Monthly Archives: February 2014

Ramblings of a Carp Angler. When to use Backleads!

How safe are the use of backleads. Can I use them in every event? Definitely not! 

Backleading over an uneven lake bed

Backleading over an uneven lake bed

The use of backleads have been about for a long time now. It would be during my time on the Fox Pool that I first used backleads to pin down my main line to the lake bed. I didn’t put too much thought to it really. I never felt confident unless I was backleading. The only time that I wouldn’t use them was when floater fishing with dog biscuits.  Obviously my attitude has changed drastically since this period of my carp fishing. These days I very rarely use back leads, and if I do, I use the captive type. Why?

Backleading in a weedy lake

Backleading in a weedy lake

One of the many types of backlead

One of the many types of backlead

What is a Backlead——A backlead is usually a small weight between a quarter and one and half ounces in weight that have some form of plastic or wire type attachment for placing on and removing from the main line following a cast. The back lead is then lowered into the water so as the line sinks slowly to the lake bed creating a fairly tight line from the backlead to the rig set up.

Backleading appears to be the perfect set up but there are many floors———– A lot depends on the lakebed itself. The only time that I would now use a backlead is in the event of fishing reasonably close from the swim and the lake bed is more or less perfectly flat. Any changes in the lakebed such as humps or drop offs, in other words an uneven lakebed, then I would disregard backleading altogether. Weed is another major problem. Line backleaded on top of or through weed again presents a problem due to poor presentation and also for fish welfare.The trouble with backleading is that when you get a run, you have 2 focal points for the line to tighten too. The first is the backlead itself, and the second is rig set up where your main weight is. It is not until the backlead has ridden the main line down to your rig that you have full control of the fish which obviously can cause a load of problems with fish kiting and being out of control.

Flying Backlead

Flying Backlead

Flying backleads———–Flying backleads are part of the rig set up, being threaded on the main line during the initial set up. The idea of this is that during a cast the small barrel shaped lead slides up the line, pinning down the main line midway between the bank and the hook bait. I have never used this set up but I can envisage problems with kiting fish and also reducing and misaligning a cast. A lot of anglers use them but I choose to leave this one alone.

Captive backlead on flat lake bed. Perfect presentation.

Captive backlead on flat lake bed. Perfect presentation.

Captive backleads——–If possible this is my favourite set up.I believe that this is by far the best way to backlead, both safely and efficiently as long as the lake bed is level enough to do so.The captive backlead has one end fixed to the bank with a length of cord attached to the backlead which is clipped onto the main line and lowered into the marginal water. Again this is only efficient if the marginal depths are sufficiently deep for the line to follow the contours of the lake bed to the hook bait without rising or falling on features.

Captive Backlead

Captive Backlead

So that is backleading. These days, due to uneven lake beds, weed and better types of indicator set ups, I tend to fish straight lines direct to my rig set up, either tight or semi-tight lines. Air pressure and the weight of the line usually sinks the last few yards of line onto the lake bed. My confidence in catching these days is gained through good quality baits and a sensible rig set up. I do not feel disadvantaged by having line passing through the water to my rig as long as I am presenting a good quality food source for my target fish.

Paul Cooper

 

Ramblings of a Carp Angler. Why use the Hair Rigs

My thoughts on the hair rig, running leads, semi-fixed rigs and slack lines…

HG All Seasons attached to hair rig

HG All Seasons attached to hair rig

The Hair rig – - – - – - - The Hair rig was a revelation for specimen fishing. Kevin Maddox and Len Middleton first came up with the idea of presenting a bait leaving the hook free to prick into the lip of a fish. Here we had a new way of presenting a bait with the hook totally exposed. Prior to this, the hook was buried and hidden in a paste type bait or particle, trying to get carp to feed on your hook bait and actually eat your offering. Studies of carp by the early specimen hunters realised that carp always taste a bait, by sucking and blowing on the bait before getting stuck into their meal. This is where the hair rig works. As the bait is sampled by the carp, it is sucked in and blown out and the bare  hook hopefully drops onto the bottom lip. What we want is an instant reaction on the bank, as indication, which is where a heavy semi- fixed lead engaged the hook into the lip, causing the carp to bolt.

Brie common caught at distance on tight line and semi-fixed rig. There would have been no indication with slack lines or running leads. I hit this fish as the rod tip was knocking and it still only gave a couple of bleeps on the indicators.

Brie common caught at distance on tight line and semi-fixed rig. There would have been no indication with slack lines or running leads. I hit this fish as the rod tip was knocking and it still only gave a couple of bleeps on the indicators.

Running lead with slack lines – - – - – - – So that is the idea of the hair rig! So why are some anglers returning back to pre-hair rig days and trying to get the carp to eat our baited hook?

It is my opinion that we are not only missing the opportunity to detect proper bites but also creating welfare issues for the carp. With a running lead, especially if it is fished in conjunction with a slack line, there is every chance that the fish will swallow the whole hook link or get deep hooked. I fished a set up similar to this some 25 years ago, hooking and landing a deep hooked carp. Not a pretty site! I was distressed with this capture, never mind what the carp felt. Never again will I use this set up. In my opinion it was cruel to say the least.

The only time that I will fish a running rig is when I am barbel fishing and this is because I am fishing with my rod in the air and a very tight line to the lead or feeder.

The only time that I will fish a running rig is when I am barbel fishing and this is because I am fishing with my rod in the air and a very tight line to the lead or feeder.

Running Leads and tight lines – - – - – - -Running leads can give you immediate indication, which also includes when a carp is testing baits, however you do need to fish a tight line to get the proper indication. Create a slack line and straight away you have lost that indication but have creating a problem if a fish has decided to taste and eat the bait. The only time that I will fish a running rig is when I am barbel fishing and this is because I am fishing with my rod in the air and a very tight line to the lead or feeder. I know there will be plenty of critics out there that will totally disagree with me, but just picture a carp feeding and the risk of the bait being taken down the throat of a carp. As I said, the hair rig with a proper semi-fixed set up reduces the chance of a carp swallowing a bait and hopefully creating a run. Something else that will increase runs when carp are testing baits, are short hook links, this is probably why the chod rig type set ups are so popular at the moment, as it incorporates a very short hook-link.

The result of tight line and running lead, a 16lb 10oz barbel

The result of tight line and running lead, a 16lb 10oz barbel

So is there a place for slack lines – - – - – - - I get great pleasure in free-lining a boilie on a short hair rig, fished in the margins around crumbed baits. The difference is I only fish this method stalking, in other words I am sitting with one rod in my hand and watching the movement of the slack line.

Slack line to semi fixed lead at close range with short hook link and a January caught 28lb 4oz carp

Slack line to semi fixed lead at close range with short hook link and a January caught 28lb 4oz carp

Close range fishing on indicators, and you will see me slackening off my main line so that the line drops off my rod tip so as not to spook any marginal touring carp. With this method I would only use the semi-fixed lead set up and would not entertain a running lead because of the danger of deep hooking a carp. I am sure that other anglers have different views on my ideas, but I can only go on my experience and what I believe is happening at the business end of my rigs.

Paul Cooper

This article first appeared on the Angling Lines Blog & is reproduced with kind permission.

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