Carp Rigs, How complex do you need to go ?

Every time I pick up a magazine it seems that screaming from the front cover are normally the words “NEW RIG” or “TIE THE WONDER RIG – We show you how” and yet fish still continue to get caught on simple easy to tie rigs. In a previous article I pondered some simple “beginners rigs” and I think that perhaps I misnamed them as beginners carp rigs. They are nothing of the sort. They are simple rigs granted, and good for the beginner but a hell of a lot of fish also get caught on them by more advanced anglers.

Take the rig above for example, it is a simple SSC curved shank hook tied to a small length of coated braid. This rig has accounted for huge numbers of fish both for myself and for many other anglers yet you very rarely see it in the magazines. Why you might ask ? well the cynic in me would argue that it does not seem “sexy” enough and certainly will not sell much in the way of advanced end componentry.  The other reason ( and I suspect the real reason) is that you can only show rigs like the one above so many times before they stop being “new”.

Please don’t get me wrong I am all for “complex” rigs when I think it is needed, just look at my own creation the “Big Pig line Aligner” for a classic example of a complex rig however this pales into insignificance when you compare it to some of the new rigs that are being proposed in some of the magazines.

This then led me to think that, will some rigs catch some carp and some rigs catch others ? Think about this for a second and you will realise that there may be something in this comment. Carp like all animals are different, some have bigger mouths, some have bigger bellies. Some feed more vertically, some more horizontally. Some carp will feed with abandon, some will feed more daintily. All These factors will change how a rig works. What might work perfectly on the back on your hand when demonstrating you latest wonder to a mate will act differently under water with a carps mouth rather than your hand. remember also that your rig will have to cope with water currents, weed, the carp taking the bait from the wrong angle, poisson chat or even cray fish. It is no wonder that nothing is certain in carp fishing 🙂

If the above is true, is it that some carp have a higher probability of being caught on some rigs than others ? are there rigs that have a true even probability of catching any carp ? would you fish with a rig that will statistically only catch some carp ? strange as this may seem we already so this on some waters when people fish with a double 30mm “donkey choker” in the hopes it will weed out the smaller fish. However, I am yet to hear of anyone developing a rig that wil tend to hook more vertical feeders. Why would I want to hook more vertically feeding carp ( carp that are head down, tail up in the water) rather than more horizontal fish ? Well carp with big guts ( ie heavier carp) tend to feed vertically as otherwise their bellies get in the way / drag on the bottom. Next time you are watching a Korda underwater DVD check it out and you will see what I mean.

I don’t know the answer to these questions and indeed, this article was to hopefully provoke thoughts rather than provide too many answers. However one thing that is absolutely clear to me, if you get a “good” rig that is, one that is effective most of the time then bait placement is probably the most critical factor. I have said it in the past and I will say it again, if the bait is no where near the carp you have zero chance of catching it.

2 thoughts on “Carp Rigs, How complex do you need to go ?”

  1. A simple rig is all that is required, in 30 years of carp fishing I have never found a need for anything other than a standard hair rig, my preference being for a small piece of shrink tubing over the eye of the hook and a small piece of silicon on the shank which can be moved nearer to the bend depending on the type of bait being used. I have never used a chod rig or stiff rig and I have been using an unstripped coated braid hookilink for the last few years (the new NASH missing link is superb) I don’t find any need to remove the last inch or so of coating, in fact I think that leaving the coating in place makes it harder for the carp to eject the hook. Unfortunately, most of what is written in the carp press these days is not worth reading and in fact I have not bought a cap mag for years …


  2. @Jon Perkins
    Jon if you have a picture of one of your rigs I will happily put it up and link back to your site let me know if you want to send one through and I will put a post together with your thoughts ( or I can make you a guest blogger ?)


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