The Business end
Carpfishing in Canada
Rigged for the Job !
Above picture shows a Hair Rig, this legendary invention was the brainchild  of Lenny Middleton ,aided & abetted by Kevin Maddocks, it was developed in the mid/late 70's. Along with the hard boiled special paste baits (boilies), they revolutionised carp fishing in the U.K. You can use variations of this rig to catch fish in any situation, but bear in mind it is a starting point ,not the end, of a progressive move to outsmart the most uncanny of all fish 'CARP'.
To understand just why this rig can be so successful , you have to understand how a carp feeds in a given situation.It is most effective when carp are feeding 'en mass' they are hoovering up the baits because they have found a food haven. Carp sample food by 'sucking it back' , if they decide to ingest the food ,they will suck further  to their throat or 'pharyngeal teeth', this is the equivalent of a meat grinding machine ,& carp can crush mostly anything which is edible, including mussels ,crayfish,snails & rock hard boilies. Meanwhile the hook falls nearer the front of the mouth,the hookpoint being bare ,is unhindered to catch in the flesh of the mouth .
       What happens with this rig is the carp sucks in the bait & moves off to the next sample, but because the hook is anchored to a heavy lead, (at least 1.5oz, heavier is better) & the fish is of substantial weight ,when it moves against the weight of the lead ,the hookpoint is lightly embedded in the mouth, it is when the carp feels the lead & or line & associates this to the feeling of tether, WHOOOSSHHSHSSHH,he's away like a demon posessed! If you have not experianced this before ,boy are you in for a surprise ! DONT fish with your bail arm (pick-up) closed ,as your rod is likely to become launched & rapidly towed out into the water
Basic Pop-up terminal arrangement, you can make a baiting needle by grinding the eye half-way thru' on a suitable darning needle. Embed the needle into a piece of cork or something that floats . In clear water the hooklink should be monofilament (clear or flourocarbon) in muddy water or deep water (15ft or more) use soft braid (25 lb) for better, more natural feeling presentation. If you can see the fish, then likely they will know you are there too, in this situation you will have to use extra caution, because once Mr Carp knows you are there he will not be willing to participate!
Some carp are easier to catch than others ,the time of the year ,water clarity, depth,  competition for food against other fish, & fishing pressure (if the fish are released) can have a dramatic effect on the catch rate of carp. In N.A carp are generally easiest to catch in the springtime & early summer, by mid summer onwards; they have settled into there summer & fall lodgings ,they are active & will move around in search of required food material. During this period you can try searching out better fish, they can often be spotted if you look in the right areas. When you find a shoal of big fish (they are often grouped in similar sizes) dont 'dive' in without thinking . Work out yourself a plan, try and get a feeding reaction from the fish , it will probably not be wise to pile in gallons of bait, better to try & stalk the fish you want . This is a heart stopping way of catching carp, often you will see the carp approach your bait, in Canada surface feeding is not common, but I am sure it does happen , in suitable conditions. Try & lure the bigger fish to a suitable area, this may involve breaking up the shoal by feeding bait to the smaller fish , often this can be done ,because the smaller fish are quicker off the mark, one thing is for sure ; dont let the fish know you are there ,once they see you ; FORGET IT! look elsewhere.
When the bites get 'twitchy' & you can't connect with the fish, try altering your terminal rig ; change from braid to mono ,try a different lenght hair , fish with a clip or change to a different bait. Often a simple change will work round the natural caution of carp, but you have to be versatile to be a good 'carp fisherman' . Sometimes carp will associate danger with a certain area or a certain smell or type of bait. In N.A this is not such an important consideration, but it still pays to be aware of the problems that carp can associate danger to. Often when I am having trouble getting runs I will rig up with float tackle, often this will catch me a fish immediately & I can often SEE the movements made by the fish better with a float set-up. If
you are getting NO action at all & are sure that the fish are there,then they are most likely able to distinguish your terminal tackle. You will often have to fish a much finer presentation to get around this problem,& often this is just not practical; there may be snags close by or maybe the current is too strong or maybe the water is just too shallow for the fish to confidently feed. In this kind of situation it might pay to fish at another time period during the day . I know it's often difficult to arrive early (crack of dawn) but this time of day often gives you much better chances. There are times when fishing at night is better too,but so far in Canada I have not come across this situation. The key thing is keep thinking & adapt to the situation, fish are not as smart as humans, but sometimes you would not believe so! you just have to stay a jump ahead of them.
Float Fishing Rig for Carp
This set-up is good where you want to fish at very close range,it will give better indication than a tight lined legering rig. You can better fish deep water too . Floats made by Peter Drennan & Mick Thill are available in Canada , they need to have a smallish loop attached to the bottom end of the stem , but if the loop is a big one you can use a small holed bead to prevent the slider knot jumping through the loop. Depth adjustment is by sliding the stop knot up& down. There are rubber stops available too.The bottom shot should be a fairly large(say SG) shot ,so if it is dislodged you will get an immediate indication.Do not be surprised if you get a "lift bite" (the float rises or falls flat) with this set-up,since a big carp could easily rise up enough to lift the shot off the bottom while sampling the bait. You could also fish suspended bait with this method or 'Trot' the bait down with the current,better to have a top bouyancy float in running water conditions though ,or else it will pull under too easily.
Hair Rig Attachment  (The no-knot method)
This is the simplest  knot to use when attaching hair rig to hook as long as 10lb or more mono is used or 15 lbs+ thick braid (check this knot after each fish) also make sure the line threads through the eye the second time, so that the line lies on the closed end of the eye, if it does not; whip the knot in the opposite direction (counter or clockwise to get this right ) . It is a simple matter to adjust the hair length, since this is done before the knot is tied down the shank of the hook & it will not slip since the whippings are already in the working position , when wrapped ( very little tightening required). You can finish off the whippings by slipping some tubing over the knot , this will protect the knot & if done in the correct manner, the rig will be even more effective , since you can make an added refinment called the 'Line aligner' (see pic below). The rig works fine though ,even without it. It can be tied up in mono or braid, dont use very thin braids though or you will be far more likely to tangle & break. In Canada mono works fine, & 90% of the time the braids are unneccesary anyway.
How to tie up the line aligner
Rig to left is a hair rig with line aligner, tied in braid for clarity,(though I mostly use 10-12 lb mono) The 3/4 oz sinker has a piece of rubber tubing which reduces tangles & protects the knot, (also can be slipped over the swivel to act as a fixed lead safety rig). This is suitable for natural feeding fish with sweetcorn as bait or boilies if the fish will pick them up. Use the baiting needle to put bait on the hair.
Close-up of the line aligner, hook pattern is Drennan Continental Boilie hook. Eagle Claw, Owner, Kamasan,  Mustad & VMC Walleye hooks are other suitable brands. They should be forged & chemically sharpened. I use inturned points (beaked) & straight round bend models too.
Click the pic Click me for blow up
Confidence set-up
(click the pic)
Hair rig with bolt set up
   (click for big pic)
More knots
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Close up of the needle, ready to slide maize onto the hair
Maize complete with pop-up foam in position. Slip a bait stop through the end loop pull the bait against the stop & your almost ready to go. Adjust the height with a shot from 2-6 ins up the line . A quick test in the water . Cast out flip the baitrunner switch & if you have done the location thing right it should not be too long ! 
Here is a basic diagram of what you can use to help out in the mussel abrasion situation. It is not essential to use Power Pro, 20 -30 lbs mono would work too. You are not relying on the line to combat the mussels as the float is acting as a bouyancy aid to prevent the line from actually touching the mussels in the first place ! The 3oz lead is fixed by rubber tubing to the swivel, this will release if the fish manages to cut your line. The bobber has a through hole so it is rigged to slide on the main line. The stop knot will prevent the float from causing an excessive bow in the line if you are fishing in an area with some current.  A size 2 hook with double 12 mm baits is about right. Some foam or cork added to the hair will help the carp suck in the bait. Dont be in a hurry to pick up the rod since the fish will usually run away from you which is actually an advantage in avoiding the mussels on the top of the ledge. If you try this or an improvement of this , let me know & I will add the info to this page so everyone can be wiser of it. Good luck & BFC's,
NOTES on the Wire hair rig
1) Hook needs a largish eye to accept the wire. I used Gold label #2  (Terry Eustace)
2) The wire is soft & bendable ,dont use hard wire or spring steel  like piano wire.
3) Shrink tubing should be low temp type or line may be damaged. Test this after tyeing.
4) This is good with the floating bolt rig above. It may or may not work on your water, but was used on the St Lawrence with exellent results. What works on one water is not a certainty on another!
5) The big lead is important but you may get away with a smaller one but not less than 1 oz or the effect will be drastically reduced. Big leads are best!
Use this knot on superbraids, like Powerpro, Spiderwire, Fireline etc.
Click for image of knot before drawing tight
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