Five Great Carp Rigs

by | Carp, Essentials | 0 comments

When it comes to carp fishing, it can be all too easy to get caught up in the myriad of different ‘rigs’ that are talked about across social media, YouTube and in magazines. As a beginner, it is highly likely that you will be starting out on easier commercial waters, or what are known as ‘runs waters’ – these are venues which hold prolific amounts of fish and enable you to get amongst the carp with relative ease, as opposed to a large pit or poorly stocked reservoir.

Here, you can experiment with a variety of different rigs and presentations in order to become confident in using them, whilst also learning to tie basic knots. Indeed, the first port of call may be your local tackle shop or one of the many experienced rig tiers found on Ebay or other online sites, who will be happy to supply you with a variety of rigs. This may be of benefit when starting out as you will have confidence, to a certain extent, that the knots have been tied correctly and that a suitable hook and hook length material have been used.

As time progresses, you may find yourself wanting to experiment by tying your own rigs. The pluses are multiple, including firstly saving money on tackle (rig tiers charge you for the labour), being able to adjust and fine tune lengths of hooklink, changing the hook size and bait attachment instead of having to stick with the whatever the manufacturer has tied for you. When you do move onto more difficult waters where the fish are warier, being able to adjust and tune your rigs on the go will bring you far more fish.

It is also worth investing in a rig box, where you can store your rigs safely and neatly. Rig tying in the confines of your warm living room is a lot easier and more comfortable than struggling to tie knots with freezing fingers under a brolly on the side of a windswept lake or river. Having an assortment of pre-tied setups saves time on setting up, but also allows you to change and replace rigs at a moment’s notice.

The following is by no means a definitive list, but it is a good starting point.

1. Multi Rig

The Muti Rig is one of my favourite rigs and one I currently use for the majority of my carp fishing trips when I am not surface fishing or freelining. It can be used for bottom and wafter baits, though I find it most effective with pop ups.

You Will Need:

  • Coated braid
  • You choice of hook
  • Bait mounting – micro swivel or bait screw
  • A large loop swivel
  • Splitshot or putty

What you will need

Step One

First, cut off the required length of coated braid. The length that you will need depends on the conditions and where you are fishing. A length of around 7 inches will work well in most situations, but you can go as short at 4-5 inches or up to 12 inches. Allow a few extra inches for knots and loops.

Step Two

Tie a loop at one end of your braid – this should be around the same length as the hook you are using. This takes a bit of time to get right and may take a few attempts.

Step Three

Next, thread the loop through the hook eye – a task that is much easier said than done, particularly if using a small hook and a thick braid. A useful technique that can help if you are struggling with this, is to thread a thin piece of line through the hook eye, then loop your braid around it and back through the eye, then draw the braid through the hook eye.

Now thread your bait mounting onto the doubled up braid. Remember that the braid loop should exit out the back of the hook.

Step Four

Now ‘lasso’ the braid loop over the hook point. This enables the bait mounting to slide up and down the braid along the back of the hook. Ensure that the braid is not twisted. An option which gives the rig some flexibility is to break and strip a very small section of braid directly under the loop knot.

Step Five

Add your swivel to the other end of the braid with a loop and steam the rig straight using a kettle.

Step Six

If you are using a pop up, add some putty or a split shot to the coated portion of the hooklink, just next to the break in the coating which was made in step four.

The finished rig should look like this!

2. Controller Rig

During the warmer months of the year, carp can often be seen cruising on or near the water’s surface – signifying that it’s time for some surface fishing.

This method of fishing can be both exciting and frustrating at the same time, but not much beats watching your quarry suck in the bait on the surface. This doesn’t happen with conventional carp fishing where the angler is sat behind a bank of rods and alarms, unaware of what is going on around the hookbaits. Simply freelining bread or other floater baits can be an incredibly effective method, however, there are times when the fish are just out of freelining range and some extra weight is needed on the line, this is where the controller set up comes in.

You Will Need:

  • Your chosen hook - various types of hooks will work with this rig (sizes 6-12 are recommended)
  • Your chosen hooklength (preferably floating line)
  • Silicon anti-tangle tubing
  • Anti-tangle sleeve
  • A quick change swivel
  • A controller float

What you will need

Step One

Take your hooklength material and cut off about 4 feet. Your hooklength can vary, but 4 feet is a good starting point. Fish may or may not be put off by the controller being positioned too close to the bait, but a shorter hooklink is easier to cast and control. So finding a balance between the two is key.

Step Two

Attach your chosen hook using a knot that you are comfortable tying and that is well suited for the material you are using, as well as the chosen bait. In this instance, I have tied a hair rig with a knotless knot.

What is a hair rig?

