Big French carp rig by Chas Cook of Vaux

Anglers often go to extremes not to lose their leads when fishing, but this whole concept works against them because a carp will use the weight of the leads and the softness of mono lines to set a continual bounce on the line between the hook and the tip of the rod which can either snap the hook length or pull the hook.

Anglers are beginning to realise that heavier leads are needed to set the larger hook sizes to the bigger carp, but often do not realise that it is essential to drop the leads.  The use of larger inline leads up to 5oz can cause problems;  when the carp is hooked and the angler lifts into it and tightens down, the lead can travel along the leaders and become trapped at the knot between the leader and mainline, which again can pull the hook or snap the hook length undoubtedly causing mouth damage.

Leads can become trapped for several reasons;

  • when the loop on the leader which attaches to the mainline is quite large
  • when leaders and leads are mismatched
  • when rubber beads and float stops are incorporated onto the leaders to act as a bolt effect
  • where the wrong swivel is being used into the lead, but which jams the lead on the swivel 
  • where tungsten puttied leaders are used and being tightly pulled through inlines, these leads cannot then detach from the leaders

More and more, double inline leads are being used which are not always safe even though they are supposed to release.  Anglers fishing a normal UK set up (see first photo of this article) will put a second lead behind the inline set up, passing the leader through that lead as well so that there are two captive leads on the leader.  The carp can end up dragging these double leads on a crack off or snap off, resulting in mouth damage and even death.

I am constantly thinking of ways to make rigs safer for the carp and came up with the idea for my Distance Piggyback Dropper when fishing larger lakes and rivers at a distance in France, where I have not been able to find a ready supply of large leads and because foreign leads have variable sizes of inner sleeves which do not necessarily fit UK swivels.

This set up works just as well on lakes where there might be high winds and waves and also on fast flowing rivers when even a 5oz lead does not hold bottom.  There seems to be an optimum weight of 12oz for a stack which allows the tightening down to the lead without moving it on the bottom and the stack can be anywhere between two and five leads.  Both the piggyback stack of inlines and the double stack on the clip are designed to drop the leads on the take and the carp that I have landed using these rigs have not suffered mouth damage.

These rigs can be used on on any size of water where weather conditions dictate the use of larger leads.  They are meant for use in a baitboat or ordinary boat delivery, but not for casting.

When fishing lakes at distance, much of the time there are gravel bars, mussel beds, uneven lake bottoms and on occasions obstructions.  Using the Distance Piggyback Dropper rig, the lead is instantly dropped on the take and the fish immediately rise to the surface.  Because the carp head for the surface straight away, a cut off on an obstruction can be prevented.  The carp fight for a relatively short period because once the lead is gone they tend to give up very quickly and it becomes much easier to play and land the bigger carp on tricky waters, even where a boat is being used to recover the carp

So… here’s the component parts needed to make the rigs;

Normal UK set up
Distance Piggyback Dropper Rig
Fluorocarbon leader –  3oz UK lead –  Boomed hook length

This set up is limited, for distance and conditions, to the size of the single lead available

An alternative is to use a stack of leads.

Here’s a selection of leads which can be used to form a stack;

Carp Fishing Leads
Top left, French lead – Top right, English lead – Bottom left, English lead – Bottom right, German lead

A selection of Carp Leads
A size 8 swivel will not fit the sleeve in the Continental leads. – The tail of each insert should be longer rather than shorter.  This holds the stack together better.

Putting a piggyback stack together;
Advanced Carp Rigs

Size 8 swivel – A two-stack set up can be cast as it weighs 5oz-6oz – The larger stacks are for use with baitboats or ordinary row boats

Carp Fishing Rig

The size 8 swivel fits into the sleeve of a 3oz English lead being used here –  Push the English lead sleeve into the next lead, here a French lead –  Push the lead sleeve of the second lead into the third lead, either German or French

Carp Rigs

Tail rubber – Low profile 30lb fluorocarbon leader –  When engaging the swivel and placing the tail rubber, the leader passes over the top of the leads, NOT through the leads –  Size 8 swivel greased and pushed into the English lead –  Q ring

Completed Piggyback rig
A 12oz stack ready for hooklength as shown in Photo 1

Carping Rigs for France
4.5oz lead –  4.5oz lead –  3oz lead


An alternative set up

French Carp Fishing Rigs
Component parts;  Cut clip –  Cut tail rubber – 2 key rings –  2 x 3oz leads – any shape of lead which is normally used with a safety clip can be used –  Leads connected together with one key ring, second key ring attached to the first key ring


Piggy Back Carp Rigs
Lead core leader following across the clip parallel to the cut tab end –  Q ring attached to swivel, then attach the hook length –  Swivel, with Q ring attached, pushed into safety clip –  The second key ring is slid over the safety clip, tail rubber then pushed on to safety clip –  Here shown with 2 x 3oz distance leads


After the take the components come apart

Carp Rigs for French Carping
Lead core –  Size 8 swivel –  Q ring attached at the same point as the lead core is attached –  Hook length is attached via the Q ring –  Safety clip with tail cut –  2 x 3oz distance leads


French mirror carp
Chas with 41.08 mirror from a September 2011 session.

Fishing Holiday in France at Vaux

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