Setting Up a Pop-Up Boilie Rig for Carp Fishing

Attention Carp Anglers: Transform Your Success Rate with The Pop-Up Rig Technique

Simon Palmer

Published: May 16, 2023

Pop-up boilie rigs have become increasingly popular among anglers for their effectiveness in catching carp. These rigs are versatile and can be used in various fishing situations, whether it’s spring, summer, or autumn. The buoyancy of the pop-up boilie bait ensures it stands out from the lakebed or the bottom of the river, which appeals to the carp’s sense of curiosity, leading to more bites on your hook.

Setting up a pop-up boilie rig involves selecting the right components such as a coated hooklink, carp hook, boilie stop, and an appropriate lead weight, among others. There are different techniques to tie pop-up rig variations, but the key is ensuring good rig mechanics and proper hook bait size to achieve optimal results. Mastering this vital skill will significantly increase your chances of outwitting your target fish, providing you with a more enjoyable fishing experience.

In this article, we will delve into the art of setting up a pop-up boilie rig, discussing the essential materials and sharing some tips for tying the perfect rig. By the end of this guide, you will have the knowledge to confidently set up your own pop-up boilie rig and increase your chances of hooking that prized catch.

Understanding Pop-Up Boilie Rigs

Carp Fishing Basics

Carp fishing is a popular angling discipline that often requires specialised techniques and equipment. One key aspect of carp fishing is using the appropriate bait, and a common choice for anglers targeting carp are boilies. Boilies are round, hard baits usually made from a mixture of fishmeal, eggs, and a variety of other ingredients. These baits are frequently used to tempt carp in various rig setups, one of which is the ‘pop-up boilie rig’.

Pop-Up Boilie Overview

Pop-up boilie

In carp fishing, the pop-up boilie rig is designed to present a floating bait off the bottom at varying heights. Ideal for attracting carp, particularly in situations where they are feeding over debris or weed-covered areas, this rig offers a valuable tactical option.

Pop-up boilies are similar to traditional boilies but contain buoyant material, enabling them to float. These baits can be round, pillow-shaped, barrel-shaped, or even dumbbell-shaped to provide variety in presentation and mimic loose feed boilies that carp might encounter naturally.

To create a pop-up boilie rig, you’ll need the following items:

  • Coated hooklink (roughly 10 inches)
  • Shrink tube
  • Size 4 to 6 wide gape carp hook
  • 15mm to 18mm pop-up boilie
  • Split shot
  • Boilie stop
  • Anti-tangle sleeve
  • Quick change swivel

The rig is relatively easy to set up, with a step-by-step guide available here.

An important aspect of the pop-up boilie rig is the use of a ‘hair’ – a small loop of line that extends from the hook’s shank to hold the pop-up boilie. This allows the bait to float freely above the hook, making it more enticing for carp that are feeding off the bottom.

In summary, pop-up boilie rigs are an effective method in carp fishing, allowing anglers to present their bait above debris or weed beds and attracting carp that may not be attracted to traditional baits. By understanding the basics of carp fishing and the components of a pop-up boilie rig, anglers can maximise their chances of a successful catch. Remember to select the appropriate bait shape and size for the situation, and always adjust your rig presentation to suit the specific conditions you’re fishing in.

Types of Pop-Up Rigs

Pop-up boilie fishing rigs are popular in carp angling and come in various types to accommodate different fishing situations. In this section, we will focus on two main types of pop-up rigs: the Chod Rig and the Combi-Rig.

Chod Rig

The Chod rig is a popular choice when fishing over dense debris or weed on the lake bottom. With the bait positioned above the bottom, the Chod rig maintains visibility and prevents the bait from being buried in the silt, leaves or weed.

  • Components of the Chod Rig:

    • Hook with a stiff, curved shank
    • Stiff monofilament or fluorocarbon line
    • Beads and swivel to allow movement of the rig on the mainline
    • Floating pop-up boilie bait
  • Key Benefits:

    • Effective in fishing over weed beds, debris or silt-bottomed waters
    • Highly visible bait presentation
    • Less risk of tangling due to the rig’s stiffness


The Combi-Rig is another pop-up boilie rig variant that effectively presents the bait off the bottom. This versatile rig combines the stiffness of fluorocarbon or mono lines with the suppleness of a braided or coated line for hook-link material.

