When Terry Hearn caught the Parrot from Wasing earlier this year, we noticed something intriguing – he was fishing more than 100yds out but wasn’t using bobbins.
This isn’t the first time he’s eschewed secondary indication, so we asked him to explain.
“Bobbins. To use them or not to use them? That might sound odd to some anglers, but the first thing to realise when using hair rigs, or pretty much any rig which leaves the hook exposed, is that there's no need to sit tight to the rods day and night, ready to strike at one-inch lifts.
"Carp fishing isn't like general coarse fishing, where in most cases the bait is mounted directly on the hook and you need to be ready to strike as your float dips or your quiver tip rattles.
"With super-sharp exposed hooks and fixed leads, things are different. In most cases there's not the same sense of urgency; takes tend to be more positive.
"In my own fishing there are two main reasons for using bobbins. The most obvious is when I feel there's a chance of a drop back, when fishing tight up to islands or far-bank features for example, and the other occasion is when fishing close to snags, when it's obviously beneficial to get as early an indication of a take as possible.
"I also like a bobbin when I want to register line bites, particularly in the winter months when sightings are less frequent and liners help with location.
"Those are the times when a bobbin is definitely worthwhile, but if I'm fishing close in, generally with a slack or semi-slack line, then quite often there isn't really any need for them.
"So much in carp fishing is about trade offs. I think tight lines are the best hookers of all, but I often like to trade in some of that tightness for a bit of slack and a better presentation at the end that counts.
"I like to give just enough slack to allow my lines to settle lower in the water, but not so much that it's going to cost me fish. The idea is simply to get my lines out of harm’s way, or at the very least make them less spooky to any carp that happen to bump into them.
"In that example, there's little point in then clipping a bobbin on and laying it on the floor, as in the event of a take it’s only going to do one thing – go up. In that instance it's surely better if a pricked fish has already come up against the full resistance of the rod and line clip, and your tip is already starting to bend round, to the same amount of line movement, in the same time frame.
"I've already set my lines at what to me is the ideal tension between the rod tip and rig on the day, and any more slack between the buzzer and reel (ie the bit with a bobbin on a drop) isn't really necessary and in my own experience is very rarely wanted.
"That's my own take on bobbins, and I know that everyone's different, but next time you’re clipping that bobbin on, ask yourself, ‘is it really needed?’"
And what about people who might say, ‘don’t you need the weight of the bobbin to help the line pull into the roller wheel of the bite alarm’?
Terry responded: “Maybe so if you were using an open bail arm...
“There's no slack between the roller/buzzer and the reel/line clip, the tension to spin the wheel is provided by the clutch. With a drop back it's different, hence I'd use bobbins if I felt there was a chance of that.”