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Tony Locke

Desperate times = desperate measures?

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July has not been kind to me...a grand total of 3 carp over 10 lb out of 25 carp landed in 13 sessions. Most sessions for me are 2-3 hours and I am estimating just under 50 hours fishing..so a carp every 2 hours and the carp is usually 7lb!

Now I fish corn directly on the hook..nothing fancy, no hair rigs, no boilies, no exotic scented baits and I generally fish size 10 hooks to 8lb line. So I got thinking about upping the ante...what if the reason my carp are usually babies is that the bigger ones have seen through my tactics?

So I have spent an hour tying up hair rigs and am going to head out and carry out a "scientific test": Does a hair rigged bait result in more carp bites from bigger carp?

Assuming I get sufficient data, it will of course apply only to where I fish which, for any out there that don't know me, means only GA rivers.

I would not hesitate to use hair rigs on lakes in Europe where pressure on carp is intensive, but here in America I don't see that the fish are under anything like that pressure. Many of those who I see fishing for carp are fishing for the pot, so the carp makes just one mistake and doesn't get a 2nd chance...hence in 18 years here I have stuck with the most simple rigs possible and would claim to have had reasonable success. Maybe then the carp that I return are now wary and are passing this fear on to the others?

So, over to you guys...do you have evidence that hair rigs here in GA are vital?

What about baits other than corn or bread? My back up bait is spam and while I regularly catch on it, it is a rare day it outfishes corn...and such a day usually finds the river the color of cocoa.

Tony

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I'm in Minnesota and had a very similar mindset about hair rigs, until I started catching a lot of fish with them. In my opinion, it's not just about the fishing pressure. Carp are vary fish, and the hair rig allows them to suck up the bait without getting spooked easily. I would give hair rigs a try.

As for corn, I often use sweet corn on a hair rig. To make it more robust, I normally add a piece of flavored maize to the end of the rig as well. This has greatly reduced the chances of corn falling off a hair rig during long casts.

You might also use some sort of method feeder (even if it's the in line spring ones).This will keep the carp feeding around your hook for a longer time, thus increasing the chance of them picking up your bait.

To catch larger fish, you might also try out boilies or larger hook baits. This is a much debated topic, but just try out new things and see what works.

I'm a new member and am a novice when it comes to carp fishing. What I've expressed above are "simply" my thoughts/learnings through trial and error. I'm no expert at carping but am always up for trying new things and learning from my mistakes :-)

Tight lines!

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The nice thing about experimenting is that you get to fish a lot! I use the hair rig with canned corn soaked in vanilla. I spod with vanilla cracked corn (vanilla in the water, boil, and add the corn). This week I'm trying vanilla with a bit of anise in the cracked corn for spodding. Carping is like a lot of things where people swear by different methods, baits, flavors, etc. Some swear by them; some swear at them.

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Just remember, bystanders will laugh at you if you ever tell them the effort you put into your rigs/pack bait/bait etc. So just nod and smile if they ask what you are using. It will drive them nuts and they will walk away confused :-)

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In my experience from fishing in RI carp are going eat no matter what you put in front of them, its just the variable of how fast they find it and how much it catches the fishes eye. Keep in mind most of the new and best "flavors of the month" are to catch the fisherman..and sometimes the fish.. You can always turn a fish away with exotic flavors but the basics will always work. As far as hair rigs i always say if you have the line and you have the hook why not put in the few extra minutes tying a hair rig if it could mean the difference of spooking a fish away or getting the hook set..

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The hair rig is not about dealing with pressured fish, it is about increasing the probability of hooking a fish when it comes to suck (and often spit out) your bait. It is cool to experiment though, and I encourage you to try a hair rig on one rod, and bait on the hook with another rod, and you should probably notice the difference soon enough. You need to find a spot where you have more than one bite every 2 hours to do so, though, otherwise you will not have enough bites for a successful experiment (or it would take forever!).

As to catching big fish, a hair rig will not make much of a difference, I'm afraid. It's really all about location. Quite obviously, you're fishing a venue where average carp size isn't that great. Try to explore, to speak with other anglers, to do research on the Internet. Catching big fish is more about finding them than anything else...

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Interesting thoughts from everyone. My 2 cents' worth would be to add that IF you want to try boilies, or certain other baits, you will have no choice but to use a hair rig. But as long as you're fishing with corn or other soft baits that fish well directly on the hook, you should probably see little difference.

Lots of big carp are caught on simple baits like corn, but based on what I've read, I do believe that boilies and other dough baits catch bigger fish on average. Is that because the guys who use them are fishing venues where there are bigger fish, or is it because boilies attract bigger fish? THAT is a question I can't answer. I can say that nearly all of my biggest fish (all caught a long time ago) were caught on doughballs and a plain hook, although most of them were caught in a river known for holding large carp

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