Switch to zigs did the trick for Ed Betteridge!

Many anglers struggled last winter, but Ed Betteridge certainly wasn’t amongst them and was catching consistently even when conditions were far from ideal!

His catches included some real red letter days, with multiple hits of fish, and he has continued that into the Spring at a Northamptonshire syndicate lake, where he landed this fantastic looking 28lb 8oz mirror!

On his latest trip his fortunes completely turned following a tactical change, as he explained: “I turned up on the Sunday evening for my weekly fix and was greeted by a drab, grey sky and a mild south-westerly breeze. Not bad conditions to fish in, and with the forecast the same for the next few days I was buzzing to get started.

“I set off for a wander, making sure that i spent a good amount of time looking at the areas off the back of the wind, as I didn’t want to overlook them and head straight onto the end of the wind.

“After a few hours, and some cups of tea with the regulars along the way, I finally saw a fish stick its head out and it was right in the teeth of the wind. I quickly made my way round there to watch the water and it wasn’t long before I saw another one, and that was enough for me to grab my barrow.

“Whilst I was getting everything sorted and rigging up three rods on chods I saw a few more fish show, and even though it was getting dark by then I knew exactly where each rod was going and each landed with a dull ‘thump’, so I was more than happy.

“I awoke early with that disappointing feeling that my bobbins had remained still all night, but by the time I put the kettle on for a second brew of the day a large set of rings appeared in front of me, and that was soon followed by a large fish crashing out. I sat on my hands but morning turned to afternoon, and then as the light began to fade I re-did all three rods, rather frustrated that there was all this activity, yet I hadn’t had a bite!

“The next morning arrived and I still hadn’t had any action, and I felt that the carp might be playing in the upper layers and not dipping down to feed, or there could even have been a hatch going on, so as I sat and waited for the morning bite time to pass, I tied up three zig rigs with black foam hookbaits.

“When I’m zig-rigging for big carp I like to use a size 8 Mixa hook with 11lb Zig Line, and for my lead set-up I fish with a 4.5oz Tournament Casting Swivel lead on a Hybrid Lead Clip, and I use a Tapered Sleeve instead of a Tail Rubber, to ensure the lead is dropped immediately on the take. I always fish with my lines very tight when using zigs, and have the clutches set so that the fish can only take line when it pulls really hard, as I feel this helps to eject the lead and beds the hook home.

“I felt a lot happier once I had the zigs out, but was kicking myself for not making the change earlier as the session was drawing to a close and I began packing away slowly, making a few cups of tea along the way to drag it out as long as possible!

“The alarm on the right let out a single bleep and as I looked, the bobbin slowly pulled forwards, and that was enough for me to sweep the rod up over my shoulder and it5 took on a healthy bend from the resistance at the other end.

“Upon contact, the fish took off and I let it run for 15 yards or so before softly applying pressure to the spool to slow it down, and the fish obliged but then turned towards me and made a bee-line for the bank to my left. Again, I managed to turn it, and before long it was on the surface, taking a breath of air.

“I kept the rod tip high and kept my nerve – it is always a bit tense when playing carp on zigs - as I teased a dark common over the net, and there lay a near-black upper-20 common. I weighed him in at 28lb 8oz and he looked stunning as I held him up for a photo in the Spring sunshine.”