The world of carp rigs can be incredibly confusing for newcomers to our sport. But it doesn’t have to be. We’re here to show you 6 simple carp rigs that are easy to tie, and will have you catching carp without spending ages filling your rig board with complicated rigs!
I’m a big fan of simplicity when it comes to rigs.
I’ve seen first hand how complex carp rigs have become in the 15 years that I’ve been carp fishing. However, it wasn’t until returning to the sport after a lengthy 8 year break that I really noticed how far we’d progressed from the simple hair rig.
In the desire for rig perfection, it’s gone so far that it’s hard for carp fishing beginners to understand what rigs you should and shouldn’t use in certain scenarios. It’s a minefield to say the least!
But let’s get one thing straight; simple carp rigs will still catch carp.
And if you are new to the sport, I urge you to try the rigs listed below and focus more of your efforts on watercraft and finding where to put your rig in the first place. Legendary angler Ian Chillcott sums up rigs perfectly in this video:
So, what is considered a simple carp rig?
Upon writing this it did become clear to me that simple is subjective.
A rig that I claim to be easy to tie might be the complete opposite for other carp anglers.
Luckily, I do like to keep my carp rigs fairly limited. I have about three or four rigs that suit the majority of my angling situations.
For the sake of the rigs listed here, I have ensured that they have less than 4 components and take less than 5 minutes to tie. No fancy tools such as crimps or braid strippers are required either.
Let’s take a look at the rigs then:
5 Simple Carp Rigs You Can Try Today
Standard Hair Rig (The Easiest Carp Rig Of All)
The standard hair rig is without a doubt the simplest carp rig of all time.
It’s invention was one of the most pivotal moments in carp fishing history.
It revolutionised rigs by allowing the bait to sit apart from the hook rather than being directly hooked to it.
This made it possible for the hook to sit freely and catch hold in the carp’s mouth. Ultimately improving hook holds and chances of landing carp.
As far as it’s uses go, it’s ideal for almost all carp fishing situations, and can be used as a bottom bait rig or a pop up rig.
It takes about 3 minutes to tie and uses a grand total of two components in it’s simplest form.
If you’re just starting out, this is the rig you want to be using for the majority of your fishing.
How to tie a simple carp rig
Let’s take a look at how to tie a simple carp rig, courtesy of the guys at CC Moore.
Total Time Needed :
Required Tackle Items:
– Braided hooklink material
Steps to tie a simple carp rig
Take off 10-12 inches of your hooklink material from the spool and strip back 3 inches of the coating. (If you are using a coated braid that is).
Double over the stripped back part of the hooklink and form a small overhand loop. This will act as the loop for you to attach your bait using a baiting needle.
Take the tag of your hooklink and pass it through the back of the eye of the hook. Decide how long you want your hair based on the size of the bait that you will use.
Trap the hair against the shank of the hook and begin to whip the hook link back around the shank of the hook 8-10 times. Pass the tag end back through the eye of the hook.
The hook section of the hair rig is now complete. Now create a figure of eight loop knot at the end of your hooklink and determine how long you want your hooklink. Tighten everything down and you’re good to go!
The german rig is a great choice if you want a rig that can be tied very quickly and works with a variety of baits.
As the name suggests, this rig was invented by German carp anglers fishing on the continent. They wanted a rig where the bait size could be quickly adapted to suit their boilie fishing tactics.
It is built fairly similarly to the hair rig, with the key distinction being that a ring swivel, rather than a hair, is used to attach the bait on the shank.
As a result, this rig not only takes extremely little time to tie with just one knot, but it is also incredibly flexible in terms of bait selection.
You can avoid worrying about making various rigs with various hair lengths to accommodate the baits by mounting the bait using floss and a rig ring.
One rig can be used to mount a variety of hookbaits, such as bottom baits, wafters, and pop-ups.
When it comes to materials used, you can choose whichever hooks and hooklink materials that you like.
The blowback rig is an incredibly effective, basic carp rig. One that’s responsible for banking some of the UK’s largest carp.
In fact, it’s probably one of the most popular rigs in the UK for bottom bait or wafter fishing.
In terms of it’s construction, it’s not so dissimilar to the basic hair rig. The main difference is the inclusion of a rig ring on the shank of the hook.
What this does is give the bait a more natural movement when a carp tries to eject it. As a carp tries to eject the bait, the hook is left free and able to penetrate the carp’s lip. – At least that’s the idea!
Either way, it’s a really effective rig.
Truth be told, it is slightly more complicated than the hair rig. Tying the rig ring in the right place on the shank can be a pain. However, after a few times you’ll soon get the hang of it.
