Renowned big-fish angler Nigel Sharp shows ACF his two favoured bottom-bait presentations, which have caught him numerous 40lb carp.
Depending on the situation that I’m faced with, I go between two rigs for presenting a bottom bait; these being the D and the NS. I’ve used these for years and have had loads of big fish on them.
A stunning Frimley common over 39lb caught on the NS rig.
The NS Rig
01 – I often us smaller baits like tigers or a cored boilie when fishing this rig in the edge.
02 – The hair can slide freely on the shank of the hook as it would with a rig ring. As a rule of thumb, I make the gap between the bend of the hook and bait about half the diameter if the hook bait.
03 – A strong, sharp hook is key. A Gardner Incizor is perfect for the job.
04 – A short section of stiff coating creatures a kicker effect without the need for shrink tube.
05 – I strip the rest of the coating to leave bare braid. Not many people use braided rigs anymore, but it can be an edge.
06 – I simply tie a large loop in the end of the braid and attach it to the swivel in a loop-to-loop fashion strong and simple.
It may share the same initials as my name but NS actually stands for no s*** because it is such a simple rig, using just a braided hook link and a hook – that’s it! However, it actually shares the same mechanics of a much more complicated rig utilising sliding rings and shrink tube. Nicking the hook through the hook link fixes the hair to the hook, but allows it to run up and down the shank exactly like a rig ring. A small section of coating on the braid exiting the eye extends the shank of the hook just like the shrink tube does. The stiffer the coating the better here because it will hold its shape and kick the hook out at a 45-degree angle. The combination of the hair leaving the bend of the hook and stiff material at the base of it helps it flip much quicker when tensioned, but this rig doesn’t need all the little extras or require you to boil your kettle every time you make one!
As you can see, I strip the coating from the rest of the rig to leave it as bare, supple braid. It’s so different from the usual coated braid hook links that everybody uses these days. It allows the bait to act a bit more naturally and I’ve definitely seen carp avoid baits that act unnaturally. I fish this rig relatively short, usually no longer than six inches, which helps hook them that little bit quicker and I think the carp struggle to deal with it.
The NS rig is my go-to presentation for fishing up on the marginal shelf, where it’s just a gentle flick, or even a case of lowering the rig onto the spot. I’ll often fish it with smaller hook baits, like a cored-down boilie or a couple of little tigers. If I’m casting the rig I normally use a little PVA bag to keep things separated during the cast, but being a supple braid you could even use it in a solid bag. However, I find that it’s not great for long casts because it can have a tendency to tangle.
Tying The NS Rig
1. Thread the hook bait onto the hooklink to create the hair, then carefully pass the hook point through the hooklink material.
2. Thread the hook link through the eye the wrong way, so that the hair lines up along the inside of the shank
3. Tie a knotless knot with the coated braid. Strip the coating from about one centimetre below the hook
The D Rig
01 – It’s important to attach the stiff mono to your swivel using a grinner or blood knot. This neat knot allows the swivel to spin unhindered.
02 – Sitff monos or fluorocarbons work best with the D rig. Use stiffer materials when using larger baits.
03 – You can use any size hook bait as it is tied to the rig ring on the D.
04 – Use a hook with an out-turned eye, such as a Chod. it should be 45 degrees to the hook link.
In contrast, the D rig utilises a stiff mono hook link and, as the name suggests, it features a rig ring running on a D on the back of the hook, as opposed to a hair. This rig is perfect for fishing out in the pond because I know that it’s not going to be tangled. If you get a good cast and it lands where you want it to, you can be confident that it is presented perfectly.
In terms of rig mechanics, the stiff hook link is perfect for fishing over a bit more of a spread of bait, where the fish will be moving between baits. They are unlikely to inspect each bait with as much finesse and therefore you can get away with the more aggressive rig. Being a completely stiff hook link, once they make the mistake of sucking up that hook bait, it’s really hard for them to get rid of it. That hook has to exit point first, ready to hook them, rather than folding over as it gets blown out.
You can use pretty much any bait you like with the D rig because the hair is formed each time and attached to the ring on the D. I’ve used this presentation with a wide range of baits, from cut-down boilies or nuts, up to 20mm boilies or snowman setups. I also change the mono that I use to suit the bait size. If I’m using a really big, heavy bait then I will use a stiffer mono or fluorocarbon to help kick out the hook link.
Sharpy’s Whipping Knot
1. Nige first ties on a swivel then measures out the hook a little shorter than the finished rig
2. He loops back and whips back down the shank about seven times towards the eye
3. The tag end is then passed back through the loop he created in step 2.
4. He then tightens the knot down, pulling on both the hook and hair to really bed it down.
5. Nige then threads on a rig ting and forms the D, being careful not to damage the hook link.
6. He simply threads his hook bait onto some bait floss and blobs it down with a lighter.