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Author Topic: A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig  (Read 16566 times)

EAD

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A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig
« on: Sep 05, 2009, 08:05 PM »
Hello everyone,

I have been fishing for Carp a lot lately and I figured I'd make a how-to post of the basic European method. I don't see anything in the first 20 or so posts with a detailed explaination on how to Carp fish, but I do seen a lot of questions and only a few people with answers. You think there would be a sticky thread and an instructional in the forum! Carp fishing (done the right way) is a rather unconventional method of fishing and it takes a bit of adjusting to get the hang of but can be very rewarding.  The "right way" I refer to is using the hair rig, a rig which is highly used throughout Europe and the rest of the world for that matter.  Why is it the right way? Well first off, aside of the USA, Carp are one of the worlds most popular freshwater game fish and the hair rig is outright the cats pajamas of rig outfits.  Obviously a hook and some corn (or a crawler) will do, but if your serious about Carp (or just want to target them specifically), you belong with a hair rig.

With all that junk out of the way... lets get to the good stuff.  I know theres only about 10 people who are going to be interested in this because frankly theres very few people in the US interested in Carp.  About 90% of those who do fish for Carp already know how and won't need this post, but if I can inspire and teach 10 people and they feel the thrill of even an 8 pounder on their line, well then I did a good deed.

Rod Safety

Real quick. Most people venture into new types of fishing with the "wing it" approach. I did myself. But I stress with the utmost importance... when Carp fishing SECURE YOUR ROD. If you've never caught a Carp, they go on amazing inital runs and regardless of how loose your drag is, if your rod is not secure it will be in the water. Even if it's on a "Y" stick your asking for trouble.  The first time I ever fished for Carp I had my reel loose as could be, practically birds nesting at my checking pull. I had it on a Y sticking and thankfully I got skunked that night. The next morning I had my pole shoved into the bolt hole of a steel beam on a bridge and my first fish doubled my rod even though my drag was at  the same setting as the previous day.  Point of the story... at the very least go out and buy a a piece of PVC and hack saw an angle into it and shove it into the ground. I got a call from my buddy the other day who thought he was slick and had his baitcaster on a Y stick with his back pack on the butt of it.  He told me he caught the pole right as it was going in. (And he was sitting with the pole right between his legs.)  Go buy a piece of PVC or if you decide you like Carp fishing, spend 30 bucks and make a laydown type holder. There are tons of instructions and commercial units to duplicate online

Hair Rigs

First off, here are two different kinds of hair rigs, essentially they are the same hook and hair itself - the difference is in the leader setup.  The one on top is tied with the intention of using a mono leader, this is the harder of the two rigs to tie yourself if you don't plan on ordering them online.  The bottom is what is called a "knotless knot". You may have seen this before with salt water steel leaders where there is a loop at the end and you pass the leader through the hook eye and then through the loop on the end of the leader and pull it tight, thus, theres no knot.  This is the easier of the two to tie. FYI, I use #6 Eagle Claw Baitholder hooks. From what I know nearly everyone uses #6 hooks for Carp of all size, but, of those who don't 50% use #4 and the other 50% use #8, so choose what you want. I guess if you want to practice and can't seem to do it with a 6, buy a small pack of #4's.

The reason I don't use the knotless knot is that occassionally when you cast those rigs, the leader tangles with the main line because of the sinker. Not all the time, probaly only 1-2 out of 8-10 times, but still, it makes a guy a little mad ya know. The mono is more stiff, so I've never once seen it, but I'm sure it could still happen. Anyways, I'm not the only person I've heard that from, so I use the top one.  But, as a positive, you are only casting once every 20+ minutes or longer, so it's not like this is an over and over thing.

I want to give you a small secret of hair rigs. I've seen a lot of videos of people tying hair rigs and pictures too, a few on this forum even where the hair is like 4 inches long.  If you tie your own or buy any online... you NEED to make sure the hair is short enough so your bait is 1/8" from the hook shank. (If you buy some online request this.) This is super important. If your fishing corn, which 2-3 pieces should be max, then your rig shouldn't be that long.  If your fishing a bread ball then obviously you need a bigger hair.  Overseas they fish for BIG (I mean BIG) fish, with realitivly big dough based bait. Some of their hair rigs are way to long to use for the every day guy here. I know I saw one rig posted here on this forum that I think I could fit 6 pieces of corn on and maybe 3 dough balls.  Fine if your fishing a 3.5 inch doughball for a 45 lber overseas... not fine if your going for a 20lber here.