It’s rare these days that a carp rig becomes popular with only a few components.
The KD rig bucked this trend and was a rig heavily mentioned in the media around 10 years ago.
Interestingly though, it’s basically a slight adaptation of the simple hair rig.
The major difference with the KD rig is how the knotless knot is tied on the shank of the hook.
Instead of wrapping over the hair and shark, you wrap ahead of the hair four or five times. The result is a hook that sits at a really aggressive angle.
Run it across the palm of your hand and you’ll realise how quickly it turns and catches hold!
Carp have no chance when it comes to picking up this rig and it’s been accountable for some of the largest carp around.
The real beauty of it though? It’s extremely easy to tie and uses just two components; a hook and hooklink material.
If you’re looking to go back to basics with your carp fishing, freelining might be the best approach.
There’s just something great about catching a carp with nothing more than your carp line and a hook.
Obviously, there are only a few occasions where you can make this style of fishing a reality.
Typically, stalking in the edge or catching carp off the surface close are the most popular freelining methods.
Both of them require direct vision of the bait, which can make for exhilarating fishing.
There’s nothing better than watching a large carp pick up your hookbait in the edge.
If you do want to simplify your angling, I urge you to explore venues where you can make this style of fishing a reality.
The zig rig is another incredibly easy-to-tie rig, as well as a stand out in this list.
Unlike the other rigs listed, which are predominantly fished on the bottom, zigs allow you to fish for carp cruising in mid-water.
It’s an excellent all year round tactic, but works particularly well in the height of summer. It also made our recent list of the best winter rigs, being an affective tactics on warm winter days.
Whilst the actually mechanics fishing with zigs may be a little complex, tying the rig itself couldn’t be easier.
A classic zig rig is essentially an elongated hair rig. The hook section and knotless knot remains exactly the same. The only aspect of the rig that changes is the length of your hooklink material.
Simple adjust the length depending on how high you want you pop up bait suspended off your lead.
Why are carp rigs so complicated?
I think it’s important to understand the key drivers for carp rigs becoming more and more complex over time.
Just because they have become more complex, doesn’t mean you need to conform and keep adapting your approach. Here are a few reasons why carp rigs are not as simple as they were maybe 15-20 years ago:
- Tackle manufacturers needing to sell more products – We’ve seen the likes of Korda and Nash grow exponentially in recent years, launching product after product. The easiest way for them to sell more of a single item is for them to highlight it as part of a new wonder rig in the media. And it works!
- Anglers experimenting – Everyone likes tweaking their rigs every now and then but some anglers do it to claim the title of inventing a new rig. Some are actually worthwhile, whereas others just act to make already-existing rigs more complex.
The fundamentals of a simple carp rig
Having gone through the best simple carp rigs above, I think it’s a good idea to look at the fundamentals of a successful carp rig too. Despite how simple or complex your rig, what should you be looking to achieve with your rigs in order to put more carp on the bank?
Clean Bait Presentation
A carp rig’s ability to precisely present your bait over the lakebed you’re fishing on is its most crucial feature. For instance, if you are fishing over gravel, you can get away with using the standard hair rig presentation, coupled with a bottom bait.
If the lakebed is littered with leaves or silt, though, things become a little more difficult. In this scenario, you may want to use a simple pop up rig that is a few inches from the lakebed and clear of any debris.
It might sound simple, but having a shark hook on your rig can make all the difference. Sharp hooks will improve your bite to land ratio, and will result in more carp over the course of the season.
On the other hand, a blunt hook will reduce a rigs effectiveness.
With that in mind, it pays to keep checking the sharpness of your hook ahead of every cast and after every fish.
Top anglers who favour basic carp rigs
Whilst most anglers in the media spout the same advice about needing to use the latest wonder rig, there are a few that don’t. As you can imagine, it’s really refreshing to see top anglers dismiss the mainstream advise, sticking to simple effective carp rigs and catching big carp in the process.
Simon Crow on Carp Rigs
Well-known angler Simon Crow stands out to me when it comes to using basic carp rigs. Focussing much of his efforts on watercraft, Simon prefers basic braided hair rigs for the majority of his fishing.
Here he is showing the line aligner rig that catches the majority of his carp:
Ian Chillcott’s Simple Carp Rigs
Ian Chillcott is an old school angler that’s been around to see most advancements in rig mechanics. Funnily enough though, he steers clear of most of complicated rigs. Instead, he focusses his efforts on a couple of rigs, including his Hinged Stiff Rig which he shows in the video below:
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.