11 Best Carp Fishing Rigs

best carp rigs

WHAT IS THE BEST CARP RIG?

Most rigs are created to fish effectively in certain situations, for example the chod rig, which was designed to fish above soft mud, weed and debris.

For me, the best carp rig is the one I have the most confidence in for that particular situation. 

There are fishing rigs that can help you fish in weed, and rigs that may fish better when used with specific hook baits, such as pop ups or wafters.

In the long-term, by buying the individual components such as hooks, hooklength material, swivels and stops – you will save money rather than choosing ready-made rigs.

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CARP RIG GUIDE

We would suggest learning to tie at least  3 or 4 rigs as these should cover most situations.

To get started, choose a rig from the table of contents below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to your frequently asked carp rig questions.


Useful Rig Tools

Before you begin to make your own carp rigs, we’ve listed a few key tools to help you along the way.

These include scissors for cutting fishing line and hooklength materials, such as braid, stripper tools for stripping back coated braid and tools to put bait onto your hook such as a baiting needle.

Remember that each rig you make may feature different parts such as soft or stiff  hooklength materials,  different sizes of swivels and a range of hook patterns.

Additionally, bait screws, floss and clips are common components for attaching bait to your hook.

Baiting Needle

A must have tool for threading hookbaits onto your hair rig.

Bank Tackle Braid Needle. Baiting Tool Carp Fishing Tackle Braided Hair Needle for Bait
  • Braid Needle
  • Bright Yellow Handle to Help Easily Locate
  • Essential Piece of Equipment for any Tackle Box

Bait Floss

A supple material that is used for securing baits to your rig/hook.

Rig Scissors

Used for cutting line, hooklengths and other rig making jobs.

Gardner Tackle Ultra Blade Rig Scissors - Carp Barbel Bream Tench Coarse Fishing
  • These high grade, precision ground stainless steel blades have been manufactured to work superbly on both braided and monofilament fishing lines. They cut through any coated hooklink, copolymer line, Fluorocarbon or Dyneema braid cleanly and easily.
  • These blades have been thoroughly tested by Gardner Tackle€™s in-house team of rig tiers and work brilliantly even after prolonged use.
  • Ultra Blades have one serrated edge and one smooth edge, which combine to offer the most precise cut. The serrated edge effectively grips the line in position whilst the flat edge effectively slices the line

1. Hair Rig

Hair Rig Diagram
Hair Rig Diagram

Use: This is the most basic carp rig that can be used in many angling situations.
Key Components: Eyed hook, hooklength material and bait floss or a bait screw to attach your hook bait.
Additional Materials: Using a knotless knot works best. Make sure your bait has plenty of movement by testing in the margins before use.

How Does A Hair Rig Work?

Created in the late 1970’s, the hair rig was designed to hook fish in the side of the mouth when the bait is ejected from the fish.

Ideally you want the rig to be able to spin as the fish picks up your bait so that the hook penetrates correctly.

Since then, there have been plenty of improvements, and is used across many fishing disciplines.

Easy to create, and highly effective, all you need to know is how to tie a knotless knot and use an eyed hook.

You can also buy ready-tied hair rigged hooklengths if you wish.

How Do You Tie A Hair Rig?

The key to tying an effective hair rig is:

1) Making sure your bait is around 1cm from thebend of the shank so it can turn freely

2)That the loop is just small enough to accommodate a bait stop.  This prevents bait from slipping off the hair loop.

3) Is tied neatly and trimmed effectively to blend in with the lakebed. Practice makes perfect!

How to tie a knotless knot


2. Chod Rig

Chod Carp Rig Diagram
Chod Carp Rig Diagram

Use: Created as a way to fish in thick weed, with minimum tangles.
Key Components: A rigid or stiff  link material fished with a buoyant bait such as a pop up.
Additional Materials: Putty,  a ring swivel and chod hook, which should feature a sweeping curve if possible.

When To Use A Chod Rig?

As with all rigs, there is no hard and fast rule.

However, as the name suggests, a choddy is best used when fishing over debris on the lake bed, or in low lying weed.

You’ll want a presentation where tangles are minimised, and you can be confident you’re fishing this rig well. 

