The hair rig has been one of the most common rigs used for carp and catfish in Europe since it was first invented some years ago. It isn’t commonly used in other parts of the world like the United States but it probably should be. When fishing for certain species of fish it one of the best rigs there are.
The hair rig attaches the bait to line below the hook. The idea is that the fish will find the bait and suck it in. If they panic and try to spit out the hook it will stick in the fish’s mouth. On the other hand, if the fish sucks the bait in with abandon, the hook will stick in the fish’s lip instead of going down into its throat where it can cause damage.
Hair rigs aren’t difficult to tie at all but it takes practice to tie them quickly and really get them right. You want the rig to spin as the fish picks up the bait so that the hook will stick into the fish’s lip. If angle is bad the hook might spin outward and miss the fish’s mouth completely.
A lot of ready made hair rigs are sold in European bait shops. In the United States you can order them from Amazon and specialist shops like Big Carp Tackle. Many of the ready made snell rigs sold in bait shops in the United States use low quality hooks and lines. A lot of the hair rigs sold online are made well with high quality tackle.
To properly use a hair rig you need something to attach the bait to the the loop (or “hair”). You can make your own equipment but it is much easier to purchase a purpose built baiting needle. If you plan on using hard baits like boilies or feed corn (maize) you will need a needle or bait drill to push a hole through the bait too.
Finally, using a hair rig requires some sort of bait stop. This is a small piece of plastic or rubber inserted into the loop to keep the bait from sliding off. Luckily, you can buy bait stops in bulk at very low prices. A supply large enough to last a serious angler all summer long would only cost a few dollars
Hair rigs can be used in many different ways. The most common is to integrate them into a slip sinker rig. Instead of tying a regular leader with a hook to the end of that rig, you simply use a hair rig. Ready made hair rigs come with loops or swivels that allow you to connect them to such rigs with ease.
You case use all kinds of baits with hair rigs. In Europe, boilies are most common. Baits like corn, peas, hard balls of bread and even nuts work well too. You can also use hair rigs to fish big balls of maggots or worms. You just have to be careful.