If you’ve been fishing for carp using a lot of bottom bait, and finding that a lot of your “almost catches” are ejecting themselves from the hook, then what you need might be the bolt rig. Bolt rigs are very commonly used for fishing bottom bait, and because of the self hooking mechanism, the chance of the carp ejecting themselves from the hook is greatly decreased. This is because the harder the carp tries to bolt away, the firmer the hook’s hold becomes.
When using the bolt rig, you can generally use a supple hook length of anywhere from 10 to 20 inches. This allows the carp to move away after it has taken the bait and in turn causes the weight and lead to tighten. This pricks the carp’s mouth and causes it to panic, which drags the lead along with it.
Setting up a bolt rig
Most people agree that the easiest and safest way to use the bolt rig is make use of a semi-fixed lead set up. This uses lead clips and rubbers.
By doing this, you can ensure if your line snaps, the carp will be able to free itself from the lead. By not doing this, if your line were to snap, you would lose the carp and the carp would then die a very slow and agonizing death. If you are found to be using an unsafe rig, not only are you putting the carp in danger, but you could be banned form the area or worse.
The first step for creating the bolt rig, is to tie your hook length with a supple material that’s somewhere between 10 and 20 inches. Then you’ll want to thread the mainline through the rubber starting from the narrow end. Then you want to thread the line through the lead clip using the threaded section first. Now you can tie your hook length swivel to the end of your mainline.
Once this has been completed, you can push the swivel into the end of the lead clip and only leave the bottom ring of your swivel exposed. Then put your weight or lead onto the lead clip. It’s recommended you use a minimum of 2 oz but 3 or 4 oz will work just fine too. You can then slide the rubber back over the lead clip in order to secure the lead or weight to the lead clip. This is the part that will be able to separate if the fish becomes snagged.
Some other things to keep in mind for bolt rigs
If you’re using a heavier lead, such as 3 or 4 oz, then it will improve the hooking power of your bolt rig. It also means it’s not necessary to push the rubber fully up the lead clip if you’re fishing in or near weeds or other things you could potentially become snagged on. This reduces the chance of the lead being released if you get snagged and the carp is released. While you don’t want to lose your carp, it would be much better to let the carp go than to lose your lead.
You should also remember to keep the bolt rig in free spool mode, like with Shimano baitrunners. If you don’t, the drag setting will be greatly loosened, and it could allow the main line to peel freely when a carp takes your bait and then panics. This means a carp could panic, run off and you could lose everything, including your rod, if the carp was powerful enough.
There are many advantages to using a bolt rig, as it allows you land a lot of of carp, but is also safe for the carp in case there’s a snag. Safe carp fishing should be your first priority, even before catching carp. The authorities are getting stricter on safe carp fishing practices all the time, and as a carp fisherman, you should be respecting the beautiful fish you’re out there fishing for.
Learn how to tie and use a bolt rig, and it will be one of your favorite rigs to fish on from here on out.