Probably the best advice I’ve ever seen when it comes to carp rigs is ‘kiss’, short for keep it simple stupid!. This has been my approach to carp rigs for well over a decade now, in fact I’m using the same rig now in 2007 that I settled on way back in 1995!. I do have the odd phase when I try something new, I’ve had a dabble with a couple of different versions of the stiff rig, I’ve tried the chod rig too but both of these rigs have come up short for me and I’ve always ended up back on my old favourites.
When it comes to hook length materials I’ve used and would recommend the following...
Kryston Snake Bite
Kryston Snake Skin
I've also used armaled kik-bak and this is worth a look too, it's described as a coated, fast sinking braid and I like the drab dark green colour it comes in. Kik-bak is a hook link material I've found particularly good for short rigs and it provided me with the answer to a problem of some rig shy carp on one of my local waters but I'll talk about that some other time.
Despite various experiments over the years, I always seem to end up back on a basic knotless knot setup tied with one of the materials above with 25lb kryston silkworm being my favourite. I’m not sure what it is about silkworm but it does seem to trick the carp and I have a lot of confidence in this particular hook length material, specially when it’s used as part of my favourite carp rig the knotless knot.
Probably the most important part of any carp rig is the hook and for me, the kamasan b175 trout hook is perfect, it has a long shank and a down turned eye and combined with a thicker braided hook link material like silkworm it makes a very effective setup. The kamasan b175 trout hooks are also cheap, I bought my last box from a trout fishing ebay shop and they cost me £7 delivered for a box of 100 hooks, very favourable compared to the fishing tackle shops who charge upwards of £3 per 10 hooks just because they are aimed at the carp market!.
Above is the basic carp rig I’m using at the moment. I usually use just a knotless knot for straight bottom bait presentations but the rig in the picture above has a rig ring that’s been incorporated into the hair. This is the one modification I’ve made to the basic knotless knot rig and it’s been done because I do the majority of my carp fishing with buoyant hook baits or pop ups. The basic knotless knot hooking arrangement is the same but my pop up hook bait is tied to the rig ring rather than the conventional way of putting a bait on the hair using a baiting / boilie needle. Set up this way I have more flexibility when it comes to presentation, I can mould my kryston heavy metal putty round my hook link and be fishing a popup or, if I want to fish a bottom bait, I can mould the putty round the rig ring to create a buoyant or balanced bottom bait without changing rigs. I find this useful especially as I’m mainly a short session carp angler who may need to chop and change to find the right presentation that works on the day.
For the record, the hook bait on this particular rig is a ccmoores odyssey xxx popup and its been tied to the rig ring using un-waxed dental floss, I cut a small groove around the popup with a knife, the dental floss sits in the groove so the hook bait won’t come off. This seems to have worked very well for me. The hook is my usual kamasan b175 in size 6, I’ve found a 6 to be just right for this particular hook pattern, the wire is too thin on a size 8 and whenever I’ve used an 8 I’ve had problems with them starting to open up. The size 6’s have been fine for all my open water fishing and I’ve banked so many carp on them that I have complete confidence in using them.
My rigs are generally 8-10 inches long, this seems to be about the optimum length for getting pickups and not loosing fish, a size 10 swivel completes my hook length and I’ll fish this rig on either a swivel lead and safety lead clip setup or an inline lead. Whichever lead setup I choose I always use rig tubing and not leadcore to finish my setup off. I see little advantage in using leadcore when rig tubing sinks anyway. I consider myself to be a reasonably experienced carp angler and despite me having been carp fishing for 18 years now, I’m honestly not sure I could tie a leadcore setup safely so I choose to avoid them and I’d recommend other carp anglers do the same.
Minus the heavy metal putty, the carp rig in the picture above is my complete setup ready to cast out. I sometimes make my own leads but since using the internet I've been able to source lead weights cheaply and the weight in this picture is a 2oz inline square pear lead from franks leads ebay shop.
You may notice that the hook length is not weighted in any way at all. Kryston make a couple of products called ‘drop em’ and ‘hawser’. These products are sold to carp anglers as must use products to keep your hook link pinned to the lake bed and in my early years of using this rig I religiously used them to keep my hook lengths pinned down. It was a chance session on Capesthorne Hall main lake that made me change my mind about drop em and hawser rig glue. I was using the D-rig at the time and I used to prepare hook lengths in advance so I’d always have a replacement on hand. I had a good day on Capes main lake one day and I run out of prepared rigs. I had no choice but to tie one up on the bank but getting the drop em onto the hook link and treating it with hawser wasn’t really an option on a short day session so I just tied the rig and cast it out. I’m sure you know what happened next! A run from a carp, followed a short time later by another!. Now Capesthorne is a tricky water, 6 fish a year if you’re lucky and I managed two carp in quick succession without having my hook link pinned down.
During the next week I was busy and didn’t have the chance to prepare any more rigs so the next weekend I cast out the same rig without the weighted hook length and I caught again, from that day I never put krystons drop em or hawser on any of my rigs again. I’ve had no problem picking up carp, my run rate on Capes main lake never suffered and considering how much pressure those carp see, in my eyes, it proved these products just weren’t needed.
I guess stiff rigs and chod rigs are all the rage these days but I’ve been around long enough to know what works for me, I land upwards of 95% of my runs on the rig above with very few hook pulls and that’s good enough for me. A carp rig that’s so efficient means I can forget about my hooking arrangement and concentrate on finding the carp which to me is a lot more important.
All the rig materials I use at the moment
Kryston Snake Bite
Kryston Snake Skin
Kamasan B175 Hooks
Safety Lead Clip
Carp Rig Rings
Carp Rig Tubing
Carp Rig Tail Rubbers
Carp Rig Swivels
Kryston Heavy Metal
Fox Anti Tangle Sleeves
Korda Extenda Stops
Franks Leads Ebay Shop
Next week I'll be starting my winter carp diary, catching north west carp in winter is no easy task but I usually manage a few fish throughout the colder months and through my winter carp diary I'll show you what I catch and how I go about my carp fishing at this time of year.