The Double Bulk Rig

Jon Arthur explains the devastatingly effective double bulk pole rig. It’s a fantastic setup for quality fish in deep swims.

There are endless options when it comes to shotting a pole rig. Ultimately it should all depend on how the fish are behaving on the day and exactly how you want your hook bait to behave. One permutation that I find works really well when you want to be ultra positive is what’s commonly referred to as a ‘double bulk’.

Creating A Double Bulk Rig

As the name suggests, this rig consists of two bulks. The first is the main bulk, which is typically around 70% of the float’s total shotting capacity. The remaining weight creates the second bulk. For me this will typically be three No9 or No8 shot.

You could use just one much larger shot for this second bulk, but smaller shot are kinder to the line. It also enables you to split them up and spread them out if you wish, so you have a much more flexible setup.

I would generally place the main bulk around 40cm to 50cm from the hook and the smaller bulk just above the hooklength, which will typically be anything from 10cm to 20cm. A shorter hooklength create an even more positive setup.

When To Use a Double Bulk Rig

This rig really comes into its own when targeting the bottom layers for quality fish. I find it particularly effective for swims of 5ft and deeper. It’s brilliant for bream and skimmers, but works well for any quality fish, including carp and tench. Although you might class it as a ‘bottom rig’, the positive shotting arrangement also shows up brilliantly when a fish has intercepted the hook bait on the way down.

Bites really are unmissable. The float will either sail away or, quite often, the float tip and part of the body will rise up out of the water like a beacon. The rig’s positivity is all down to the all-important second bulk. Any movement of this and you’ll see a reaction on the float tip.

Tackling Up

I really like banded tips for this style of fishing as the extra colour helps to magnify lift bites really well. Carp 2s and the new Carp 6 are both ideal. The Carp 2 has a slightly thicker tip for choppier conditions and fishing with bigger baits whereas the Carp 6’s 1.5mm tip makes it more of an allrounder. Both also have a carbon stem, which cuts down on tangles and I also feel helps to accentuate lift bites fractionally better compared to wire.

I use these floats in sizes from 0.5g and above. Typically a 1g float is ideal. The line will be anything from 0.14mm to 0.20mm Supplex depending on the size of fish and punishment on the rig that I’m expecting. Hooklengths will again be tailored to the hook bait and target species. For commercial skimmers in summer I’d probably use 0.10mm or 0.12mm and for carp 0.16mm or 0.18mm. This rig works equally well with conventionally hook baits and hair rigged baits.

I would expect to set the rig at least two inches overdepth to begin with. You will get the most positive lift bites when the second bulk is hovering just above the bottom.

As this is a deep water rig I would also be inclined to strike relatively hard to set the hook properly.

Today’s Session

To show you the effectiveness of the rig I’ve come to the excellent Larford Lakes in Worcestershire. This famous venue is home to plenty of bream and skimmers, plus a huge head of carp to specimen size. It’s the aptly named Speci Lake that I’m fishing today and my swim is around 10ft deep at 13 metres – ideal for a double bulk rig!

It’s a hot and sunny day, so to try and concentrate the fish on the bottom I’ve cupped in five balls of fishmeal groundbait laced with 4mm pellets and dead maggots. I will then top up every 30 to 40 minutes with another ball of grub. The bottom is still sloping away slightly, so these are all fed half a pole section short of my pole tip.

I will also occasionally feed a couple of large pouches of pellets over the top to ring the dinner bell and create a slightly wider area of attraction. Don’t loose feed too regularly, however, as the fish could start feeding at all levels, which will soon lead to foul-hooked fish in a swim of this depth.

The hook bait is a 6mm expander, a cube of meat or two or three dead maggots to begin with. Later on I will try a banded hard 4mm or 6mm pellet if I need a more small-fish-proof option.

It’s taken 15 minutes before the skimmers have arrive, then I’ve had a nice steady run of fish; anything from 14oz to 3lb. As expected, most of the bites have been unmissable lifts as the fish has tipped up and taken the hook bait then swam away.

A quiet spell then signalled the arrival of a few carp in the swim. These really unsettled the bream, which was not surprising as the biggest must have been close to 20lb – great fun on a deep rig with a 0.12mm hooklength!

The next time you’re faced with a deep swim, give a double bulk rig a go. I think you’ll be surprised just how good it is!