During the the late 90’s, when I first started to cross over from my match and general angling into carp angling, the rig world had already come on quite a way from the original hair rig.
With forward thinking anglers searching out the all singing all dancing, carp catching machine.
As a result I have to confess that, whilst reading all the various magazines articles of the time to try to expand my knowledge, I too became sucked into searching out the holy grail in rig mechanics.
In the following years I tried almost every permutation I came across, as well as attempting to develop my own concoctions. Obviously some were more successful than others.
On the other side of the coin my friend who I fished with used nothing but the simplest of set ups. No leader or tubing, 2oz running lead and 6 inches of soft braid knotless knotted onto a size 6 wide gape and a short hair. Compare that to my set up of a metre of lead-core fished helicopter style, 2oz lead and the latest “super rig” and the rig obsessed amongst us would think I had an edge, yes ?
Well, despite our contrasting styles our results were always very similar. He caught his fair share and I mine.
Now after thinking about this for a while I stopped my search for the ultimate rig and in the following years have instead settled for a handful of tried and tested set ups that I could adapt to various situations.
In most situations my preferred set up is a pop up rig. I’ve tried them all over the years but in recent times I’ve settled on a couple that I use pretty much exclusively.
The first is the multi rig. Quick and Simple to tie, this rig ticks all the boxes for me. In recent times I’ve seen it set up in various different ways. Pattern of hook, length of the pop up section and position of the counter balance. Like most things in carp angling everyone has there own opinion and theory on how and why there way is best. They all work, but my preference is to use a chod style hook, a short pop up section (just a big enough loop to pass over the hook) and my counter balance behind the break in the coating of my hooklink. I’ve seen people with the counter balance on the tag created from the loop and also on the knot created from the loop but I feel by having it behind the coating it offers the hook section more movement.
The length I use is generally determined on what I’m fishing over but as a general length I go for around 7 inches from the swivel to the counter balance.
The other pop up rig I use is the chod rig, yes, yes, I know. It has been done to death and I won’t bore you with another explanation on it’s use as it’s very well documented. I don’t use it much nowadays, in fact, I can’t remember the last time I did use it but it still has a place in my armoury. The ability to present a bait in most places with just one cast cannot be dismissed in some situations.
Moving swiftly on I’ll come to my bottom bait presentation. Again it’s nothing complicated, in fact it’s even more uncomplicated than the multi rig, and that’s the reason I use it.
I’ve always been a fan of curved shank hooks, I feel they reduce the need for shrink tubing in most cases and as I rarely take my cooker and kettle fishing, that suits me down to the ground. I used to set my bottom bait rig up blow back style with tubing as opposed to a rig ring, and I used a long hair. Over the years though i started playing around with balanced hookbaits and wasn’t quite happy with the blowback style in conjunction with them.
So by removing the blow back tubing and shortening the hair a little I felt the hook would have more free movement inside the carps mouth to allow it to find hold, instead of being blown back out bend first.
My thoughts on this were a bottom bait being heavier than a balanced bait it would trigger the blowback tubing when blown out were as the balanced bait being lighter may not. Whether I’m right or wrong is open to debate but that was my thinking at the time.
So the general make up of the rig became 7 inches of coated braid knotless knotted to a size 6 curve hook, the hair length had the balanced bait level with the bottom of the hook and a break above the hook around an inch long for the added movement. Pretty standard.
In the last couple of years I’ve started tying it up KD style and adding a good blob of putty at the break in the coating and always with some degree of buoyancy in the hookbait. Not massive changes but enough to make it more efficient I feel.
The other thing is (besides the chod) the rigs outlined above can be used with any lead set up. I’ve always preferred a helicopter set up due to the silty nature of the canals I’ve grown up fishing, but have been known to use an in-line or lead clip set up on occasions.
So that’s that really, nothing ground breaking I know but I came to the conclusion a few years ago that chopping and changing just confused me more than the carp, I do use one or two other rigs but there more for a specific purpose than my general angling, things like solid PVA bag rigs etc… but I shall save you the time as Its rare I use them.
when I feel I’m getting sucked back in (pun intended) by the next “super rig” I just remember the simplicity of my good mates set up and concentrate on making sure I tie my preferred rigs with care and always make sure that my hook is SHARP.
Good luck for the year ahead, may your nets be wet and your smiles large.