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Rigs and Things

Frank Warwick

often sense that quite a few carp anglers can be dismissive and sceptical when it comes to rigs, but I can live with that! After all, it’s for my own enjoyment and satisfaction that I like to experiment and try new rigs, as I have always got that nagging thought going through my head that I should be doing better. That’s what drives me on and keeps the old grey matter working and, in my opinion, some of our newer recruits to carp fishing have missed out on a rather monumental period in the early-’80s with the invention of the Hair Rig. Words cannot easily convey the massive change in fortunes for the anglers who got onto this rig quickly – it was as though someone had cast a magic spell that made carp suddenly throw caution to the wind and pick up every type of bait presented on them. As an example, at the time I was fishing a stately home lake, Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire, and to my mind I was using decent rigs at the time and had enjoyed varied success. I guess I caught perhaps one in three sessions, with which I was reasonably happy. I thought it was more about finding carp and location, then bait, good bait and bait application – much the same as we fish today. Rigs were fairly low on the list when it came to carp-catching factors; we often used to say, “Straightforward rigs are best, no need for anything fancy!” Sound familiar?

It’s okay finding spots that produce bites, but is your end presentation effective enough?

Frank Warwick


Rigs, without doubt, can either simplify or complicate the issue of catching carp. One angler who has been at the forefront of rig mechanics for more years than he cares to remember is Cheshire-based Frank Warwick, who this month reveals a new take on rig presentation.

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This one at 28lb came from Mid Kent Fisheries Chilham Mill, while I was experimenting with the Pulley Rig.

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Frank Warwick

t ounter tha bankside c a each time registered uth! rig in its mo r u o d a h carp to imagine in g e b ’t n a Ic hits it would y n a m w o h e to say it show, suffic loody would be b loads!”

observations. Some were carp-related, others were regarding barbel, but totally relevant, in my opinion. He said much of the time we are repeatedly getting cleaned out by these fish without the hookbait being picked up at all. Many times he has seen all the free offerings eaten and the hookbaits left stranded in total isolation, and he is absolutely sure the unnatural behaviour and visual aspect of the rig is more of a problem than we think. He gave graphic accounts of times, whilst fishing for barbel on stretches of river where he could see what the fish were up to, and, despite taking all possible concealment precautions, a fairly big group of barbel would often move in over his two hookbaits and baited area and sometimes take a number of hours clearing up all the free offerings and manage to totally avoid his two baited rigs! The same goes for carp, especially in clear water, and Martin did say that most of his observations relating to this behaviour were in clear water conditions. From observations some of you know just how good a carp’s eyesight is, so who really knows how often this is happening even in murkier conditions! (Scary thought, isn’t it?) So what’s the answer? Well, that’s the million-dollar question. I happen to think that for the sheer number of hours spent

Rigs and Things

Well, let me tell you, the use of the Hair Rig not even happen in my lifetime – who knows? was so amazing that on the same water where What I do know is that winter carp fishing perhaps one in three trips might produce a results are much poorer than they used to be, carp, it changed instantly to between 5-20 carp despite our use of more sophisticated baits, per day. If you got location and the bait spot ingredients, terminal tackle, etc., therefore on you could even get into double figures of I can only surmise that summer returns are carp captures in an evening session! To the poor in decline, especially when you take into anglers who weren’t privy to the Hair Rig, it account the increased numbers of carp anglers made us lucky people who were using it seem participating nowadays. like gods. Of course, we did nothing to dispel Do you see where I am coming from? I look this, and secretly revelled in our good fortune at the generally very good weight gains for to be in on the big secret. carp all over the UK and it seems blatantly The thing that really shocked me back then obvious they haven’t gone into a kind of ‘eat less was how our previously uncatchable winter carp and don’t get caught much’ mode. They have suddenly became so very catchable. It made us simply learnt to deal with our current crop of realise that they were still eating after all, and rig presentations and most probably treat them more than we could possibly imagine. It was a with a fair degree of contempt, more often than carp fishing revelation that I think will never be not taking them on and dealing with them with matched, due to so many relevant factors from an ease that would shock us if we knew how that moment in time. However, having seen often it probably happens. Imagine if we all had the incredible rig that we all now still take for a little bankside counter that registered each granted turn carp fishing on its head, who’s to time a carp had our rig in its mouth! I can’t say that another idea might not achieve a lesser begin to imagine how many hits it would show, effect but still have a comparatively big impact! suffice to say it would be bloody loads. Did you notice I said ‘idea’, because the next One man I have a lot of respect for is step could come from a number of Martin Bowler, and during our directions and not necessarily conversation about this if be rig-related. Only time subject, Martin went a e in “Imag will tell, and perhaps the whole lot further with e tl a lit next big change might his comments and we all had

