Preamble, I originally wrote this for Spiegel magazine last year and it was archieved in the articles section, however looking at my hits I can see that no one was able to find it so I thought I would recreate here as a post so that people can find it.
Introduction – CV Safety Rig
Please note I am not the originator of this rig, I am merely someone who cares about fish safety and wants to get the knowledge out to people that there are safer ways to fish leadcore helicopter rigs. On some of the lakes I fish I have seen some horrible contraptions all under the banner of helicopter rigs.
There are some disadvantages to this rig. Unlike the original CV safety rig, which used a piece of metal called “the bit” which was free to rotate around the lead core, and allow the hook link to spin ( hence the name helicopter rig), this is impossible with this setup. I have not, however, had tangle issues so far so I am not sure if it is worth investigating incorporating a piece of wire into this setup. I have found a source of the original “CV Bits” ( called rather helpfully – the bit ) from Harefield tackle the originator of the “CV” or Colne Valley brand. Check back here for a follow-up article on a rig using “the bit” and recreating a bit of history 🙂
From the picture you can see all of the materials and tools that are required to make this rig. Some of them are optional but this is how I make it so I thought I would leave them in but mention along the way when they can be left out depending on your preferences. Please note that all of the rig components can be swapped around with other manufacturer’s parts depending on your locale but I would strongly suggest that you use the best quality bits you can find. Remember that the attitude “it’s good enough” is never enough and will cost you fish.
1, Leadcore, I attempt to match the bottom or go brown
2, Scissors, good quality pair
3, Closed gate baiting needle
4, Leadcore splicing needle, you can not use a baiting needle
5, Ring swivel
6, Helicopter bead
7, Quick change link
8, Tear drop link
9, Beads – need to have a bore great enough to slide freely over the lead core and the end
splice or knot to the main line.
10, Rubber tubing
Cut a length of lead core to the desired length about 80 Cm is enough, but this is personal
preference, and splice a loop in the end. Note if you like to use a needle knot or other
kind of knot to link the lead core to your mainline, this loop is not required.
At the other end of the lead core remove about 15-18 cm of the core and splice a smallish loop. The loop needs to be about 3mm in diameter.
The small loop should be large enough to comfortably slide over the leadcore and loop knot / needle knot but not big enough to allow one of the beads ( item 9) to pass through. The reason we remove so much of the inner core is so that we can tie a knot in it and leadcore with lead in it is really hard to tie knots in.
Taking your quick link, tie it with a 3 turn half blood knot so that the top of the knot sits against the inner lead core.
The free “tag” (the short end of the lead core that has the inner lead removed as per point 4) now has the small spliced loop at the end of it. A 3 turn half blood knot should be perfectly fine as we are using 35lb braid.
Take your closed gate baiting needle and put the helicopter bead on it and thread it on to the lead core.
Put on 2 beads, the ring swivel and another bead. Make sure that the top bead has a bore sufficient to pass over the lead core with out effort. If it does not use a sharp knife to bore out the bead further until it will pass along the lead core and over your chosen method of connecting to the main line ( ie needle knot or loop to loop). Once this is done pass the loop on the tag end over the main section of lead core and pull tight. I also find it handy to add a quick change link to the ring swivel at this stage as well.
Note that the loop on the tag end of the half blood knot is over the main lead core link.
Add a hook link and you are done. I find that a small piece of rubber tubing is superb at stopping tangles and making sure that the hook link does not move out of the quick change swivel. If you use component 8 (a tear drop link) you get extra security on the quick change link.
As you can see this method of constructing a helicopter rig, if completed as indicated should produce a very safe rig capable of detaching the hook link from the lead core / lead if the line snaps at any time.
For more info on this and other rigs please see the FOX guide to rigs available from Amazon ( and others ) at this link. Please note I am in no way affiliated with FOX or Amazon.