O’Sullivan, Pickering and Rig… what are we babbling on about? Famous Ronnies of course! And that is exactly what we are talking about today. Just to kick off the Ronnie knowledge, Mr Pickering, star of such internet phenomena’s as ‘DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM!?” is actually a keen carp angler, although he is not the inventor of the rig we are going to talk about today.
The Ronnie Rig itself has jumped to popularity in recent years, with dozens of different variations to cover different situations, all based around the concept of attaching the hook via a quick change swivel giving all the benefits of a ‘360’ rig, i.e loads of movement but without the potential mouth damage associated with that rig in the past.
It was during a chance conversation with #TeamFin’s Dave Wright whilst fishing at the stunning Virginia Water lake nestled in stunning Windsor Great Park, that we got him to give us a run down of exactly what he has been doing with the rig…
Spotted Fin: So first off we can’t go any further without commenting on the size of your putty… It’s huge! What’s the thinking behind this?
Dave Wright: Your right mate and its not just me sticking a lump on and hoping for the best, its evolved as the use of the rig has increased in my fishing. For me I have found that by placing a large amount of putty on the rig (within reason) it really helps set the hook on the pickup, before the fish come into contact with the full weight of the lead.
I used to use just enough to slowly sink the bait but as time has gone on I found that the bigger the size of putty I use, the less fish I lost and the hook holds tend to be mid bottom lip and nailed, so I continue to do it this way.
SF: So next up is the hooklength choice, generally people are opting for a really stiff material to act as a boom section, what is the thinking behind going for an uncoated braid?
DW: As with all rigs its rare to be able to take it straight out the box and it works with no tweaks! The other lake I fish a lot is very weedy so by having the boom section soft it lets the lead drop through, and the bait comes to rest on top of the weed and not pulled through into it.
Here on Virginia water it’s a big old estate lake so the bottom is very soft silt or sand, rather than the weed problem like on my syndicate lake. So by using a soft boom section it allows the lead, that due to the size of this lake and distances needed to be cast I use a 4 or 4.5oz lead, the ability to sink into the lake bottom and not leave the rig sticking up in an unnatural way that would happen with a stiff boom section. By using a soft material, the lead can dig in and the hook will still gently come to rest on the bottom and not be left poking up in the air 2 or 3 inches off the bottom.
SF: Is that the thinking behind fishing it on a helicopter set up rather than a lead clip?
DW: Yes! I have a lead around and feel the lead down to see how soft the bottom is on my chosen area. The less of a thud I get the softer the bottom must be, so I move the top rubber bead on my heli-leader up so that the rig can travel, then come to rest sitting just right on my chosen spot. For me the things that make the difference in your catches are the attention to detail, the rods and reels may get you to your spot but if its not right on the bottom you reduce you chance of a pick-up, and the number of fish on the bank.
SF: Finally, give us the run-down of what you are trying to achieve feed wise, are you fishing it over a tight baited area or something a bit more spread out?
DW: It’s a big lake! The fish move around looking for natural food as fishing on here has only recently become a regular thing, the fish aren’t tuned into just anglers bait so I like to scatter 15 and 18mm baits over a large area, then fish two or sometimes three rods in that location. I want the fish to pick up a free bait eat it and want to find more, I find that the takes then are more aggressive as the fish has no idea it has just picked up a hook bait and swims off to find the next one.
I will generally use a Catalyst Natural Pop-Up as my hook bait so it matches the free offerings exactly once they have washed out after an hour or two, by being a pop up it will suck up and into the carps mouth that bit easier and then the rig comes into play. I do sometimes fish a washed out pink or yellow, but I tend to do this when I’m doing over-nighter after a quick bite or when the water is murky due to rain to help my chances of a pick-up.