Whilst carp location is the number one factor for any succesful angler, being able to present a bait on an effective rig is a very close second. Whether your fishing is on a club water in the UK targeting 30lbers, or you are setting off with the lads to an exclusive lake in France in search of a new PB, you will have a huge edge if you can tailor your rig choice to what you are fishing over.
You don’t need a huge inventory of rigs, 4 or 5 is plenty and will cover almost any fishing scenario. This article focuses on pop-ups but please also read other article on bottom bait rigs.
If I’m going to start using pop-ups do I need a specific rig?
Pop-ups are buoyant and their characteristics differ to those of bottom baits. Therefore, it is advisable to use a purpose designed pop-up rig as its mechanics will work in tandem with the buoyancy of the bait.
Do all pop-up rigs do the same thing?
Whilst they are all designed to present buoyant baits efficiently and to hook fish effectively, there are lots of differences. Some pop-up presentations are best used in specific circumstances whilst others cover a multitude of situations. There are rigs designed to offer a high, blatant pop-up and one or two that will present a more subtle offering close to the deck. With so many options and it’s easy to get confused so let’s look at a few of the most effective.
The Stiff Hinge Rig is well known isn’t it?
The hinged stiff rig is probably the most famous pop-up rig and not without reason. It is a hugely successful rig and a favourite of many big fish anglers. It isn’t subtle being one of those that presents the pop-up a couple of inches or more off the bottom. Consequently it seems most effective on venues containing big carp as it can be a bit cumbersome and obvious to smaller fish.
The rig consists of a stiff boom connected to a short, stiff hook section by a hinge, which offers movement. The stiff boom means that the rig is susceptible to presenting awkwardly should it land over debris on the lake bed so it is recommended to use it on clean ground be it gravel, clay, silt or sand. Using a helicopter set-up allows the top bead to be moved up a few inches helping to mitigate the effect of an awkward landing. In the same regard it will pay not to balance the rig so it sinks too slowly as this won’t encourage it to sit flush. Click here to learn how to tie the hinged stiff rig.
Does it work in weed?
Used as described, with the top bead slid up a few inches, it’s fine fishing in light weed but for anything more we’d recommend changing to a chod rig. Fished correctly this will present your pop-up perfectly on top of the weed. It’s an eye opener when you realise that carp are willing to feed at all levels throughout the weed, picking up baits and naturals.
Chod Rigs are essentially the last couple of inches of a Stiff Hinge Rig terminating in a small ring swivel, which runs along a leader, stopped by a bead at the top. This allows the lead to travel down into the weed whilst the rig and pop-up settle gently on top giving a presentation that no other rig can. Again, it is far from subtle but what it lacks in finesse it certainly makes up for in consistent presentation as, being tangle resistant, the rig will be presented almost every cast. It can be a little too obvious for certain situation such as clear gravel patches in the edge but it’ll see you proud when fishing over weed, silt or any area with leaves or other detritus on the lakebed.
What can I use that sits closer to the bottom?
This one is a relative newcomer to the rig scene but has been so popular and successful that it has to be included as one of the most effective presentations around. The Ronnie Rig or Spinner Rig gives a more subtle, low-lying presentation that is well suited to very clear spots or for using over tightly baited areas, where a high pop-up may be a little too obvious to trick a wary carp.
This one is extremely versatile as the boom material can be as stiff or as soft as you like and can be altered to suit the lake bed. It can be used with a lead clip or in light weed on a helicopter or rotary set-up.
The pop-up sits on a tiny swivel, threaded onto the shank and stopped opposite the barb with a hook bead. The hook is attached to the boom with a type of quick change swivel, which is covered by shrink tube or a specialist tungsten sleeve. Thanks to the swivel attachment the eye of the hook sits just above the lakebed and also enables the hook to be changed without having to tie up a new rig.
Being able to change the hook sounds like a bonus.
It’s not the only rig that has that benefit. The Multi Rig utilises an elongated Figure-Of-Eight loop in the boom to attach the hook. This is threaded through the eye, through a rig ring (with bait attached), down the hook shank and around the bend. This process can easily be reversed to put on a fresh hook.
Various coated braid materials can be used in the rig’s construction, although you’ll need to check that they don’t slip on the cast. Differences in diameters, rigidity, hook eye size and angles will all have an effect although this can be mitigated by adding a short length of silicone over the eye to keep everything in place. The size of the loop governs the height at which your multi rig sits allowing you some control. It is also one of the few that works very well as a bottom bait rig too.
What about something different?
All of the above are best suited to a 14mm pop-up or bigger. What’s missing from the list is something that you can use to present a tiny, chopped down pop-up, a couple of grains of imitation corn or a popped up tiger nut. You might need this for a little edge trap, over a bed of particles or possibly solid bag fishing. We’re going to go for a blast from the past in the form of the swimmer rig.
Tied with coated or uncoated braid it is, essentially, a knotless knot with the hair doubled over after a rig ring has been threaded on. It’s similar to a D rig, however, the soft “D” lies flat against the shank. The hook needs to be lightweight and the short shank of a size 8 wide gape type is perfect, especially with the addition of 10mm of shrink tube or an aligner to aid hooking. A tungsten sinker, just above the eye should be enough to balance it out for a slow sink but a little blob of putty or small split shot does the trick equally well.
That sounds like we’ll be well prepared now.
You certainly should be. That’s five of the very best pop-up rigs around that will see you through pretty much any situation you come across from single hook baits to wide spreads of boilie. From beds of particles and PVA bags through to holes in the weed baited tightly with boilie, you’ll have a pop-up rig for every situation.