Inside Steve Ringer’s Rig Box
Steve Ringer explains when and why he opts for certain elastics…
Doubled-Up No4 -
Doubling up elastics was a revolution when the idea came about a few years ago. Using a double strand of single solid elastic gives you the soft nature of a single strand but one that powers up quickly, allowing you to be in charge of any fish you hook.
During the winter a Preston Innovations No4 original Slip elastic doubled up is perfect for a lot of my F1 fishing. At that time of the year fish don’t tend to fight quite as hard and a doubled-up No4 ensures that every hooked fish counts.
In the summer months I still find a place for doubled-up elastic, finding it perfect for catching skimmers and when I am confident I will be catching skimmers this is my go-to choice.
Hooklengths of anything from 0.09mm to 0.13mm would be commonplace when using a doubled-up No4 elastic.
Yellow Hydrolastic -
Relatively new in the range of Hydrolastics from Daiwa, yellow 3 to 5 Hydro slots in as the lowest grade in the range. I find this elastic perfect for catching silvers on both commercial and natural venues when using baits such as maggots, casters and worms.
It is particularly soft, meaning I run no risk of bumping even the smallest of fish; however, when fitted with a puller kit it gives me every opportunity to land a bonus skimmer or carp.
Many of the venues I visit have a good mix of skimmers and carp, and pink 4 to 6 Hydro gives me a good balance when targeting skimmers up to 1lb, but because there is the chance of hooking a bonus carp I feel the extra stretch in light hollow elastics gives me more chance to land it. Doubled-up elastics in comparison don’t have the same levels of stretch.
Guru N-Gauge 0.11mm diameter hooklengths make a good, balanced setup and give me every opportunity to land big carp should I hook one.
Orange Hydrolastic -
The new boy on the block from the Diawa Hydrolastic range, orange or F1 Hydro is rated from 4 to 8, slotting between the already popular pink and blue in the range. Orange Hydro is my go-to summer F1 or ‘stockie’ carp elastic at venues such as Tunnel Barn Farm; it behaves slightly differently from some of the other elastics in the range in that it allows the fish to leave the swim with very little disturbance but powers up quickly, meaning I am able to land the fish in double quick time.
Perfect for real F1 bagging sessions!
Blue Hydrolastic -
Blue Hydro has proved to be a valuable part of my elastic armoury over the last few years. I find it is perfect for bigger skimmers, F1s and even bonus carp.
It really found a place in my heart during the 2014 WalterLand Masters in Hungary. The order of the festival was carassio and skimmers, with the chance of a bonus carp, and blue Hydro fitted the bill superbly. The elastic’s soft action ensured I didn’t pull out of the important weight-building carassio and skimmers, making sure that every fish ended up in my net.
White Hydrolastic -
Arguably the most versatile pole elastic ever created. Perfect for a range of different species and tactics. Capable of landing fish into double figures when used in conjunction with a puller kit but also equally at home catching smaller fish such as skimmers and small carp.
I use white Hydro when I am fishing venues where I’m not too sure what I am likely to catch next.
Another positive is the range of hooklengths you can use with white hydro; I could choose to fish as light as 0.11mm but equally fish anything up to 0.17mm if I know I’m likely to catch some much bigger fish.
Black Hydrolastic -
Black Hydro is extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of scenarios, including the short pole when using meat or corn, fishing in the margins or even when fishing shallow. I like to use it when targeting carp in the region of 4lb to 8lb and feel it keeps me in control when targeting fish of this size.
Don’t get me wrong, black Hydro will handle bigger carp as well with no trouble, in fact I have had carp into high doubles using it.
Hooklengths of choice would tend to range between 0.15mm and 0.17mm Guru N-Gauge.
Red Hydrolastic -
This is my number-one big fish and margin elastic. Red Hydrolastic is capable of landing anything and I choose to use it when the carp I am catching are upwards of 6 to 8lb, with double-figure carp likely.
It isn’t as harsh as people think, either; Red hydro is actually quite forgiving on the strike, which allows the fish to leave the swim without too much disturbance but once it powers up it can tame the biggest of fish with ease!
