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Rotary (Lead systems)

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Thought I would kick off a new rotary thread on something which is such a big part of every angler's success or failure, Lead systems. 

Running Rigs

After using lead clips and in-line leads for a number of years at the start of my carping journey I found myself back using running rigs 90% of the time. I prefer the set up for a number of reasons, firstly is the simplicity of the set-up and secondly due to bite indication.

I've found the Fox Angled Drop Off Run Rig Kit  a god send on weedier lakes as it allows me to really simply drop the lead either on the take or with light pressure, I just manipulate the lead swivel to suit what I want at the time.

The main reason for my love of the running rig is that it offers superb bite indication. It has been seen on the Korda Underwater DVDs that lead clips and in-line leads can be rubbish for indication whereas running rigs are superb for it. My thoughts are that on running rigs there is the initial resistance of the lead as a fish picks up the bait and spits it out whilst but then less of a tension as the fish is just pulling the line and not the lead, in my opinion reducing the chances a fish will be able to ‘throw’ the hook. I do however always use the line clip on my rods for an extra pressure point. As the fish gets up a head of steam running off it then hits the line clip which drives the hook home that little bit more. I think for snag fishing there is no better set up than a running rig, with a tight line you are in direct contact with the fish as soon as it picks up the bait, allowing you to be on your rod within an instant.

The indication on running rigs is sensitive as any movements of a hooked fish will be shown as a positive indication at the alarm end. If a fish hooks itself and travels towards you, a typical drop back bite, the indicator will actually move up towards the rod as the fish will be pulling line from the clutch as the lead falls back towards the rod tip. There has been a few examples, as I will explain later, of poor or no indication using other lead systems. This is why, for me, running rigs are on my rods unless the situation calls for another set-up.

Lead Clips

For a number of years as I progressed in my carp fishing I was using lead clips for 80% of my fishing with some use of in-line leads when required. I felt it offered me the best way of losing a lead when required. It was a couple of years ago when I was fishing and being hammered by a very persistent Grebe I witnessed the full flaws of the lead clip.

I was fishing a narrow gravel bar around 25 yards out with two rods. The Grebe found my bait early on in the session and decided to stick around all day. It didn’t take long for my hookbaits to be singled out and picked up constantly. I had a bleep on one rod and the Grebe shot up in alarm, I knew I had been picked up by it and when I went to reel in to re-cast the lead had obviously been chucked down the sloping sides of the gravel bar with only one single bleep on my alarm (I was fishing semi-tight line at the time just to note). This happened on both rods twice more, losing a lead on one occasion, before I witnessed something horrifying. Without a single bleep from the alarm or movement on the bobbin I saw the Grebe pop up to the surface with my bait in its mouth, having shaken the lead. I had received no indication that this had happened. If it was asleep at the time I wouldn’t have known at all. I vowed to never use lead clips again due to the poor indication I had witnessed.

This is just my experience however and there are plenty of carp anglers who use the lead clip system to great effect and have full confidence in it.

In-line Leads

In-line leads still feature in my angling from time to time, if I am fishing solid PVA bags or stalking fish in the margins. In-lines are perfect for solid bag fishing and offer superb hooking capabilities coupled with a short hooklink whilst stalking in the margins. It is important to use them safely so the lead can drop off in case a fish is snagged up. For this I use the Fox Edges Inline Drop Off Kit and the complementary double ring swivels. Saying that, I would still look to use the running rig set-up if I could get away with it.

I do feel that for most fishing situations however the in-line lead system is flawed in regards to bite indication. The hooking capability is evident but the indication coming back to the bank can be non-existent if a fish arcs on the line, causing all sorts of problems and most likely a lost fish. This again is highlighted alongside the lead clip in the early Korda Underwater DVDs. The diver arcs 40-50yards on a tight line without a bleep on the alarm!!! 


I have only started using helicopters in the last few years due to fishing areas of deeper silt, something I'd previously shied away from. My initial thoughts on Helis were some scepticism around the lead bouncing around and bouncing the hook out, especially when using chods. However I started using the Atomic choppa droppa system, and more recently the Fox Drop Off Heli system. The Fox version is superb and I can't fault it. It works 100% of the time to drop the lead, but only when required and it's very small and tidy. It's given me a massive confidence boost in using the Heli set-up, which is great as I'm now needing to use it for 95% of my fishing, between a silty marina and a silty nature reserve. I've caught numerous fish on it now, and haven't seemed to have had any obvious indication issues or tangles so I am pretty happy with how it's working for me at the minute. 