Casting a choddy with a piece of foam attached will allow the rig to sink, knowing your hookbait has settled well as the foam reaches the surface

A PVA bag rig can be a productive alternative to a chod rig.

How To Tie A Chod Rig?

Below, we’ve selected two useful videos so you can learn how to tie a chod rig.

Each video features similar rig materials – and it’s up to you on what brand or type you prefer. After all, these are only guides!

What Hook Do I Use For A Chod Rig

To answer this simply – there is no ‘one dedicated hook’ you should use. 

Chod Rig Curve – Getting It Just Right

As a rough guide, the curved section should be the same as back of your thumb.

I’ve seen both extreme curves and totally straight fluorocarbon used here – with both catching fish. 

Maybe try both methods to see what works for you?

Chod Rig Curve
Image courtesy of Korda.co.uk

Chod Ready Rigs

We’ve handpicked a few ‘chod ready rigs’ if your prefer using these.


3. Multi Rig

Multi Rig Diagram
Multi Rig Diagram

Use: Designed to lift your hook up off debris on the bottom, whilst keeping it as low as possible to the lakebed.
Key Components: Pop Ups or other buoyant baits. A sharp out-turned eye hook is the key. Using a split shot will help keep everything else weighed down, with your hookbait ‘popped up’ above any debris.
Additional Materials/Tips: A tungsten coated hooklength material.

When To Use A Multi Rig?

Whether you cast to showing fish, or the need to fish in low lying weed – the multi rig is probably one of the most versatile ‘go anywhere’ rigs today.

It’s simple to tie, and highly effective too!

For me, what makes the multi rig stand out the most, is the ability to quickly change the hook size or pattern. 

Using an in-turned eye hook increases the aggressiveness, and it’s worth experimenting with different sizes and shapes of hookbaits.

One of the most common issues is hook pulls – which you can counteract by increasing the amount of putty used to weigh it down. We’re not talking a huge amount, just enough to increase the difficulty that the carp can eject your bait.

How To Tie A Multi Rig?

There are various ways of tying this versatile carp rig. Below are two videos that show you the steps needed to getting the rig as perfect as possible.

Multi Rig Videos

Multi Ready Rigs

If you do struggle to tie rigs, these ready rigs may be more suited for you.


4. Zig Rig

Zig Rig Diagram
Zig Rig Diagram

Use: Allows you to fish anywhere in the water column. Great fished just under the surface in the summer months. Setting the correct depth is vital.
Key Components: Low diameter line from lead to hook. Disguising everything is key. Various hookbaits can be used – from pop ups to imitation corn, and even flies! Getting the length right is also hugely important. Using an adjustable zig rig will help you make any subtle changes easily.
Additional Materials/Tips: Try to hide or blend in the hook as much as possible. There are dedicated zig hooks that you can buy, together with colourful sleeves to match hookbait colour.

When To Use A Zig Rig?

Zigs can be used at any time of the year and to get the best results, it pays to move them around your swim frequently, whilst adjusting the length until the bites arrive.

If you notice any signs of carp breaking the surface, casting a zig in that direction can yield some explosive fishing!

Fishing tight lines with zig rigs will also imrpove line indication.

Experience has also taught me that using a lead clip arrangement reduces tangles, and is more safe as the lead gets ejected on a strike.

As we mentioned earlier, using a foam nugget will also decrease tangles – whilst letting you know exactly where you’re fishing!

How To Tie A Zig Rig?

Although they may seem a little fiddly, zig rigs are fairly easy to tie.

I enjoy experimenting with foam, cut down pop ups and how the hook is presented.

Below are two handpicked videos to give you some ideas on how to make your own zig rigs.

Zig Rig Videos

Best Hooks For Zig Rigs?

Personally, I prefer to use smaller hooks, about a size 10 or 12, as part of my zig fishing.

This is because these are easier to conceal as I like to fish small hookbaits.

There are dedicated ‘zig’ hook patterns, some of which I’ve listed below.

Adjustable Zig Rigs

An adjustable zig rig makes it easier for you to change the depth at which you’re fishing.

Simply wind in and move the bead or adjustable float to the required depth and recast.

It could not be simpler!

I opt to use these in the summer when the carp are high up near the surface and I need to cast quickly and move around the lake a lot.

