Five carp rigs you must have in your tackle box

30 April, 2020

Ronnie Rig

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.

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.

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 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. 


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 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 This rig has in some ways been superseded by readymade kickers, but the thought process is roughly the same.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 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

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 armoury. 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

These 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

Every 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 lakebed 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 you are fishing over. If kept separated from the lead, the short hooklink and a well-balanced pop-up can flutter down over nearly anything.

the chod rig

It’s a rig with a slightly below-par hooked-to-landed ratio, but dropping the lead (either by way of a rotten bottom, C clip or Heli-Safe device) helps enormously in this regard.

The other big benefit of the chod rig is how it casts. With such a short hooklink there is less drag to impede your presentation’s airborne progress, so if you need to reach extreme distances this is the rig to use.

In addition, the curved chod section is the basis for the hinged stiff rig, which hasn’t quite made the cut in this top five but is definitely a pop-up rig worth mastering.


A stiff rig designed for use with wafters or bottom baits can come in very handy if you find yourself fishing over firm areas like compacted silt or gravel, and a D rig tied with fluorocarbon is the natural choice.

Using a stiff material causes the fish some difficulty when it comes to trying to eject your rig, and the wiry nature of fluorocarbon (or a similar boom material) allows the rigs to reset themselves every time if disturbed by smaller species, crayfish or an aborted take.

the D-rig

Fluorocarbon is also hard to see underwater, so these rigs are a great option when fishing in clear venues or in shallow margins where the fish might be ultra spooky. The mounting of the hookbait on a D-shaped loop also adds to the anti-eject properties of these presentations. If the fish tries to blow out the bait, it can slide long the length of the D without taking the hook with it.  Furthermore, such rigs are virtually tangle proof whether used on a helicopter or lead-clip setup, so you can rest assured that you are actively fishing after almost every cast.

Five carp rigs you must have in your tackle box