All in all, I am most confident to use running rigs and have total faith in them, Helis I am now far more confident using them and the other two, I personally wouldn't use unless I had no other option. 

@B.C. what are your thoughts?

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Cheers Greeksi, nice piece mate, you clearly put a lot of thought into your lead arrangement. To be honest, something I'm quite lazy with...……. I'll have to get back in a few days as I'm off out fishing...… Feel free to nominate someone else and I'll jump in later...

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@greekski you sir have just flicked the switch for the light bulb 💡 in my head!

Great write up and I’m going to be looking into running rigs straight away.....as you may be aware I have posted quite often about always getting single beeps but nothing else and not catching very often and your post really made me think about how I use my leads....90% of my set ups are leads clips....10 % chods (with drop off system) all 3 of my recent fish have fallen to the chods. And I’d never even considered that it could be the way I’m using leads so thank you for the insight 

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17 hours ago, greekskii said:

Suppose we best leave you to it! In the meantime @salokcinnodrog Do you want to give it a go? 

Most definitely not, 😖😅


I'm sorry if this seems disjointed, it is my head running at breakneck speed again to get everything down. Vik has probably described his thoughts exactly as mine are regarding leads.


I have been through loads of lead set-ups in my time, from semi-fixed leads, as helicopter, inline and pendant ( lead hanging from the line) to bolt rigs and running leads, run rings and inline running leads. Leadcore fished with helicopters, inline and pendant leads. Leadcore originally as leadcore flyline to the current braided leadcore. 

In that 30 odd years I have noticed how fish can use the lead in their favour to eject the rig, how twitchy takes, even indication are effected by the lead and how tight or slack the line is. 

I used to fish a small water called Thwaite where I could experiment with various set-ups as I wasn't happy with indication on tight lines. I was able to get the fish feeding in close in my margins, or far bank and could lower my rigs in, with someone on my rod as I lowered it in on the far bank.

Straight off I found helicopter set-ups gave reduced indication, whether with a tight or slack line. The fish could move a long way, up and down the line, as well as around the area that the chod style fished rig could reach. Pendant or inline semi-fixed leads also gave reduced indication, and at 50metres range that lack of indication could see the lead moved 5metres with no rise or fall or sound, unless you had Monsieur Delkim at maximum sensitivity. At Even longer ranges like 150metres, Le Delkim could be silent as vibration is absorbed along the line.

The answer was to switch to running leads and preferably slack lines. Indication was vastly improved. The problem was with any water movement, undertow or currents, you could find the line being moved, being pulled off the reel and a constantly rising indicator.

To counter this you had to go back to tight lines, and depending on how much current, increase lead size. Imagine a 2acre water with floodwater coming in, and an outflow into a stream, even on Thwaite going up to 3oz leads from the 1.5oz I preferred to use on there.


Lead set-ups are a compromise, misunderstood and misused. To get the furthest distance casting, helicopter leads work best, with pendant leads a few metres behind, and inlines a couple of wobbly metres behind that. Yet those set-ups fished semi-fixed give reduced indication. I have had, and seen other people get takes, where that semi-fixed lead has been moved as far as 20metres with no indication.

I moved onto Brackens at Nazeing and stuck almost exclusively with running leads and slack lines. Most other anglers fished tight semi-fixed. Whether my baiting or slack lines were the main contributor, I landed a higher percentage of carp to rod hours than most other anglers on there. No undertow, lines mostly along the lakebed, even if you did have to allow as much as another 10metres of slack as the gravel features could be so high off the lakebed. Imagine fishing a 7feet deep gravel feature, in 20feet of water!


Playing around at Thwaite came up with something else on the occasional broken line. A helicopter lead set-up, if you cracked off or snapped the lead must not come off the line. It was the lead still being in place that enabled the rig to be ejected off the line if a fish took. If the lead was ejected the line basically folded in half and the rig could not come off either end. Unless somebody can come up with a way of attaching a lead with no link clip or swivel, a helicopter must have the lead stay on if the mainline breaks, unless it breaks directly above the lead, and everything can slide off the lead end.



My next pet hate is the misused lead clip. It's original use was so the lead could be taken off the rods at the end of the trip. I don't know what was wrong with link clips which were available long before the lead clip, those link clips obviously didn't work properly on either pendant or helicopter set-ups😖😮😆

The lead clip has become to be all and end all. Lets dump the lead if the fish gets snagged, lets dump the lead on a take, not hang on I shouldn't really be fishing here it is a bit too close to the snag, or, in a weedy lake an inline lead is actually best to reduce the weed hanging around the line. 