The latest ‘rig think’ from Frank Warwick, The Pulley Rig. 97

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Frank Warwick Rigs and Things

behind static rods, perhaps a lot of us are guilty of taking a hell of a lot for granted and sometimes not paying enough attention to those small details. For the sake of a few extra minutes’ preparation, it could be the difference between success and total failure. I can only detail areas I pay particular attention to, and I’ll let you decide if you think it could help your presentation or not. How about if we presume carp’s avoidance of rigs and hookbaits is mostly down to the visual aspect of the end gear; never presume that what you are using is as good as it gets. I always say, with three rods allowed on most venues, it’s crazy to miss the opportunity to make ongoing comparisons. Put a lot of effort into at least trying one rod with a fluorocarbon hooklength and carefully chosen components to make the whole lot as invisible as is humanly possible. That way you are making a positive practical experiment that will, with luck, soon show a result.

What if the carp can smell humans a lot more than we think? Just think how much we handle rigs and hookbaits before casting them out – loads more than the free offerings, for sure Pinning down all the end gear with tungsten putty is worth doing. However, I occasionally see anglers going a bit over the top with this stuff and in doing so they hinder the hooklength and hookbait from being able to move and waft as much as free offerings do, thus rendering the bait unnatural. Leave the last four inches of the hooklink clear and uncluttered. Always remember that time making your hookbait into a wafter is time well spent, considering how important this aspect of finetuning for effective presentation is. Again, I

Bivvied up at Chilham, and once the rods are out I get time to think rigs.

think far too many anglers are lazy and cannot be bothered, and then they wonder why their rod hours go unrewarded! Let’s face it, even if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own bespoke balanced hookbaits, it takes no time at all to drill and insert a cork plug into your hookbait. The current trend of adding a piece of plastic sweetcorn on top of the boilie bears testimony to this being worthwhile and effective. In my book, anything that negates the tethering effect of the hook and hooklength makes a positive difference What if it is much more than the visual aspect of rigs? What if the carp can smell humans a lot more than we think? Just think how much we handle rigs and hookbaits

before casting them out – loads more than the free offerings, for sure. What if carp can smell things, much like dogs can on land, after all, they can detect ridiculously small items or traces of various scents for days, weeks, and even months later in some instances. Why should anglers presume that carp don’t have this degree of ability simply because they live in an aquatic environment? I happen to think they have, perhaps not to the same degree as eels or catfish, but I don’t take any chances. I have a set procedure that I follow before I cast out my baited rig – I simply have an open top kettle filled with boiling water into which I steep the hookbait and rig and even the hooklength material (some coated hooklengths lose the coating in boiling water). Think about

The Pulley Rig

2 1 Take a 20ins length of supple braid and thread a flexi-ring swivel onto it.

With the braid doubled over, thread on a small 6mm plastic bead, like this.


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Rigs and Things

Another superb Chilham Mill carp weighing 23lb.

Frank Warwick

it, just before casting you have sterilised the most important elements of your presentation and dehumanised it completely. In the past I have had negative sarcastic comments about me going to this trouble – one bright spark even called me stupid for overestimating a carp’s intelligence when I offered it as a reason as to why I was catching and he wasn’t! I was actually trying to help him – we were fishing adjacent swims at the time and I ventured to say there is a difference between intelligence and instinct. Aversion to the smell of humans is a distinct possibility. Just for my own amusement and to drive my point home, I asked this same fella who had criticised my theory if, given the choice, he would prefer to use a hookbait that only he had

handled, or one that had been passed around and handled by the 20 or so other anglers around the lake. “Don’t be stupid,” he said, “that’s bloody obvious!” So in effect he agreed with what I was saying but he just didn’t realise it. Sterilising takes a couple of minutes, so why take the chance? Here’s some more food for thought. I have caught an uncanny number of carp upon my arrival at a water after assembling the rod and casting out a dried-out boilie that was still on my rig from a previous session and it’s happened far too many times for it to be coincidence. Perhaps it’s something as simple as the section of water being left undisturbed prior to my arrival, but that’s unusual because I tend to mainly fish busy day ticket waters. I think, more probably, the bait was washed out and had no human smell, and because it was dried out this in turn enhanced the wafter effect. Many years ago, whilst stalking with a lead, I noticed that anti-tangle tube scares carp – without a doubt they noticed it and vacated the swim. I used the anti-tangle tube primarily to protect the carp’s flank during the fight, but as a consequence the carp spooked off the very stuff I was using for their benefit! On several occasions I had a completely different reaction

and had takes when I fished the same setup minus the tubing. I rationalised that in all my years of fishing for carp I had never had a fish with scales lifted or any kind of damage whilst surface fishing, where, obviously, no rig tubing is involved, so off it came. I think a great bonus with solid PVA bag fishing is that you can omit the use of rig tubing from the setup because tangling problems aren’t an issue. It’s all too easy to get into a routine where you automatically include rig tubing in the setup. Think about it. It’s the most blatant item in our terminal gear, and with the common use of sticks and PVA bags that avoid tangles, do you really need it, or is it used just from habit? As I commented earlier, I still pay a hell of a lot of attention to my rigs; to my mind each and every aspect of carp fishing has to be as good as you can get it. Contrary to what some people would like to believe, I generally prefer to use clinically effective but simple rigs. Everything I have on the rig is there because it has a purpose – no other reason. For many years I racked my brains on how I could make my hookbait separate from the hook when picked up by the carp, not just a little bit of separation like a blowback rig, but something far more dramatic. I used to sit at home or on the bank




Now take a boom rubber and snip off about 10mm from the front end.

