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Five carp rigs you must have in your tackle box

01 September, 2023

You’re chances of catching a carp, whether fishing a water in the UK or a carp lake in France, are massively increased if you use a rig that is able to effectively present a bait in the situation you are fishing.

We’ve put together 5 carp rigs that will cover the vast majority of fishing situations you will face and with these in your tackle box will help you to get more fish on the bank.

Ronnie Rig – ideal pop-up setup for a multitude of angling scenarios

Known as the Ronnie, the Spinner or the Rotator Rig, this presentation has blitzed the carp scene in recent years and is the ideal pop-up setup for a multitude of angling scenarios. Due to its versatility and amazing hooking properties, it is one of the carp rigs that you must have in your tackle box.

There are no traditional knotless knots here – instead, the hook is clipped into a quick-change ring swivel giving it the ability to rotate freely 360 degrees and catch hold in the carp’s mouth no matter where it has approached your bait from. The hook also sits at a claw-like angle just millimetres from the lakebed, making it very difficult for fish to deal with, even over clear spots or when fishing with a spread of boilies that might normally dictate the use of a bottom-bait or wafter rig.

best carp rigs - the ronnie rig

Designed to be fished with a stiff or semi-stiff boom section, these rigs are pretty much bombproof. They will reset themselves after being disturbed and will cast very well without fear of tangles. Like most carp rigs, the Ronnie can be customised to suit an individual angler’s tastes. You could use a slip-D section, or even a stiff D, for mounting the hookbait, and you could even fish the Ronnie without a boom section to create a super-low-lying chod-style arrangement. If you were looking for just one pop-up rig to use for the rest of your angling days it would probably be this one. 

carp rigs

The ronnie rig

Line-Aligner – the perfect presentation for a bottom bait

A bit like how an apprenticeship catching smaller fishing on the float will guide you in the principles of catching big carp later in your angling career, having a good line aligner at your disposal is an education in rig mechanics. Devised by Jim Gibbinson, this carp rig uses shrink tubing to enhance your hook’s ability to flip and catch hold in the fish’s mouth. This rig has in some ways been superseded by readymade kickers, but the thought process is roughly the same.

Line aligner - carp rigs

The line aligner rig

In Jim Gibbinson’s original, the line exits the kicker via a hole created with a needle just before the end of the shrink tubing to further enhance the flip-and-grip properties of the rig. It’s the perfect presentation for a bottom bait, particularly a large one on a long-ish hair, and is as good today as it was when it was developed in the 1980s.

PVA Bag Rig – can be used in all manner of situations

Perhaps more of a complete setup than just a rig, the ability to tie a good solid PVA bag should nevertheless be in every angler’s armory. A truly versatile presentation, there are many times when it is the only method that will get you bites – and it can be used in all manner of situations.

PVA bag rig

The PVA bag rig

These carp rigs are defined by short, supple hooklinks anchored by inline leads and can be fished over various lakebeds, including some weedy spots. The hooklink needs to be supple to sit in the compact parcel of bait without fighting against the contents of the bag, and to sit naturally among the feed once the bag has dissolved. Most anglers opt for an uncoated braid, of generally no more than about 4in in length, tied to a wide-gape hook with a simple knotless knot. Putty can be applied to the braid to keep it pinned down among the loose offerings but it’s not essential. The preferred choice of hookbait is a small bottom bait or wafter, but pop-ups can be used. The hookbait should be kept small to keep the bag compact and free from excess air. A truly solid solid bag will be much easier to cast.

Chod Rig – great for weedy situations

Every carp rig box needs a go-anywhere pop-up presentation – a 4×4 of a rig that can be deployed as an emergency if your time or information is limited. And the chod rig is just that.

In effect a super-short helicopter presentation, the Chod Rig can be cast over just about any lake-bed and present your buoyant bait clear of any obstacles. It’s great for weedy situations or for use when you just don’t know what y