How to improve your carp fishing with hair rigs

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

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Small tweaks to your hair rig can make a big difference to results.

One of the lessons I’ve had hammered home over the years is that simple changes can do the trick.

Altering the length of hook length, hook bait choice and hair length are often all that is needed to get the spools spinning.

We hear a lot about complicated rig rings with rings and all sorts of supposed anti-eject characteristics – but the basics still count for a lot.

So read on and your hair rig could deliver better results for you…

I’m a big fan of long hairs but switching hook baits on rigs can be problematic.

A change from pellets to half baits, mini boilies or a snowman can leave the hair shorter than ideal resulting in a rig change.

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Extended stops were a bit of a breakthrough when they came along.

It’s a simple, ingenious design, coming in three sizes, with different depth hair retaining slots.

The smallest acts as a standard hair stop. The medium and large versions allow you to increase the length of the hair up to another 7 to 11.5 mm without re-tying.

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

On a typical bottom bait rig I like a good inch or more clearance between hook and bait.

Changing the hook bait to a larger offering or double bait would normally mean a fresh rig.

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

To tweak the presentation will leave baits crammed up the hair with no clearance between hook and bait.

But so long as there’s enough room to get the baits on to start with, sliding the large extended stop into place lengthens the hair considerably.

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Because the extended stops are drawn neatly back into the hook bait, there are only a couple of very small prongs exposed.

The longer stems of the medium and large stops that pull down the hole through the bait make it very difficult for crayfish to remove the stop and pinch your bait.

This is a useful benefit when we’re able to travel abroad, and on the increasing numbers of crayfish venues at home.

Angler's Mail

Running from 1964 until 2020, Angler's Mail was the UK's leading weekly magazine devoted to coarse fishing, telling readers everything they needed to know about which fish to catch, where to catch them, and what kit they needed to do it. Now, loads of the magazine's expert advice can be found on, as a helpful resource for angling newcomers and experts alike.