Master summer Carp fishing and reveal the best carp rigs for success!

Its that time of year again when the Carp are most active, the spawning is done, the water is warmer and the carp are moving around and feeding confidently. This is the time of year when the most Carp get caught but the downside is this is also the time of year when there is more anglers on the bank and the fish are more pressurised. A few tweaks to your approach to carp fishing and the methods you deploy will soon get you some fish in the net!

Lets start by talking about your location before we get in to anything else - Your location, approach and thought process is paramount to anything else. You could put the best rig in the world (if there is ever such a thing) with the best bait in the world in the water but if your location is not right then it will all be in vain.

A lot of anglers often fall into the same trap, they pull up at a lake, eager to get some rods in the water, they unload their car and head straight for a swim, this is often the swims nearest to the car park or the so-called "hot swims" on a lake. Its true some swims will hold carp they will often stick near snags or features because that's where they are most confident however, that doesn't mean you wont catch a Carp from any other swim. If you can locate the carp on a lake then you are well on the way to a successful fishing trip. 

To locate the Carp have a walk around the lake, look for signs of fish moving, look in the margins under trees for fish holding up in the shade. Some people will use binoculars to look at the lake for signs of fish moving further out. To aid you in looking for visual signs of fish I would recommend you invest £20 or so in some polarised sunglasses, these are available from most fishing tackle shops and they will transform your fishing. The polarised lenses remove the glare of the surface of the water enabling you to spot carp under the surface much easier. If you are all about deploying 21st-century tech then have a chuck about with a Deeper fish finder, this will show you contours on the bottom, signs of fish etc, or you can go high tech and deploy a drone to get an overhead view of the lake, this will show fish hiding behind islands or out in the middle and give you a whole new perspective of the lake (as shown below.)

Carp swimming by a island 

Photo credit: Matt bullas

So now you hopefully know where the fish are, let's think about how to catch them, what rigs are you going to deploy, what bait etc.

In the summer carp will feed confidently on most baits, from the simple dog biscuits to a pop up to a pellet, it's just a case of presenting your bait and hook where the fish are feeding.

When it's nice and warm if the fish are showing near the surface, fire out half a dozen dog mixers to see if you can get them feeding on the surface, once a couple of carp start taking them more will soon come in, and its important not to put out too many mixers, you want there to be some competition for them. Get the carp feeding confidently before you even cast a line out for them. Just trickle half a dozen mixers in at a time to keep them interested. Once you are confident they are feeding confidently, then cast your rig at them. Surface rigs are very simple rigs, they are simply a controller float (to add some weight and visual indication) a length of Fluorocarbon, and a light hook like the Nash Claw Flota or Korda Mixer hooks. These are a finer wire and lighter so they don't pull your bait under the water. Some people will smear vaseline down the Fluorocarbon to make it float on the surface this will also help to ensure your bait is not pulled under the surface. Once you have your rig ready, you need to add your bait, either with a pellet band and band your mixer to the hook, some will lightly coat their mixer in a flavored oil to increase the attraction of the hook bait. once you are baited up its time to try and catch one, cast beyond where the fish are feeding, and then bring your hook bait back to where your free offerings are. This is a very active style of fishing so you need to have your rod in your hands at all times and watch your hook bait or controller float, when a carp sucks in your hook bait you know the hook is in the mouth so it's a simple case of striking to set the hook and then hold on because carnage is about to ensue, this will give you a fight you won't forget!

Here are some of the best ready tied carp rigs for the summer!

Ronnie Rigs - For pop ups 

Ronnie rigs for summer fishingThe Ronnie rig is one of those rigs that can be used all year around and it is the most popular rig at the moment with good reason, you can use the Ronnie rig (spinner Rig) with all types of bait however, it really comes in to its own to present a pop up just an inch or so off the bottom, perfect for when there is shallow weed. The stiff boom means the rig wont tangle and even if a fish picks it up and spits it out again the rig will reset itself and will still present the bait perfectly. I find teaming up a ronnie rig with a pink pop up is what works best for me, but its always worth experimenting to find what works for you. I will also use a wafter with the ronnie rig, a method that has caught me loads of nice carp, keeping that wafter nice and low and around a tiny pva mesh bag of small pellets.

This rig is available with a wide range of hook patterns but the 2 I use most frequently are the curve shank and the Crank hooks. I have also started to use the new OMC Lock hooks with great effect too ( to be honest I use these alot these days and having some really good results and hook holds)

The Claw - Flippa Rig -  for bottom baits (works really well with pellets)

Flipper Rigs for Carp fishingThe Claw (or Flipper rig) is an adaption of the hair rig, The tweak that is made means this rig is only suitable for bottom baits. The hair exits the hook on the curve at the bottom of the hook - this means as soon as a fish sucks up your bait the hook is already point heavy and facing down to prick the bottom lip. The rig can be used with any bottom bait but I use this rig alot when I am fishing with pellets.  This Carp Rig works best with a coated braid like Korda Kamo, and a wide gape hook although the Claw or Lock hook can be very effective too!

