So you’re looking to try some new rigs so that you can present a bait popped up off the bottom? Let’s take a a look at the best carp pop up rigs that you should have stored on your rig board.
It’s well known that bait presentation is one of the most important aspects of carp fishing.
Every now and then it pays to have a bait suspended off the bottom, out of the way of any weed or debris on the lakebed.
But more often than not, this requires a different approach to bottom bait fishing.
Specific pop up carp rigs are designed to counter-balance the pop up bait, improving hook holds and your catch rate in the process.
Let’s take a look at the pop up rigs that should be in your rig box this year.
Do you need a specific rig just for pop ups?
Whilst most carp rigs can be adapted to suit buoyant baits, it is advisable to use specifically designed pop up rigs for carp fishing.
The reason being that the mechanics of your rigs need to change to ensure that a pop up bait is presented properly.
For starters, it needs to be able to pin the bait a few inches off the lakebed.
But not only that, you’re going to want to think about the angle at which the hook sits. Carp approach pop ups in a completely different manner to bottom baits.
Rather than hoovering up everything, they tend to target them individually.
With that in mind, pop up rigs tend to be designed with more aggressive hooking angles. This is why the spinner rig and hinged stiff rig are considered two of the best pop up rigs you can use.
Spinner Rig for Pop Ups
The ronnie rig, also known as the spinner rig, is a very popular choice for pop up fishing.
This rig not only allows a pop-up bait to sit above the bottom, but also spin 360 degrees.
What this does is create an effective presentation with a super-aggressive hook angle, which is ideal for pop ups.
Not only that, but this is a rig which tends to reset itself very well. If there are nuisance crayfish or birdlife likely to pick up your bait, the spinner rig should be your go-to pop up rig.
Like most rigs though, there are times when it’s not best to use the ronnie rig. One of those situations is when fishing in and around dense weed.
In these cases, a stiff hinged rig or chod rig that stands higher off the lake bed may be a better option.
For most other fishing situations though, the ronnie/spinner rig is a great choice and for many anglers, the best pop up rig.
Stiff Hinged Rig
The stiff hinged rig, also known as ‘THE’ big carp rig, is one of the most successful pop-up carp rigs ever made.
It features a hinge created using a micro swivel, which makes it super hard for carp to eject. Just what you need when targeting old, wary, big carp.
Like the ronnie rig, the stiff hinged rig is also able to reset itself quite well too.
Materials used on this rig include a chod hook, micro swivel, and stiff bristle-filament hooklink material.
However, it’s the bristle-filament material that’s key to the rig’s mechanics. When shaped correctly, it creates a curve in the hooklink that ensures great hook holds.
Many top carp anglers, such as Terry Hearn and Scott Lloyd, prefer the hinged stiff rig.
Typically this rig can be used in any scenario where a pop-up presentation is required, including over gravel, silt, or weed. For many anglers, myself included, this is their go-to rig.
The chod rig is a unique pop up rig, developed by Frank Warwick and popularised by Terry Hearn.
It has unique mechanics that allow the hooklink to “fly” up the line and sit at a specific distance from the lead. This prevents heavy leads from burying the hooklink, which is common in inline lead set ups or lead clips.
The hook section “flies” when casting, sinking the lead into silt or weed while the pop up sits above it. The chod rig is specifically designed for fishing in areas with debris, leaf litter, or an unclear lake bed. This is why it made our list of the best winter carp rigs recently.
Made of stiff-bristle filament material, the chod section is usually bent to create an aggressive curve presentation that leads to excellent hook holds.
Personally, I like to use this rig when casting to parts of the lake that I haven’t fished before, like when I see a showing fish.
Many anglers keep the chod rig in their tackle boxes because it is well-presented when cast anywhere.
Naked Chod Rig
Like most carp rigs, the naked chod is an evolution from an existing rig. – The original chod rig in this case.
It’s a highly effective pop up rig, but it does have one big difference to the original chod. In this case, the chod section slides up and down directly on the mainline instead of a leadcore leader.
This makes for a more subtle chod setup, perfect for use in clear water or heavy weed beds. However, the naked chod still has the ability to be “cast anywhere” and is effective for fishing in deep silt, weed, or debris.
Personally, I prefer using the chod with leadcore because it pins everything to the lake bed. Using mainline straight through can sometimes lift the scales of carp during the fight too, which is a drawback of the naked chod. You might also find that’s it’s banned on some fisheries for this reason.
Withy Pool Rig
The Withy Pool rig was created by Steve Renyard in the 90s for catching the tricky carp of Withy Pool. It features a sweeping curve and is designed to hook elusive carp as they feed.
Much like the stiff hinge, the Withy Pool rig stands tall, ensuring that the hookpoint is always at an aggressive angle when used with a pop-up bait.
It has a curved section that leads to excellent hook holds and anti-eject properties when a carp picks up the bait. There have been some adaptations to this rig over the years, mainly involving shortening or tightening the curve of the shrink tube.
It’s a matter of personal preference how aggressive you want to make the curve, but the original rig has a rounded curve and a wide gape hook pattern.
The Withy Pool rig is an iconic rig that is still used by some old-school anglers. It’s a versatile pop-up rig that can be used in almost any fishing situation, but it was specifically designed for catching tricky carp that are skilled at picking up and ejecting other rig presentations. If you’re fishing in a water where you’ve experienced this, you may want to try the Withy.
Given the nature of the rig and how it stands up, it’s also ideal for use on silty lake beds. Paired with a buoyant pop-up, the rig stands tall above the silt/debris and gives you a good chance of hooking a carp if it takes the bait.
The multi rig is a relatively new and very versatile carp fishing rig.
Like the chod or stiff hinge, it offers excellent hook holds when fished with pop-up boilies. This is mainly due to the aggressive curve in the hooklink material.
But what really sets the multi rig apart is the way the hook is attached. Instead of being knotted directly on the hook, it is attached via a loop knot, similar to how the mainline is attached to a leader.
The result is a rig where the hook can be easily looped off without retying the whole rig. This is especially useful for anglers who sharpen their hooks or change them after every fish.
Another plus is that the multi rig also has relatively few components, so it remains well balanced. It’s a rig that can be used quite well with smaller pop up baits.
This is in stark contrast to the chod or stiff hinge rigs, which require very buoyant baits for a good rig presentation.
The main reason I would use it is if I was obsessive about hook sharpening, as I could quickly change the hook if it becomes dull. You could also argue that it’s better for the environment since you don’t need to tie up lots of new rigs.
Tips for presenting your pop up rig
Truth be told, it is easier to get a good presentation with pop up baits. When fishing on the right bottom, they land well the majority of the time. And you’ve got a much higher chance that it will be fishing in comparison to a bottom bait.
That being said, there are some things you can do to help your presentation even more:
Use PVA foam
To add even more buoyancy to your hookbait and keep it off the bottom, try using dissolving foam on the hook before casting. This will help the bait avoid weed or debris while it is suspended in the water.
When the foam dissolves after a few minutes, the your pop up rig will gently flutter down and rest on the lake bed. You can then use the foam as a marker for spombing or catapulting additional bait.
Test your pop ups in the edge
Always test your carp pop up rigs in the edge. Despite how you think something might look before casting out, it’s always worth double checking.
You may find some inconsistencies in your pop ups that alter the buoyancy and mechanics of the rig.
About the writer
I’m Rob, Carp Squad’s main contributor. I’ve been carp fishing on and off for 15 years, but the bug is well and truly back at the moment. Hopefully the articles I write on here help you put more carp on the bank.