The water temperature is slowly but surely dropping into areas that many of us are looking forward to. Now it's time for a big meal again. But what is immediately noticeable about many bodies of water is that the spike knights are now increasingly to be found on the bottom again and no longer rob the entire water column as they did in summer. As a rule, most of the predators are already moving down one floor and can be found in water depths that are familiar from winter fishing. Here, however, everyone should act with forbearance and no longer fish for fish that are less than 8 meters deep. Despite careful drill, perch and zander do not survive in most cases, even if they still look fit when released.
The good news, however, is that active fish in particular often move much shallower during their feeding phases, even if the echo sounder initially shows a gaping emptiness. Especially the small groups of better perch can often even be found in relatively shallow shore areas, even at temperatures around freezing point. Now you can experience great moments when everything fits!
Hunters and collectors
When it comes to tactics, a lot can work. Especially in the short eating phases, the classics like action shads on the jig work excellently, here the ABRAM has already proven what it can do. But what if I don't catch a feeding phase or want to address active and passive fish alike? True to the motto "Try it with cosiness", the best cold water rig for me now strikes. The Carolina Rig, or C-Rig for short, collects everything and often even the very big cherries that many of the standard baits had in front of their mouths. You can use it in a variety of ways like hardly any other bait.
While vigorous jigging was very successful in warm water, less is more now. As already indicated, the C-rig works best for me when it's colder. Here I only drag the bullet weight very slowly with the tip of the rod over the ground, without any tugging or wild movements. On the one hand, this stirs up the sediment on the bottom, which makes the predators curious. On the other hand, thanks to the offset hook, we hardly get any snags on the bottom and the perch can pick up our bait without any resistance thanks to the long leader.
You can actually use all the usual rubber baits as bait, but they give a special attraction especially when fishing for crabs and creature baits. Especially when the water gets colder, these represent a particularly large bite of protein. In addition, this potential prey is also much easier and more effective to hunt than a fleeing prey fish. This also explains the “loop” guiding method, namely when fishing for large perch you should always try to fish as naturally as possible. As a rule, crabs do not move in "jigging" movements over the ground, but rather slowly and continuously. Therefore, we often have to be prepared for bites that are hardly noticeable. Most of the time, colleagues just hang in while sanding and you feel resistance, which should be answered immediately with one go. I explain this with the less active escape behavior in contrast to prey fish. The perch only has to pick up the crab from the bottom, which produces a less harsh bass than when hunting.
This brings us to my number one bait for this rig. The ASTA fulfills everything that a good C-rig bait must be able to do. The vibrations that our Bullet Weight transfers to the ASTA by grinding are transferred to the various small rubber arms and irritate the perch until it is no longer possible. In addition, this rubber is flavored, which is especially important in cold water. This also has the effect that the perch keeps the bait in its mouth longer before realizing that something is wrong. Try it out and see for yourself!
When it comes to the question of which tackle we should best use for this, we have to start with the most important thing, the small parts! The first part of the Carolina Rig is made of fluocarbon, on which the bullet weight and a bead to protect the knot run, all of which is completed with a swivel. This is followed by another fluocarbon leader and last but not least the hook. The length of this leader can always be adjusted a bit to the bite behavior, but usually 40-60cm is a good start. With the offset hooks, particular attention should be paid to quality, as already mentioned, fish often only hook up and a zander should always be expected. It is important to use extremely sharp and yet stable hooks, so that the incorrect bite rate is corrected significantly downwards.
The bullet weight is available in both lead and tungsten. In addition to the aspect of sustainability, tungsten also has other noticeable advantages. Due to the lower mass with the same weight, it flies better and gives us an even more precise ground contact. Tungsten weights are also available in different colors, so in clear water a dark weight is better than a bright silver lead. The number of grams depends on the type of water and should be determined individually, as with the jig head. However, you can also use a heavier weight, since the bait still has its weightless phase due to the long leader. This is particularly interesting for bank anglers who depend on casting distance. If you fish in still waters and don't want to do a lot of tinkering, I can recommend our ready-made Carolina Rigs with a clear conscience. Really high quality and tied in a few seconds. Why always complicated when it can be simple and just as good.
I only use spinning rods as hardware. This is of course also possible with casting rods, but the longer pendulum of the rig makes it much more uncomfortable to cast.
THE PERCH ONE is a great rod for this method. Due to its extra fast action you get every tug and stone transferred perfectly and in the fight with the fish it has a lot of backbone to deal with better fish.
Personally, I like a 2500 reel best because the rod is well balanced and you can cast considerable distances. But it should be a braided line with a PE rating of #1.0. Bear in mind that we scrape the bottom a lot and also fish off obstacles with this rig. A little reserve is always good!
Try it out and catch your C-Rig cherry.
Petri wishes you lots of fun on the water