How to Tie a Pop-Up Rig (Simple Step-By-Step Guide)


how to tie a pop up rig

The classic pop-up rig is one of carp fishing’s most effective rigs of all time! I have been using this amazingly simple rig for many years now, and wanted to show you exactly how to tie a pop-up rig.

All you need to tie the pop-up rig is a roughly 10” long coated hooklink, a piece of shrink tube, a size 4 to 6 wide gape carp hook, a 15mm to 18mm pop-up, as well as a split shot, a boilie stop, an anti-tangle sleeve, a quick change swivel and about 5 minutes of your time.

Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to easily and quickly tie a pop-up rig that will catch you a lot of carp.

pop up rig tackle

Here is the essential end tackle that is needed to tie the pop-up rig:

  • Korda Dark Matter (link to Amazon: here)
  • Korda Shrink Tube (link to Amazon: here)
  • Korda Anti-Tangle Sleeves (link to Amazon: here)
  • Korda Wide Gape X Hooks (link to Amazon: here)
  • Fox Boilie Needles (link to Amazon: here)

This is really all you’re gonna need to tie your own pop-up rig! If you want to know exactly how to tie this effective rig, follow the step-by-step guide below. After you’ve tied a few of those, you’ll easily be able to create a pop-up rig in under 5 minutes. Let’s get going!

1. Prepare The Hooklink

pop up rig hooklink

The first thing you will need is a 10-12” long piece of coated braid hooklink. 10” is an average length for a pop-up rig and works in many instances. But, of course, depending on your venue’s bottom features (silt, weed, gravel, etc), you will have to adjust the length somewhat.

For thick weed or deep silt, a slightly longer hooklink is recommended, while a shorter one will work just fine for harder and more even bottom structures.

I almost always use the 20 lb Korda Dark Matter Hooklink material for my carp pop-up rigs, it’s pure quality tackle!

2. Remove 2-3” of Coating

pop up rig hooklink coating

Now, remove around 2-3” of the coating from one end of your hooklink. This can be done pretty easily using your fingernails.

The stripped piece of the hooklink will be used for the hair and the knotless knot. Using uncoated braid makes it much easier to tie the loop, and the knot around the hook shank.

And, as you’ll see further down, it will also give your hookbait a little more flexibility and make it less stiff.

3. Tie a Loop for The Hair

pop up rig hair loop

In order to be able to later attach a boilie stop, to keep your pop-up on the hair, tie a rather small figure eight loop knot in the end of the stripped piece of your hooklink.

Keep going, you’re doing great!

4. Thread The Hooklink Through the Eye of the Hook

pop up rig hook

Now, it’s time to bring in your hook! For this particular rig, I am using a size 4 Korda Wide Gape. This size is a perfect match for pop-ups of 16mm-20mm. If you are using smaller hookbaits, a size 6 hook will do perfectly fine.

Take the other end of your hooklink and thread it through the back of the kooks’ eye. Pull the hooklink all the way through the eye, until the hook is on the stripped piece of your hooklink, close to the hair loop.

Don’t tie the knotless know just yet, though!

5. Attach Your Pop-Up

pop up

Before you tie the hooklink to your hook, using the knotless knot, thread your pop-up onto your hair, with the help of a boilie needle.

I am going to be using a 16mm pop-up, which perfectly aligns with the size 4 hook’s bend.

6. Tie a Knotless Knot Around Your Hook Shank

pop up rig knotless knot

Step 6 is rather crucial! The pop-up must be very close to the bend of the hook! They should not be apart more than 1mm!

When you have found the right distance, it’s time to tie the knotless knot around your hook’s shank.

Insider tip: Make sure that the coating stays away from the hook’s eye. If it gets too close, just pull the coating a down your hooklink a little further.

Turn your hooklink 5-7 times around the shank and hair, and then thread the end of the hooklink, once again, through the back of the hook’s eye.

how to tie a pop-up rig

Thread the hooklink all the way through the eye and then draw it tight, so that the knotless knot will tighten itself around the shank.

Good job, you’re almost done!

7. Thread The Shrink Tube onto The Hooklink

pop-up rig shrink tube

The next step is to take a small piece of shrink tube, roughly 1-1.5′‘ in length, and to thread it onto your hooklink, all the way down to your hook.

Thread it over the and onto the hook shank, until it is very close to the pop-up. Once the tube will be shrunk, it will lock the pop-up tightly to the shank., which is exactly where you want it to be!

8. Boil the Shrink Tube

shrink tube for pop-up rig

Now, your pop-up rig will take a quick bath in boiling water.

Personally, I like to take off the pop-up at this point, as I don’t want it to be damaged or loose any of it’s flavour or buoyancy in the hot water, even though it’s only for a couple of seconds. It’s no must, though!

Once the water is boiling, simply dip your hook with the shrink tube into it, for about 5-7 seconds. this will be enough to cause the tube to shrink and tighten around your hook shank.

shrink tube

Then, lift it out again and now, quickly, bend the still flexible shrink tube just a little bit, by pulling the hooklink inward, towards the point of your hook. Hold it there for another few seconds and wait until the tube has stiffened.

This extra little bend of the tube will increase the hook’s bolt effect, as it sort of expands the hook’s natural bend.

9. Attach a Split Shot to The Hooklink

pop up rig split shot

The next step is to attach a very small split shot, or piece of tungsten, to the remaining stripped piece of your hooklink, just above the coating. This will keep your rig on the bottom, allowing it to pop up only a few inches, depending on where on the hooklink you attach the shot.

Once again, it all depends on the bottom structure of your swim. For thick weed or deep silt, attach the split shot a little further up your hooklink, which will cause the pop-up to be a little higher up.

For harder and more even bottom structures, place the shot further down on your hooklink, near the hook. This will keep the pop-up very close to the bottom.

10. Thread an Anti-Tangle Sleeve onto the Hooklink

pop up rig anti-tangle sleeve

Now, your rig is basically ready! All that’s left to do is to thread an anti-tangle sleeve onto your hooklink, so that your rig won’t wrap itself around the lead or mainline.

11. Attach Your Hooklink to a Quick Change Swivel

pop up rig quick change swivel

Finally, tie a simple figure eight knot at the end of your rig, creating a loop that you can easily attach to a quick change swivel. Pull the anti-tangle sleeve over the swivel, and that’s it!

Congratulations, you have just tied your first pop-up rig!

Using a quick change swivel allows you to both switch to a shorter or longer rig, if needed, and to easily thread a PVA stick onto your hooklink. If you prefer using a normal barrel swivel, attach your hooklink to it with the improved clinch knot.

Bonus Tip For Weedy and Silty Bottom

pop up rig foam

Many anglers hesitate to use the classic pop-up rig over weed or silt, as they fear that the weight of the split shot will drag the entire rig down into the bottom, making it harder for the carp to detect.

That fear is however totally unjustified! First of all, if you find the perfect balance between pop-up and shot weight, your rig will naturally sink to the bottom very slowly, placing itself perfectly on top of the weed or silt.

Second of all, if you still feel that you want to ensure a soft landing for your rig, simply attach a rig foam to your hook! This way, your hookbait will always be placed perfectly and can enjoy a high visibility, no matter how short or long your hooklink may be!

Related Articles on Carp, Boilies and Pop-Ups

Max Loesche

Hi, I'm Max, the founder and head author of Strike&Catch. I have been a passionate fisherman since 1997 and spend as much time as possible on the bank. Click on my name to read my full biography.

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