Angler's Mail features editor and experienced all-round angler Richard Howard (pictured) looks at carp fishing rigs - and whether it's all getting too complicated.



I HAVE a concern and that is that we’re alienating or even driving away potential carp anglers of the future because they think that they need the latest ‘whirly gig’ carp rig   to catch. When they don’t!

I’m not doubting the carp fishing rigs I see portrayed in articles and on DVDs, a lot of them clearly catch – big fish too.

It’s just the impression we’re giving to the prospective new carper that you almost can’t catch on a simple running lead, nylon, hook and long hair with a couple of boilie halves and good old watercraft.  When you can!

It’s the imbalance of ‘technical versus simple’ rigs that I’ve got the problem with.

Some of today’s rigs have so many components on the hook length, tied in such precision that the rig almost needs to be tied at home to ensure it does what it’s claimed to do.

Carp rig components - how many do you need to catch fish effectively?

High quality carp rig components – but how many, and which ones, do you use to catch fish effectively?


I still can’t help thinking that that the more components you add the more potential there is for something to go wrong with your presentation, or Mr Carp to see/suss you. And I can’t be the only one who has confidence issues in this department.

I will at this point add that I’m more of an all-rounder rather than a carper, but I do bump into the odd decent fish.

There’s too much focus in the hook length area and I’d rather spend that time looking for fish and knocking a simpler rig up, on the bank if I have to, to try and fool them.

Perish the thought that you overcook the cast with that carefully tied rig on, and snag up on island cover or suffer a breakage. It’s a costly loss in time and money and confidence. Especially if you’re on an overnighter and have to go back out with something that might be “less technical”.


We mustn’t forget simple set-ups do work.


What happened to using nylon hook lengths? It’s still good enough for floater fishing, zigs etc top flight match anglers and other specialist work.

I reckon you could pick up a dozen random big carp articles nowadays and not see a nylon hook length in sight for on-the-deck work.

I carried spools of 8 and 10 lb Pro Gold in my ruck sack for years (and would still use it) as my go anywhere big fish hook length.

Admittedly in recent years, when I have been trying to win an extra bite or two I’ve experimented with high-tech match lines from the likes of GURU. And they have won me fish to over mid 30s.  I’ve also used a lot of soft braided hook length materials.

Nylon is becoming more and more overlooked for carp end-tackles.

Nylon is becoming more and more overlooked for carp end-tackles.


I’ve been angling for 36 years now and I’m convinced that good old nylon still has it’s place in modern carp fishing, more than we portray.

And I’m convinced there’ll be a number of “been there done it” carpers out there who still put their faith in it, use the simplest of presentations and are still catching.

If we make it look too technical, it’s a turn-off, defeats the object of why a lot of us go fishing and could drive away the prospective newcomers to the sport.