The lead clip catches weed, tubing catches weed, leader knots catch weed, and hooks catch weed. Even more amazing, a fish with its head and eyes covered in weed often just gives up.


@spr1985 think we'll have to start getting your thoughts that are developing. I reckon it could be an interesting post as you put your analysis and ideas down.



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1 hour ago, salokcinnodrog said:

think we'll have to start getting your thoughts that are developing. I reckon it could be an interesting post as you put your analysis and ideas down.


My thoughts will be about as much use to people as a chocolate tea pot in front of a roaring fire 🤣😂

my thoughts at this point consist of.....I’ve regularly been getting done due to my lack of knowledge surrounding lead arrangements and shall be trying running rigs at the earliest opportunity to see if it improves a) my catch rate and b) my bite indication.

@greekskii ‘s post has given me some food for thought and hopefully a boost to my catch rate.....but we shall see 

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3 minutes ago, spr1985 said:

My thoughts will be about as much use to people as a chocolate tea pot in front of a roaring fire 🤣


You sell yourself short mate...... Braxted is no push-over and you caught from there buddy. Don't knock yourself!

Who're you nominating?

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Fair play @spr1985.

As with most things I try to adapt to the angling situation.

For years I used heli's almost exclusively. I just loved the way I could move the top bead on the leader to suit different substrates. I was convinced at the time it was the most tangle free system too (which is one of my top priorities). Early last year however there was a leader ban on my main water so I had to switch to something different. I'm not 100% sold on naked heli's (I'll use them if absolutely necessary but prefer not to) so I bit the bullet and went over to tubing and lead clips, something I'd not used in maybe 15 years. The switch was made easier by that Rig Marole braided tubing which I have to say is absolutely brilliant.

A year or two on I'd maybe not switch back even if I could. I've found a way to use the lead clips very effectively. What I do is find a spot (clear area) and then find the edge of it (where it gets a bit choddy with low lying weed). If I can get a drop with a 2 oz lead in this weed then imo it's presentable. I then switch over to a 4 oz lead and smash it straight into this weed with my rig attached. If I pull back (which I don't, obviously) the lead is completely locked up in the weed, it won't move unless I really pull it out. It's basically fixed the rig to the bottom which increases the bolt effect significantly. The rig is pulled into the weed but the hookbait/hook sits on top of it. I've caught loads of fish doing this including some of the rarer ones (which I'm sure is a result of avoiding the more heavily fished clean areas.

Obviously there's not always clear spots where the carp are. If they're located in heavy weed I'll reluctantly go for a naked heli (at the moment anyway, due to the leader ban) with the top bead set high on the leader. I now believe that the heli isn't nearly as effective a hooker as a lead clip arrangement, even though I've caught plenty on them. Strangely, based on my experience in the last 2 years, I also believe heli's are MORE prone to tangling than lead clips - if you watch a lead clip go out on the cast and it doesn't tangle then you never bring it in tangled. If you watch a heli go out without tangling you sometimes bring it in and it still has that tell tale kink where the base of the hooklink has wrapped around the line.

I hardly ever use in-lines. I'd only use them for stalking in the edge where I can see them on the deck. I won't cast one as in my opinion it'll land nose first and interfere with the hook link. I'm not up for that. If I used pva bags I'd be happy to use in-lines but I don't use bags so I'm not!

I've never used running lead systems. I want that bolt effect to be as strong as possible so they don't interest me.

Lot's of talk about sensitivity and bite indication above. I have to say that doesn't really bother me. My priorities (in approximate order) are:

1. Tangle Proof

2. Effective presentation on the deck

3. Decent bolt effect

In my experience if the rig is in the right area, free from tangles and presented you'll get takes. If my alarm beeps the first thing I do is get down to the rod and check out what the line is doing as it enters the water. That is night or day. If there' a carp on the end you tend to know imo.

I'll always use the biggest leads I think I can get away, again for that bolt effect.

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Well, some good posts from all and I'm not too sure I can add much to what's been said already...….. 

The very first set up I used was a running rig, it was the only lead arrangement I knew of,, until sometime in the early eighties someone showed me both the hair rig and the bolt rig arrangement, The bolt rig consisted of adding a split shot on the mainline just above the lead by a few inches, so the fish could take a few inches of line before the resistance of the lead would prick the hook home and hopefully cause the fish to bolt and a full blown run occur. Can't say it made much difference to mine or my mates catch rates, the leads we used were so small at the time, no more than half ounce. But we carried on catching pasties and thought we were carp anglers...… However, the concept of the bolt rig, aiding hooking with a larger weight, definitely stuck, and influences my fishing in a big way to this day... Which is possibly why, I have less confidence in running rigs,...… Basically, in my head, if there is little or no resistance once a fish picks up my rig, then I just think I'm getting done at the slightest bleep. And assume that a fish will just spit me out, without the weight of the lead to hold the rig in place until I pull into the fish.... For the same reason, hooking potential, I prefer to use a dumpy shaped lead, either a square pear or dumpy pear...……...