They really are an easier alternative to tying or attaching a different length zig rig all the time.

If you haven’t tried using one yet, I can highly recommend the Korda Adjustable Zig Rig!

See below for alternative zig rig kits.

How To Cast A Zig Rig

A fixed zig rig can be difficult to cast – especially if they are longer than 6ft.

If you combine casting from an unhooking mat with threading a PVA foam nugget onto the hook point can make it easier and minimises any tangles.

This method is perfect for zig rigs up to around 10ft. Anything longer, than I would suggest placing the rig into a bucket. Lean back and cast with your arms outstretched.

The ‘bucket method’ is also useful when fishing in windy conditions.


5. Ronnie/Spinner Rig

Ronnie Rig Diagram
Ronnie Rig Diagram

Use: A low lying pop up rig designed to be fished just off the lake bed. The main characteristics of this popular rig is the ability of the hook to spin 360 degrees – thus increasing the hooking potential with no tangling.
Key Components: A micro rig swivel which allows your hook to spin fully. Should be used with a curved hook which rotates off the shrink tube. Together, this maintains the aggressive hooking position at all times.
Additional Materials/Tips: Rig putty will help to get the balance just right and ensure the hook sits proudly up off the lakebed.

How To Tie A Ronnie Rig?

The key materials required to tie the ronnie rig are as follows:

Size 4 or 6 Curved Shank Hook
A Micro Rig Swivel
Hook Stop
Kwik Lock Rig Swivel (Available from Gardner Tackle)
Shrink Tubing
Bait Floss
Semi-stiff Hooklink Material

As per our other rig tutorials, below are two videos which should help you tie the perfect ronnie rig!

Ronnie Rig Videos

Pre-tied Ronnie Rigs

There are pre-tied ronnie rigs that you can purchase below.


6. D Rig

D Rig Diagram
D Rig Diagram

Use: Suited to bottom baits, and wafters, the classic D rig is famed for its fantastic blowback properties (more difficult for the carp to eject the bait)
Key Components: Should be tied with a stiff material, preferably fluorocarbon. This is important to maintain the shape of the ‘D’.
Additional Materials/Tips: The D naturally keeps your hookbait close to the hook, but still moves freely. Rig putty will help pin your fluorocarbon/stiff material to the bottom.

A great rig when fished over a completely clear lakebed,  the ‘D’ does need to be right for the mechanics to work correctly.

This makes it quite a tricky rig to tie, especially when you’re using fluorocarbon.

Please watch the videos below, and with practice, you’ll be tiring the D rig perfectly every single time!

D Rig Tips & Tricks

Make sure you choose a stiff link material such as fluorocarbon. This helps the D keep shape.

As these are often quite thick, you should thread this through the hook twice. Therefore, you may need to use a bigger hook with a larger eye!

The D rig is best used with bottom baits and wafters. Make sure you test this rig first in the margins (or use a bait bucket) so you can see clearly the rotation is working right and that it sits perfectly on the bottom.

7. Short PVA Bag Rig

PVA Bag Rig Diagram
PVA Bag Rig Diagram

Use: As the name suggests, this solid PVA bag rig should be used to effectively cast PVA bags. It uses a ‘bolt’ effect which means as soon as the carp feels the weight -they bolt!

Key Components: I use a wafting bait, such as a small piece of corn. This will float just above the PVA bag mix, once it has dissolved. I prefer to use a short length of braid.

Additional Materials/Tips: Short rigs, big hooks and soft braid that minimises any kinks that may be encountered when placing the rig into a solid bag. Creating weight close to the hookbait really enhances that bolt effect discussed earlier.

How To Tie A PVA Bag Rig

This specialist rig is easy to tie, and there are many configurations for you to choose from!

I’ve found a couple of PVA bag rig videos that showcase two methods to tying these efficiently.

PVA Bag Rig Videos

PVA Bag Setup

I’ve linked to some key PVA bag rig components below to help you tie your own at home.


8. Tiger Nut Rig

Tiger Nut Carp Rig Diagam
Tiger Nut Rig Diagram

Use: Deadly effective! If like me you love fishing with these juicy natural baits, this rig will help present tigers the best way possible. Drilling out a tiger nut and plugging with cork will help create a balanced buoyant hookbait. Performs better in Spring when carp move more into the margins.

