There’s no question the blow out rig has been one of the biggest rig developments since the original hair rig.
It’s been used to catch hundreds of thousands of carp in the years that have followed, not just in the UK but all over Europe and beyond.
I’m incredibly proud of the difference it has made for people in terms of catching more carp, and especially the difficult ones.
I’d joined a syndicate in Cambridgeshire back in the ‘90s and one day was watching carp come in and pick up baits with a rig among the free offerings.
I saw a big fish pick up the hookbait and it was clearly rigged up. But it just stayed on the spot, not moving.
Rather than bolting it just huffed and puffed, and after I can’t remember how long I just saw the hookbait and rig blown out of its mouth. Without any fear the carp waddled off.
I was catching well at the time but when I saw that I couldn’t believe it, and it made me incredibly aware how many I also probably wasn’t catching.
As an engineer by trade the ‘eureka moment’ came later.
I couldn’t get the sight of that fish out of my mind. I was thinking about it all the time and suddenly realised that there was no real mass in the hook for a carp to blow out so it was the mass of the boilie they were using in order to get rid of the hook.
Once I’d identified what they were doing then I just had to find a way to make sure the boilie was out of the way and couldn’t be used to suck and blow the hook out.
If a hook has caught in the skin of a carp’s mouth then a two-stage process has to happen for a carp to be able to get it out by sucking and blowing the way I had seen.
There’s initial suction to pull the hookpoint back out in the direction it penetrated from, and then instinctively the carp blows to remove the foreign object – the hook.
In terms of the evolution of carp rigs we used to have the hair fixed on the shank just before the bend. If a carp sucks a lightly lodged hook with this arrangement of the hair it has a straight line to pull a hookpoint back out and is then free to spit it back out of the mouth.
I tied up a rig with a ring sliding on the hook and the hair tied to the ring, so the bait could be blown backwards but the hook wouldn’t immediately be dislodged because of the travel the boilie had which prevented the hook being immediately taken with it by the heavy bait it was attached to.
The first time I tied up a ring rig I went to the Star Lane syndicate I’d just joined with a mid-thirty on the target list.
After moving from a duff first swim choice I caught it straight away. The take was interesting – just like I was to see on Triggalink many years later, the indicator just jumping up and down.
To me it just said ‘I’m rigged up, what’s going on here?’
With the rig ring along the shank when the bait was blown out, it often went right back over the eye of the hook. A lot of people didn’t get that, including some very famous carpers I showed it to.
Once the ring has been moved down that far there’s no way the carp is able to suck a pricked hook out to try to eject it again because the hookpoint doesn’t have the same pivot point as it does with a hair that is fixed on the shank.
The next revelation was at Warmwell, and boy were those fish riggy!
I had a bad feeling I was being done with odd single and double bleeps that didn’t materialise into definite takes.
I changed the ring for a small sleeve of tube that was carefully chosen so that it would trap the hair exit point exactly where I wanted it, but if a carp attempted to blow the rig out, the tube would be forced round the bend and down the shank towards the eye.
What was a real benefit on top of the blow out rig’s ability to catch out riggy carp was that it gave me eyes underwater.
If I had a bleep and wound in to find the tube wedged back round the hook I knew I’d been picked up and done.
I can’t stress highly enough how critical the advancement was of what we now call an indicator rig for big carp.
If you have solid information that the carp are picking you up then you’ve got something to work with, a bit like missing bites on the float and messing with the shotting pattern, for example.
For what it’s worth, if you get done on a blow out rig the most reliable changes to make are to the weight and to the length of the link until you are catching them out.
Previously you wouldn’t even have known you had a problem. From there the natural progression was to look at alarms and the RS-1 was born, followed by the speed-sensing advancement of the R3s of today.
What I knew back then and still firmly believe today is that carp anglers who are fishing only for runs might be missing out on 20 pick-ups for every carp they hook.
I’d like to think I’ve contributed more than most to the evolution of the sport over the last 30 years but the innovation of a rig that prevents a carp easily using the mass of the bait to dislodge a hook, and into the bargain tells you for sure whether your rig has been blown out of a carp’s mouth, has probably directly affected more carp anglers and caught more carp than anything else I’ve developed.