There is a ton of information available to the new carper it can be overwhelming and almost off putting. While there are probably hundreds of rigs you will come across they almost all got their start from the basic hair rig and evolved over the years. We receive questions almost daily about what tackle is needed to start using a hair rig. The purpose of this article is to give a basic list of the items needed (at end of article) , a little advice, and setup of the bolt rig.
Let’s start with a photo of a basic hair rig which is tied with the “Knotless Knot”. This creates the Hair in which the bait is placed. There are thousands of “how to” videos on tying the hair rig such as this one from our fellow contributor Brian Wingard.
That is the basic hair rig and over time you will learn to adapt hair length, rig length, material, and the other factors that can make you more confident on using it.
Next we move onto the lead setup. The weight of the lead can be up to you based on how you like to fish as well as the distance you are casting. The basic setup can be achieved in two different styles. The first is called a running rig. This is the same as a Carolina rig that you would use for bass. Instead of the lure you would tie the hair rig onto the free end of the swivel and the inline lead would slide up and down your mainline.
The second setup is called a Bolt Rig. This is done the same way you do the running with with the only difference is the lead is semi fixed so the lead does not easily slide on the line. Using this method with a 2 ounce or heavier weight will accomplish setting the hook when the carp takes the bait resulting in very hard runs. This can be achieved by using leads that have a plastic or rubber insert through them that allows the swivel to be held inside the lead (by friction) until force is applied then the swivel will pop out of the lead.
There are a few other setups such as lead clips and helicopter setups which you can look into however the two methods shown are the basic setups. Make sure when using either rig that fish can take line from the drag of your reel. If the drag is to tight the fish will pull your rod into the water!
Now to put bait onto the hair rig. This is demonstrated in Brian’s video and I’ve added the following photo to reference. It’s true that you can use a straightened out hook as a baiting needle however a made for purpose baiting needle makes the process a little easier as the hook has a larger barb that can tear the bait apart when sliding against it.
The last item you need is a bait stop. This is placed at the loop in the hair and the bait it pushed against it to hold it onto the hair. This can be a piece of grass or heavy mono. The ones you can buy make it very convenient as you wont have to find something random to use.
Now that you have a understanding of the basic hair rig and its setup I’ve added links to where you can purchase these items. I’ve linked to pre-tied hair rigs as well. Buying a few different ones can help you get a grasp of how they work.