Tying Your Own

There are tons of resources online for tying your own rigs. I learned from a friend who is a semi-pro angler and I also read a few hours worth of instructions to learn different peoples individual techniques. If you want to try, I'd suggest the knotless knots.  If not, you can buy them from the internet... a ton of online sellers have them, problem is most are from the UK so the cost and shipping is pricey. If you have a problem getting them for a reasonable cost contact me and I'll help you out.

The Bolt Rig

The bolt rig goes hand in hand with the hair rig. Before I met the guy who taught me what I know, I would say "what the heck, the hair rig... the bolt rig?". I didn't know if I needed both, one or the other - if I needed to goto the hardware store, I didn't understand any of it.  Once I had it all in front of me it was pretty easy though.  The bolt rig is more of a nick name than an unconventional rig like the hair is.  All the bolt rig consists of is a sliding sinker (or "lead" if you get interested in this stuff and start checking out Euro websites). I buy 1 ounce egg sinkers for pond/slow water and for faster waters you need 2-3 ounces weights. They can be egg sinkers if you want or other types of sliding sinker, just be on the lookout for line chafing and if it occurs junk those sinkers.

Anyways, the purpose of the bolt rig is to hook the fish when it takes the bait. No, it's not a cheap way of fishing, it's the nature of the beast with Carp. They are very sensitive and smart fish, which is why you get very few incidental hook ups when you are not using the hair rig.  The hair rig was orignally invented to disassociate the bait the the hook, but I feel the a good part of the reason why the hair rig works over traditional setups is because the fish can feel the hook on a traditional setup before you have time to react (usually) and if you have a sinker, even before that can hook him. If you have seen carp feed in the wild or have seen videos (search "Carp Feeding Underwater" on youtube) you can see that they suck in and spit out food over and over and over... even food without a hook in it. It's just what they do. Now put a hook in a piece of food and add in that Carp have super soft, flesh like mouths, you can only imagine how fast they spit that bait out. With the hair rig, they suck in the bait and turn to find more before they get a chance to feel the hook (even if it's just .0001 of a second) and the sinker snags and they are hooked. Whats even neater about the hair rig, never, ever, ever have I heard of a Carp gut hooked with a hair/bolt rig, it's always right in the lip. Now I guess maybe.. maybe it could happen and I've seen it once with a 4 inch cat fish, but never with a Carp of any size.

(I use a 20lb mono leader line (that red line) and usually a 12-16 big game terminal line. (I used the same red line for ease of sight in photo.) Most serious Carp fisherman would frown upon the small test choice. Most pond fisherman perfern 15-20 and river men perfer 20+.)



How to Bait Your Hair Rig

If you've never seen or heard of a hair rig then by now you've had to have either scrolled down or wondered "Okay, how the hell do you get the bait on there?". The solution is actually rather simple and convienently enough can be homemade. What you need is whats called a baiting needle. The purpose of it is of course to thread your bait on to the hair.  I personally just bought a bunch of Chenille needles size 16 I think and a pack of small corks and clipped one side of the needle loop off. The purpose you are trying to accomplish is to make a little hook at the end to grab the hair loop with and push the corn or bread from the needle to the rig.  The sharp point of the needle is shoved into the cork so you don't poke yourself and it makes a tiny little handle for you. If the homemade one doesn't cut it for you then you can always order one online.



After you've put your corn or bread on your rig then you need to secure it or it will either get sucked off by the blowing action of the fish, or it will get pulled off when you reel in. In the world of Carp fishing, this is called a "stopper". This can be anything at all. The person who taught me Carp fishing used plastic pieces he got from the hobby store and clipped apart. I use 20lb mono clippings and another guy I know uses pieces of small sticks off  the ground. Anything that will fit in the small space you have will do. When you put the stopper in, make sure you pull you bait "tight" to the stopper so it doesn't fall out on you. This is where you will see the 1/8" in I mentioned above. Now your not a failure if it's not 1/8". If it's 1/4, don't sweat it, even bigger, don't worry. If it's too big put a 3rd piece of corn... if your using store bought put another piece, or better yet, take one off and put it on the long ways. Your shooting for 1/8" but it doesn't have to be perfect, you just don't want say 1/2" or more.





