Specimen style fishing can be pretty daunting at times with so many things to learn and to remember. Especially when it comes to your RIG building. The Number ONE Rule is SAFETY!
Always Insure that the RIG you have Built is safe to the fish in case of FAILURE. Failure is such a Harsh word to use and one which a Specimen Angler never wants hear or experience. Failure however goes Hand in Hand with angling. We do all we can to insure that our Leader line is fresh, Knot’s are tied well and RIG’s are built to perfection. Everything that we have control over that is. Once the Line and RIG are in the water everything we had control over is now in the hands of a Higher entity. Nature always seems to have the upper hand. So for the times that nature Deals the Deck of Cards we need to Make sure that the fish will be SAFE and that our Forward planning of this is sound.
Crabs are essential to any Aquatic ECO-SYSTEM. They are also the main culprit when it comes to line FAILURE. Indicators when a Crab is busy with your RIG are very hard to spot. It is much easier to spot when Conventional angling as the RIG’s are much lighter. Specimen RIG’s however and set up don’t offer the same subtleness. All it takes is for a Crab to Pinch the Main line. If it is a Small Crab he might not pinch the Line OFF but will do enough damage to the line. Once the Angler Has a run and tension is placed on the Line it will Fail. This happens more often with MONO line and not so much with BRAIDED line. Not that we can all afford the Extremely Expensive Braided Line that is.
The Safety RIG however Should be used by every Angler regardless of what type of Line He/She is using. Purchasing LEAD’s for your RIG’s is also difficult. They come in all Shapes and styles and we Often have our Personally Preferred LEAD.
If you Have my Luck of the Irish you take what is Left on the Shelf. Purchasing CHEAPER LEADS Could also have a DETREMENTAL Impact on your FAILURE rate. With a little thought and planning we can turn that Negative around into a Positive.
You are able to Purchase the Leads with a SHOCK RUBBER already inserted.
These are generally More Expensive. But what Happens when you are unable to find them? You need to Improvise. I recently found that at my LOCAL Tackle Dealer he No longer stocks the more expensive LEADS. All the Leads are coated and this means that the coating now goes inside the Shaft as well. You will find that trying to fit the Shock Rubber now no longer works.
There seems not to be enough room. Many Anglers simply Pull the Lead Core through but it is now loose and the Lead Slides way to freely up and down the Line. You do want the lead to slide but not that freely!
If you have a Lead that acts like a Flying Back Lead it could cause more hook ups on structure. So we do want a firm fit, In order to achieve this we require a 3mm and a 5mm Drill Bit. These will be used to create the Space needed to Fit the Shocker Sleeves.
I purchased the DOCKS SHOCKER SLEEVES 60mm for this task.
Drill out the Coating on the 2 ends of the LEAD.
Make sure you clear out any obstruction. You will now be able to fit the SHOCKER SLEEVE into the LEAD.
Slide the shocker sleeve over you baiting needle. Clip your Lead core on and pull it through. Now fasten your quick release swivel to the other end of the Lead Core. Slide your Shocker Sleeve all the way down till the Barrel of the Swivel enters the Shocker sleeve rubber. Now feed your lead core into the LEAD and slide the Lead down till the Shocker Sleeve grips firmly on the inside of the Lead.
Do not pull the Barrel too hard into the Sleeve at this point. You are now ready to make up your Hair rig. For this I have Chosen to use a Stiff Silt 25Lb. Cut off a piece of around 30cm and Strip off around 100mm of the coating on one end. Slide one of your Boilie stops onto this end.
Tie a figure 8 knot into the Stripped Hair.
You are now able to Bait the Hair and tie your Hook on. At this point I prefer to slide a small piece of Heat shrink onto my hook which I use as a Aligner. Feed your Hair into the Heat shrink between the Hook Shaft and pull the Hair link through the eye of the hook from the back. Tie The Knotless Knot around the shaft and pull through the eye of the hook from the back once again.
Strip off around 60mm of coating on the other end and tie another figure 8 knot. Feed your anti-tangle Rubber on and hook onto your quick release swivel. Pull everything together and you have a Perfect inline Safety rig.
For those who are new to the Specimen Style fishing and who do not understand or know why we build and call this a safety rig let me explain. We use Drop off Lead systems. LEAD (being the led weight or sinker). Once the fish is on the hook the sinker will fall off. The sinkers used in Specimen style fishing are much Heavier than in Conventional Angling. So we want to drop it once we have the fish on the hook. This will insure that there is no sinker on the RIG to pull the fish down to the bottom of the dam where we find snags. This system allows for the fish to come up to the surface and to swim more freely and naturally. The other advantage is that without the sinker attached the angler can judge the fight more accurately and fish size. An attached sinker can also injure the fish. More importantly thou is the fact the sinker does not add any more tension to the line. Especially if a Crab has been pinching the line while in the water. All these factors come into play and anyone of them can be unsafe for the fish.
At the end of the day if your line fails the fish now only has a Hook and a bit of leadcore in its mouth. No sinker attached to pull its head down. In many cases the fish will stop feeding and possibly die when this happens. A fish stands a greater chance of ejecting the hook when there is no sinker attached.
Now using a inline sliding rig as I have shown in the illustration above you will note that the LEAD in fact does not drop off. It stays attached. 1st I do not like the Drop off Lead system and 2nd I cannot afford to Purchase leads every time one is lost.
On a few occasions I have had a fish pick up the rig and swim over 30m before any indication on my alarm. With a inline sliding rig this does not happen. When you are fishing against reeds on a opposite bank fish tend to swim along those reeds from left to right. If the distance from your pod to the reeds is the same as to the left or right you will receive no indication of a bit until the fish swims into the reeds or the line runs around a snag. See the illustration below.
You will note the distance from the POD to the opposite bank are virtually the same from left to right. Blue arrows indicate the direction of the swimming Carp. The carp can pick up the bait and swim from left to right for some distance before turning into the bay Marked arrow in red. Only then do you have a bit indication or alarm. The carp will then swim into the reeds on the right and you will lose the fish.
With a inline running sinker the bite indicator or alarm will sound as soon as the fish picks up the bait and swims right. The sinker will allow the line to run through it as indicated in the figure below. Allowing you to strike and fight the fish before he swims for the reeds on the right.
I sincerely hope this post will be helpful and that some of you will gain more knowledge about Specimen fishing.
Until next time, Tight Lines.