I've always had a natural tendency to shy away from the mainstream, I am like this with my music taste as well as my carp fishing. All that glitters ain't gold, if you want to find gold you've got to look in the most unlikely of places. I have never used real mainstream baits, I fished with Mistral and Poachers before fishing under Starmer.
Rig bits and end tackle has always been a frustrating part of my carping because I felt so limited with what was on offer, I am not a tackle tart but I guess I definitely am a rig tart, its got to be right, not necessarily complicated but each element has to work correctly in conjunction with all the components. It has taken years of tweaking to eventually have a small arsenal of rigs I can use for all my fishing situations. Making everything as undetectable and as natural as possible is of the up most importance.
I have been fishing with Chris Knowlers leads for the past four months now and I have to say that I am so impressed with the quality of what he produces. Not only have we both developed a couple of new lead ideas, there is so much variety that you can't help but find something that will suit the waters that you fish, be it distance your looking for or a real camo presentation, there's something for everyone. In this blog post the majority of leads I use are inlines but there are a huge collection of swivel leads as well.
The Leaf Coated Inline
I use the above lead for all the waters I fish, it's especially good when fishing over dark bottoms, it's great on the cast and when feathered down it enters the water with a tidy plop. It's great with a semi fixed set up, every take I've had the swivel is free running, meaning it slips out the lead on every run ensuring it's really carp safe and effective. The inline pear is one of my favourite lead shapes for sure, it makes the finished rig clean and compact looking. With a brown rig pen I will colour my braid the same colour as the lead, along with matching tubing you've got a real unassuming business end.
The Classic Flat Pear Inline
The above lead is your classic inline pear, it's pretty much my default lead that I use in a lot of my fishing, the shape is slightly different to the leaf inline. Because of the contours of the lead it is very dynamic in the air and I have found I can really hit the spot with minimal casting effort, it comes in a load of different finishes so it sits perfectly in with the lake make up.
The Inline Gripper
The Inline Ballast
In my opinion the above lead is a miniature work of art, it was made for gravel pits and waters where there are more small rocks and stones than usual. The finish is very coarse so it's great coating to rub a little bit of clay on just for some added camouflage. If I'm fishing on gravel spots this is the first lead I belt out.
The lead above is one that Chris came up with for me, we call it The UFO, for obvious reasons. The finish was based on a pile of clay I grabbed from the lake bottom, took a picture and sent it over to Chris. The disc like quality makes it so smooth on the cast, it really does fly, looking like an unidentified flying object, I have caught a lot of fish on this. You can set it up running or make it semi fixed with a quick modification of a tail rubber that slips over the swivel. If feathered down it enters the water with a tiny clip making hardly any disturbance. This Lead Is Pure Quality, You Saw It Here First.
The Hexi Distance Inline
If you're looking for a distance lead then look no further, the Hexi Distance Inline has some serious pace on the cast. I fish over at Chase Lakes where the island is a fair throw, not only do I hit my spot easily, due to the shape it fairs up against cross winds, even if you're fishing into the wind. I personally think this is one of the best leads on the market, it comes in an array of finishes and keeps the business end nice and streamline. This is my new favourite lead for sure.
Rough Gravel Inline
The Flat Inline Pear
As mentioned in previous blogs, the above lead is an idea I sent through to Chris, years ago I use to hammer my old school pear inlines down. I did this because they cast better and entered the water with a 'clipping' sound creating a lead that causes little to no real disturbance. It can be fished running or semi fixed like The UFO. So many tackle companies talk about pinning everything down as much as possible and then proceed to sell you clumpy looking leads, I've never understood this. I have put this lead through rigorous testing I believe its shape takes 'pinning down' to a whole new level. You've Also Seen This Here First.
The Riser Lead
I don't use a great deal of swivel leads, I am not a fan of the line clip system, I just don't get on with it, it's to do with the way it can end up sit on the bottom. I only use swivel leads when fishing really silty or weedy waters, combined with a helicopter rig. I will use the lightest lead I can get away with. The riser lead is the perfect tool for this angling situation. Due to the shape I can get great distance, it's quiet on the entry and quick on the retrieve. If you use the lead clip system then you'll get a real far chuck with the larger risers.
Black Inline Weed
Green Weed Swivel
The Green Weed Swivel lead is another great tool for fishing weedy waters, it can be used in all fishing situations, I have the lightest version for all the reasons I stated in my 'Riser' review. I like to use this lead for stalking on a float ledger setup. Because it's a classic pear design it casts really well, I am a big fan of camo leads.
The Green Inline is another variation of the black weed lead, these were the first leads I ordered and I use them loads. I was looking for a green weed inline for ages and only found a few by Solar on the market, they had swivels on so I wasn't overly enthusiastic. I have caught loads of fish on these and will continue to use them. I especially like to rig them up if I am margin fishing close to scum lines, reeds or weed beds.
The New Brown Weed Inline
The New Brown Weed Inline
The brown weed inline is fresh out the mould and the latest addition to Chris's camo lead selection. It's a real tidy lead that once again can be used in any fishing situation. When it comes in contact with water it goes darker, casts well and is great to dip into glugs, due to the nature of the the weed material it holds the flavour very well.
All in all the above lead selection is doing me well, these are only a small example of what's available. There are loads of lead designs and coating to choose from. If you're a fan of swivel leads then you won't be disappointed there's an absolutely huge selection.
If you're looking for leads that are personal, embedded with a fair amount of blood, sweat and a few tears then give 'Carpy Chris' a go, I can guarantee you will get on well with them. Along with the leads, there is also lots of rig bits and end tackle available. I am sure that the lead development will continue with lots of new interesting designs being made up. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds.