Winter Carp Rigs
There are lots of different winter carp rigs that are perfect for use in the cold winter months. Here are a few of my favorite maggot, pop-up and Bottom bait presentations.
Lots of rigs work just as well in the winter as they do in the summer, however, some such as Maggot Rigs, is more popular in the winter when the nuisance fish are less active. Carp also seem to favor them more because they are easier to digest in the cold than some baits. Here are two versions of maggot rigs that have caught me lots of fish.
This is a quick and easy to tie rig that works well to present a ball of maggots on the bottom. Using the maggot clip makes this rig much quicker and easier to rebait than other similar presentations.
Balanced Maggot Rig
This rig is a more difficult rig to tie than the Maggot Clip and must be balanced carefully to get the best results, as it must waft enticingly just of the bottom but with the hook still just touching. When used correctly it will fly up into the mouth of any fish that sucks at the bait much easier than a non-balanced bait, catching the fish by surprise resulting in more hookups.
Pop Up Rigs
In winter I tend to fish a lot of pop-ups either as single hook baits or over small spreads of boilies. Bright pop-ups are easy for the fish to see and I think they are often taken first so even if the fish are not feeding enough to clear a bed of bait you will often get a bite where a standard bottom bait would be missed. They also work well as single hook baits, where they stand up off the bottom keeping clear of any debris. Being very visible to passing fish these can work well either cast to showing fish or cast to likely holding areas like deep spots in the lake or snags where carp feel safe and are likely to visit regularly.
You can present the Chod rig in several different ways; the chod rig is my favorite winter carp length. The popular method of mounted on a length of the lead core, or on a pre-tied type leader available from several different manufacturers. These have the added advantage of weighing down the end of the rig aiding presentation. There is also the naked choddy on the line, which is a far more subtle presentation, however, must be fished with a very slack line or the rig will lift off the bottom and not sit right. One of the advantages of the Chod Rig is that it works well when cast to showing fish, as it presents a bait well over most lake beds and is also relatively tangle free. However, as with all helicopter style rigs, every consideration must be given to safety (can a fish get rid of the rig if it gets broken off).
Hinge Stiff Rigs
I use this rig a lot over small spreads of boilies as it presents a bait clear of any bottom debris and is very visible to fish in the area. It presents a bait in a very similar way to the chod rig, but because of the boom section, it gives the fish something different to deal with which means it can work well on waters where the chod rig is used lots and it can be fished on a lead clip so is very safe.
The Combi Rig works well as a single hook bait or over small spreads of bait. It is a more subtle presentation than the other two as it keeps the bait closer to the bottom, which I think, sometimes the fish can be less wary of.
Bottom Bait Rigs
Bottom baits can still work really well in winter especially if the carp have been caught lots on pop-up rigs. I think they can become nervous of baits off the bottom so can shy away from them. I still like to have some form of color on my bottom baits. Either in the way of artificial corn on top of the boilie or in a snowman type of presentation, which can be used with a whole boilie bottom bait and a pop-up or fished ¾ bottom bait to ½ a Pop-Up. These can work well because they give a bit of color but are slow sinking the rigs that set themselves better and also taking away the weight of the hook means they are often taken more confidently by the fish. Another way of achieving this is to use wafters, which are now available from most bait companies.
These work well as a snowman rig or any slow sinking presentation. It can also be used with a pop-up by placing a split shot on the hair under the bait to counteract its buoyancy.
This is probably one of the more versatile winter carp rigs. It can be used with a straight bottom bait as a snowman rig or even as a pop-up rig by placing a split shot on the line under the hook.