It was a glorious Autumn morning, the sun was shining brightly as I cast out my second rod, I then removed my fleece body warmer. I was on the banks of the carp pool and as I fired out my Charwood Baits MPP boilies, I felt confident as the weather had remained mild.
My confidence was boosted within 20 minutes of fishing, I had managed 2 carp on the bank, albeit stockies, both very welcome. My baiting was the same as in my previous posts and I topped the swims up with about 15 boilies after each fish. The lake in question has a very soft bottom, a fine silty mud has built up and heavy leads tend to bury themselves in the bed and with it, sometimes the hook bait. In this situation to consistently catch, a specific rig will give you an advantage over other anglers.
Ideally the angler is looking for the bait to present itself on top of this soft silt and not be dragged into out of reach from the hungry carp. Enter the helicopter rig.
The helicopter rig allows the hook link to run up the line as the lead enters the water, allowing the hookbait to sit on top of the silt and visible to a feeding carp. Its a rig that can also be employed on weedy venues. For an extra edge I also prefer to employ a balanced hookbait, as I feel it gives me a better presentation as the hookbait settles more gently than a standard bottom bait. This has been my first choice rig in silty conditions for many years for the simple reason that it catches fish.
As this is very much a tangle free rig, I will not add pva bags or stringers to the rig, I will add freebies via a catapult or spod depending in distance.
Due to the lead burying itself in the silt a heavy lead is normally not required and I can fish with 1oz or 1 1/2oz as the extra resistance of the lead being pulled from the silt when a carp takes the bait gives a positive hook hold.
Tied correctly the helicopter rig is one of the safest around. I normally incorporate a lead core leader in this set up, allowing a buffer bead to sit firmly on the leader above the weight and rig. In the eventuality of the mainline snapping, the buffer bead, under resistance will simply peel off the leader and the carp will be free of the lead, which is exactly what an angler is looking for.
I have been using balanced hook baits more often in recent seasons, especially on silty venues such as this. As I'm going to the trouble of presenting a bait on top of the silt with the helicopter rig, why then use a dense hookbait. I like to give myself the best chance of hooking a fish, so I believe a balanced hookbait does that. Whether its a pop up balanced with additional weight or a bottom bait balanced with a pop up or foam as is the snowman rig, it is important to test the rigs in the margin before fishing, to make sure the bait is behaving exactly as intended.
Carp number 7 fell to the helicopter rig and balanced hookbait and my first mirror stockie from the venue soon slipped over the cord.
A stunning looking carp, one which I would love to see in a few years time, the scale pattern was incredible.
I have been guilty of turning up at venues in the past and casting out any rig without any thought as to the presentation and how the rig will act on that particular venue. It is something I now take a lot more thought over, whether im chub, barbel, pike or carp fishing.
The afternoon turned cold, as the sun retreated behind the thick clouds, the breeze stiffened, I once again donned my body warmer. The bites tailed off as expected, I had experienced the bast part of the day, however I angled on until dusk with no further bites.
As I sat waiting for my next bite I noticed a group of large fungi across the field I just had to photograph before I left, Fly Agaric I believe, however I'm not an expert so I would be grateful of a definite identification.