Well that is it for now.  I guess with all this info I basically have to write a follow up about what to use for bait, and baiting your spot.  I would hate for you guys to invest time, money and effort and then get skunked and hate me and Carp fishing. Look for a follow up.

Good luck,

Ed

Spitfire

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Re: A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig
« Reply #1 on: Sep 05, 2009, 08:48 PM »
Ed, thanks for the post.....Well done; Looking forward to follow-up post.....This is not something I have ever fished with. "INTERESTING" VERY INTERESTING!      ::).....Lou
CATCH & RELEASE  "For Another Day"

EAD

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Re: A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig
« Reply #2 on: Sep 05, 2009, 09:31 PM »
Ed, thanks for the post.....Well done; Looking forward to follow-up post.....This is not something I have ever fished with. "INTERESTING" VERY INTERESTING!      ::).....Lou

Thanks Spit. Hopefully it will get some guys looking for them. Heck, theres plenty to go around since theres little pressure on them like Bass and panfish. I made a post in the MA forum of some of my latest catches, those are small ones as far as Carp go but I still have not ventured into river fishing as I still feel I am a novice and I like the quick bite.  If you check out this guy Daves website, he fishes all around New Engalnd and catches some whoppers. Granted he's an extremely knowledgeable and experienced guy and  he puts in a TON of time.

His website is www.RICarpFishing.BlogSpot.com

Stuck-on-Seven

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Re: A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig
« Reply #3 on: Sep 06, 2009, 11:12 PM »
Wow you sure have a lot of info on this stuff.....I have never caught a carp before but i do love bowfishing for them.....i have to ask how come this hair rig is so much better than just balling up some dough or a few pieces of corn on a regular hook?

beeverfishing

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Re: A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig
« Reply #4 on: Sep 07, 2009, 06:07 AM »
Carp are a blast to catch on light line (6 to 8 lb.) But think it would take a lot of the fun out of it using 20-30 lb test.  JMO...

EAD

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Re: A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig
« Reply #5 on: Sep 07, 2009, 11:47 AM »
Wow you sure have a lot of info on this stuff.....I have never caught a carp before but i do love bowfishing for them.....i have to ask how come this hair rig is so much better than just balling up some dough or a few pieces of corn on a regular hook?

Hey Stuck, thanks for the good word my friend! Bowfishing seems pretty fun, seen it on TV but never seen it live in person.

Like I said in the article, putting dough or corn on a hook is okay and you'll definently get some fish that way, but if you want to be serious about it, then the hair rig is the way to go.  As a schoolyard explaination, think of it like this. In Europe (where these rigs were invented and are used), Carp is the #1 game fish just like Bass is to us.  Not fishing for Carp with a hair rig would be like us challenging a Bass Pro on HIS home lake and using the exact opposite lure he uses. It just wouldn't make any sense.

For a better explaination, look in the article about how I explain how carp feed and why they can't feel the hook for that tiny bit of a second with the hair rig.  I actually need to add a disclaimer in there because thats why I personally feel the rig works, I actually don't know 100%. But my thought process comes from watching the fish in the wild feeding in shallow water and also watching tons of videos of them feeding.

When you bowfish then I don't know if you bait to get them in a spot but if you do hang out and don't shoot for a while and watch how they behave when they behave, it's really something else when you compare it to other fish.

As I said too, theres even wackier methods for fishing for them.  The guy who taught me utilizes those methods in the dog days of summer when the fish are super sluggish. He was reporting standing elbow to elbow with people and using the same bait, but employing other methods (ie. feeding rig's) and catching 4-5 per day, everyday, while by-standers were getting skunked. It's honestly that marginal of a fish sometimes. But it depends where you are and what species of Carp it is.
Carp are a blast to catch on light line (6 to 8 lb.) But think it would take a lot of the fun out of it using 20-30 lb test.  JMO...

