Stiff, Straight, Strong and Sharp
Jon Mann talks about his go-to bottom bait presentation, which is stiff, straight, strong and boasts a super-sharp hook – no wonder it works so well!
I’ve always tried to be a little different to the norm and this presentation is something I feel falls into that category. It seems that coated braids are all the rage, generally soft coated rather than stiff. Longshank hooks seem to have taken a back seat, too, but I combine the two in order to create an extremely effective presentation. It pays to be different in a world full of people aiming to achieve the same goals. This is a presentation I have used a hell of a lot over the years and it has served me extremely well.
This rig boasts a range of attributes that I feel play a huge part in my success whilst using it. Firstly, the stiff coated braid, which has several uses. Tangle prevention is high on the list, as a rig that tangles is rendered useless. Due to the stiff coating, it is extremely hard for this rig to tangle, so I am able to stand rod in hand, safe in the knowledge that this rig will always present itself effectively after the cast. The rigidity also helps with the setting of the rig once the lead touches bottom, pushing the hookbait out and away from the lead every single time. In order to aid with this process, I like to use a bait that incorporates an element of buoyancy. When you add buoyancy to a hookbait it enables it to sink slower, which helps massively with how the rig sits. At the same time, the rig will reset itself should the unfortunate case of a rig ejection occur. We all know it happens from time to time, yet we are unable to tell when, where or how because the rig is nearly always out of sight. It’s nice for me to sit behind the rods knowing that, should this happen, the rig will still be fishing, whereas other presentations can easily tangle or sit poorly after an ejection. On the subject of ejection, the stiff hooklink makes the rig harder to eject, and although it does happen, I like to think that it happens less with this presentation than others.
By nature, a material such as Hybrid Stiff can be a little troublesome to tie. This is where the Krimps come in handy. The use of crimping enables me not only to form a loop or attach a Link Loop with ease, but I am also able to be super-precise with my rig lengths. Consistency is important so if I catch on a rig of six inches, I want the exact same thing going back out there, to the millimetre. Something else that people are often unaware of about crimping is the strength of it, and a Krimp will always beat a knot. A knot puts strain on a hooklink: a Krimp doesn’t. The stronger your rigs are, the better, and having this as a bonus is very welcome.
Although the majority of the hooklink is stiff, I incorporate a small section of uncoated braid above the hook. When tying the rig, I remove enough of the coating to form the hair and create the hinge too. This way, the bait and the hook are given an element of freedom. The two are able to move freely and this makes the fish a lot easier to hook, which has its obvious benefits.
The hook is a massive part of any rig, but I think a Longshank works harder for you than any other pattern. It seems to turn so aggressively, yet with such ease, and when combined with a small shrink tube kicker, it’s a very effective hooker. Due to the shape of the hook pattern, which is long and boasts a straight point, when the hook does turn, the hook point is a good distance inside the mouth and the straight point means it grabs at the mouth very effectively. It’s a hook that has wrongly declined in popularity, yet it still serves me and others very well to this day, like it always has done over the years. I want that hook to be searching for the bottom lip as soon as it enters the mouth and the Longshank does just that.
One thing to point out is that in order for the material to work effectively and stay straight, it needs to be run through the steam of the kettle.
I use this presentation in a variety of different scenarios, but prefer to stick to using it over a cleaner bottom. This might include light silt, clay or gravel, the cleaner the better. I am a huge fan of boilies and regularly use this rig in conjunction with them, but I will also fish this rig over a bed of particles, simply altering the rig length if I choose to do so. When boilie fishing I use the rig at a length of six inches and when particle fishing I’ll drop it down to four inches.
As I mentioned earlier, this rig has served me well for a long period of time. It boasts several important attributes, and if you haven’t tried something like this in the past then you should give it a go!
Tying Jon’s rig
- STEP 1: You will need some Hybrid Stiff, Longshank X hooks, 1.2mm Shrink Tube, small Krimps and a Krimp Tool, 1.5mm silicone tubing and a wafter hookbait
- STEP 2: Take around 12 inches of Hybrid Stiff, remove around 10cm of the coating, form a hair loop and attach your hookbait
- STEP 3: Pass a small piece of silicone tubing down on to the hooklink
- STEP 4: Carefully pass the point of your hook through the silicone tubing
- STEP 5: Position the silicone tubing over the bend of the hook with the bait 10mm beneath it, secure in place with a knotless knot, then slide a 10mm length of Shrink Tube down over the eye
- STEP 6: Steam the Shrink Tube at an angle using a kettle
- STEP 7: Form a loop using a Krimp six inches above the hook
- STEP 8: Make sure you locate the Krimp in the right hole on the Tool then give it a good squeeze
- STEP 9: Once steamed straight, the rig is ready for use