The Best Carp Rig Guide
Carp rigs really can be the difference between catching and blanking.
There are many methods to presenting your hook bait, either dead set on the lakebed, or at various levels throughout the water column.
In this section, you’ll find plenty of carp rigs that enable you to fish on allsorts of terrain such as silt, gravel and weed.
We’ve included a basic rig materials list, a handy hook guide – and videos of each rig that you can follow along to!
If you want to dive straight in, you can swipe left or right through each carp rig below….
If not, please read on and enjoy our carp rig guide!
Choose Your Terrain
Making Your Own Carp Rigs: Getting Started
We though it may be helpful, especially for new anglers, by putting together a small ‘rig list’ that includes some of the terminal tackle you may need to get you started.
Although not compulsory, these rig tools will help you with things like tightening knots, weighing down rig elements, such as your hooklink, and storing your homemade rigs to keep them straight or minimise damage.
There will be other bits and pieces you will need, but we will mention these in our rig making steps!
2. A Selection of Hooks
It pays to have a variety of hooks sizes and patterns (see our Hook Guide below).
Sizes 2, 4, 6 and maybe 8 are preferable for many situations.
Zig rigs require an even smaller hook – at around a size 10 or 12.
There are many hook patterns, which include Wide Gape, Curve Shank, Long Shank and Chod.
Again, there is a huge variety of hooklink material!
Coated and semi-stiff braids, fluorocarbon and monofilament are the most commonly used.
Carpology: A Complete Guide to Hooklinks is the place to go to brush up on these materials.
5. Swivels, Clips and Rings
All carp anglers should carry a healthy variety of swivels, clips and rig rings.
Commonly used are quick-change and micro swivels, special clips for maggots, PVA bags and helicopter setups.
6. Other Rig Making Accessories
It doesn’t stop there!
Bait stops are useful for keeping hookbaits in place.
The same for bait floss and bait screws.
Beads can also be helpful for keeping rig elements in place.
General Rules For Your Carp Rigs
To help you get the best out of making your own carp rigs, we’ve put together a small guide.
1. Try to present your rig the best way possible to achieve the maximum hookhold (the center of the mouth) all in a safe manner.
2. Minimise pickups. This is where the carp picks up your hookbait but either shakes the hook or spits it out. There are rigs to counteract this such as the blowback rig.
3. Match your hookbait to the rig. There are specialist, or slightly altered rigs, for say fishing with a PVA bag or fishing at other levels of the water column (Zig Rigs) The wrong hookbait can kill a rig or aid poor presentation.
4. Rig Materials. Hooklengths such as coated braid or fluorocarbon, hook size/pattern, putty and tubing all form the mechanics of rigs and how they work – learn how each plays a part and what it is achieving!
5. SAFETY. This is very important. Your rig should be safe at all times, for example, if you’re fishing amongst dense weed – make sure to drop the lead to land the carp safely and prevent it from dragging a lead around the lake.
1. Simple Carp Rig
The ‘hair’ allows your hookbait to move freely in any direction. It does not get more ‘simple’ than that!
How To Make A Simple Carp Rig
A simple supple hair allows natural movement of your single hookbait, as a snowman or double sweetcorn setup.
Extremely effective, carp anglers of any level will have no problem making or catching plenty of carp with this.
We’ve chosen to show you a video of how to make this incredibly simple carp rig, as opposed to a step-by-step guide.
Experiment with different hookbaits, combinations and shapes to make your rig blend into the lakebed surroundings as much as you can.
Simple Carp Rig Video
Carp Hook Guide
There are four main patterns of hook used in carp fishing.
These are Wide Gape, Curved Shank, Stiff Rigger and Long Shank.
This a classic hook pattern that suits pop up rigs really well due to their high strength to size ratio.
Other hooks tend to have a straight shank, whereas this pattern (you guessed it) is slightly curved.
This ‘curve’ can make it hard for carp to eject, and is widely used as part of a KD rig which relies on this mechanic.
Bottom baits are well suited to this design, especially tigers or corn.
Occasionally, the longer shank can push your bait out a little too much.
A small section of tubing to trap the hair can solve this issue.
What Other Type Of Hooks Are There?
There are also many styles of eye, hook point, gape and colour.
Out-turned eyes work great with mono and stiffer line.
In-turned eyes are traditionally best used with braided hairs.
Straight hook points are ideal for fishing in weed because they tend not to catch it too easily!
Beaked hook points are perfect for gravel bottoms as they won’t blunt too easily.
The finish of a hook can also be very helpful, whether thats silver or a low-glare finish that won’t spook carp.
