How to make a Big Carp Zig Rig Setup
For a few years now, zig rigs have really captured an angler’s attention.
It’s a clever way to catch carp from the lakebed right up to the surface if you adapt your zig tactics accordingly.
Trust us when we say if you fish a zig rig at the right time and depth, zig rigs can be absolutely lethal.
All it takes is that ‘leap of faith’ and you’ve got a method that can really work for you.
Most effective during the warmer months (when carp tend to cruise in the upper levels), a zig rig setup at the perfect depth could land you carp you may never have caught otherwise.
Zigs really do excel when positioned just under the surface in our experience.
If you’re new to zig fishing – it can feel strange at first, but bare with us as we explain the mechanics.
What is a Zig Rig?
It’s a method of fishing anywhere between the lakebed & the surface, preferably using buoyant hook baits such as a pop-up or foam (black, white, red and yellow are popular colours here).
Hooklink length can often be 6 to 8ft at times because the lead sits on the bottom and you may be fishing just a few inches off the top.
This obviously depends on how deep the water where you’re fishing is.
As you may have noticed, we mention depth a lot when discussing zig rigs.
This is because you need to adjust the length of your zig until you find what layers the fish are swimming in (bites & knocks will indicate this).
It can often take a while to discover this information – but my word, stay with us because it can really pay off at times!
Zig Rig Setup
There are two types of setup – an adjustable zig rig (using a carp controller or inline pencil float ) or a lead arrangement.
A controller float allows you to make subtle adjustments by releasing (raises) or retrieving (lowers) your line once you’ve cast out to your spot.
This either lowers or raises where your hook bait is sitting in the water column.
Or, you could use a running lead system like the example below.
As far as hooklink material goes– around 6 to 10lb is light enough.
Again, in a lead setup system, you’ll need to adjust the hooklink length.
For both setups, we’ve compiled a list of suggested materials to help you.
- Mainline – Daiwa Hypersensor is available in 6lb, or 10lb for weedier lakes.
- Lighter line for the hooklink, you can’t go wrong with Fox zig and floater line which has a diameter of 0.3mm which is perfect for zig rigs
- Use Hybrid Lead Clips as part of your lead system
- Anti-tangle sleeves – ensuring minimal tangles, especially if you’ve mega long hook lengths!
- PVA Foam – to give you more confidence and minimise tangles
- Hooks – a size 10 or 12 is suggested
- Pop-ups – there are hundreds of shapes, sizes and colours. Mix it up a little!
- Carp Controller – as suggested
- Adjustable Zig Rig – you can now buy these that are ready to go out the packet
- Marker Float – for feature finding and depths
- Lighter Carp Rods – the Nash Scope comes to mind
- Pre-tied zig rigs
“Ready tied zig rigs are cheap, and time saving”
How to Tie a Zig Rig
If you’re not too clever with knots, this great video offers plenty of tips on how to tie zig rigs which can be fiddly if you’re unfamiliar!
Choosing a Hook Bait
Because there are so many bait choices, you may think choosing a hook bait could be difficult.
With zig fishing – it really isn’t.
As long as it’s buoyant you’re good to go.
“Sample zig rig hook baits”
Plenty of anglers like using colourful foam or pop-ups when zig fishing – and these are all great choices.
Another piece of kit designed solely for zig rigs is a zig aligna kit which keeps your bait nice and straight along the hook.
You could try colourful bait combinations of foam and pop-ups – with black, white, yellow and red favourable picks.
Getting Started with Zig Rigs
To begin with we suggest using a marker float to determine depths around your swim – and keep an eye out for any showing fish!
Zig rigs close to a feature could be a winner (up to close to lily pads, under an overhanging tree etc)
Once you’ve settled on an area and made a note of the depth, it’s time to set up your zig rig.
“The staple tackle used for feature and depth finding”
As previously mentioned, there are two ways to do this.
You could fish using a carp controller or a lead clip arrangement.
A controller (or inline pencil type float) allows you to easily adjust the hooklink length as required.
This setup is known as an adjustable zig rig.
By releasing or retrieving line – it allows you to move the float up and down as necessary – instantly placing your hook bait where you need to.
The float can also serve as a marker to learn what depths you’re fishing.
To begin, try setting the bait so it sits in the middle depths. If there is no action, you can slowly raise your bait until a bite occurs!
Keep searching the water column, and try different areas of the lake if necessary.
If you fancy trying the lead clip arrangement zig method, the same principle applies but you need to be comfortable that the hook link is set to a length where you know the fish are!
Otherwise – you will be reeling in, resetting the length, and recasting many times over!
If you add an adjustable back bead to your setup, this may be an easier method for you to try.
Ok, once you made the decision regarding the setup – we’ve a few helpful ideas to get you going.
When using zig rigs, we prefer to fish with a tight clutch because if the carp gets a full head of steam – the chances of losing the fish increase if the clutch is loose.
This makes perfect sense, because a tight line means the fish is likely to be high up in the water much quicker making it easier to bring in as well as the lead dropping off quickly and safely too.
You should play the fish with the rod low down, only lifting it if weeded up or when ready for landing.
14 Zig Rigs Tips & Tricks
Whether you’re a zig rig fanatic, or just getting started, we’ve some great tips and tricks to boost your confidence in using zig rigs.
- Try to select the thinnest line (not mainline) you can. Disguise is everything folks
- Hook sizes 10, 12 and 14 are perfect
- A hook pattern with an out turned eye makes it sit in the water nice and proudly
- Don’t discount zigs in spring/early winter
- Have you tried re-shaping foam?
- How about combining two different coloured hook baits?
- Boost your zig rig by adding a bait liquid attractant (Korda Goo is a awesome)
- Spodding over the top (or vice versa) can bring carp in
- Pre-bait an area ready for zig fishing
- If there is no activity – move on!
- Use foam to minimise tangles on the cast
- Zig Bugs are a great alternative to foam and pop-ups
- Use kickers – by this we mean a small piece of silicone to the bottom of the hook to give you a wider gape and add to the hook turning point
- Rig Safety! Rig Safety! Rig Safety! – Please use a drop off lead if fishing a hook length of over 6ft!
Well, we hope you’ve enjoyed our article on how zig rigs can increase your carp fishing methods!
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