I agree. To be honest, I don't practice what I preach as far as when I instruct using 12-15lb line in the above article. (One of my poles does have 20 on it though, but thats just because it's my Striper pole.) I will take a picture of my gear later on but basically the guy who taught me how to fish yells at me everytime I speak with him due to my choice of SUPER light gear as you suggest. He even wrote an article on his blog about how you can definently get away with light gear, but you will eventually pay for it, especially if your fishing for hogs in very fast current. (I assume the article was partly inspired by me.)

The one thing that does suck about Carp and light line though is the inital run they make once they are hooked. No matter how loose your drag is they still put so much pressure on your gear that when you use anything under #10 line then after a few fish your line is total crap. What happens is 1, the friction frays the line, and 2, for some reason line being forcefully peeled from the drag tends to want to tangle as opposed to line that has never been peeled off. Maybe it's cause I don't have expensive

Madpuppy

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Re: A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig
« Reply #6 on: Sep 07, 2009, 12:03 PM »
Well Ed, I have fished for Carp for some 40 years and have never used this method so I must be in the
10%er's ;D I am going to give this a try, it looks as though it will be the ticket!
Thanks for posting Ed, very informative. I mainly Bowfish for Carp now like SOS, you should give the bowfishing gig a lash. It's quite addictive.
I'D RATHER BE HATED FOR WHO I AM,
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EAD

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Re: A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig
« Reply #7 on: Sep 07, 2009, 12:27 PM »
Here is a video of Carp feeding underwater from youtube. I assume (well it's gotta be considering the concentration of fish), this is whats called a pay lake from overseas. Pay lakes kind of like lake/pond assocations here except they are open to the public. They collect money and it's a managed fishery. Since Carp is their #1 fish, thats what it's loaded with. Now you can't really see them, but as the Carp are feeding you can see a few blown on screen, but there is particle feed (corn) around the area of the guys bait.  Now you can see how what I mean when I said that Carp don't feed like typical fish. Since they are filter feeders (basically) they blow the bottom (sometimes mix up the sediment with their tails) to expose food. Then they taste it and spit it out over and over.

The fish pick up the guys rig a bunch of times in the video, but if you look especially @ 1:40 you can see one fish picked up the rig for a second and you can see the hook didn't ever enter his mouth. (He never knew it was there.) Now if you had the bait directly on the hook, then the fish would have felt it and spit it out, and unless your rod was in your hand and you were quick enough to get your hook set in that 3/4 of a second before he spit it out, you missed the fish. Worst of all, that fish felt the hook and ISN'T going to be feeding in the area any longer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Hx4hB7ZPHQ

Also here are a picture of my setups for Stuck-on.

I plan to get at least 1 actual Carp setup with a baitrunner reel with probaly 12 or 14lb test and then ues the schoolie Striper rod and reel but drop down the line. I do what I can for a recent college grad.





EAD

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Re: A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig
« Reply #8 on: Sep 07, 2009, 12:31 PM »
Well Ed, I have fished for Carp for some 40 years and have never used this method so I must be in the
10%er's ;D I am going to give this a try, it looks as though it will be the ticket!
Thanks for posting Ed, very informative. I mainly Bowfish for Carp now like SOS, you should give the bowfishing gig a lash. It's quite addictive.

Hey Mad,

You get a break my friend.  An old friend of my fathers owns a bait shop (and has for over 30 years), he doesn't want to hear it about the hair rig! I give you veterans a bye, any way you guys want to do it is the right way by me!!

He got me pretty good the other day. I had told him that my buddy had caught his 500th Carp of the year the other day (a nice 17lber). He told me, "Thats nothing... I ever tell you about the time we caught 500 in one day?" Long story short, a dam broke, a puddle was made and a lot of kids had some fun with wooden baseball bats.  You guys were the pioneers of fishing and figured out whats what and we appreciate that.   If I'm ever in your woods I'll have to go out bowin' with ya. If you do try the rigs and you have any trouble give me a holler.  It's fun because you get the reward of a nice fish on the hommade rig.