2. Classic Pop Up Rig
This classic pop-up rig takes around 4 minutes to make, and can be a handy rig when there is a bit of debris on the lakebed and you need something stand up over it all!
The steps below are taken from Carpology Magazine, in association with Gardner.
Take a stripper tool to remove approximately 3 inches of coating (this allows for plenty of movement)
Now tie a small loop in the end of the stripped braid, then attach your 12mm pop-up.
Now secure the 12mm pop-up to a size 8 Covert Continental Mugga.
You can do this by using a knotless knot.
Make sure that the pop-up is positioned at the start of the bend.
Now slide a fairly long length of Covert Supa Shrink on to the rig, and position as shown, to trap the bait tight to the shank of the hook.
Tie a figure of eight loop knot in the end of the rig (as shown) to make it easy to attach to a swivel.
Now warm up some putty, then attach a blob to balance the pop-up (This is where you should practice at home to make sure the balance is right!)
The finished Rig!
There are many variations of a pop up rig, but we’ve kept this as easy and as simple to make as possible.
The key with most pop up rigs is to match the popup size to your hook size, otherwise, the presentation can really let you down, with carp becoming wary of it very quickly.
Keep practicing this popup rig, and experiment with different sizes and shapes. Perhpas try some dumbell hookers?
A good tip for rig making at home is to dip it your rig into a bucket of water (or abandoned fish tank like I do!)
This way, you’ll know EXACTLY how it sits and reacts when it settles onto the lake bed.
Learn more pop up carp rigs
3. The Multi Rig
A multi-purpose carp rig that can be used on most terrain, such as gravel, silt and weed.
A reliable classic, the ‘multi-rig’ is known for its versatility.
With the ability to quickly change either the hook, or hookbait, and the fact it’s very easy to tie, makes this rig a must in any carp anglers rig wallet.
Multi Rig – Materials List
How To Make The Multi Rig
If you get stuck with the steps below, there is a very helpfu video at the end.
Take around 12 inches of your chosen coated braid.
In one end, make a usual ‘figure of 8’ loop – moisten, and the tighten using a knot puller.
Repeat step 2 for the other end, only make this smaller!
Take the larger loop you’ve just created, and strip back around 3mm of the coated braid just above this loop.
Now take your hook (size 6 or 8) and slip a hook bead onto the shank (this will keep everything tidy once tied)
Thread the larger loop end through the eye of the hook ( a splicing needle will help with this)
Now also thread either a bait screw or micro swivel after the hook in step 6….
Now for the tricky part!
Because you’ve threaded the hook through the loop and the bait screw, or micro swivel, you should pull the loop over the hook end and pull down tight down to the hook bead.
Simply add you popup/chosen hookbait to the boilie screw or swivel.
Warm up, then add some putty to the top of the big loop knot you’ve just created.
You should take care here (remember to test out the balance at home) because you’ll want the pop up to stand nice and proud as shown below.
You can experiment with the weight of the hook, or amount of putty used, aganst various pop up combinations.
Some of the videos will really help you to digest what this rig is trying to achieve!
These are really effective carp rigs that can be used anywhere.
If you would like to mention any carp rigs that have produced for you – please do get in touch, or leave a comment at the bottom of this page.
4. The Chod Rig
You may or may not of heard the chod rig.
Either way, its of those fascinating carp rigs that should be part of your rig wallet.
The two main advantages are that the chod rig allows you to present a carp bait over a wide range of surfaces such as mud, weed and debris.
The other is the distinct mechanics, or shape, that allows you to attach your chosen hookbait.
Instead of a traditional carp rig,where you may attach a leader, hook length and then your hook (in that order), the chod rig actually sits between your lead and leader.
Using a very short, rigid hook length (about an inch or so), you place this between two beads like the image below, sliding into the position you require.
The angle at which this ‘stiff boom’ sits makes the chod rig really aggressive, whilst maintaining a 360 degree axis (sometimes known as a helicopter setup or rig) which minimises tangles!
Finally, we have a carp rig that delivers!
Gone are the problems of yesteryear that anglers like me and you faced (and shied away from) when attempting to fish between weed or debris laden areas.
If a chod rig is setup correctly (which may take some practice) these key features we’ve mentioned make it very difficult for carp to shake the hook free, with a hookhold that is strong and secure.
Could the chod rig be one of the ‘carp rigs of the century’?
Following along to a video on how to make your own chod rig at home is far easier than a step-by-basis due to the trickiness in the creation!
You can find these chod rig videos below.
Chod Fishing Tips
5. Hinged Stiff Rig
The hinged stiff rig is great at presenting pop-up rigs just off the bottom!