The hair rig is a way of presenting bait off the hook through an extension of the hooklink. Hairs can be constructed from braid, mono, or even dental floss. The bait is threaded onto the hair with a baiting needle and secured using a bait stop. Hair rigs are generally used with harder baits that are typically difficult to attach onto the hook directly. With that said, just about any bait can be hair rigged, including sweetcorn, meat, pellets and even discs of punched out bread. The benefit of using a hair rig is that the hook is not buried inside the bait, which can obstruct the hookpoint. It also allows the bait to behave more naturally in the water.

Step Three

Slide on your anti-tangle sleeve. Remember to put this on narrow end first, so that the larger end of the sleeve will fit over the swivel eye later on.

Step Four

Tie a loop in the end of the line. This loop needs be shorter than the length of anti-tangle sleeve that you mounted in the previous step.

Step Five

Next, take your quick change swivel – a good tip is to crush the eye ever so slightly using a pair of pliers. This will help the tubing slide over the eye later on.

Step Six

Now hook the loop over the crook on the swivel and slide the anti-tangle sleeve up over the crook to secure it.

Step Seven

Next, take the anti-tangle tubing and cut off a section that is about 3cm in length. Then slide this section through the eye of the controller float. The tubing should be slim enough so that if the controller becomes snagged, it will slide off the tubing and up the link, freeing the fish.

Step Eight

Thread your mainline through the tubing and secure it to the swivel with a knot that you can tie comfortably. Then, slide the anti-tangle tubing over the crushed eye on the swivel. It should now look like this.

Step Nine

A great way to add some extra buoyancy to your hooklink is by applying floatant directly to the hooklink. Vaseline is a good alternative.

Step Ten

The hookbait choice available to you when using this rig is almost endless, with bread, pop up boilies, bits of cork and foam, dog biscuits, imitation baits etc., all being fantastic options.

The finished rig should look like this!

3. Ronnie Rig

The ‘Ronnie Rig’ has really come to the fore over the last few years. If you are looking to present a pop up fairly close to the lake/river bed, then this rig is ideal.

To the newcomer, it can look quite daunting to tie and there are a few extra pieces of tackle required, however after tying it a few times, it will become almost second nature. There is also the option of purchasing ready constructed hook and swivel arrangements, meaning all you have left to do is to tie on your chosen hooklink material. This rig is primarily used with pop up baits, preferably buoyant ones, but it can be used with bottom baits to some effect.

You Will Need:

  • Your chosen hooklink material - fluorocarbon or coated braid is recommended
  • Your chosen hook - curved shank and size 6 or larger is recommended
  • Bait mounting (eg micro-swivel or bait screw)
  • Hook bead/stop
  • Shrink tube
  • A quick change swivel
  • A flexi ring quick change swivel
  • Tungsten putty
  • Anti-tangle sleeve

What you will need

Step One

Begin by sliding around 1cm of shrink tube onto your hook.

Step Two

Next, attach the quick change swivel to the hook. Ensure that the opening of the crook is facing the back of the hook. You may need to gently open up the crook to push it through the hook eye, be careful when doing so. Then close the gap back down again with a pair of pliers, to secure it in place.

Step Three

Now, slide the shrink tubing down the shank of the hook and over the barrel of the swivel. Make sure that you do not slide it down to the point that it will stop the barrel spinning. Next, steam the tubing using a kettle to shrink it to the swivel.

Step Four

Slide on your chosen bait mounting and secure it with a hook bead/stop. The stop should be positioned just about in line with the barb of the hook (or if using barbless, where the barb would have been).

Step Five

Now take your chosen hooklink material, here I have used fluorocarbon. Cut off enough to make a 7 inch rig – the length can vary depending on where you are fishing, but 7 inches is a good starting point. Again, don’t forget to leave enough space to allow for knots. Tie one end to your newly created Ronnie Rig.

Step Six

Now slide on your anti-tangle sleeve and tie a loop knot.

Step Seven

Attach your quick change swivel and slide the sleeve down to secure it. A big advantage of this rig is that it allows you to quickly change hooklinks. This is particularly useful if you need to change the hooklength due to a blunt hook or if you need to swap to a different rig length or material, as it will save you from having to break down your lead system.

Step Eight

Use a kettle to steam your hooklink straight. To balance your pop up, add some tungsten putty to the knot just below the Ronnie.

The finished rig should look like this!

4. Coated Braid Rig

A common issue that is encountered when using a braid rig, is that it can easily become tangled. I have wound in my rig many times to find a tangled hooklink which hasn’t been fishing effectively for hours. A very disappointing feeling, trust me.

A fantastic way to prevent this is to use a coated braid. A stiffer hooklink material means that the rig will ‘re-set’ itself after a fish has picked up and ejected the bait, as well as when smaller fish have knocked it about on the bottom. During manufacture, a plastic coating is applied to the braid, creating a stiff covering that can be stripped back to reveal the softer and more flexible braid material underneath. This rig is one of the simplest to tie, very versatile and can be used for bottom baits as well as pop up baits.

