One of the many great things I picked up from researching the way that the European's (and much of the rest of the world) bottom fish with bait for carp and catfish is the Hair Rig. The hair rig is designed to allow bait first feeding so that the hook is placed in front of the bait when taken. The result is less critical hooked fish and easier releases. As part of the natural or unnatural ecosystem it is up to us to respect all living things, yes even bottom fish. In the international bottom fishing community great care is taken to not injure the catch if the intent is to release.



Having been an avid catch & release carp angler most of my life it was easy to understand why this point of view. After fishing the hair rig several time I was nothing but impressed. No deeply hooked fish or kills. The potential for use of this rig is limitless for all bait fished species, even cold water game fish such as trout. In the past we have always just assume the bait goes on the hook. Shattering that notion, the hair rig places the bait on a line hanging slightly away from and behind the hook itself. The way it works in theory is that the fish take the bait and the hook follows closely behind. While the bait may end up in the back of the mouth the hook will stay forward near the lips. When the fish feels any resistance it will hook itself in the lip area while trying to escape. Make sure your rods are buckled down tight!


Perfect hook position for a safe and healthy release ><,>~


The Hair Rig tied on 24# super line with 12" leader

This rig will work with many types of baits for many species of fish. At the bottom I will include a list of baits and fish I think this might work well for. Shown are carp boilies, marshmallows, and corn. A bait threader and something to drill a small hole through nugget type baits might be helpful. I have used a small phillips head screw driver for the holes in the cornbread boilies shown below. You can also slide smaller baits on to the hook and then place the hair thread loop over the hook point and behind the bard, and slide the bait back across the barb and on to the thread. You can even close this by leaving the thread on the bend in the hook as shown in the photos below.



Slide the bait back across the bard and on to the hair thread.

Baits and Fish the hair rig might work for

Baits: Typically any dough or nugget type bait, carp boilies, carp pop-up boilies, carp pellets, marshmallows, power nuggets, power bait, power anything fake, anything mesh bag/feed, cut bait, squid, small minnow baits, catfish dough and pellet baits, canned veggies, check regulations before fishing corn.

Fish: Typically anything bottom feeding, carp, catfish, bullheads, suckers, barbell, sturgeon, trout, chub, perch, striped bass, arapaima, alligator gar, rays, small sharks in bays.

There are as many ways to bait and rig the hair rig as there are baits you could try on them. Be creative and try different things. Combinations of bait add contrast to the visual appearance and smell of the bait. For trout or weedy areas you might use a marshmallow to suspend the bait. This also works for carp and catfish but you need to add one shot to the leader 2 inches from the hook so that the bait suspends only slightly off the bottom. Please note that you will also need hair rig dumbell stops of some sorts for this rig to work properly. These keep the bait from sliding of the end of the hair thread. You can buy them on ebay for very cheap or make your own. The hair stops I have shown here were made from old plastic tooth pics. You can also use a tiny section of a stick for this purpose if the bait is soft enough and if your in a bind. I have switched to this rig exclusively and tie my own now because I like the way the fish can be released unharmed. I am there to enjoy them, not kill them and so I feel the way I catch them now matters more than ever. I urge you to try this rig the next time your out. You too will find out why much of the world is either already using or changing to this rig, because it works! ><,>



Hair Rig Bait Stops on Ebay
Carp Boilie Baits on Ebay
Make Your Own Carp Boilies


How to tie a hair rig by "Catfish and Carp on Youtube