How to tie a parachute PVA bag

How to tie a parachute PVA bag

Want to present a hookbait in weed or over debris? Rob Hughes has a great alternative to the chod rig.

Some people give me a strange look when they see me using this system. It’s rather unorthodox, and at first glance looks like I’ve got one of the simplest of rigs, the PVA bag set up, totally wrong… but I haven’t.

In fact I’ve got it very right and I am absolutely convinced that this very simple variation on a very simple theme has caught me a large number of fish where other rigs would have been significantly less effective.

The bag is suspended before melting and allowing the rig to gently settle.

The bag is suspended before melting and allowing the rig to gently settle.

You see, a heavy rig will smash into the debris, silt and weed on the lakebed and much of the time become entangled in it rendering the rig less effective or even totally useless. The parachute system allows the lead to sink, but the hookbait to slowly sink down on top of any dangers and remain in sight and well presented.

Personally I don’t subscribe to the theory that carp will feed deep in the weed or silt and will find your hookbait if they want it. I’d rather present it in such a way that they can see it and get at it easily. They are more likely to pick it up if they can see it rather than having to dig around in a load of rubbish looking for something they probably don’t realise is there anyway.

Perfect presentation in weed or bottom debris.

Perfect presentation in weed or bottom debris.

Parachute principles

The thought process behind the rig is quite simple. If there is ‘stuff’ on the lakebed that may cause a problem, I want to stay out of it. ‘Stuff’ in this case could be weed, dead leaves, very heavy silt, or indeed any other nasty item that is best avoided. While the choddy can deal with weed, sometimes, especially over heavy silt, a pop-up sitting well off the deck is the last thing a fish wants to eat and it’s in heavy silt and low-lying rubbish where this rig really shines.

I have seen countless occasions where a choddy was thought to be the rig to use but the fish have eaten everything else and left the hookbait as it was too far off the deck. The parachute bag basically pops the hook bait off the bottom and then when the bag melts the contents and the rig sink down to the bottom giving a brilliant presentation.

How to set it up

Using the para bag really is simplicity in itself. In fact a parachute bag is easier to tie than a normal PVA bag as you don’t need to put the lead inside. There is no fuss about drying the lead off or worrying about how the hooklink will be lying. It also means that you can use a much longer hooklink depending on the debris on the deck. I find 12 to 18ins is usually plenty.

It’s important to use a solid bag with no holes in it as you need to trap air inside to make it work. If you have perforated bags you can still use the method but pop a couple of nuggets of Hi Riser Foam in there to make it float.

It might look 'wrong' but it's all right by Rob.

It might look 'wrong' but it's all right by Rob.

You simply put some pellets into the bag, add in the hookbait, then top up with more pellets or crushed boilies. Because the particles are light and small there will be air trapped in the bag and this is what will make it pop up. The lead will anchor it to the bottom, and the whole bag will sit popped up out of danger until the bag bursts and the whole lot will then sink slowly onto the debris or silt, forming a perfect platform for your hook bait to sit on in the process. A normal bag would have been pulled further into the debris and may even end up buried as I have seen with soft silt.

Important preparation

There are a couple of points that are worth remembering if you are using this system. Firstly it works best with the Fox Slik Clip lead-clip system and it’s important to hit the line clip on your reel as the lead hits the water or the resistance of the bag breaking the surface can force the lead off the clip. The same goes for in-line leads and I’d suggest a Slik Clip every time.  When the lead sinks through the water the bag will slow it down so sometimes you don’t feel a ‘donk’ as it hits the lakebed. The bigger the bag the slower the descent, so take this into consideration when feeling the lead down and reading the bottom (you should already know this from your previous casts with a lead or marker float).

Simple to tie and very effective.

Simple to tie and very effective.

Finally, it’s not a long-range method and can be a little tricky in a cross wind. I’m very happy with it up to 60 or 70 yards and although at first it may feel a little strange to cast, you’ll soon be smiling when you’re holding fish for the camera from an area that is usually very difficult to present a bait in.

Some anglers think that I can be a technical angler but that’s not the case. Admittedly I have the advantage of spending a lot of my time underwater studying both carp and the underwater world, but my angling is based on two things: common sense and a little bit of science.

The common sense is that the hook needs to stay out of the debris, the science is that we have to defy gravity to do it, and the best way to make things sink slower is to make them lighter. The parachute bag does exactly that and in my eyes is a belter of a method that not too many anglers use.

A 30lb-plus mirror caught on a parachute bag.

A 30lb-plus mirror caught on a parachute bag.