You Will Need:

  • Your choice of coated braid
  • Your choice of hook - matched to the size of the bait (in this example we will be using a 15mm boilie with a size 6 hook)
  • A size 8 ring swivel
  • Bait stop
  • Splitshot/putty (if using pop up baits)

What you will need

Step One

Firstly, take the coated braid and cut off plenty to work with, about 7-9 inches. There is nothing worse than not cutting off enough and finding out once you have tied up the knots, that the rig is too short. You can always cut braid away if needed. In short, allow a few inches on top of the desired length.

The final length of the rig should be between 5-8 inches. Where the fish are more likely to be heads down close to the bottom, such as when using groundbait, keep it shorter. Use more length when boilie fishing and when the fish the fish are moving between free offerings. Everyone will have a personal preference and different opinions on this topic, generally if you keep it around 6-7 inches it will work well in most situations.

Step Two

Use a stripping tool or your fingernails (the toughness of the coating differs across brands – you will soon find out which is required when you attempt it) to strip off a few inches of the coating from one end of the braid. The aim is to strip enough off to enable you to tie both a loop for your hair rig and the knotless knot for the hook – all with the un-coated section. There should also then be an inch of the uncoated material just before the hook, to provide flexibility.

What is a hair rig?

The hair rig is a way of presenting bait off the hook through an extension of the hooklink. Hairs can be constructed from braid, mono, or even dental floss. The bait is threaded onto the hair with a baiting needle and secured using a bait stop. Hair rigs are generally used with harder baits that are typically difficult to attach onto the hook directly. With that said, just about any bait can be hair rigged, including sweetcorn, meat, pellets and even discs of punched out bread. The benefit of using a hair rig is that the hook is not buried inside the bait, which can obstruct the hookpoint. It also allows the bait to behave more naturally in the water.

Step Three

Tie a small loop at the end of the stripped portion to form the loop for your bait stop.

Step Four

Mount your chosen bait with a baiting needle.

Step Five

Secure the bait with a bait stop and tie on your chosen hook with a knotless knot. Leave a few millimetres between the bend of the hook and the bait to allow for some separation. Over time, you can fine-tune the hair length on your rigs. Some anglers like a long hair, some like the bait closer to the hook – it is all personal choice. Hook choice is down to the angler and probably an article in its own right, but for this rig I prefer a wide gape hook.

Step Six

This end of the rig is now complete.

Step Seven

Now tie the other end of the braid to the loop swivel. The loop allows for some flexibility rather than a stiff boom effect out the back of the inline lead/leadclip. If the lead lands awkwardly or on some debris, the pivot effect from the loop swivel should allow the hooklink to lie flat on the bottom.

Step Eight

Now thread your mainline through either an inline lead or a lead clip system. I use Pallatrax Stonze as a natural camouflage. Then tie your mainline to the swivel.

Step Nine

Now use a kettle to steam your hooklink straight and the rig is now complete! You should have a stiffer section of braid to prevent tangles and kick the hookbait out away from the lead, with a flexible portion at the end close to the hook, giving the hook some important flexibility.

The finished rig should look like this!

Optional

A slight variation you can use if you are using pop up baits, is to add a small split shot or small amount tungsten putty to the hooklink as in the picture. Check in a bucket or in the margins that you have enough weight to counterbalance the hookbait.

5. Zig Rig

When fishing the middle layers, the zig rig is the best choice most of the time. A variety of baits can be used with this rig, from pop ups, bits of foam, cork and even fake bugs! If you know what depth you are fishing at and where the fish are cruising, then this rig is perfect. It’s a fixed length rig, so it may be worth tying a few in advance at different lengths, so you can switch them around if you need to.

You Will Need:

  • Line - dedicated floating line is recommended
  • Hookbaits
  • Your choid of hook – a smaller hook is recommended for this rig. Remember that the bait will be in full view of the fish, not sat on a muddy, silty bottom, so a smaller bait will do the job in most situations.
  • Anti-tangle sleeve
  • A swivel (quick release versions enable you to change hooklinks quickly and easily)

What you will need

Step One

Cut off the desired length of line that you will need, don’t forget to add a few inches to account for knots. If the length you need is anything above about 6 feet, then an adjustable zig rig (not covered here) maybe more suitable for you, to avoid tangles and to help with casting. Tie your chosen hook and mount your bait. Here I am using ‘Zig Foam’ – kits can be purchased from tackle shops and online in various colours.

Step Two

Now attach your anti-tangle sleeve and tie a loop.

Step Three

Next, hook your swivel over the hook and slide the anti-tangle sleeve down to secure it in place.

Step Four

Thread the mainline through your chosen lead system, tie to the swivel and push the swivel into the lead clip. You should now have the hooklink kicking out away from the lead system, this is done to help prevent tangles.

The Finished Rig Should look like this!

Please note that the finished rig can be anywhere from 4-10ft long.