Helicopter rigs for Roach & Rudd by Alan Stagg

Helicopter rigs for Roach & Rudd by Alan Stagg

Targeting Roach and Rudd lends itself to two very different methods; the float and the feeder. The float is the more traditional approach of the two and wading out in the shallow margins spraying maggots can lead to some good fun fishing. When the winds strengthen, things can become difficult on the vast open water venues, making presentation and accurate feeding challenging to say the least. In these conditions the feeder can come into its own. Short hook lengths fished helicopter style with maggots often take some beating, allowing anglers to target fish in tough conditions or when fish are showing out of the range of float fishing tactics.

This brace of roach weighing 3lb 1oz 3lb 6oz roach fell to a helicopter rig.

The rig is very simple to construct and comprises a short 3–4 inch hook length of 3lb Gardner Target Fluorocarbon tied to a small size 20 Target Swivel. I favour short fluorocarbon hook lengths as they produce a slightly stiffer hook length that reduces tangles, especially when it’s left to straighten out on a rig board for a few hours. Threading a Target Mini Anti Tangle Sleeve onto the hook length to help create a boom, kicking out the hook length away from the mainline helps reduce tangles as well.

I’ll vary the distance that the hook length is set above the feeder to gauge the reaction of how the fish are feeding on the day. I start with it sitting around 6–7 inches above the feeder and adjust it throughout the session until I find out how the fish want the hookbait presented on the day.

I only leave the smallest of gaps between the Target Line Stops that hold the swivel in place, leaving just enough gap to allow the swivel to turn and flex on the mainline. Too much of a gap can mean the swivel can move too freely, reducing the hooking properties of the rig as allowing for a slight bit of movement sometimes allowing the fish to get rid of the hook more easily.

When using this rig for Rudd I like to sandwich a small sliver of 6mm Gardner pop-up foam between two maggots to help pop the hook bait up the length of the hook length. This puts the hook bait right in front of the Rudd and due to their mouth shape, allows them to take a bait suspended up off the bottom far easier.

A cracking catch of big rudd caught using a helicopter rig.

Rig components

Step 1 – Tie a short 3-4 inch hooklength using 3lb Target Fluorocarbon. Thread a Mini Target Anti-Tangle Sleeve down the hook length and tie the fluorocarbon to a size 20 swivel.

Tie a short 3-4 inch hook length using 3lb Target Fluorocarbon. Thread a Mini Target Anti-Tangle Sleeve down the hook length and tie the fluorocarbon to a size 20 swivel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2 – Thread a medium Target Line Stop onto the mainline.

Thread a medium Target Line Stop onto the mainline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3 – Follow this by the hook length.

Follow this by the hook length.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4 – Thread a second medium Target Line Stop and sandwich it against the swivel. Leave just enough gap to allow the swivel to rotate in flight.

Thread a second medium Target Line Stop and sandwich it against the swivel. Leave just enough gap to allow the swivel to rotate in flight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5 – The finished rig.

The finished rig.

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