Some top tips for Claw rig:

  • Add some putty where the coating of the braid ends - this exagerates the flipping action of the hook
  • If you are fishing over a very soft bottom add a pva nugget around the hook to slow the descent of the bait down which helps prevent it burying in the bottom - when the nugget melts it will pop to the surface so you can see roughly where to add some loose feed if required

Solid PVA Bag Rigs - Precision bait delivery every time

Ready made Solid pva bag rigsAnother one of those rigs that can used all year with great effect. The solid bag approach works really well when fishing over a clear bottom or shallow weed. The fact you can add loose feed around your hook bait and know that every time your rig is presented perfectly and the loose feed is just a small mouthful of highly attractive morsels for fish to find, as soon as they do the chances are you will be hearing your alarms scream! If you prefer not to use a PVA bag you can use these rigs with the method feeder too! simply use a very supple unweighted braid like Korda Super Natural.
Some top tips for the solid pva rig:

  • Adding a small bit of rig putty or a tungsten sinker to the braid will help to pin it to the bottom out the way of any feeding fishing.
  • You can add PVA friendly liquids to your bags to enhance the attraction
  • Very effect with a wafter or a pop up although you will want to pin your pop up down very close to the bottom

Slip D Rigs - perfect for a single bottom bait, a wafter or a snowman style bait presentation

One of the Best wafter Rigs for Carp fishingOne of my favourite rigs, I use this rig with all manners of bait with great results. The key feature of this rig is you can use a single hook bait or a snowman without having to change anything. I use the micro flexi swivel on the D as I can then use bait floss to attach my baits. I tend to use a 15mm boilie with the top trimmed off and then either a bit of fake corn (where plastics are permitted) or a tiny pop up that is made to look like corn. What makes this rig so effective is the way the D is made on the back of the hook, The d allows the bait to slide up towards the eye of the hook when the Carp blows out the bait, this transfers the weight of the hook to the point (like the flipper rig) this makes the hook point down. I like to use either a Wide Gape or curve shank hook but when the fish are wise to this rig I will use a long shank as this will give the bait more seperation from the hook and make it harder to eject. I like to use Korda Dark Matter coated braid for this rig and a tiny kicker over the eye to assist in the hook flipping.

Top tips for the Slip D rig:

  • If you are using a wafter you want the bottom of the wafter to sit on the bottom of the lake, critically balancing your bait like this means that even the weariest of carp will often mistake the bait as the free offerings and because the bait is critically balanced like this it removes the weight of the hook until the hook is in the mouth.
  • Add a small PVA stick to the hook to put a mouthful of free offerings around your hook, not only is this attractive to carp it also helps to eliminate tangles.

Combi Rigs - The all rounder, this rig can be used with any bait type

Carp fishing Combi RigsMade using a combination of stiff boom and a supple hook section (Korda Loop braid) this rig is very good for all types of bait - in particular artificial baits and bottom baits. The combination of the materials makes this rig very hard for a carp to eject and if they manage too then the rig will reset itself. 

Top tips for Combi Rigs:

  • Add a small pva stick to the hook to help prevent tangles on the cast
  • If you are fishing over soft silt a PVA nugget will slow the rig down when falling through the water so it will sit on top of the silt.

Chod Rigs - Perfect for over weed 

Carp fishing ready made chod rigsThe chod rig is a very short rig normally 1 to 2 inches long and is designed to be used either on a leader or "naked" This is where you allow the rig to slide up and down your mainline. You set the depth of the rig by adjusting the top bead which prevents the rig from sliding up the leader too far. The Chod rig should be used with a very buoyant pop up to help keep the rig on top of the weed. If you prefer then you can use the Stiff Hinge rig on a helicopter style. A stiff hinge rig is a chod rig with a stiff boom attached.

Top tips for using Chod Rigs:

  • Use a very buoyant pop up (Cork ball pop ups are really good for this rig)
  • Ensure the rig sits properly before casting out
  • Use a PVA nugget to help keep the rig on top of the weed or "chod"

In conclusion:

In the summer its worth spending an extra 30 minutes to try and spot the fish, they will often move away from where there is anglers, and they will become more cautious to bait as the summer goes on. Dont be afraid to try a different bait something away from the "norm" on the lake you are fishing.