From a one-rod, one-off tactic to sometimes THE tactic that out catches all others you can't afford to not have effective zig fishing in your armoury in modern day carp fishing. For all of you who have yet to master it or don't have any confidence in it here are my top tips on getting ziggy......
Pick the right water
I must admit that until I built my confidence up by catching lots of carp I too struggled with zigs as a consistent tactic. So do yourself a favour and find a water stuffed with fish and get zigging. Shallow waters are better than deep ones to start with as the carp will never be too far away from you. Fishing zigs in 6 feet is also a lot easier to get to grips with than in sixteen feet of water. Drayton, Thorpe Lea and Brasenose are perfect examples where not only can you learn on your own but watching others can give you that leg up too.
Fishing bottom baits can often become a 'sit and wait' affair especially when you are sure it’s all spot on. That does work and often is the BEST tactic but when it comes to zigs it’s probably the worst thing you can do. It’s essential to find the right depth and right hookbait so being busy is the only way to be. I will constantly alter depths and position of the zig until I find the depth they are at and then capitalise big style. It’s not a lazy man’s style of carping but as is always the case again effort equals reward.
One method wonder
No matter how hard I try to convince you about the benefits of zigs its so easy to slip back into the bottom bait fishing and only use zigs as and when you are desperate! The key is to find that prolific water and take the zigs only. Many winters ago I did this at Messingham Sands in winter and as that's all I had I had no choice but to make it work. That day taught me so much about timing and tactics. Try it for a day or two! It will keep you thinking and trying and that's the best way to learn quickly.
Remember that the usual drill with zigs is for them to be interested enough to make a mistake with that single feed item and unlike fishing on the bottom you are not usually adding additional feed to get them going. For that reason your hookbait is either right...or wrong! What’s nice is that you tend to find out very quickly when you are putting something out there that they want. I vary my hookbaits very regularly and although I may start with black foam I will soon add a dash of yellow, maybe try a zig bug, a spray of Zig Juice and so on. The Attractor Critters and Natural Critters are brilliant with hatches so have a selection at your disposal and be BUSY ringing the changes until an alarm sounds!
Serve up soup
Spod Soup is a great tactic when zig fishing and sometimes when I feel there are carp out there and I am not getting takes I will Spomb out feed over the top of my suspended zig hookbait. Normally it’s crumbed boilies with Carnation Cream but I also have done well fishing a zig under Spombed Riser Pellets. There are no limits when it comes to the feed items but the finer the better and the key is to keep it going in. Drayton is the place to see this to best effect and accounts for huge bags of fish. It’s become such a mainstream method that you won’t find a successful match carp angler who can’t fish a zig under slop.
Best of both worlds
Even when zigging stay on the lookout for any other chances you can get. If I don't want to Spod, I will still fire out my combination Riser Pellet, Slicker Pellets and Chum Mixers. This can draw the carp up to the zig or even higher in which case get that surface rod ready! Go on give Zig rigs a try as they truly do offer another string to your bow. Don't just watch others doing it get out there and prove it to yourself.