Stepping Up

Darrell uses the rig in conjunction with his favourite Hybrid Lead Clip arrangement

It's not very often that Darrell plays around with rigs, but when the time is right, it has to be done

I've been an avid user of this presentation for years, although in a slightly more refined form, but now it needs some tweaking because my fishing has been somewhat demanding of late and a step up in tackle is needed. I'm fishing for a very big, hard-fighting carp which just happens to live in an obstacle-ridden venue, so my tackle needs to be able to withstand a hell of a lot of abuse. If I'm lucky enough to hook the fish then I'll be faced with the task of landing it, which many say is the hardest part with this particular carp. I have caught carp to over 60lb using 20lb braid and size 8 hooks (my standard approach on all but a few venues), but I fear this isn't enough for the lake in question.

Rather than starting afresh and trying to reinvent things, I decided to simply tweak my standard pop-up rig and make it stronger. There were very few changes to be made, other than hook pattern and size and the strength of the braid itself, but these are very small changes that can make a hell of a lot of difference when there's a 50-pounder on the line!

The first thing I looked at was the braided hooklink. In this case the change was an easy decision: simply switch from 20lb to 30lb N-Trap. This added strength would ensure that whatever the carp tried to do, whatever it managed to drag me into, I would have a hooklink capable of enduring real pressure. The coating is a vital part, as it protects the inner coating, and the 30lb has a nice thick layer which makes shaping the curved hook section easier and helps it stay there too.

Just the one bite on the rig, but it was successfully landed and certainly brightened up the day!

The most noticeable change that I made was the hook. Normally I would use a size 8 Choddy, but despite my previous successes with this pattern, I worry about hook pulls should extreme pressure need be applied. The fish I am after is a beast, as I mentioned earlier, and if it decides to try and take me around an island, into a snag or through a line of buoys, I need to be able to pull back equally as hard in a desperate attempt to turn the fish. A smaller hook is unable to seat as deeply as a larger hook, so I decided to up the size. At first I looked at the size 6s and 4s, but I found the 6s to be too small and the 4s slightly too large.

I then looked at the Kontinentals and immediately took a liking to them in a size 4. I liked the hook's shape and particularly the thickness of the wire, which is a gauge up from a standard Choddy hook. I wanted to make a few changes, though, and the first of these was to bend the hook eye outwards in order for it to perfectly suit a pop-up rig. With the eye changed it was time to remove the offset, for no other reason than that I've never really liked an offset. With these changes made, I was left with a hook that looked perfect for the job: super strong and ready for action. With this hook in place I would be very surprised to see it move after taking hold. There's only one way to find out, though: testing.

Every single rig is tied with utmost care - this never changes, no matter the venue
Squid Goo-soaked Hybrid pop-ups - a firm favourite of Darrell's and a perfect addition to the rig

Once I make a change to a rig, or experiment with a new rig, I always go to some easier venues and test them first. Of course it's not quite a fair test as the fish are much smaller, but you have to test them as best you can. I take notice of exactly where and how the hook is seated in the carp's mouth, how many hook pulls I get (if any). I always give the carp a bit of stick when playing them, rather than playing them like a girl, because I need to know that the rig can perform under pressure. So far, it has performed really well, though I'm not quite done testing yet...

 Tying Daz's stepped-up pop-up rig

  • STEP 1: Take a length of 30lb N-Trap Semi-stiff, remove three inches of the coating, tie a small hair loop and attach your pop-up
  • STEP 2: The hook now needs a few tweaks...
  • STEP 3: Using a Krimp Tool bend the eye backwards
  • STEP 4: Carefully take out the offset
  • STEP 5: The hook should look like this
  • STEP 6: Pass the braid through the eye and position the bait alongside the bend
  • STEP 7: Form a 12-turn knotless knot
  • STEP 8: Strip a small section of coating an inch beneath the hook - a small break is all you need
  • STEP 9: Carefully position a split shot over the exposed braid
  • STEP 10: Tie the rig to a Hybrid Lead Clip at a length of seven inches
  • STEP 11: Steam the rig straight over a kettle
  • STEP 12: The rig is ready to go

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