Following a couple of requests and with a view to helping a few people who are new to pole fishing I have added a couple of basic rigs for people to have a look at and understand. The first one relates to plumbing the depth which if you read a lot of the experts advice is the most important thing to do before you start fishing. You can learn a lot from spending 5 minutes plumbing the depth of your peg. It will tell you if there are any drop offs or shelves where the fish would be congregating looking for food and also where there any depressions in the lake bed again where fish would gather.
It must be remembered that these rigs are really the basic starting point and to get he best from your fishing you will need to experiment with your depths and with the basic shotting patterns. It is amazing sometimes that just moving a shot a few inches will make all the difference and you will catch a lot more fish. It is also useful to have more than one rig set up just in case you break one or you can have other rigs set up for when the fish come up in the water or are feeding on the surface. This will save a lot of time especially in matches. Please note that these rigs are essentially for use on still waters. River pole fishing is a totally different proposition.
PLUMBING THE DEPTH
This rig is used when the fish are feeding on or very near to the surface. This is usually during the summer or early autumn months when the fish are very active and need a lot more food. The fish become very competitive when this method is used with constant feeding (sometime 2 or 3 times a minute) and it can be a deadly method for carp on commercial waters. It will work just as well for other species but normally the Carp being far more aggressive get to the bait first. If you can get the fish feeding this way it is very exciting as the fish will almost pull the pole from your grasp at times. Many large weights are recorded using this method during the summer months with baits such as meat or sweetcorn. When fishing this method it is important to remember that the fish will vary the depth that they are feeding at and you will need to be aware and change your depth accordingly if the bites stop. This is where the experts catch more fish than the average angler as they are prepared to change their rigs and shotting patterns all the time. You would normally use strong lines (6-8lbs) and larger hooks (12-14 ) with stronger elastics (anything between 10 and 20 rating) for this type of fishing as the bites are very strong and you are likeley to hit big Carp which you need to get out of the shoal as soon as possible.
MID WATER RIG
Again this rig is used when the fish are "up in the water" and again this is usually during the warmer months. However this is not always the case as when the vegetation or leaves on the bottom of the pool start to decay in the late autumn or early winter the fish can often come off the bottom to get away from the decaying vegetation. This is quite often a very good method for roach in the autumn when fishing with hemp seed or casters but any other species are likely to be caught using this method. Again you will need to be aware that the fish will vary their feeding depths quite often and you will need to react accordingly. This method is generally referred to as "fishing on the drop" as the fish intercept the bait on its way down to the bottom. This method is good for any type of bait and again can yield very good bags of fish at times. This rig is a little more difficult to predict as you can catch all sorts of fish in this way. You would normally have 2 or 3 other top 2 or 3 sections set up with varying elastic ratings. If you do start catching Carp you can use the heavy elastic but equally if a shoal of roach or skimmers are feeding then you can change to a lighter elastic say a 6 - 8 rating. It really depends on what happens on the day and you should be prepared for anything.
FULL DEPTH RIG
This is probably the most important basic rig pattern and is normally one that you would start with. During the warmer months you will often find that you start with this rig but very soon after you start introducing feed the fish will come up in the water and this rig needs to be changed for a mid water or surface rig. During the winter months when the fish are less active and generally stay on the bottom this is normally the preferred starting method and one you would stick to. During the winter the fish are less responsive and you may have to wait a couple of hours until the fish start feeding. During the winter months you will also need to use far less bait and you generally find that smaller baits like maggots caster and pinkies work better than larger baits like meat and corn. However nothing is guaranteed in fishing and sometimes even in the coldest of winter a change to a piece of corn or meat will bring a bonus fish to the net. With this rig I would normally tend to use a bulk shot in the shallower water say up to 5-6 feet and use an olivette (see below) for deeper lakes and pools. It is really just a personal preference. You can always move your bulk shot around or string them out but an olivette is a solid weight.
These are the two most used types of olivette. The first one is called an "in line" olivette and the line quite simply runs through the middle. It is stopped at the required depth with a small shot. The second one is attached using 2 small silicone rubbers which can be easily pushed up or down the line. Olivettes come in various sizes depending on the weight of the float and how you want to fish. See below for a general shotting guide when your floats show the weight in styl leads.
I hope this information is useful to you. These rigs are basic but they are proven to work and are always the best place to start. As we all know every Fishing Day is different and the best advice I can give is to be prepared to make changes if you are not catching fish. Always experiment with your rigs and shotting patterns. Feeding also plays a bit part in your catch rate but that is another chapter for another day.
If you have found this information useful please add any comments you wish on the guestbook. Thanks
Dave Hon Sec
Many pole floats sizes are shown on the side of the floats and the weights are given in the number of styl leads they take and not in the numbers of shots, particularly in the smaller sizes. Larger float sizes are usually shown in grms. ie - 0.5g, 0.75g, 1g, 1.5g etc. Usually you would select an olivette smaller than the float size so that you can add a couple of extra dropper shots for the best effect. Below is a general guide to converting your styl lead weights into shots and also gives you a shotting pattern option that you may find useful. Please bear in mind that this is not an exact science as floats do vary in the density of the balsa or materials used and minor shotting adjustments may be required to get the best results. Also as I have stated previously you can experiment with your own shotting patterns yourself to find out what is best for you and more importantly what the fish want on the day.
STYLS SHOTTING PATTERN CAPACITY IN GRMS
3 x 7 2 x no 12 + 1 x no 13 0.03
4 x 7 2 x no 11 0.04
3 x 8 2 x no 11 + 1 x no 12 0.05
4 x 8 2 x no 11 + 2 x no 12 0.07
4 x 10 2 x no 8 0.14
4 x 12 3 x no 8 + 2 x no 11 0.26
4 x 14 5 x no 8 + 2 x no 10 0.40
4 x 16 7 x no 8 + 2 x no 12 0.50
4 x 18 9 x no 12 + 2 x no 10 0.68
4 x 20 17 x no 8 + 3 x no 10 1.24
5 x 20 20 x no 8 + 6 x no 9 1.55
If you decide to use an olivette instead of bulk shot the following is a guide for the bigger floats.
STYLS SHOTTING PATTERN CAPACITY IN GRMS
4 x 12 0.2 gm olivette + 3 x no 11 0.26
4 x 14 0.3 gm olivette + 3 x no 10 0.40
4 x 16 0.3 gm olivette + 3 x no 8 + 2 x no 10 0.50
4 x 18 0.375 gm olivette + 3 x no 8 + 3 x no 10 0.68
4 x 20 1 gm olivette + 3 x no 9 + 3 x no 10 1.24
5 x 20 1.25 gm olivette + 5 no 9 1.55
Also remember that you do not have to use 9,17 or 20 shots. You can use bigger size shots thereby using less. The results are generally the same but it is up to you to find out.
Dave Hon Sec