I've been using a lead clip arrangement while the weed has been up. I'm not a fan of lead clips, they are easily misused and can become death rigs when they are pushed up tight with pins through the swivel. There's no chance of the lead dropping...… The Kodex clips and tail rubbers that I've been using have a bump on the clip as a guide. Push the rubber up to the bump and the lead drops easily, push it over the bump and the tail rubber is on much firmer. It's idiot proof and the lead has dropped on every take so far...….

The only other thing I'll add is my marker lead is different to my main leads, it will be bobbly shaped to help pick up any bobbles on the bottom, indicating gravel. I will keep it the same weight as my main leads so that if theres a few inches of silt on top of gravel, I should get a similar drop on my rods, the same as the marker lead.

As I said earlier, there isn't much I can add to previous posts.....

I'll nominate @emmcee, if there's anything you can add to this thread mate, then fire away..🙂





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Thanks BC,  as you have rightly said not much can be added to what has already been said. 

Personally I have only used in line leads (both normal and drop off style) , lead clips and helicopter. 

I use in lines only when I'm stalking and lowering baits onto a spot and these will mainly be flat pear etc so as to not be to in your face on the lake bed. I used to use them for my everyday fishing when in first started carp fishing but did get a lot of tangles, but then I can tangle a choddy so it's not surprising.  

Lead clips I use for pretty much 95% of my fishing. This is whether I'm on a clean bottom or not. That said most of the lakes I fish are very weedy and dropping the lead is for me essential.  Now I know mates who have fished lakes that allow boats have witnessed there rigs/leads being 30 or 40 yds away from  there original spots due to fish picking up the rig and dropping it again. One mate stopped using lead clips altogether after seeing this but another mate just switched lead size. As he was rowing his baits out he went from your normal 3 - 4 Oz leads to 10oz leads and simply ripped his lake apart. On my old lake nearly everyone used 3 - 4 Oz leads and you was often being done. So I switched to 1oz leads and started turning the usual single / double bleep on the alarms to full blown runs. I belive this to be down to the fact that animals get used to or get round things by learning just like us. Nearly every man and his dog used 3 or 4 Oz leads on that lake and I firmly believe the carp got used to dealing with the weight of the lead and using it to eject the rig. 

Helicopter style I only use when chod fishing which I must admit is nowhere near as much as I used to. 

So for me it's not so much the lead system that can let you down but the weight of the lead. Always try and be that different person who uses a lighter or heavier lead than everyone else and you'll see an increase in takes.

I won't nominate anyone but if anyone can offer more advice then im sure we would all like to hear. 

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On ‎08‎/‎08‎/‎2018 at 08:21, greekskii said:

Fox Angled Drop Off Run Rig Kit 

I've been looking at these since your post mate and wanted to ask a couple of questions please...…. Firstly, can you get away with a size 8 swivel?, I've got loads, but the Fox YT vid suggests a size 7...… And also, does the buffer bead , alone, provide enough anti tangle properties for your rig, in your opinion? Or are you using a bit of silicon or anti tangle sleeve as well?... 🙂


Edited by B.C.

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1 hour ago, B.C. said:

I've been looking at these since your post mate and wanted to ask a couple of questions please...…. Firstly, can you get away with a size 8 swivel?, I've got loads, but the Fox YT vid suggests a size 7...… And also, does the buffer bead , alone, provide enough anti tangle properties for your rig, in your opinion? Or are you using a bit of silicon or anti tangle sleeve as well?... 🙂


I currently use size 8 quick change swivels in to the buffer bead. They fit nice and snug. The bead isn’t stiff so has a slight bit of Malubility. Mine are from bank tackle. 

I used to use a tiny bit of silicone but now use anti tangle sleeves. Just for peace of mind. I do believe if you were using a stiff material it would be fine. 

One thing I will mention is the clip for the lead. Big eye swivels aren’t compatible, you can wedge them in but they won’t come out. I use forceps to alter the shape and the pva strips to lock in place on the cast. The upside to this is I can ensure the lead won’t just fall out at any time and I can test the pressure required to make it drop off. 

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