Zig fishing is something that has long been of tremendous interest to me. It’s a method that often produces fish when all else has failed. And the more I fish zigs the more I find they really are a year round tactic, so don't put your bugs away just yet.
Stalking carp and working the zigs are two of the best ways of maximising the chances during periods of inactivity. By working the zig, I mean finding the depth that the fish are at, based on observations and experience, I would say that two thirds of the depth of the spot you are fishing is a very reliable starting point. So in 9 feet of water a 6 foot hook link would be my starting point. I then add or remove 6 inches until I start getting bites.
Usually when feeding in the mid layers, carp aren’t gorging themselves in a frenzy like they do over a man-made baited area, they are simply grazing taking in daphnia and other micro-organisms.
This activity is often heightened by a natural hatch of some type, so it makes sense to try and mimic these bugs carp are finding naturally as closely as possible. This is, I believe, where the Nash Zig Bugs really come into their own.
I have come to some interesting conclusions regarding the 'optimum' conditions for fishing with zigs and some are not quite as I expected! Take for instance an occasion I witnessed one winter’s night. The day had been fairly mild yet no carp were visible during daylight hours. Come nightfall, the full moon was shining brightly and the temperature had dropped considerably, but even so a few carp could be heard topping.
The angler next to me went on to land 4 carp that night fishing zigs 12 inches under the surface not too long after the lake had thawed out from its annual winter freeze. What was more intriguing was the fact that he was using tiny pieces of black foam in the dark of night! How could the carp see this? Then it struck me, the tiny piece of foam must have been silhouetted against the full moon. There’s a massive edge to be gained by fishing with zigs throughout the night, especially on those nights where the pressure is high and the skies clear.
If you’ve got bottom baits and zigs in place at night you’ll have everything covered. Interestingly, air pressure seems to have a massive effect on where the carp spend most of their time. Just as high air pressure brings clear skies by night, the same is true for daytime also, a bright sunny day will often result in carp being visible on or just below the surface, the chances are there will be natural food present too which means a zig hook bait presented at just the right depth will be hard to resist.
Go light: When you have found the fish, it’s a good idea to use a light lead to avoid spooking the carp too much when you cast out. This also applies to the zig hooklink material you are using. Generally speaking, you want the lowest diameter you can get away with as this will bring you more bites. I’ve been well impressed with the Zig Flo line from Nash, its strength in relation to diameter is unbeatable.
Glug your Bug: The Bug Juice sprays take attraction to a new level.
Drop the lead: Nash weed safety bolt-beads and tail rubbers will ensure that you ditch the lead on the take.
Tight lines: I fish with my rod ‘loaded’. That is, the line is pulled as tight as possible without moving the lead.
Cloud it up: Don’t overlook the Bug Life Mix and Riser Pellets which have been purpose designed for zig fishing. It’s a mistake to think these only work on commercial or well stocked venues.
Spread some sinkers: Adding a few sinking food items to the mix will ensure you have the bottom baited if fish start following the cloud residue down and switch their attentions to the lakebed.
Colour key: You may find that one day the carp will happily take a bug with a fleck of yellow, another day white or orange will provoke a response so be prepared to swap things around until the carp respond.