11 Best Carp Fishing Rigs (The 2024 Ultimate Rig Guide)

Come and learn how to make the most popular carp rigs – from Ronnie rigs to chods, zig rigs and the multi-rig; our guide has them all!

Figuring out what the best carp rig depends on you!

For me, it’s matching up my rig with what’s in front of me, or more specifically, what I’m fishing on.

This ultimate guide talks you through everything you need to know about making rigs and the mechanics behind them.

Make Your Own Carp Rig

There are fishing rigs that can help you fish in weed and rigs designed for use 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.

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

Let’s jump in and start with a hair rig.

1. How To Tie A Hair Rig

For many years, I have been using a hair rig carp rig to catch plenty of fish. It’s as simple as it gets and just as effective.

Whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, this step-by-step guide will show you how to make your own hair rig the right way!

how to tie a hair rig

All you need is a size 4 wide gape carp hook and a 6-8” piece of 20lb braided hooklink.

With this in hand, tie the hooklink onto your hook with a knotless knot – leaving 1-1.5 inches of the hooklength from the eye.

This extra piece (with a small loop at the end) will be your hair!

threading bait onto a hair rig

Here are the steps in more detail to create your very own hair rig:

  1. Thread the short length of the hooklink through the eye of the hook.
  2. Tie a knotless knot on the longer length of hooklink material.
  3. Leave 1-1.5 inches hanging from the eye after tying off.
  4. Create a small loop at one end of this excess material.
  5. Insert your chosen bait onto the looped section to complete your hair rig!
  6. I recommend adding a bait stop to secure your hookbait.
  7. You are now ready to cast out into fishing heaven!

Here’s a great video that talks you through these steps if you prefer to watch a demonstration.

What Length Should The ‘Hair’ Be?

This depends on what size bait you are using. Here’s my guide:

  • 12mm boilie – about 1/2 inch
  • 15mm boilie – about 1 inch
  • 18mm boilie – about 1.5 inches

Snowman rigs are commonly attached using a hair rig. These use ‘double baits’, so to ensure your hair rig length is still effective, tie your hair between the lengths I’ve suggested above.

snowman rig
A snowman rig.

For example, for a double 15mm boilie (or 15mm topped with a 12mm), I would tie my hair around 1.25 inches.

I will always leave around 3-6mm between the bend of the hook and my bait. This gives it enough flexibility and movement and makes the rig really effective!

Carp hair rig 1

How Does A Hair Rig Work?

A hair rig is designed as a method to present bait without it sitting directly on your hook. Sounds simple, right?

Once the carp sucks in your bait (in our case, a tasty 15mm boilie), it should get caught inside the carp’s mouth (it will try to eject the bait once it feels the metal hook); your bite alarms should sound off, and away you go!

Next Level Hair Rigs

You could step it up a gear by critically balancing a hookbait onto your hair rig.

To do this, plug a boilie with a cork ball or use a popup that should already be buoyant.

critically balanced hair rig

Attach this to your hair rig as normal, and then test the rig in the shallow margins of the lake or place it into a water bucket.

You may not get this right at the first attempt, but theoretically, you are trying to get the hook to lay flat on the lakebed, with the cork-boilie or popup slightly balancing over the hook – thus hiding it from view.

You may have to whittle down your pop-up or add a small lead shot to your hooklength to achieve the ideal position.

trimming a pop up
Trimming down a pop-up.

Hair Rig Materials List

Here’s my list of rig materials used to make a simple hair rig:

  1. Size 4 Wide Gape Hook
  2. 6-8 inches of 20lb braided hooklength
  3. Bait needle
  4. Sharp rig scissors
  5. Boilie stops
  6. A Boilie or Pop Up

Here are some direct links if you want to buy these from Amazon.

Tying A Knotless Knot

2. Chod Rig

Chod rigs can be an incredibly effective approach if implemented correctly, capable of working on almost any lake.

This deadly carp rig enables anglers to target fish in numerous areas that are impossible to achieve with traditional bottom bait setups, such as a snowman or multi-rig.

chod rig diagram

By having the hookbait slightly raised off the bottom, it has improved success rates as larger fish will often seek these higher levels where they feel more comfortable and secure.

Chod rigs are also highly versatile due to their ability to present a hookbait over soft mud, in weed or amongst debris (coined ‘choddy’ – hence the rig name of chod!)

Tip: Don’t just cast a chod rig into weed and hope for the best! Use a pronged lead to fish out some weed to analyse the density and length.

fox grappling lead

That way, you can make an informed decision of not only where to cast your chod -but you’ll be able to set the perfect length.

Otherwise, your chod rig will sit there for hours if you haven’t taken the time to judge where it’s sitting!

So, how do you go ahead with constructing this rig? Let’s find out!

How To Make A Chod Rig

Chod rigs are made up of two parts – one is the hooklength section between your line and your lead, and the other is your chod ‘boom’, which sits between two beads on your hooklength.

how to make a chod rig

It’s worth noting that there are two key requirements when fishing a chod rig.

First, make sure you use a super buoyant popup, and secondly, balancing the rig so that after you’ve cast into the water – it will sink slowly.

