. This is why I have found the more central areas to be the more productive, because lots of fish will pass them for one reason or another. If you can get yourself into an area that either holds lots of fish, or sees lots of fish pass through, you’re on to a winner.
Once we start receiving fly hatches and the sun begins to warm the water’s surface, the zigs will come into their own, so if you haven’t done so before, now is the time to give them a go!
How To Tie Myles’ Zig Rig
- STEP 1: You will need some Kruiser Control mono, size 10 Wide Gape hooks, 0.75mm Silicone Tubing and some rig foam
- STEP 2: Take your desired length of Kruiser Control and form a small hair loop
- STEP 3: Trim down a piece of foam
- STEP 4: Attach the foam to the hair loop and knotless knot a size 10 Wide Gape in place
- STEP 5: Slide a small piece of silicone over the eye of the hook – note how it opens up the gape of the hook
- STEP 6: The zig is now complete and ready for use