Key Components: Supple braid, and if fishing close to the margins, a bigger hook will help get a better hook hold.

Additional Materials/Tips: If you prefer, you can use an imitation tiger nut instead of cork.

What Are Tiger Nuts?

Tiger nuts are a natural bait that carp absolutely love! With a rough texture and a sweet taste, they look  a bit like a marble with a stripe running down.

They also ooze a peanut type oil which generates a slick liquid which can really draw in the fish.

Unpeeled tigers will need to be soaked first. 

For an extra kick, soaking tiger nuts in a fish based oil can really yield some great results, even in Winter!

How To Tie A Tiger Nut Rig

You can make plenty of adjustments, especially the length of the hair. I would try to keep the tiger nut fairly close to the shank.

If you’re considering using a balanced tiger nut rig, make sure you test this in the margins first so you can see if it covers the whole of the hook.

Let’s take a look at two carp rigs featuring tigers…

Tiger Nut Rig Components

I’ve chosen a few key pieces of tackle/bait that may be useful if you decide to give a tiger nut rig a go!


9. Hinged Stiff Rig

Hinged Stiff Rig Diagram
Stiff Hinged Rig Diagram

Use: More commonly classed as a ‘big fish’ rig, as the name suggest – the stiffness of the hooklength is designed to raise your hookbait up off the lakebed. One of the best carp rigs around for presenting a pop up!
Key Components: Stiff rig material
Additional Materials: Best fished with a fairly large hook. Use extremely bouyant pop ups for maximum effect!

How do you make a stiff hinge rig?

Perhaps viewed as a ‘big fish rig’, the key feature is to use a stiff hook link (as the name suggests!)

This is because it can make life very difficult for carp, especially as they try to eject the hookbait.

Even if  a wiser fish does manage to eject it, the hinged stiff rig will always reset into position, whilst tangles are kept to a minimum.

The hook actually points down, which means it will nearly always hook in the centre of the fishes mouth.

If there is one tip we could offer for the hinged stiff rig, it would be to use it over a bed of boilies, rather than particles as thus rig does sit up off the lake bed and could be ignored.

Take a look at the video below to learn how to tie a hinged stiff rig, courtesy of Fox and Mark Pitchers.


10. DF Blowback Rig

DF Rig Diagram
DF Rig Diagram

Use: A highly successful blow back rig created by Danny Fairbrass, this can be used in a range of situations and with a range of baits.
Key Components: Wide gape hook,  rig ring, shrink tube kicker and coated braid.
Additional Materials:Breaking the coated braid gives you a great edge as the rig will ‘reset’ every time.

What Is A Blowback Rig?

A versatile ‘blowback’ carp rig that can be used in a variety of situations, and a range of baits, such as plastic corn, boilies or a critically balanced pop up.

Materials used to create this rig include a wide gape hook, rig ring, kicker (shrink tube) and coated braid. If you break the coated braid, this really gives you an edge because the hinge helps ‘reset’ the rig every time.

By using quality components, this rig will serve you well!

Tip: By using different length hair stops, the hair can easily be adjusted to suit your hookbait. This means there is no need to keep tying a rig just to swap baits!

How To Tie A DF Rig?

Like the rest of our carp rigs, we’ve handpicked two videos to help you create the versatile DF rig below.


11. Snowman Rig

Snowman Rig Diagram
Snowman Rig Diagram

Use: A classic rig, the snowman is a bottom bait rig that features a large and a small hookbait, usually a boilie, or the smaller bait a pop up to add balance.
Key Components: Two boilies, mounted onto a hair rig.
Additional Materials: You would definetly want to test the snowman rig in the margins to make sure it sits upright!

How To Tie A Snowman Rig

Make sure you pick out two boilies first. The larger boilie should be threaded onto your hair length first, followed by your chosen smaller boilie. Keep this double boilie set up close to the shank of your hook.

It takes a bit of practice to get this rig just right, so lets take a look at a couple of rig videos to help you perfect them!

Snowman Rig Videos

Which Boiles Should I Use?

We’ve selected a few quality boilies that you could use to form part of your snowman rig below.

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Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API