The Zig-Rig has been around in many forms, for many years and has accounted for many large carp.
The Zig-Rig allows a buoyant bait to be fished from the lakebed (legered) at any set depth from a couple of inches above the lakebed right up to the water’s surface. This allows the angler to be able to present the hookbait at the depth at which the carp are either cruising, or more importantly, feeding.
The Zig-Rig can be used in many situations where hookbait presentation at certain depths is critical, like on the surface during hot weather, or as another example, just above light weed where a normal hookbait may become hidden within the weed. Other uses my be sub-surface where carp maybe cruising, say a couple of feet below the surface, or even sub-surface where wildfowl may cause a nuisance.
My preferred Zig-Rig setup is a 10lb Mono hooklength tied to a safety in-line lead, which is then fished on the lakebed (legered) and setup with a bite-alarm and indicator, as you would normally. Fished in this manner, the Zig-Rig is therefore a semi-fixed bolt-rig.
The Zig-Rig is a tremendous setup and one that is widely throughout the carping fraternity, however, it’s not without it’s complications. Casting out a Zig-Rig with a hooklength of a couple of feet isn’t a problem, but casting out a hooklength of 12ft is. There are various different ways in which to cast out such a long hooklength, personally I opt for coiling up the hooklink into my (Stainless!) mug, which I carefully place on the bank-side, behind me, before casting out. The hooklength unravels during the cast leaving my (Stainless!) mug cleanly on the bankside.
Alternatively, the hooklength can be coiled, or folded, up and held in place using PVA string before being cast out to the chosen spot.
However, this method isn’t advisable when fishing in weed, as the hookbait might not be buoyant enough to be able to push through the weed and uncoil the hooklenth once the PVA string has melted.
Another method, if the hooklength isn’t too long, would be to cast off the ground by laying the hooklink out straight before casting. Be careful though not to snag on anything as you cast as I’ve heard a couple of funny stories, one in particular involving a snagged unhooking mat and a trip to hospital!!
My preferred method of using my (Stainless!) mug allows the hooklength to be at full length before hitting the water, but is prone to tangles during the cast at distance, so it’s ‘horses for courses’ as to which method you choose.
Landing fish with such a long hooklength can also cause problems, especially with a 12ft hooklength and 3ft length of leadcore (or tubing), on a 12ft rod!! This is where a fishing buddy is needed to net the fish whilst you walk backwards up the bankside.
Any buoyant hookbait can be used, from bread to pop-up boilies, or if your hookbait isn’t buoyant, use foam of cork for the buoyancy in addition to the chosen hookbait.