Being an elastic used for big fish I always reflect this in the hooklengths I team it up with. Those of you who have followed my articles over the last few months will know how much I stress the importance of balance, and 0.19mm diameter Guru N-Gauge will complement this elastic perfectly.
Ringer On Hooks!
Steve Ringer reveals the patterns of hooks that he uses for different kinds of fishing, explaining when and why he uses them.
I am always playing around with hook patterns. For me, a hook is one of the most important parts of fishing. It hosts the bait that you are trying to get the fish to eat, and actually catches the fish for you, taking all the strain of the fight. Here are most of the patterns that I use for pole fishing.
Sizes: 16 and 18
Line diameters: 0.10mm, 0.11mm and 0.13mm
These are great when you’re catching mixed fish. They’re very strong, without being overly heavy in the wire. This is important when you’re looking to catch quality silver fish and the occasional big F1 that can sometimes be wary. On a lot of commercials there is a big head of mixed fish to catch, such as at White Acres, where I fish a lot of festivals. To get consistent results in leagues and festivals it’s important that you target this mixture of fish. Fishing with chopped worms and casters is a brilliant ploy – you catch plenty of roach, perch, skimmers, and maybe a tench or two, but mixed in with these will be the odd carp and F1. The Gama Pellet is the perfect hook for this when fishing with baits like a worm head, or single and double caster.
On tricky days, when a smaller hook bait is better, I like to use a size 18 to 0.10mm or 0.11mm line, while on good days when I’m really catching well, I’ll step up to a size 16 and 0.13mm line.
LWG Barbless Spade
Sizes: 14 to 18
Line diameters: 0.11mm, 0.13mm and 0.15mm
This is my general carp and F1 hook when I’m fishing with baits that I put straight on the hook, such as pellets, meat and corn. These are very strong and very sharp, without being overgunned. This is vital when catching big weights of fish because you need to get bites but also have the confidence to get the fish in quickly.
On a lot of venues I fish, a great swim is the short pole with meat or corn, where I normally put the bait straight on the hook. These hooks are always my choice for this. The most popular pin that I have in the hook box is a size 16 in these hooks to 0.13mm or 0.15mm line. Matched with white or black Hydro elastic, I’ll happily target fish to double figures with them. When really bagging, I’ll also use these hooks for F1s.
LWG Barbless Eyed
Sizes: 18 and 16
Line diameters: 0.11mm, 0.13mm and 0.15mm
This is the same hook as above but with an eye rather than a spade. I use this when I want to fish with a hair-rigged band or spike. Fishing with a hair-rigged band plays a major role in my fishing these days, allowing me to place a hard pellet in the band and have the hook free to hook the fish. I simply tie the band in a tiny loop and whip a knotless knot around this so that the band and pellet are sat just off the bend of the hook. I sometimes use a little bait spike too when I’m fishing with meat on the hook on the long pole, or fishing shallow with it. In these instances, I’m regularly lifting the bait and laying the rig in to keep it falling through the water. Using the bait stop on a small hair rig means the meat stays on much better and you also seem to avoid nuisance silver fish with this arrangement. I’ve even had a lot of success using a small chunk of worm on a bait stop and hair rig. It helps the worm stay on and you can catch five or six fish on the same bit! I have these hooks tied in sizes 16 and 18 on line diameters from 0.11mm for wary F1s, to 0.13mm for general F1 fishing in summer, and 0.15mm for carp and catching well.
Kamasan B911 F1
Sizes: 20, 18 and 16
Line diameters: 0.10mm, 0.12mm and 0.14mm fluorocarbon
I love this hook for winter F1 fishing. It is my main pattern throughout the cooler months at places such as Tunnel Barn Farm, and I even use it occasionally for commercial silvefish. The hook is quite fine, but the round bend and wide gape means that you get a good hook-hold. Balanced with the right elastic, such as pink or blue Hydro with a puller kit, you can land big carp on them too, which you do occasionally hook.