  • Components of the Combi-Rig:

    • Hook with a straight or slightly curved shank
    • Stiff and soft materials for the rig’s hook link (e.g., fluorocarbon and braid)
    • Swivel or quick-change clip
    • Pop-up boilie bait attached using bait screw, bait floss, or silicone tubing
  • Key Benefits:

    • Adaptable to various fishing situations, from silt to gravel bottoms
    • Enables quick changes of the bait and hook link
    • Improved hooking efficiency due to the flexible hook link section

While there are other pop-up rig variations, the Chod Rig and the Combi-Rig are excellent examples to explore in carp fishing situations. Both rigs offer distinctive advantages, and choosing the right one depends on factors such as the lake bed type and your desired bait presentation.

Setting up a Pop-Up Boilie Rig

Knotless Knot for Hook Attachment

The knotless knot is a popular method for attaching the hook to the hooklink in carp rigs, especially in pop-up boilie rigs. Start by threading your chosen hooklink material through the eye of the hook, leaving a long tag end. Next, hold the hook and hooklink in one hand while wrapping the tag end around the shank and the hooklink material several times. After wrapping, pass the tag end back through the eye of the hook in the same direction as before. Finally, pull the tag end to tighten the knot.

Hair Loop and Bait Attachment

To attach your pop-up boilie to the rig, a hair loop is used. Begin by creating a small loop in the tag end of your hooklink material, close to the knotless knot. Tie an overhand or figure-of-eight knot to secure the loop. Thread the pop-up bait onto a baiting needle and hook the needle onto the hair loop. Then, slide the bait onto the hair, leaving the needle hook in the loop.

Attach a small piece of bait floss through the hair loop and secure it using a bait stop. Trim the excess floss for a clean finish.

Weighting and Balance

To correctly weight and balance your pop-up boilie rig, first assemble the necessary components. These include a lead clip, tail rubber, size 8 ring swivel, and your chosen lead weight. Attach the lead weight to the lead clip and slide the tail rubber onto the leader to lock the lead in place.

Connect the hooklink to the size 8 ring swivel and secure it to the leader. Ensure that the pop-up boilie sits just above the lakebed, away from any debris.

For additional weight adjustments, you can use split shots pinched onto the hooklink close to the hook. This helps to counterbalance the buoyancy of the pop-up boilie and achieve proper presentation.

In summary, using the knotless knot for hook attachment, hair loop and bait attachment, as well as appropriate weighting and balance, will help you create an effective pop-up boilie rig.

Selecting the Right Hook Size and Type

When setting up a pop-up boilie rig, selecting the right hook size and type is crucial for success. The hook size should be matched to the size of the pop-up boilie being used. Generally, a size 4 to 6 wide gape carp hook is suitable for 15mm to 18mm pop-ups, while a size 2 hook can be used for 18mm and larger pop-ups.

There are various types of hooks available, but some popular options for pop-up rigs include:

  • Longshank hooks: These hooks have an extended shank, which provides better hooking potential and suits pop-up rigs well. A size 10 Korda Longshank X hook is one example.
  • Wide gape hooks: As mentioned earlier, a size 4 to 6 wide gape carp hook is commonly used for pop-up rigs. The wide gape design ensures a secure hold on the pop-up boilie and allows for better hook presentation.

When choosing the hook size and type, consider the following factors:

  1. Pop-up size: As mentioned earlier, the size of the pop-up boilie plays a significant role in determining the appropriate hook size. Using a hook that is too large or too small can negatively affect the rig’s performance.
  2. Hook strength: Ensure that your chosen hook is strong enough for the size of the fish you’re targeting. Larger carp may require stronger hooks to withstand the pressure exerted during the fight.
  3. Water clarity: In clearer waters, it may be preferable to use smaller, less visible hooks to avoid spooking wary fish.

It’s essential to maintain a balanced rig to maximise its effectiveness. A well-balanced pop-up rig with the right hook size and type will improve your chances of landing carp with this popular and effective bait presentation technique.

Bait Options and Presentation

In this section, we will discuss various aspects of pop-up boilie baits, including colours, sizes, visibility, and attraction.

Boilie Colours

Pop-up boilie colours play a crucial role in attracting carp. Some popular colours are:

  • Bright colours: Fluorescent colours like pink, yellow, and white are highly visible from a distance, and can attract carp, especially in low-light conditions or murky water.
  • Natural colours: Brown, green, and dark red tones that resemble the lake bed or the fish’s natural food sources can be effective in clear water or on pressured venues where carp have learned to avoid bright baits.

Experimenting with different colours in various water conditions can help determine which colours work best in a given scenario.

