The almighty zig rig, you either love them or you hate them, but there is no doubt that they can be a devastating tactic at any time of the year. A small piece of foam suspended in the water column certainly draws a few questions, but there is no doubting their effectiveness, especially when bites are hard to come by fishing on the deck. Casting a single piece of unflavoured black foam in the abyss certainly takes some guts, but with a little extra thought towards boosting the attraction of your zigs will not only bring extra bites, but extra confidence during the spring period.
It can be quite difficult to get your head around, but zigs offer a type of ‘3D’ fishing, whereby your rig is suspended up in the water layers through the use of a buoyant piece of foam or pop-up. This is then anchored to the lakebed with your normal lead arrangement, which provides the hooking properties to the rig. The single more important factor is getting the zig depth perfect in order to ‘get bites’ so to speak. A slight difference in depth can be the difference between getting bites and not. To get everything perfect, the use of a marker float is crucial to find the depth, this mean you can measure out your zigs exactly and know precisely where they are positioned in the water column. If the bites come along on one particular zig, you will have a good idea of the level the fish are willing to take the baits at.
There are certainly a few factors to take into consideration when fishing zig hookbaits; firstly, the size. Size does play an important part in the effectiveness of zigs. The general rule of thumb is small baits work well, as they mimic small bugs and natural floating in the water layers. The hookbait needs to be buoyant enough to hold up a small hook and length of zig monofilament off the lead, so foam or small buoyant pop-ups are the best shout. Like small, single hookbaits, zig hookbaits work well as they require a degree of investigation from the carp. On some days, bright blatant colours will work effectively, such as yellows and oranges. On other days, bland colours such as blacks and browns are more successful; this can be affected by a number of factors such as light intensity and water clarity, so chopping and changing will help put fish on the bank.
Scaling down the zig material and hookbaits size will stand you in better stead of picking of fish, even if it is very minor changes to your line diameter. The water on many venues can be crystal clear and as a result, cause a degree of refraction in the column, whereby any alien objects such as line can become quite visible.
Adding extra food signals into the water column can be a significant edge when fishing small hookbaits on zigs. Similarly to single hookbaits, the pulling power comes from the colour and the food signals they give off into the water. Zigs are certainly no different, acting as a lure to tempt the carp into feeding. Enhancing a pot of foam by using a potent booster spray can add a whole new dimension to a seemingly bland hookbait. Concentrated sprays such as the Acid Pear and Citrus Zest will be quickly and easily absorbed by the foam hookbaits and once cast into the lake, will begin to pump out attraction and feeding stimulants from the off. For further enhancement of the zig hookbaits, a few squirts of the sweet smelling spray can be applied to the hook and hookbait before casting out.
Introducing attraction around the zig hookbait itself can be used to encourage attention of passing carp; this method is perfect for slightly higher stocked venues and works simply by creating a halo of attraction around the zig hookbait. The tactic is hugely successful during the warmer months of the year, but by tailoring the mix, can be equally as devastating in the early spring months. Ensuring the mix is highly water-soluble is key, the attractors and liquids need to disperse well in the all water temperatures, maximising the clouded effect to draw fish in to investigate. The basis of the clouding mix is a variety of small particles that stay suspended in the water column, drawing fish to feed actively around the hookbait. The inclusion of liquid and water ensures the mix is super- soluble, creamy and cloudy, creating a cloud of bursting attraction in and around the zig hookbait.
Finally, preparation is key, tying up a number of zigs at home in the warmth is a good idea before heading out on a trip and will save time on the bank in the long run. A top tip is to tie all your spare zigs longer than you are going to need, this way if you need to go shorter; it is a simple case of cutting them down to the desired length.
Incorporating a few extra edges into the zig armoury this spring will certainly help tempt a bonus fish, experimenting with varying depths, colours and flavours is vital in an attempt to unlock the zig rig on your water in the coming months.