In general, I prefer to fish with a leader where possible, however in clear water fishing ‘naked’ can be a great edge. Sometimes though, I am forced to diverse away from leaders as fisheries tend to ban them quite readily. It is becoming more common, so being able to combat this is important.


I fish a lot of really clear lakes and being able to fish without a leader is without doubt the most unobtrusive way of fishing. Especially if you are using a fluorocarbon mainline; there really is no better way of disguising your end tackle. I like to fish a helicopter system, which means the swivel that’s attached to the rig will be running up and down it, so the line has to be really strong. I use a mainline that is heavy, thick and strong enough to cope with that. When you are playing fish, the line takes all of the pressure off the fight, therefore it needs to be nice and strong, with great abrasion resistance. I think anything 15lb plus or 0.38mm diameter is the ideal medium between strength and subtlety.

The key thing is that there are absolutely no knots at all above your set up, making it extremely safe. The way I set it up is important and I use the Thinking Anglers solid Tungsten Beads or a 5mm Line Gripper bead as my top bead. The extra weight in the Tungsten just helps pin the line down above the lead and near the rig. The Line Gripper beads are on a float stop, so they will grip the line nicely but in the event of a crack off, the swivel will pass over the stop and the carp won’t be trailing tackle. By adding a C-Clip to the bottom along with another bead, I can also drop my lead in weedy situations, ensuring my rig is 100% safe.

The set up is very neat and invisible in the water.

Fluorocarbon mainline and a Tungsten line gripper bead provides the ultimate concealment and safety.

To ensure it is all pinned down, even though I am using heavy fluorocarbon, I like to put a few blobs of putty up above the top bead, just to ensure everything is super pinned down and the carp can’t come into contact with the line. I fish the lines nice and slack when I can too, again to ensure it is all pinned down.

A Spinner rig in conjunction with 20lb Think-Link is not as stiff as fluorocarbon, but it has enough rigidity to prevent tangles.

To keep everything as inconspicuous as possible and ensure that nothing tangles, the combination of the helicopter and the stiff hook link is perfect. I use a Spinner rig in conjunction with 20lb Think-Link, it is not as stiff as fluorocarbon, but it has enough rigidity to prevent tangles and carries the low-vis properties of fluorocarbon. Without a leader, using thinner, more supple hook links cause far more tangles. Using a stiffer material is key for fishing this way. By using a balanced pop-up with this material, it helps kick everything away from the mainline and keeps it all nice and neat.

I fish this rig on cleaner areas, such as firm silt or gravel. I like to find clean spots where I think the fish have fed on and this rig will sit perfectly on them. I wouldn’t be afraid to fish it on silty spots and if I felt the silt was thick, I simply lift the top bead a little bit.

The only time I wouldn’t want to use this rig is if I had some severe snags or large beds of pads in front of me. In this case, if allowed, I would want a strong leadcore leader. If leaders were banned in this situation, I would look at maybe using tubing. However, for nearly all of the places I fish, this set up is absolutely perfect.

I have been doing quite a bit of fishing on RDA Junction 12 lake recently, which is a clear and weedy pit. I have used this set up to great effect, fishing with match the hatch pop-ups over a bed of Krill boilies and pellets and it has worked a treat. In fact, while shooting this feature I landed three-thirties, so it certainly works.


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Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

Oz Holness gives his insight into the type of carp angling that 'puts fire in the belly' - sharing his mindset and processes that make life outside easy.