hook-set

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Re: A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig
« Reply #9 on: Sep 07, 2009, 01:21 PM »
i also have been battling big carp for over 25 years and have never used a hair rig ..but have seen and heard of the deal...but its been my experience that if your going after educated fish meaning pressured fish then you have no choice but to go with light gear and line ......i use no more than an 8lb leader and i watched that video recently posted and watched at least 3 fish pick up that hair rig and immediately spit it ....in my opinion they spit it because it was rigged way too heavy and they either detected the line IT the rig itself ...but on the other hand if you could rig a hair rig with a much lighter leader and dacron on the hook which i would also down size then i bet you'd be onto something......this is a great post and i know your intentions are good so thank you and i might just work with it....oh yeah ..the advice about securing your rod is right on  ;) 90 dollar bait runner and matching rod on its maiden  carp trip being dragged around the river as we speak lol..nothing sadder than watching the wake your new rod makes as its swimming away never to be seen again  :'(
                             thank you again for a great and informative post .....
                                                              HOOK-SET

EAD

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Re: A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig
« Reply #10 on: Sep 07, 2009, 06:52 PM »
Hey hook, thanks for you reply my friend! I appreciate the input of someone with great experience (especially one with more than me) and you bring up a grat point). Carp definently are intelligent fish and it's hard to discount any the finer points of fishing when targeting them, especially leaders. But you bring up a different point in the hook weight!

I brought that video up to show the example of how the Carp are filter feeders and pick up and spit out their food over and over. After looking over that persons profile though it seems they were experimenting in making their own rigs. A couple things I see is it looked like they were using really thick dead bait hooks and too think of braid for the hair. I would always reccomend about 15-20 lb x-thin braid if you are tying for a mono leader and 25-30 x-thin if tying a knotless knot. Also using a size 6 eagle claw bait holder hook, if you can find a double thick of that too I think it would be okay.  My rigs look thick in the picture as far as the braid but that was taken from 2 inches away. I will edit this post with a picture that shows my rigs from the distance you would be tying them to your main line.  I don't know if I mentioned it above but if you plan on the knotless knot the line has to be thin enough to pass through the eye of the hook twice.

You bring up a great point hook!  Thank you!


Hey Hook, also I don't know if you saw in there, I don't use the read line as my main line, I just put it in there so it would be visable in the picture. I use much lighter, even questionably light line. ;)

Stuck-on-Seven

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Re: A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig
« Reply #11 on: Sep 07, 2009, 08:06 PM »
I see i see.....you must try bowfishing if you ever get the chance i dont think they bite when we bowfish for them which is during the spawn but maybe they do bite something.

D.Alove

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A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig
« Reply #12 on: Oct 24, 2009, 03:25 AM »
Good comments Tidalwave.

Whats your opinion on the length of the hair and having the bait, be it pellet or boilie, tight against your hook or maybe as much as 2-3 inches from the hook or do you believe its down to personal choice??

I tend to vary my hair length from half an inch up to 3 inches depending on what rig I am using and also what bait I use and weather I am using single or double baits.

Ian

buzzbomb

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Re: A Detailed Explaination of The Hair Rig
« Reply #13 on: Oct 25, 2009, 08:59 PM »
I want the boilie or whatever right up close to the bend of the hook.  If I'm using a double, a snowman rig or a big single I may leave a slight gap, but probably not more than 1/8" below the bend.  Whe n the carp sucks up the bait even if it doesn't sense the line immediately I think they're exhaling mud and debris and when they feel the line they spit.  If the hook is 3" away you might miss out.  Of course we sometimes use a 'greedy-pig rig' with 7 or 8 kernels of corn on a 2" hair and a big crawler on a #4 or #2 baitholder but normaly the hairs on my rigs vary from 1/2" to about 1 1/4".  The length of hooklink between swivel and hook varys according to location, bottom, current etc. but most of mine are between 7 and 9".  The way I make my rigs has changed quite a few times over the years; every time I learn something new that I think is worth a try it gets a turn.  Oh yeah, one of the ways to test if your hair rig is balanced properly is to hold your baited rig in your hand and turn your hand over to drop it.  When the bait rolls off your palm the hook should catch on the edge of your hand.
When I get some time I want to post some pics of modifications I've been using the past 2 seasons.  Shrink tube to align the hook for easy hook-set, tube on the shank to align the hair with the hook point, and crazy glue to align the hair.  Details, details, details. :D
If you say the word "gullible" really slow, it sounds like "oranges".

 



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