The Bolt Rig
The Bolt Rig is a term used to describe the way a particular set up is fished.
When using the bolt rig, the carp fisherman is generally using a supple hook length material of between 10 - 20 inches which allows the carp the freedom to move away after it has taken the bait into its mouth. When the carp moves away the hook length tightens up to the weight/lead causing the hook to prick the carps mouth, making the carp panic as it feels this prick and bolt off at speed, dragging the weight/lead along with it, consequently this drives the hook home and the carps own power against the weight/lead has caused the carp to hook itself.
The bolt rig is probably the most successful method of fishing a bottom bait, with the self-hooking mechanism decreasing the chance of the carp ejecting the hook, as the more the carp "bolts" away, the firmer the hook hold becomes.
How To Set Up And Use A Bolt Rig
The easiest and safest way to use the Bolt Rig is to incorporate a semi-fixed lead set up using lead clips and rubbers pictured here.
This ensures that in the event of your main line snapping when playing a carp, the carp can free itself from the weight/lead. This safety aspect is VERY IMPORTANT TO THE WELFARE OF THE CARP, as without it the carp could become tethered to an underwater snag from which it cannot free itself and suffer from a slow agonising death. All carp fisheries now insist that all carp rigs and set ups are safe for the carp, and if you are found to be using unsafe rigs and methods, you can expect to be banned from the water at the very least. If for any reason you are unsure if your set up is safe, please ask bailiffs, managers or other carp anglers to check it for you, BEFORE you use it.
First tie your hook length using a supple material of between 10 - 20 inches. For this procedure you can follow our tutorial for the Basic Hair Rig.
Now thread your mainline through the rubber from the narrow end, then thread the line through the lead clip (threaded section first) and then tie your hook length swivel to the end of your mainline. (see our Carp Fishing Knots section).
After you have done this push your swivel into the end of the lead clip, so as to only leave the bottom ring (hook length end) of your swivel exposed. When finished your set up should look similar to the diagram pictured here.
Now place your weight/lead onto the lead clip, for this it is recommended to use a minimum of 2oz but 3 or 4 oz will give superior hooking as the fish bolts off. Then slid the rubber back over the lead clip (as pictured) to secure the weight/lead onto the lead clip. This is the part that can separate if the fish becomes snagged allowing the lead to drop free and not drag around behind the carp.
Rig tubing can be added to this set up (before the rubber) if required and the lead clip rubber will push over the end of the rig tubing decreasing the chance of tangles and knots, alternatively you could use anchor tubing for this to help pin it all down to the lake bed.
Your rig should now be similar to the diagram shown of the completed set up.
It is worth remembering that a heavier leads of 3-4 ounces will improve hooking power of the Bolt Rig, also it is not necessary to push the Rubber fully up the Lead Clip when fishing in or near weed and snags, this helps if the fish drags you into the weeds/snags and the lead gets trapped, with the rubber not pushed all the way onto the clip it has a chance of releasing the lead before you lose the carp. After all which would you rather lose. A lead or a carp.
It is very important to make sure the reel being used when fishing with the Bolt Rig is in free spool mode as with the Shimano baitrunners, or the drag setting is loosened considerably, allowing the main line to peel off almost freely when a carp takes the bait and panics off in a screaming run as it feels the hook point.
Using the bolt rig produces such ferocious runs, without the use of a reel with a baitrunner or freespool facility, the carp fisherman could well end up losing all his gear including his rod to the unexpected savage run of a powerful carp.
Carp Fishing Thoughts
"The landing of any carp should be seen as an achievement, and to capture a particularly wary fish is a truly remarkable event" - John Bailey - an excerpt from his book "Carp Challenge".