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Tackle & Techniques – Zig Rig

Tackle & Techniques – Zig Rig

Mar 30, 2015

Meet the Zig Rig!

By Mike Pehanich

Many an American bass fishing technique has migrated to Japan, then reversed its course and sailed back across the Pacific with a new twist, innovation or simple improvement that has made the lure or technique a hands-down improvement or adaptation of the original concept. Others have started in Japan and come to America for their facelift or metamorphosis.

 

The Zig Rig was developed in the United Kingdom and has become the hottest rig in Japan.

The Zig Rig was developed in the United Kingdom and has become the hottest rig in Japan. It suspends groundbait formulations from the bottom up.

Well, that same pattern of creative ping-pong has been taking place in other corners of the fishing world. In fact, anglers in Japan, Europe, and the UK all have borrowed bank fishing techniques from each other and found ways to better them.

North American anglers are surprised when they learn that the quest to conquer the common carp drives much of fishing innovation worldwide from rod and reel to terminal tackle and bait formulations. Over the past year, Japanese anglers have rallied around a terminal rig developed in the United Kingdom for carp — The Zig Rig. It has dominated bank fishing discussion in Japan. In fact, some reports claim the Zig Rig is outproducing other rigs by a 10 to 1 margin! Not surprisingly, American anglers are now declaring it a winner in our waters, too. At each juncture, new users add their own wrinkles to both the rig and ground bait mixes.

The Zig Rig has proven effective on species like striped bass and catfish, too.

The Zig Rig has proven effective on species like striped bass and catfish, too.

What it is, what it does!

The Zig Rig concept challenges a widespread belief about carp behavior — namely, that carp are almost exclusively bottom feeders.

Most terminal rigs designed for carp have played to this overstated and, at times, even deceptive generalization.

The Zig Rig isn’t entirely new, mind you. It originated about 20 years ago. After a brief period of popularity, it pretty much disappeared from the angling scene.

Maybe the technique was ahead of its time.

Chapelbaits Krill Glug

Chapelbaits Krill Glug is one of a number of attractants used with the Zig Rig.

During the cold water period, carp spend much of their time not on the bottom but suspended in the water column, cruising at some middle level. Even during the warm water season, carp are likely to cruise well off bottom and over the tops of that vegetation.

The Zig Rig’s advantage over other rigs is its ability to work a very narrow range of the water column. An angler can fine-tune the Zig Rig so that his bait hovers at a precise distance above bottom — right over the tops of submerged vegetation or wherever it needs to be to catch the attention and favor of the fish.

“You can set a Zig Rig to within an inch of where you want it or, more importantly, where the carp wants it,” explains Munenori Kajiwara, who, as owner of Japan Import Tackle, has helped to bring Japanese tackle and techniques to North American anglers. “That can be very important, particularly when taking on some of the spookiest carp in pressured waters of the United Kingdom, Japan…or anywhere you find carp!”

Pressured carp can become highly resistant to baits hanging down from a float (bobber). Bottom-hugging bait presentations, on the other hand, can often hide the bait or leave it trapped in debris or vegetation.

The Zig Rig presents a bait from the bottom up and at the precise level that carp are working at the time.
Creating a Zig Rig

The Zig Rig components are:

Rig Marole Specimon is a monofilament leader material used with the Zig Rig and other specialty rigs.

Rig Marole Specimon is a monofilament leader material used with the Zig Rig and other specialty rigs.

1) A long non-sinking leader, a.k.a. “Hook Line.” That means monofilament. No fluorocarbon! Recommended: Rig Marole Specimon

2) Some type of “Hook Floater,” such as a pop-up boilie, cork ball, floating foam, etc. Recommended: Chapelbaits Krill Pop-ups, Rig Marole Cork Balls dipps with liquid attractant like Chapelbaits’ Krill Glug.

3) A sinker.  Rig Marole Flat Pear sinker      

4) A relatively small hook, generally in the #4 to #8 range. Recommended: Rig Marole Hunchbax Hook

Marukyu Luxus is an easy-to-mix ground bait that is an ideal match for the Zig Rig.

Marukyu Luxus is an easy-to-mix ground bait that is an ideal match for the Zig Rig.

5) A floating ground bait presentation. Recommended: Marukyu Luxus and EFG ground baits.

Note: MARUKYU UK’s Luxus ground bait and EFG ground baits are rich in attractants and easy to use. Use 10% less water than instructed, and you will see your ground bait rising from the bottom.

Much of the rig’s recent popularity seems tied to its ability to attract strikes from big fish!

Pop-up style baits under the Chapelbaits brand suit the bottom-up Zig Rig presentation.

Pop-up style baits under the Chapelbaits brand suit the bottom-up Zig Rig presentation.

“Trophy fish are old, experienced and smart,” says Kajiwara. “They become wary of the conventional top-to-bottom look of baits hanging from a bobber. When a carp detects a line dropped from above, he simply won’t take the bait. On the other hand, carp don’t seem to pay much attention to the line when it is coming up from below. I believe that is why the Zig Rig has such a higher ‘trophy catch’ record than other methods.”

The Zig Rig is particularly effective during major hatches of aquatic insects.

“That’s when carp are looking for food coming up from the bottom,explains Kajiwara.

But Kajiwara is confident the Zig Rig will catch on in North America, too, because of its broad application to other species.

“In our recent field test in Chicago, when we used fruity flavored bait, we caught many carp, but when we used shrimp / krill flavored bait, we caught more catfish and sometimes even striped bass,” he reports. “We were very happy with the result!”
Marukyu ground baits and Rig Marole and Chapel Baits products are available through Lee’s Global Tackle, www.leesglobaltackle.com, 847-593-6424. Retailers interested in carrying Marukyu products should contact Munenori Kajiwara of Japan Import Tackle, phone: 909-913-4741; www.japanimporttackle.com

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