Boilie Sizes

Choosing the right boilie size is essential for maximising attraction while avoiding fish spooking. Some common sizes include:

  • Small (10-12mm): Ideal for cautious feeding carp or when smaller bait items like maggots or pellets are present.
  • Standard (15-18mm): The most common size, suitable for most situations and carp sizes.
  • Large (20-24mm): Proven to be effective on larger carp or on venues with smaller fish like bream or tench, which can otherwise quickly consume smaller baits.

Match the boilie size to the target carp size, or use a mix of sizes to create a more varied bait presentation.

Visibility and Attraction

Considering visibility and attraction when selecting pop-up baits is critical, as you want carp to locate your bait quickly and with ease. Some factors that assist in visibility and attraction are:

  • Colour contrast: A contrasting colour compared to the surroundings will make the bait more obvious to carp.
  • Flavour profile: Choose strong, pungent, or sweet flavours that can attract carp from a distance.
  • Maggots or other additives: Adding live maggots or using worms can greatly increase the bait’s appeal.

Taking these factors into account when selecting your pop-up boilie presentation will increase your chances of attracting carp and getting bites.

Baits for Carp Fishing

Carp Boilies

Carp boilies are a popular and effective bait for carp fishing. These round, dough-like balls are made from various ingredients, such as cereal, egg, cream corn, flour, and butter, to create a highly attractive and nutritious food source for carp. Boilies can be purchased ready-made, or made at home using a recipe. Some boilies are designed to float, known as pop-up boilies, which are used in conjunction with a pop-up boilie rig to keep the bait suspended above the bottom debris.

There are also artificial pop-up boilies made of plastic, which can be flavoured to increase their attractiveness to carp. Brightly coloured pop-up boilies can help carp visually locate and home in on your hook bait.

Paste Baits

Paste baits are another type of carp bait that can be highly effective. These are soft, dough-like mixtures that can be moulded around the hook, allowing them to break down gradually in the water and release their attractive scent and flavour. Paste baits can be made from various ingredients, such as fishmeal, ground pellets, or even bread, and can be enhanced with additional flavours or attractants for greater effectiveness.

Natural Food Sources

Carp are known to feed on a variety of natural food sources found in their environment. These include insects, crustaceans, small fish, and various types of aquatic plants. Incorporating these elements into your carp fishing bait can help to mimic their natural diet and make your bait more attractive to carp.

Some examples of natural food sources used in carp fishing are:

  • Sweetcorn: A highly visible, sweet-tasting bait that can be used on its own, or mixed with other baits such as boilies or pellets.
  • Worms, maggots, and casters: These live baits can be highly effective, as they provide movement and a natural scent that attracts carp.
  • Bread: A simple and versatile option, bread can be moulded around the hook or used as a paste bait, and works well for both surface and bottom fishing.

Using a combination of carp boilies, paste baits, and natural food sources can greatly increase your chances of success in carp fishing. Experimenting with different bait types and presentations will help you discover what works best in your specific fishing situation.

Carp Fishing Techniques

Casting Strategies

Carp fishing with pop-up boilies requires precision and accuracy in casting. This allows you to place your bait strategically and increase your chances of attracting carp. Here are some casting tips to improve your success rate:

  1. Choose the right equipment: A good quality rod and reel combination will help you cast both smoothly and accurately. Consider investing in a long-range carp rod for better casting distance and control.
  2. Survey the water: Before casting, analyse the water body to determine the most likely carp holding spots. Look for features like overhanging trees, weed beds, or gaps in the reeds.
  3. Practice your technique: As with any skill, practice makes perfect. Spend time honing your casting skills to achieve greater accuracy and control in various conditions.
  4. Use PVA bags or mesh (optional): In certain situations, using PVA bags or mesh can help ensure your pop-up boilies are delivered to the desired location. This approach minimises disturbance as the baited rig is cast only once.

Tangle Prevention

To ensure the efficiency of your pop-up boilie rig, it’s essential to minimise the risk of tangles during the cast. Implementing the following strategies can help prevent tangles and improve your fishing experience:

  1. Use a semi-stiff coated hooklink: A coated hooklink provides some rigidity, helping to maintain the shape of your rig while minimising the chances of tangling.
  2. Incorporate an anti-tangle sleeve: Incorporating an anti-tangle sleeve on your rig can further minimise the potential for tangles by ensuring that the hooklink remains straight during the cast.
  3. Test cast the rig: Before fishing, perform a few test casts with your rig to ensure that it remains tangle-free. Practice can help identify and resolve any issues before you start fishing.
  4. Check your rig frequently: Regularly check your rig for any tangles when reeling in or recasting. Addressing any tangles early will enhance the performance of your pop-up boilie rig.

