Being a match angler I never know the peg I’m going to draw, the weather conditions on the day or the depth of water I expect the fish to be in. So I need to be well prepared and carry a total of 110 rigs for most occasions in my seat box.
All these rigs are tied up well in advance and when I go to fish a match, its just a case of selecting the right rig for the day, considering the weather conditions, the time of the year, expected species and the depth of water. I like to be well organised but I carry just two trays in my seatbox containing all the rigs I’m ever going to need. My current seatbox is a Preston Absolute and I organise my two trays as follows.
Tray 1 (calm conditions)
This tray is configured to carry 30 RED 18cm Preston Innovations double slider winders.
This gives me a total of 60 rigs in this tray where I store most of my fine weather slim bodied pole floats. I’m a big fan of Preston Innovations Des Shipp Commercial Slims. Historically commercially mass produced pole floats used to be not very good or strong for commercial carping and like may anglers I avoided them like the plague and brought my pole floats online off float makers but not these days. These Preston Slims are now well made and very strong plus they shot up perfectly every time, there easily accessible but the added value to me is that they are named and colour coded for the use. which is a great help to me when I’m setting up for a match. I can select the right rig I want without having to go fumbling through rigs that all look the same, trying to read faded hand written marker pen writing on the winders. This tray houses my rigs for calm weather throughout the year. namely the F1 Maggot, F1 Pellet, Carp Pellet for summer and F1 fine for winter fishing. These are all stored in the groups with different sizes. I have 3 double winders for each float pattern holding the 4×16 and 2 double winders for 4×14 float patterns as these are the most used options and then a double winder for each of the 4×12 and 4×10 sizes. All these are on 6 foot rig lengths apart from the 4×16 which have 12 foot lengths. (this is gauged by the length of my two stretched out arms which is roughly 6 foot) Then if I cut the selected rig down once I’ve plumbed up and its now been shortened, I replace it back on the winder after the match and just turn the winder upside down in the tray. That way its easy to identify which rig need re-tying when I get home.
Tray 2 (heavy bottom, Shallow and Margin rigs)
This tray is configured with 14 GREEN Preston 20cm double slide winders, 8 RED 18cm double slide winder and 10 YELLOW 13cm double slide winders. These house my heavy windy weather, Shallow and Margins rigs.
I have room in this tray for 7 Guru Pingers and 7 Guru Diamond ranging from 0.4g to 1.0g. These come into play on windy days where a heavy float is needed to combat any tow on the water or I want a rig to be very stable presenting a bait over a pile of feed. I tie these up at 12 foot and then cut them down as needed. Again turning the winder upside down after the match so I know which rig has been used and to be re-tied when I get home. As these are large floats I only house one float on each winder. but still have two rigs of each size tied up on these 14 GREEN winders. This leaves room on the other side of the try for 10 YELLOW double winders for my Shallow rigs for F1 and Carp and then 15 RED double winder where I store my Summer margin Edge rigs and silver fish Chanti rigs.
So I keep a total of 110 pole rigs, all ready to go which cater for most occasions. The only exception are paste rigs. A method I don’t enjoy but if I decide to fish these types of rig I’ll just make them up prior to the match and just switch a few of the rigs in the tray around.
Organising Rig Trays
One thing a couldn’t live without is my Pole Rig Spreadsheet. This shows how I organise all my pole rigs with the shotting patterns I prefer
Stotzs or Split shot
I use both. I prefer using split shot for my stung out and bulk and dropper rigs because they don’t move on the line where as stotz’s do tend to move and can affect the presentation of the rig. My back shots above the pole float will always be stotz’s though, because you can move them without damaging the line. Stotz do make a nice neat bulk and I using them on heavy margin rigs where you want to pin down the rig near the bottom and on also on my shallow F1 rigs when you want a neat bulk just above the hook length to act as a bolt rig effect.
I use just 3 different line diameters for my pole rigs. But in my view it’s not crucial, where as it is on the hook length and lighter hook lengths deafinitely lead to more bites.
0.19mm for Margin work with Preston Edge floats and short pole line Guru Diamonds where bigger fish are expected.
0.17mm for long pole lines, using F1 Maggot, F1 Pellet, Guru Wire Pinger on the bottom and Shallow work with with either a Preston Carp Shallow or F1 Shallow pole floats. The Preston Carp Shallow are also good for shallow margins.
0.15mm for winter fishing with F1 Fine or Chanti pole floats
The days of tying my own hook lengths are long gone. The standard of pre-tied hook lengths are excellent and there really is no need to tie them yourself these days and I simply don’t have the time. Preston and Guru cover them for me with their 6 inch Ready Rigs. These come in plenty of hook grades and line diameters sizes and I have no issues using them. If you want a 4 inch option simply cut one down.