Using a small piece of putty on your hook link swivel should achieve better balance!

  1. Cut off around 6 inches of chod filament.
  2. Then tie a simple knotless knot to your chod hook (these hooks have an out-turned eye to accommodate the stiff chod filament)
  3. Don’t trim off the tag end! ( which should be around 1/2 inch)
  4. Take a hook ring swivel, and slide it onto the tag end.
  5. The hook ring swivel should be coming off of the back of the hook.
  6. Place the tag end back through the hook eye, creating a ‘D’ featuring your hook link swivel.
  7. Carefully blob the tag end with a lighter.
  8. Next, decide how long you want your chod rig to be. Normally 2 to 3 inches is a good starting point.
  9. Working with the other tag end – the section that will sit between the two beads on your hooklength, tie this to a Size 11 ring swivel. A two-turn blood knot is perfect for this.
  10. Don’t forget to moisten the knot and blog with a lighter.
  11. You can now connect your chosen pop-up to the ring hook swivel using bait floss.
  12. The final step is to create a nice curve in the chod section you’ve just made. This is so it holds its shape better when you cast it out.
  13. You can now attach this to your helicopter rig setup!

Chod Rig Component List

Here’s what I used to create the chod section above:

Some of our readers prefer videos to follow along to, so we’ve chosen this Chod Rig video from Fox.

Chod Rig Curve – Getting It Just Right

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

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

Try both methods to see what works for you.

Chod Ready Rigs

We’ve handpicked a few ‘chod ready rigs’ if you prefer to use these instead.

Chod Rig Tips

If you’re struggling to get to grips with making chod rigs, are they just aren’t working effectively, here are some helpful tips:

  1. Use ready-tied rigs if you can’t master making them from scratch.
  2. Always use a super buoyant bait.
  3. Test the rig in the margins or place it inside a water bucket first.
  4. Set itone and a half times the length of the weed you’re fishing in.
  5. For very bad weed – try a naked chod rig. This is where a chod is tied directly onto your mainline.

3. Multi Rig

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!

Multi Rig Diagram
Multi Rig Diagram

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

Pre-tied Multi Rigs

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

Korda Carp Fishing NEW Multi Rig Size 4 Barbed - Pack of 5
  • Superbly versatile rig
  • Most often used as pop-up rigs
  • Constructed from Kamo coated braid
Buy on Amazon

4. Zig Rig

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!

Zig Rig Diagram
Zig Rig Diagram

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

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 Diagram
Ronnie Rig Diagram

Ronnie Rig Videos

Pre-tied Ronnie Rigs

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

6. D Rig

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 Diagram
D Rig Diagram

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

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 solid bag 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 Diagram
PVA Bag Rig Diagram

Tip: Use a bait boat or spod to create a tight carpet of bait, then drop your PVA bag over the top (or just off to the edge)

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

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.

Tiger Nut Carp Rig Diagam
Tiger Nut Rig Diagram

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

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.

Hinged Stiff Rig Diagram
Stiff Hinged Rig Diagram

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

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.

DF Rig Diagram
DF Rig Diagram

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

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.

Snowman Rig Diagram
Snowman Rig Diagram

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.

Essential Rig Tools

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

Essential Rig Tools

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 Basic Hair Needle
The bright yellow handle on this needle makes it easy to find in a cluttered box of tackle. A must-have for any fishing enthusiast!
Buy on Amazon
02/29/2024 06:25 am GMT

Bait Floss

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

Korda Bait Floss
£5.99 (£0.20 / meter)
A great addition to any tackle box. The need for piercing hard baits like boilies, pellets and pop-ups with needles can be eliminated by using this product; it also makes tying easier as well!
Buy on Amazon
02/27/2024 06:53 pm GMT

Rig Scissors

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

Gardner Tackle Rig Scissors
These blades are made of high-grade stainless steel, precision ground to produce a perfect cutting edge on both braided and monofilament fishing lines. They can cut through any coating including hooklink copolymer , Fluorocarbon or Dyneema braid with ease!
Buy on Amazon
02/27/2024 03:20 pm GMT

It is also worth investing in a quality rig box, because as you begin to make carp rigs, you will need somewhere to store them!


What rigs to use for carp?

There are many fishing rigs that you can use to catch carp, these include a simple hair rig, a chod rig which is a good to rig to use when fishing in weed, a multi rig which is very versatile, and a zig rig can be used for catching carp up to the surface.

What is the best hook size for carp?

Use bigger hooks for larger baits, designed to catch the bigger fish, however, using small hooks which a small bait makes concealment better and could improve your catch rate when fishing for shy carp.

How do you tie a carp rig?

The majority of materials needed to tie a carp rig include a hooklength, hook,  and a hookbait. Additional components used can include beads, special swivels and screw for attaching your bait.

What is the best rig?

There is no best rig – but you should choose a rig that has been adapted to the angling situation, such as a chod rig for fishing in weed or debris, or a bottom bait rig, such as the snowman rig, for fishing on a clean lakebed such as gravel.

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Last update on 2024-02-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API