By employing these casting strategies and tangle prevention techniques, your pop-up boilie rig can help to increase the success of your carp fishing trips.

Additional Tips and Tricks

When setting up a pop-up boilie rig, you can increase your chances of catching specimen fish by considering the following tips and tricks. Firstly, using a piece of shrink tube around the hook ensures a secure and controlled presentation. This allows the pop-up boilie to sit just off the bottom, enticing carp to take the bait.

In addition, adding a split shot to your rig adds the necessary weight to slowly sink the floating bait, adjusting its buoyancy for a more natural presentation. This technique is particularly effective when fishing in lakes, where fish tend to be more cautious and easily spooked.

One popular method to boost the attractiveness of your pop-up boilies is to soak or glug them in a flavour solution. By doing so, you can create a more appealing bait for fish like carp and catfish. Alternatively, you can coat your boilies in a flavour spray before casting out, which achieves the same effect. For the most effective bait, consider using fishmeal-based boilies, as they are proven to attract a wide range of fish species.

While boiling your pop-up boilies is not necessary, it can be a useful step when preparing your own baits. Boiling them for a few minutes helps to create a tough outer skin that prevents the boilie from breaking apart on the hook while still preserving their flavour and attractive properties.

Keep your rig suspended off the bottom where possible, as this reduces the chances of snagging or the fish detecting the line. Opt for anti-tangle sleeves and quick-change swivels to increase your rig’s efficiency and keep things tidy. By employing these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to a successful fishing session.

Using Preservatives and Quality Control

When preparing your pop-up boilie rigs, it’s essential to consider the use of preservatives and maintaining quality control. This can greatly impact the effectiveness of your bait and ultimately your success in catching fish.

One aspect to focus on is the use of preservatives in your pop-up boilies. Preservatives play a crucial role in extending the shelf-life of the bait, preventing mould or bacterial growth. This ensures that the bait remains fresh and continues to release attractive scents and flavours over an extended period. You can find both artificial and natural preservatives; however, it’s advisable to opt for natural ones as they are less likely to have adverse effects on the fish or the aquatic environment.

When purchasing pop-up boilies, be cautious of cheap alternatives. Lower-priced options may use poor-quality ingredients and excessive artificial preservatives, affecting the bait’s performance and potentially harming the fish. To ensure quality control, consider purchasing from reputable suppliers or making your own pop-up boilies using high-quality ingredients.

When preparing your bait, it’s important to abide by some basic quality control measures. These might include:

  • Storing the baits in a cool, dry place to prevent spoilage
  • Regularly inspecting your baits for signs of mould or discolouration
  • Testing the buoyancy of your pop-ups to make sure they perform as designed
  • Rotating your bait stock to use the older boilies first

By putting an emphasis on using preservatives and practising quality control, you can maximise the effectiveness of your pop-up boilie rigs, increasing your chances for successful fishing sessions.

Sharing Your Carp Fishing Adventures

Carp fishing is an exciting and enjoyable pastime that can also be immensely rewarding. Sharing your carp fishing adventures with others not only allows you to celebrate your successes but also provides an opportunity for fellow anglers to learn from your experiences.

One popular method for using pop-up boilies is the pop-up boilie rig, which offers several advantages over traditional bottom bait setups. This rig is particularly effective in situations where the lake bed is covered in debris, as it ensures that your bait is presented above the bottom, making it more visible to carp.

When documenting your carp fishing adventures, consider including the following details:

  • Location: Describe the venue, such as the name of the lake or river, its size, depth, and any unique features.
  • Weather conditions: Include information about the temperature, wind direction, and any other relevant factors.
  • Bait and rigs: Share the specific types of boilies you used, the flavours and colours, and the rig setup you employed, such as the pop-up boilie rig. You can provide details on how you prepared and attached the boilies, as well as any additional baiting strategies.
  • Carp caught: Include information about the carp you caught, such as their size and weight, and any challenges you faced during the fight.
  • Techniques and tactics: Discuss your approach to finding the carp, the tactics you employed, and any changes you made during the session.

To present this information clearly and effectively, you might consider using tables, bullet points, and images to illustrate your adventure. For example:

LocationWeatherBait & RigCarp CaughtTechniques & Tactics
Lake XClear, 18°C, light breezeTwo-tone pop-up boilies, pop-up boilie rig5, biggest 18kgBaited with a scattering of boilies, positioned rigs near a weed bed

Also, consider sharing your carp fishing adventures on social media platforms and fishing forums, which can generate discussion and result in constructive feedback from the angling community. This can help you continue to develop your skills and knowledge, ultimately leading to even more successful fishing experiences.