Paul Garner’s Zig Tips and Baits
This week, Angling Times’ Dr Paul Garner shares his feed and hookbait tips for catching more carp whilst zig fishing. Below, you’ll also learn how to make a deadly zig cloud that’ll keep carp mooching around your baited spot for longer…
Carp love to feel the sun on their backs. Being cold blooded, they are acutely sensitive to temperatures, and when the water is still cold in the spring the energy they can absorb is enough to effect their behaviour, especially on bright, high pressure days when the suns rays are at their strongest. These also happen to be the days when catching on the deck can be tough, so it is worth experimenting with other tactics.
There are lots of ways to catch carp in the upper layers, but one of the easiest, especially if you are sitting it out for just the occasional bite, is a zig rig. Zigs, and the baits used on them, are pretty simple, but there are a few little edges that can get you more bites.
Carp are inquisitive and will sample anything they find in the water column. Naturally, they will feed on emerging caddisflies, mayflies, tadpoles, and a myriad of other creepy-crawlies, so it is no wonder that they see almost anything as a potential meal. Fortunately for us, this also includes pieces of foam, pop-ups and just about anything else that is buoyant enough to support the weight of the hook and hooklength.
When I have been filming zig rigs underwater most carp approach the bait from the side, and so ideally, you want a bait colour that will attract their attention from this angle. On sunny days black is often the best colour, but on cloudy days experiment with brighter colours, such as oranges and yellows.
My favourite hookbait is a piece of shaped rig foam that is threaded onto the hook. This has the advantage of having the hook point and the bait as close together as possible, so that as soon as a carp picks up the bait it get the hook too. The foam also helps to disguise the hook too.
Although you will catch plenty of carp on a static bait, the invertebrates that carp eat wriggly around, to to draw more attention to your hookbait try adding a maggot to the hook, it is amazing how a moving bait really stands out.
Cloud on the Horizon
On well stocked venues, you can massively increase your zig catches by feeding over the top of them to attract and hold more fish in your peg. This is a busy, often messy, way of fishing, but on venues like Drayton it can be incredibly effective as the carp home-in on the cloud of attraction.
A sloppy spod cloud with a porridge-like consistency that hangs in the water for as long as possible is essential for this method. By clipping the zig rod and your spod rod at the same distance you can ensure that the hookbait sits slap-bang in the cloud that forms with every spodful of bait.
I tend not to add any feed to the spod cloud as this will sink, possibly taking the carp with it. My aim is to try and concentrate them in the upper layers where my hookbait is waiting for them.
QUICK TIP – Dip Your Hookbaits
Although we think of zigs as being mainly visual baits, in tests I found that I got almost double the amount of bites on baits that had been dipped in flavours.
TEN MINUTE MAKE – Make a Cloudy Spod Cloud
Spodding a cloudy Spod soup over your rig can make a massive difference on well stocked venues. Not only does it attract the carp, but it also helps to disguise the line and hook. It is very easy to make too.
- Add a good squirt of hemp oil to two pints of water and mix well.
- I like to add half a capful of Fish Gutz, one of my favourite carp attractors.
- Pour the required amount of zig cloud mix into a bucket. Dynamite’s Milky Mix Zig Cloud is a super choice.
- Slowly add the liquid to the mix, keep mixing all the time to avoid lumps forming.
- Aim for a porridge-like mix. Leave this for ten minutes before checking the consistency and adding some more water if required.
- Top up the swim with a small Spod every ten minutes or so.