For me the number one factor in fishing is location, if you are not on fish, you simply cannot catch what is not in front of you. That said if you are lucky enough to get that dream draw in a match or the peg you really wanted on your chosen venue, the very next step is presentation, presenting a bait so that the carp can locate and feed is paramount!
You have done the homework in locating the fish now is the time to keep things simple and take your chance. Now do I go down the root of thrashing the water to a foam with a marker rod to find what I am trying to present over or do I play it safe?
I generally take the latter option of playing safe, and for me I have a presentation that can offer what I need in nearly all circumstances, and that presentation has to be the solid bag! I have ultimate confidence that the rig will always be presented and ready for that bite, whether that would be presented over low lying weed and debris or up to islands, the confidence knowing that I have a rig perfectly presented waiting for that bite is paramount.
Now people often associate solid bag fishing as a small fish tactic and this could not be further from the truth, I have caught fish to 32lb using this tactic and I have certainly lost count of how many fish the solid bag has actually caught me in my carp fishing.
This particular rig was our main attack that helped myself and Andrew Mundy win the UK Carp Championships at the fabulous Farlows lake, we tempted 8 out of our 11 fish on the solid bag that weekend. When you recast to a showing fish with only 40 minutes to go in a major final, you certainly want to know that the rig is sitting pretty, that was proved by catching this lovely last gasp 19lb common carp to win us that title.
Now there are occasions when a solid is not the right presentation for the job in hand, and on this occasion I was catching far too many bream and skimmers on the open water swim, so a change was in order. Again thinking along the lines of presentation, making sure that rig can present, My choice was always going to be the ‘Combi Rig’.
The combi rig is a rig that comprises of stiff boom section that is attached loop to loop style to supple section of braided material, now the reason I have chosen the combi rig is again confidence that the rig will be presented.
I’m sure we have all been in the situation, turning up to a lake after work, rushing to get the rigs out in excitement and that big cast to your spot you felt the rig down with a donk, the confidence is high with fish showing over your baited spot and you are constantly getting liners, tucking yourself up in your sleeping bag in anticipation of that rod going into melt down but nothing happens. You question why, and it gets the better of you so you real in to find your rig is tangled, your heart sinks knowing you missed that golden feeding spell and that missed opportunity, and your head is spinning why oh why!
I have done it on more than one occasion back in the day, but not now! I have carried out so many tests with this combi rig and every single time the rig is presented. We’ve all seen the underwater footage of carp ejecting rigs out of their mouths, every time this happens it is another chance for the rig to become tangled. With a more supple hook length that thought sends shivers down my spine, but the stiffness of the boom on the combi rig means it will always reset itself back to the perfect position, this giving me ultimate confidence whilst I have my rig in the pond, I have a chance of the take because again the rig is presented.
Again the versatility of this rig is fantastic and it can be used over a spodded area, as a single hook bait or even over a spread of boilies, on this occasion a spread of 12mm and 15mm Catalyst boilies was the choice which got me them extra three bites to help make up that 11 fish 211lb 14oz tally.
Solid Bag Tips
- Use small 2mm/4mm pellets in your mix to ensure you can compact the bag correctly, because air will get trapped between large particles.
- A mixture of 2mm/4mm Smokey Jack pellets, 2mm/4mm Betafin, and 2mm/4mm Halibut pellets with a small amount of salmon fry crumb is my go to mix.
- Add a small amount of groundbait to your bag mix, again this helps fill all those little gaps and makes the bag aerodynamic.
- Use a small solid bag for normal circumstances, however if heavier weed is an issue, use a large solid bag, your bag will cover more surface area and allow the bag to sit on top of the weed.
- Place the lead at the bottom of the bag, this allows the bag to flight straight on the cast, gaining them extra yards with greater accuracy
- Inject some of your chosen “PVA FRIENDLY” liquid into the solid bag to give it that extra pulling power, my choice is the Finamino, it has a lovely sweet smell that is full of stimulants and attractants