• An upper 20lb common carp taken in Winter on a zig rig for Max Cottis

    An upper 20lb common carp taken in Winter on a zig rig for Max Cottis
  • The perfectly designed hook for fishing a zig rig.

    The perfectly designed hook for fishing a zig rig.
  • You will need a landing net with a very long or adjustable handle when fishing a zig rig.

    You will need a landing net with a very long or adjustable handle when fishing a zig rig.
  • One of Max's favourite baits for zig rig fishing is Dynamite Baits Coconut Cream pop up.

    One of Max's favourite baits for zig rig fishing is Dynamite Baits Coconut Cream pop up.

The year-round zig rig

Mentally, zig rig fishing can be very difficult for the angler to get his head round, as Max Cottis found. There you are fishing on a large lake stocked full of carp, your first instincts are to feed them and target them on the bottom with more conventional rigs. The only problem with this is that sometimes the fish just do not want to venture down into the lower layers, and more often than not will be holding somewhere well above the lake bed. This will be happening more often than not, and by getting your head round presenting a hook bait somewhere between the bottom and the surface will increase your chance of catching loads more big carp.

The popularity of zig rig fishing has seen the development of many products aimed at this style of fishing. When deciding on the final patterns for the new ACE Razor Point range of specimen carp hooks, zigging was something that we paid a lot of attention to. Even though there have been many zig accessories come out onto the market, a dedicated zig hook was definitely missing.

This is when we decided to create the ultimate hook for this tactic and after listening to many top anglers views on what makes a good zig hook, we came up with our finalized ZIG pattern. Characteristics include a short shank, wide gape, slightly out turned eye and an ultra sharp straight point – all things we saw essential for helping to convert carp takes into carp on the unhooking mat.

This tactic isn’t only a summer method either. Very often the carp will be holding up well off the bottom in the depths of winter, and by positioning a hookbait at the appropriate depth, a few bonus fish can often be located.

During a recent fishing session at Abbey Lakes in France, the temperatures went down to -6 Centigrade overnight and actually saw the lake start to freeze. Very few fish were showing and bottom baits were not producing anything at all. It was quite clear the fish were in front of me, but they were obviously holding up off the bottom, not at all in the mood for getting their heads down to feed on the lake bed.

I decided to fish two zigs baited with Dynamite Baits 10mm Coconut pop-ups at depths of 6 foot and 8 foot off the bottom. Amazingly, after more than 24-hours without a bite, before I even had a chance to sit down after casting, my 6-foot zig was away! Two more carp also joined this one over the next 24-hours, and even though the action wasn’t fast and furious, three carp in extremely cold conditions was a massive result – especially on zigs.

I’ve neglected zigs a lot in the past, but I must admit, the more I find myself using them, the more I find myself catching. In all honesty, I personally prefer to catch them on a well-placed bottom bait, but if the fish are out in front of you, you’d be mad not to put a zig out. It could make a difference very quickly as I have learnt time and time again.