Thread the rubber onto a needle and then onto the braid, taking both ends through it.

You should now have a setup that looks similar to this, with the bead running free. 99

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Frank Warwick Rigs and Things




The next step is to tie on a hook and Frank uses a slightly curved pattern by PB Products.

The hook is tied off to one of the two ends of supple braided material.

Onto the other end of the braided material a small rig ring is tied.

I’ve been playing around with some new components from Dutch company PB Products.

The Pulley Rig can also be used with pop-up presentations, either as a Chod presentation or as a short hooklength presentation straight off the lead or inside a PVA bag.

Whenever I observed carp blow out rigs it was usually the boilie or the weight of the hookbait being manipulated that enabled the carp to dislodge the hook


messing with the rig-making gear for hours on end trying to solve the mechanics of making the effect possible. Then some time around last September I was fishing at Bluebell Lakes near Peterborough (on Kingfisher Lake to be exact). I had a kind of weird sleep where I drifted in and out of a conscious state and somehow I found myself dreaming about a rig. I woke up in the middle of the night, got out the tackle box, and tied up the rig! How mad is that? Even more bizarrely, the rig was the answer to the problem I had mulled over for years. Whenever I observed carp blow out rigs it was usually the boilie or the weight of the hookbait being manipulated that enabled the carp to dislodge the hook, before the weight

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of the lead was encountered, in fact quite often before the hooklength was straightened. You can see this happen many times on the Korda Underwater films, however, with my new rig the whole thing enters the carp’s mouth nicely, My good friend Jason Cann with a 26lb 8oz carp.

then, once the hook has pricked the fish, the slightest movement of the carp’s head causes the hookbait to slide out of the mouth, leaving just the hook in there. Having reached this point it is almost impossible to dislodge the hook. Most of the attempted rigs I came up with prior to this one had too many disadvantages to be worth considering and weren’t even remotely in the same league as this rig. I called this rig the Pulley Rig and it really is very easy to tie up, plus you can either use it at the end of a stiff boom combi-rig style, or you can make it the entire rig. At a casual glance it looks totally standard and very basic, but upon close inspection it is far from that. As the name suggests, the rig works on a pulley system, and

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Rigs and Things Frank Warwick




Next, a bottom bait is tied onto the rig ring, using either braid or dental floss.

Now take the small 10mm piece of rubber and slide it towards the hook.

To set the rubber in place, simply pull it down over the knot on the hook eye.

key to the whole thing are strong components – you will see why later. Ironically, just as I sorted out the prototype of this rig whilst fishing on Kingfisher, Dave, the bailiff on the complex, came for his usual cup of tea and saw the rig that I had tied that very night. I explained how it should work (in theory) to him and he was mad keen to try it on his next trip out; in fact I let him have the prototype to copy. He was off to France that week and said he would try it on the water where he was going, as it should provide a few runs and would be a good venue to make a comparison with the more standard-type rigs. I was slightly hesitant to put it out immediately on Kingfisher because I felt it needed to be tested on more modest-sized carp to get used to it first before I chanced it with my target fish.

The following week Dave phoned me with the news that my new rig had worked very well in France; he had caught plenty of carp on it and was suitably impressed. In the photos I have shown how to create both variations of the rig, and if you follow the sequence you’ll see how both can be cast long distances without any problem. The short version is superb for solid bag fishing, in fact it’s tailor-made for this. As you see how the rig works you will notice the use of a mesh-type bag that is usually nicked onto the hook is not really feasible with this rig, which, in fact, is one of its only drawbacks. However, a plus side to this type of presentation is that it can be used with pop-ups. Well, that’s it for this time… hope the old grey matter is churning away! FW

With the inclusion of a blob of putty you can even use the Pulley Rig as a combi-rig and create a stiff boom for the back section.

A 26lb 8oz carp fooled with good rig presentation. Here’s how the Pulley Rig works when a take occurs. Basically, as the hookpoint catches hold, the two strands of soft braid separate and the bait travels away from the hook.


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Rigsandthings CW224  

‘RIGS AND THINGS’ BY FRANK WARWICK TAKEN FROM THE MAY 2009 ISSUE How often have you heard someone say, ‘You don’t need anything fancy here,...

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