ANGLER'S MAIL guru Colin Davidson, part of the magazine's talked-about new Carp Crew section, looks closely at carp fishing hair rigs...

THE hair rig remains the biggest advancement carp angling has ever seen, and although other tactical developments such as maggot fishing, understanding zigs and even choddies have made their mark on the sport – there will never be a repeat of the circumstances again that allow a new rig idea to have the impact that the hair did in the 1980s.

For all that, we are more capable today than ever at catching carp in all conditions and through all the seasons, I still wonder how we arrived at rigs that actually seem to be a long way removed from the principle of the hair.

Carp rigs today are mostly short, aggressive and aiming for instant hooking. Where the hair rig came from was in the opposite direction – you don’t know I’m any different from every free offering you’ve picked up.

I’ve learned from once whipping on dental floss hairs in the late 80s to the knotless knots and fast turning rigs of today…


Hair sequence-1

The hair got its name from Kevin Maddocks and Lenny Middleton using strands of human hair to attach baits to, so carp were unable to differentiate them from the free offerings because the ‘hair’ was so fine and so supple.

Very light mono quickly became the material of choice with one to two inches of hair between bait and hook. It was deadly and many carpers suddenly caught more carp in one session than the entire previous season. The bait wasn’t attached to thick wiry line and the hook didn’t have to be struck through a skinned bait any more.

The secret got out widely in the early 80s, this diagram appearing in Andy Little’s Guide to Big Carp Fishing a few seasons later.

Hair sequence-2

Compare that with where we have arrived at today. This rig, or something very similar is to be found on more rods at any one time being cast into carp fisheries than any other. Where has the ‘hair’ gone?

We are using bare hook rigs, but not using the original principle of the hair rig. Any hair on a modern rig tends to be a convenient way of mounting a bait rather than an attempt to dissociate the bait from the hook.

Most modern rigs are designed to see a hook turn and instantly catch in a carp’s mouth as soon as the bait is taken into the mouth.

I’ll revisit this topic again soon!

ANGLER’S MAIL MAGAZINE now has a bumper Carp Crew section. Be sure to read it each week for cutting-edge advice and insight into the carp scene.

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