The hook sits an aggressive angle primed for striking straight into the centre lip of the carp, making the rig hard for carp to eject.
If, on the unfortunate occasion the carp does shake the hook, the rig ‘resets’ itself , so you can be sure it still presents a good opportunity for a follow-up take!
Additionally, the stiff hinge rig can be presented on a whole host of lake beds – including light weed or choddy areas.
All these features make the hinge stiff rig a ‘go-to’ rig for many of the top anglers, including Mark Pitchers.
As with all your rigs, make sure your hook is as sharp as can be using the nail test, and flick in into the margin so you can see how it presents itself close up….
Take around 8 inches of your extra stiff hooklink material.
Double this up by folding it in half – and then thread the close end through the eye of your hook (backend, towards the point)
Leave a small loop and thread on a micro swivel or mini hook link swivel
Now once you’ve slipped on the micro swivel as in the previous step, take the loop and pass it over the hook point as shown above.
Now you can lock in this swivel by closing up the loop. To do this, simply pull the other end of your hooklink.
Now take your Size 11 Flexi Ring Swivel and pass this down the doubled up loose end of your hooklink to approximately 1 inch away from the hook eye.
At this point, you need to ‘twist’ your hooklink around itself twice, with the intention of creating a blood knot…..
Now pass the tag end through the loop creating (closest to the flexi ring swivel)
Take a multi-tool or hook puller to tighten up this knot – locking the flexi ring swivel in place….
Now trim off the remaining tag end (and blob down with a lighter) leaving a nice neat stiff hinge element!
Now go back to the hook end where you slipped on the micro swivel and open this up slightly to create a ‘D’.
For the boom section, take the coated braid and loop each end (one small for the stiff hinge – make sure you put this on first!) with the other loop for connecting to your lead arrangement.
Finally – attach your hook bait of choice onto the micro swivel, then add some putty to counter-balance your rig (test this in water) – and you’ve created your first stiff hinge rig!
Learn More 'Hinged Stiff' Rigs
It’s important to return a fish to the water in a good condition.
Take the time to check for any physical damage, or noticeable diseases.
There not very expensive, and it takes a few seconds to apply.
6. Carp Rigs for Corn
Carp anglers have been using sweetcorn since the dawn of time.
Because it’s so effective due to the colour, shape and taste that carp find it irresistible.
This would not be a carp rig guide without mentioning sweetcorn, or pop up corn.
A carp rig ‘tipped with corn’ can be the difference between a blank and a life changing session.
You should always put 100% into getting rig presentation just right, whether you use boilies, pop ups, corn or tiger nuts.
What Type of Corn Should I Use?
Actually, this is a decent question!
These days, you can buy tinned supermarket corn, frozen corn and even tackle shop corn that may include an additional flavour or sweetener.
These golden grains can also be purchased in various sizes so you can create the perfect presentation.
Below is a devastating carp rig for corn.
Simple Double Pop Up Corn Rig
This corn rig is rather simple – but highly effective!
Basically, this uses two grains of popup corn, fished on a hair.
Best used with a size 8 or 10 wide gape hook, the hair needs to be really supple.
You can do this by using coated braid and ‘stripping back’ a couple of centimetres.
This is then tied to your chosen hook using a knotless knot and then mounted blowback style on a small rig ring.
This will help the double corn sit-up prone like a claw.
Additionally, a small section of silicone tubing can be used over the eye which helps to flip out the bait and catch a good hold in the mouth of the carp.
To complete the rig, squeeze a small shot onto the supple hair (about 1 cm above the silicone tubing on the eye) which will help the rig sink.
You may need to add a small amount of rig putty to achieve the perfect balance!
As always, test the rig out at home or in the margins before casting in.
Alternative Corn Rigs
7. Naked Chod Rig
Designed to be fished using an ultra-buoyant hookbait, its perfect for fishing over weed or soft silt.
The ‘naked chod’ is based on a helicopter rig, where the chod section is connected directly onto your mainline.
Naturally, your lead will strike the lakebed first, with your hooklink trailing behind….
Due to the high bouyancy of your hookbait, this will float down slowly, resting nicely onto weed or debris as intended.
The beauitiful thing about the naked chod is that you can adjust the beads either side to set the length accordingly.
How To Make The Naked Chod Rig
Take some Fox Rigidity, and cut around 4 inches.
Using a knotless knot, attach your hook, but leave a short hair(around 4cm).
Get the hair end, and slide on a mini hook swivel.
Now place this back through the hook eye to create a ‘D’.
Now carefully blob the tag end which will stop it passing back through the hook eye.
How to the other end of the Rigidity.
You’ll want a Size 111 Flexi Ring Swivel which you’ll be tying using a 2-turn blood knot.
