Bob Nudd

I guess there’s some of you out there who know chapter and verse about rig construction. It’s sometimes said – and only half in jest - that there are anglers who derive greater pleasure out of making up and arranging their rigs than the actual fishing. At the other end of the scale are those who despise the entire process and do anything they can to avoid it. You all know one, I’m sure. Multiple loops where they’ve added or subtracted the line, immovable shots due to a little wind knot, float bristles blacked out then re-Tippexed. Personally, I regard rig making for what it is – an absolutely vital part of the preparation process of being a successful match angler. It’s not always an especially enjoyable time, but it’s always time well spent. If I’m preaching to the converted here, so be it. But if I can educate a few more anglers in the subtleties of the process then I’ll be happy. Who knows, if you follow my 12 Steps guidelines you may even come to enjoy it!

 1. Magnifying Lamp
I would never be without one of these, but I bet plenty of you are! In fact I own two magnifying lamps. I take this portable one on World Championships or festivals. It screws to any surface via a wing nut clamp. The magnifying lens makes all those fiddly little jobs far easier, with a nice bright 100 watt bulb right where it’s needed. I’ve got an older fixed base version

 2. Fitting Silicone
The start point of all pole rigs is selecting a float. If it’s one you’ve not used before, you’ll need to cut some silicone from a length of the correct diameter tubing to fit onto the stem. You don’t want the tubing to be too tight as this can damage the line, but too loose is worse than useless. Take your time and get it right. 

3. Cut Three Bits
Satisfied? Next, take some sharp scissors and cut three pieces, ensuring the bottom one is a bit longer. I like to do this simply for a little extra security. If the line happens to cut through one piece, you can still use the rig with two.

4. Thread Your Float
Pass the line from your spool down through the float’s eye and the three bits of cut silicone, then thread these up the stem and push the float up the line a bit further so you’ve got room to work with during the next stage, adding your bulk.

5. Add TheBulk
With floats over 4 x 14 I usually use an olivette. This one takes 0.6 grams, although you will sometimes find variations is what’s printed on the side of a float. I add the next size olivette down, 0.5 gram from the brilliant Drennan Polemaster range. But don’t lock it with a shot either side, as I sometimes see people doing. Use an old carbon pole float stem to make a snug fitting bristle instead.

6. Test It Out
Once I’ve locked my olivette, I slide it up the line and cut off the section beneath which may have got damaged or weakened. Now it’s time to test the float. You can see this old glass jar is well used by the algae on the sides! If there’s a lot sticking out, I could plump for a 0.6 gram olivette instead and see whether there’s enough left to play with to still add my desired number of droppers, three.

7. Fine Tuning
On this occasion I opt to leave the 0.5 gram ‘olly’ on. I reckon I’ll need five No.12 shots as droppers, but two can be left pushed up under the olly and brought into play if I need a more positive indication lower down later in a session. Note that I use Styl pincers – these are the Image type – to apply the perfect pressure to a dropper shot. You won’t manage that on the bank.

8. Perfectly Dotted
The shots duly added, the rig is tested again. I actually needed six, but now it’s perfect. If you look at this picture you’ll see it’s still some way off being shotted to a dot, but experience tells me that a float holding up this far in my jar will be just right on the canal, lake or river.

9. Rescue Remedy
I like to spread my droppers out evenly between bulk and hook length. Their distance depends on depth, bait and many other variables, which are topics for another day. But let’s say you’ve added too many. Here’s a tool, which gets you out of jail on the bank, a Stonfo shot remover. It has a little prong so you can carefully open out a shot without damaging line. Absolutely essential!

10. Add Hook Length
Loop-to-loop attachment of hook length to line can stiffen up a rig, resulting in an unnatural presentation right where you want everything to behave as naturally as possible. You don’t get any doubled up bits of line with a three turn water knot. Learn to tie this one and your rigs will improve no end. I rest my bottom dropper snug against it.

11. Note The Particulars
You’ll waste a lot of time and make a lot of mistakes if you don’t write down the line diameters or strength, hook length, hook size and pattern plus fl oat capacity and rig length. I like to use some special paper stickers, which have a space marked for each of these things. I can’t remember who makes them, but I know I’m running out and need to find out fast! (Note - Sensas and Middy both produce sticky labels for pole winder details - Webmaster)

12. Gauging Depth
I’m surprised to be told that many anglers fit together their top kits when making up rigs and measure off their final rig depth using these. There’s no need. Simply measure your winder and count the turns of line until you’ve got the right depth for the venue you’re going to be fishing. If in doubt, it’s far better to have too much line then remove some on the bank. I almost always do this.

Happy rigging!
Bob Nudd