Master chod fishing with Oli Bowles!

More than most, Oli Bowles knows the effectiveness of a well-presented chod rig at this time of year – it can be a devastating tactic. Here’s Oli’s guide to making the most of the deadly chod rig in your own angling.


Setting the beads up is one of the most important parts of the whole set up in my eyes. Everyone seems to have their own take on it and I see beads set up in all different ways, mainly very close together. I'm not saying that’s wrong but it seems people have a default position in which they fish the beads and they don't really think about why they have them where they are.

I adjust the beads according to the spot I'm fishing. As a guide I have the bottom bead no lower than ten inches above the lead and the top bead around 3 ft above the lead. If the spot is covered in thick weed or very dirty then I will push the bottom bead up another 4 inches or so and move the top bead a good few feet higher up the line. This will let the rig sit proud on top on any weed or debris. If I'm trying to fish to small clear areas and I want to be more accurate, then I’ll move the top bead down to 2 feet from the bottom bead, so the rig sits closer to where I felt the lead drop.


The shape of the rig is important to maximise your chances of hooking and landing a fish. I fish my chods short and with a nice aggressive curve. In my eyes, this curved shape helps the rig to spin in the water if sucked at by a carp, which will turn the hook round the right way if the carp is approaching the rig from behind or to the side of the rig. Also, and just as important in my eyes, the angle the curve holds the hook at offers the best chance of the sharp point actually finding the bottom lip.


Setting the line tension and the bobbin is another very important aspect of the set up to me. Occasionally, if I'm fishing for what I perceive to be line shy fish, I will fish with my lines absolutely as slack as I can get them, but I have found that in most situations fishing a semi slack line is more than enough to let the rig settle at the lead end and also give you good indication on the bobbin.

I set the Stow more or less parallel with the floor so there is still a little room for a drop back if the fish came towards me on a bite. Also, I am a lot more careful with the line after casting out and feeling the lead down than I would be if I was fishing a tight line on a lead clip-style set up. This is to ensure I don't disturb the rig and it stays sat above any weed or debris.


A good buoyant pop up is crucial to a good set up. It ensures your rig will sit higher up the line when the rig is sinking keeping it further from the bottom, and also it means the rig will sit up nice and tall and allow the swivel to do its job of spinning properly.

I use a corkball popup for 90 percent of my chod fishing, they’re totally reliable buoyancy-wise and they take on oils and glugs really well. I love to use the same bait on the rig as I'm feeding at this time of year so I always use a corkball, but there are some great very buoyant airball-style pop ups out there now so I would be happy to use one of those as long as I know it will hold up a size 6 choddy hook for 24 hours.


Not a tip to help you bank any more carp as such, but I feel it should still be stressed as an important point and a very important part of the set up is keeping it as safe as possible.

The beads and components available to us now are so good. I use the Heli Safe system with the Naked Chod Safety System – it’s tidy easy to use and safe that there is no excuse for anyone to be setting this up dangerously anymore. Check that in the event of a break off, the swivel can freely pass over any beads and all line so the carp is left with only the small section of filament and the hook in its mouth and if you’re using a big lead or its weedy conditions then dump the lead using the Heli Safe. Look after them!