To counter-balance the hookbait, mould some putty over the eye of the swivel section of the Flexi Ring.
All thats left is to steam a prominent curve like the picture above!
Carp Rig Diagrams
Some of you may prefer following a carp rig diagram.
This section will show you various diagrams that could help you buold your own carp rigs, rather than following along with a video, or a step-by-step basis.
A great diagram below showing you the various carp rigs.
This will give you an indication to what your rigs should look like!
The Albright Knot is ideal when tying a shockleader to your mainline.
It passes through the rod eyes very easily, and is incredibly strong!
Carp Rigs For Weed
Probably the trickiest to fish in, weed can often yield the best results.
This is because many anglers neglect these vital areas of the lake.
It is also an area that many carp feel very safe in, and feed from, because of the natural food weed produces.
Lets discuss some methods and tactics for fishing in weed, including rig selection and bait choice.
Types of Weed
There is good weed, and bad weed.
Good weed looks fresh, and is at its fully blown best in Spring when it has grown.
Bad weed, however, should be avoided. This is weed that looks decayed, or dead.
It is also incredibly difficult to cast a rig into because nine times out of ten, it will just clog up around your lead and hookbait.
Tactics For Fishing In Weed
When approaching a weedy lake, or an area that contains weed, you should first observe everything.
Is it good weed?
Can you see any clear spots, or channels?
What type of weed, and how long or thick is it?
Can you see any activity?
You could climb a tree which can give you a great view of weedy areas, especially good for spotting channels or clear spots.
If allowed, it can pay to rake out your own channel!
Here are some useful tips to fishing effectiely in weed.
✅ PVA Bags are excellent for fishing over weed as the bait breaks down amongst it and you know your rig will sit just right.
✅Use a short hooklink with a PVA bag setup.
✅ Particle is a great bait to use in weed. Carp love to grub around and it is a good tactic to keep them coming back!
✅Crushed boile and pellet can be just as devastating.
✅For thick weed, a critally balanced bait the will sink slowly can make a huge difference. This will sit on top of the weed if set up correctly.
✅If you have to, you could try a float if you line is having prolems sinking properly.
Recommended Rig For Weed
There are a few carp rigs for weed that would work.
It does depend on the thickness and length of weed, but a naked chod rig would a good place to start.
Choose your carp rig for weed below to see how to make it!
Carp Rigs for Silt
When choosing a rig to fish over silt, there are a few observations to make first.
The type of silt – glassy looking is good, whilst sticky silt is bad.
Leads can often become buried (in thick silt), so stick with a lighter setup if you can.
We will break down some tips and tactics to help you gain an advantage!
❌ If the silt is sticky – this is a big no no. This means it is full of ‘dead matter’ and debris, and carp are highly unlikely to want to feed in these areas.
❌ Live Maggots. Stick your maggots in the freezer to kill them off because live maggots can quickly disperse off your chosen spot!
❌ Heavy leads can really bury themsleves into silt, perhaps burying your rig hookbait along with it.
❌ Stiff mono line can stick out like a sore thumb, especially if its not straight.
❌ Inline Leads. These can end up been buried too, and bite indication could suffer.
If the silt is ‘glassy’ this is the better stuff!
Silt can produce a lot of natural foods -such as bloodworm that carp will certainly feed off.
Your hook presentation does need to be perfect, it it’s not sitting right, or you’re not hiding your hook, these things can spook carp from your target area.
Squashed boilies can really give you an edge as this hookbait can act naturally as if its been there for a while!
Try and scatter a few pellets in the area, and observe. You may not have to wait to long until you see a milkshake forming in front of you (especially in the margins)
Pop Ups and Bottom Baits, especially slows sinkiers will sit nicely over silt.
Light Leads – these won’t bury into the silt, especially if it’s quite thick down there.
Helicopter setup. Again, this is a good tangle free rig and as the lead will hit the bottom first, the heli section will follow and sit over on top of silt.
Carp Rigs for Gravel
Well fellow anglers, there you have an extensive list of carp rigs that you can make at home!
We hope you enjoyed the variety of rigs on offer, mixed in with some valuable tips & tricks to make your fishing better.
These rigs can be adapted to how you like, such as varying the hooklength or changing the hook size – these subtle changes can and do make the difference on the bank.
If nothing is working, stay positive and think about why that may be.
The fish might of moved away from the area, or just aren’t feeding because of the time of day.
When you do catch on a homemade carp rig, it really is a great sense of achievement. Especially if you’ve put a lot of time and effort (and money) into making sure you’re well prepared on your fishing trip!
Until next time – be lucky!