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The 6 that got away

At the back end of last summer I took my Mum on a 3 night fishing holiday, to a nice lake with a good head of Carp and on the recommendation of a friend, I tried the famous Ronnie Rig for the 1st time.

I like the mechanics of the rig, and the 360 degree rotation of the hook must help increase the chance of catching the fish. Up until this trip, I had always used either a combi rig or a semi-stiff rig with about 1cm of the outer coating stripped back, to allow the hook to move as naturally as possible.

After spending half an hour or so with the marker rod, I found 4 good clear spots in my swim, 2 directly out in front of me at just 50 yards and about 10 yards apart and 2 just off the island to my left, 1 off the point and 1 in a gap between over hanging trees which looked mega Carpy.

With every spot measured and noted, I then pre-baited all 4 areas with loose fed boilies, keeping an eye out for any showing fish as I was catapulting in the feed. Nothing made an immediate appearance, but I was confident in the spots I’d found so clipped up the rods and cast 2 to the open water areas. Both landed with solid donks, as they hit the clear spots I’d found and both were in about 8ft of water.

I was very happy with these spots, they seemed to be in a good mid-section, along the length of the lake, and I felt that it must be a good cruising lane for Carp travelling from one end to the other. Having the 2 spots close together also made it easier to get the loose boilies in, effectively feeding both spots at the same time.

The gap in the trees was screaming at me, there may as well have been a neon sign pointing directly into the lake saying “Carp Here”!

So that’s where I dropped my 3rd rod. Using distance sticks here and getting clipped up was crucial. The number of times I’ve cast to gaps like this and lost my concentration, or there’s been a slight cross wind, or I just completely got it wrong, has on numerous occasions resulted in me hooking the trees. Extremely embarrassing, especially in front of your Mum.

The distance sticks did their job though and using solid PVA bags around the hook bait, also gives a split second of protection, if I were to have caught a branch on the drop into the lake. There were also loads of branches under the surface here, so I fished this rod tight on the clutch and without the bait runner on, to help stop the fish running into the snags.

With all 3 rods in place, I attached my all black, illuminated bite indicators. None of the spots were at any kind of range and the wind was pretty calm, so there was no need for the swinger arms here.

Time for a brew and a good old catch up with Mum.

Within an hour of getting set up, the tree gap rod sprung into action, the bobbin lit up bright red and slapped into the bite alarm, the line pulled tight and the rod tip bent round to the left. Lifting into this, I knew I’d have a battle on right from the start, and the Carp pulled hard towards the snags. The tip of the rod did the work and I was able to tease, what I hoped would be the 1st fish of the day away from the trees.

The battle was eventually won and a fantastic low 20lb Mirror slipped over the landing net, awesome, off to a good start! The Ronnie Rig had done its job, with the fish perfectly hooked in the middle of the bottom lip. Needless to say, I was happy to have taken my friends advice.

Once the photos were done, the hook hold was treated and the fish was returned to the lake. The reel was re-clipped up, the hook point sharpened and a solid bag, re-employed to drop back on the same spot.

That rod produced 1 more fish that afternoon but I decided to move it from the tree gap for the night, due to the number of snags around it. The 2 open water rods also produced a fish each, but the hours of darkness were quiet and we both got a good night’s sleep.

The next morning, a Carp boshed just off the point of the island, which although I hadn’t been fishing it, I had been feeding it. I immediately chucked the tree gap rod onto it and waited and waited, and waited. It seemed like an eternity but eventually off it ripped, but this time the fish won, and it was able to shake the hook.

I checked the rig in the margins, it sat perfectly, and the hook was lovely and sharp. I couldn’t see any obvious reason why the it wouldn’t hold.

That evening, the lake turned into a mill pond, as the gentle breeze that had been there throughout the day completely disappeared. This was a great opportunity to watch the surface for any giveaway signs of feeding Carp. With great satisfaction, I observed the water around the 2 mid water rods clouding up.

The result was a lovely brace of mid double Commons and the 2nd fish, which was the lighter of the 2 must have had it’s Weetabix that morning, because it went off like an absolute steam train and totally refused to come in. It pulled me from 1 side of the swim to the other, and back again! I ended up wading out to land it. Sometimes the smaller Carp can really surprise you.

Over the course of the 3 days, we landed 11 Carp to 27.5lb, 15 bream to 6lb and a 2lb roach, what a stunning little fish that was.

I could not for the life of me though work out how I lost 6 fish. I checked and sharpened each hook before every cast and the presentation of the rigs, when viewed in the margins, was absolutley spot on.

Once we got home and I saw my friend back in work, I told him about the lost fish and showed him a pic of the rig I had used.

Here is where he dropped another amazing little tip on me.

I had the micro swivels of my Ronnie Rigs directly on the hook. In my friends opinion this introduces to much friction between the swivel and the hook and as such, allows the fish to blow out and eject the hook.

The answer, use a D-rig loop in conjunction with the Ronnie Rig! Boom, what a bombshell of advice. It gives much more flexibility and I can honestly say that in the 3 sessions I’ve had since then, I’ve hooked and landed every single fish. That's 100%, 19 fish from 19 runs, I don't think I've ever had such a consistent run of fish on the bank.

Completely blown away by my friends advice and I hope you can use it to increase your success on the bank too.

Thanks for reading my blog.

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