Top 5 Carp Rigs

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There is no doubt in my mind that on Cosgrove Park carp are the anglers favourite fish - they grow big and fight like crazy when hooked! There are loads of tactics, techniques and baits to use when targeting the park's carp but there are lots of anglers that really only want to catch the bigger carp that are over magical double figures and hopefully much bigger!

This month I will show you my 5 favourite rigs (in no particular order) and their application that I use to target 'proper carp'!

1 - Solid PVA Rigs

Solid PVA bag rigs are my 'go-to' rigs and presentation when I just want to catch a carp. I use them in conjunction with a 2 or 3oz inline lead, short 4" to 6" braided hooklink and usually with a high attract 'wafter' boilie hook bait that I trim to make it neutral buoyancy. I actually use this rig 12 months of the year and have caught thousands of carp from loads of different venues. You can virtually cast them anywhere without having to worry to much about whether you are fishing in weed or onto a silt or a 'choddy' bottom. You can use them very close in in the margins or cast out well over 100 yards.

I have described how to tie up a solid bag in many of my blogs before so I wont describe the process again here - check them out or on YouTube as there are loads of tutorials on there.

My solid bag rig - with a short 6" braid hooklink and inline lead

A solid PVA bag with the rig inside and filled with pellets - ready to cast


2 - 'The Ronnie Rig' (or as its also known the 360 or spinner rig)

The Ronnie Rig is a fairly new invention but has gained massive popularity for being a top big fish catcher! It is a low pop-up rig using a big hook and can be used on pretty much any lake bed. It seems to have an uncanny knack of picking up bigger carp. I usually like to use the rig with a No4 curve pattern hook in conjunction with a stiff hooklink for tangle free casting and the ability to reset itself when the rig gets moved around by not only carp but other species, having said that I have had some recent success using a 'Ronnie' with a short braided hooklink so I can tuck it into a solid PVA bag (as above).

A white pop-up on a Ronnie Rig


3 - 'The Chod Rig'

The chod rig or choddy as its also known was a rig designed to fish a pop-up 'helicopter style' on virtually any bottom. 'Chod' is Essex speak for bottom detritus/leaf litter/light weed/silt. It has fallen out of favour in recent years but is still the rig I use for catching big carp in swims where I am not sure of the bottom. Its a rig I use particularly in the weedy lakes such as Swan and Kingfisher Lakes! I've taken many 20's and a couple of 30's from the parks lakes on a choddy. One big advantage of the chod rig is the top stop can be moved up the leader allowing the hooklink to fly up the line on the cast before sliding back down coming to rest on top of any 'chod' giving - if not perfect presentation at least one that will still catch fish. My favourite is to use a very high attract hi-vis pop-up on a 3" stiff hooklink curved into a claw.

A Kingfisher Lake 'Chod Rig' on a leadcore leader - note I've encapsulated the pop-up in shrink wrap to try to put off the crayfish

A Teal Lake 31 (my Cosgrove Park PB) that I took in November 2015 on a Chod Rig 


4 - 'The Snowman Rig'

The snowman rig is basically a boilie bottom bait with a pop-up or buoyant topper on the same hair. There are lots of variations especially in the types of toppers from high attract pop-ups to plastic corn or new style hi-vis snowman tops. My favourite is a 'blow back' hair rig set up on a 8" coated hooklink with the end 2" stripped back fished on a standard lead clip and lead core leader. I like to use this rig on a clean bottom and also use a small PVA mesh bag threaded on the hooklink prior to casting out, this virtually eliminates tangles but also puts a small pile of very attractive bait right next to your hook bait.

A simple 'Snowman Rig'  with a pop-up and bottom bait combination on a soft braided hooklink


5 - 'The Zig Rig'

On Cosgrove Park the Zig Rig is completely under used. Not only is the Zig a rig to use in the summer when carp are cruising the warm upper layers but also I've taken loads of carp through the winter as they spend loads of time up off the bottom in cold water. It is basically a normal carp type ledger rig using a lead clip or inline lead but with a long nylon hooklink to present a buoyant pop-up or foam hook bait at whatever the depth level the carp are swimming at. At this time of the year the carp cruise the mid to upper layers of water so I tend to fish from half depth up. The most important aspect of Zig fishing is to know with accuracy the depth of your swim either by using a marker float set up or using a more hi-tech Deeper style echo sounder. For example if your swim is 7 feet deep I would fish a couple of rods, one set initially at 4 feet and the other set at 6 feet. The lower one I would play about with from 3 to 5 feet and the higher one in the upper 2 feet including on the surface if I see some surface activity. 

My favourite is a 2 or 3oz inline lead with a 10lb nylon hooklink with a Fox Zig Aligner and black foam. I have had success using yellow, white and red foam. I've also had carp using pop-up boilies on a zig but black foam is my first line bait. Don't think that zigs only catch small carp either as I've caught loads of good doubles and several 20's from the park, I've also caught carp to almost 40lb in France using 'Zigs'.

A yellow foam Zig on a long nylon hooklink

Here I've added a couple of red maggots to the hook to give a little movement to the yellow foam Zig

A stunning Willow View 'double' taken on a 6' Zig and black foam


This then is my top 5 'big carp' rigs that I use at this time of the year and to be quite honest at any time of the year. Each of these rigs will catch you carp if correctly tied using top notch hooks and components and are strong enough to land those 'proper lumps' if you cast them into the right spot - but that as they say is up to you!!!!! 


Tightlines - Gary S

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Venetian Marina Whilton Caravan Storage Whilton Marina
Cosgrove Park. Main Street, Cosgrove, Milton Keynes, MK19 7JP.
Phone: 01908 563360 Fax: 01908 263615