Carpers Yard

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Gettin' Ziggy With It

Ches Boughen

If I could give just one lockdown day session tip it would be... Never ignore adjustable zigs. Zig rigs play a huge part in my fishing, particularly during the winter and leading into springtime. The reason I believe they are so effective during these months is that generally, the fish are sitting up in the water thermals and not on the bottom. You'll find the water thermal to be between mid and three-quarter depth - obviously dependent on the depth of the lake. As an example, if the lake was 10ft deep, I would start placing my hook baits at 5ft and work up to around 8ft. There are a lot of variants to this though... If I was working zigs on an overcast day where it was a little colder I would be more inclined to start closer to mid-depth, on the other hand, if the sun was out and it was a warmer day I’d be starting with them higher - sometimes up to a foot below the surface on really warm days. This is where the way I fish zigs comes into its own, I prefer the Fox adjustable zigs. This means once I've located the fish or I'm in a zone I suspect them to be in I can roam the different layers very easily with very little disturbance.

Colours of hook bait choice can be very important at this time of year! Depending on the water clarity, I tend to find with the shorter bright colder days black is often the colour I go to first; with red and yellow being more successful on the darker cloudier days. The advantage with Fox zig aligners is that you can mix things up and maybe even use a different colour aligner with a different coloured piece of foam, it really is a case of using your imagination and finding what works best on the day.

Hook size I would generally use a size 8 Fox zig and floater hook. If I was fishing open water with no snags or weed issues I'd accompany this hook with 10lb Fox zig and floater hook link, however if weed was present and I felt it may cause an issue I’d jump up to a 15lb and up the hook size to a 6. Personally, I don't feel using a size 10 hook is any more of an advantage, but I do feel it would jeopardise my chance of landing hooked fish.

My preferred lead is a 3oz and I fish this drop-off style - it is explained how to use these in the Fox zig kits. I feel this is an important subject to touch on because I'm relying on the lead pulling the hook in, so I’d be happy moving up to a 4oz or even 4.5oz as I feel the slight increase in weight helps hooking potential when the fish goes to move off.

That's pretty much it, all of the above is purely just my opinion and there really is no wrong or right it's just getting out there yourselves and having a go and finding out what works well for you. Zig fishing is experimental and relies on you to keep actively changing things up if it's not working - perfect to keep busy during cold wintery sessions!

Ches Boughen