Interestingly, I have these hooks tied on Gamakatsu fluorocarbon line. I have a lot of confidence in this for F1 fishing because the line is supposed to be almost invisible underwater. It is also very stiff and you don’t get any tangles. When fishing with a short hooklength and a bulk close to the hook, I really like the idea of the hooklength being stiff and straight bcause this means that I am fishing very direct to the bait. When a wary F1 takes the bait, I see a bite immediately. I’m happy to use these hooks for maggots and expander pellets.
Sizes: 14, 16, and 18
Line diameters: 0.10mm and 0.11mm
This is my ultimate all-round barbed hook. I use it on natural venues when targeting roach, perch and skimmers, and have caught big bags of fish on it both in the UK and in Ireland. Last year I enjoyed some brilliant matches fishing at Furzton Lake in Milton Keynes, catching numerous 40lb-plus bags of roach. A size 16 B560 was my hook choice for this.
You can use all kinds of baits with them – maggots, casters and worms are my most popular choices. The wide gape and round bend gives you a great hook-hold, and even when you mount a chunky worm head or double maggot, there’s plenty of hook point showing. Although the hooks are barbed, it’s only a small barb that’s just enough to keep your bait and the fish on, but not too big that it slows you down when unhooking fish! The main sizes that I use are 16 and 18. The 16 is my bagging hook and I’ll happily use just a single maggot or caster when I’m catching well. On trickier days a size 18 is usually my choice. I normally match these with 0.10mm or 0.11mm line, and a doubled-up No4 Preston Slip Elastic.
Sizes: 12, 14, 16 and 18
Line diameters: 0.10mm, 0.11mm and 0.13mm
This is the hook that I use when I want to step up a gear into bagging mode on natural venues. It often comes into play when there are a lot of skimmers around and I need a hook that is a little bit bigger and stronger than the B560. The barb on these is also quite viscous, which helps keep fish on the hook when fishing in deep water. I’ve used it quite a lot in Ireland when targeting skimmers, where I’ll place two or three red worms on a size 12 or 14. Bream and skimmers can be a nightmare for coming off in deep water, but I have a lot of confidence to administer a firm strike and guide the fish out of the swim and into the net with this hook. If I were to target bigger bonus fish such as perch or chub on a canal with the pole with lobworms, this would definitely be the one I’d reach for.
Sizes: 16 and 18
Line diameters: 0.10mm, 0.12mm and 0.14mm fluorocarbon, and 0.11mm and 0.13mm N-Gauge
This is a new hook that I’m still trying out and looking forward to using a lot more. It’s specifically designed for pellet fishing with F1s in mind. The wide gape but rather straight point means that you can roll a soft pellet onto the bend perfectly and still have plenty of hook point showing. It is medium in wire, which is important for good presentation to fish like big F1s. I’m yet to have any issues with the hook straightening and have hooked and landed plenty of big carp while testing them. For me, this pattern fills a lovely gap between the B911 F1s and the LWG Spades – it’s the perfect spring and autumn F1 pattern. Despite the packet saying ‘pellet’, I’ve also used these with maggots and worms. I’ll happily use these on light elastics such as yellow and pink Hydro and would step up to white if needed when I’m catching well.
X-Strong Carp Spade
Sizes: 12, 14 and 16
Line diameters: 0.17mm and 0.19mm
The ultimate margin and big-fish hook! I love getting these beauties out and use them for all my big-carp and margin work. They’re incredibly strong and sharp and have a very wide gape with a long point to give you a reassuring hook-hold. For margin fishing, there’s little scope for messing around, in my book. You may only have a short spell at the end of the match to catch big fish quickly and you need strong and reliable gear. My typical margin gear is a size 12 Carp Spade, matched to 0.19mm N-Gauge and red Hydro, for fishing big bunches of maggots or two full worms down the edge. The huge gape means that you can mount these multiple baits with ease and still have loads of hook point exposed. On tricky days, or in clear water, it can pay to scale down a little, so I always have a few size 16s tied on 0.17mm line too. Sometimes I’ll use these on the short pole with meat when the fish are really having it!