I never see this rig used on a regular basis, therefore it is one which could work on waters that are heavily fished:
To setup the helicopter rig you do not tie the hook on. The idea is that the hook is free to spin around on the hooklink, and this enables it to take hold in the carps mouth as soon as the line is tightened on the strike. The way the hook is attached acts as a line aligner, and the hook bites home every time. This hook rig only works in conjunction with a stiff link, for example stiff nylon, and the larger the hook the better, for example a size 4 is ideal. The reason for the large hook is due to the large eye, which allows the hook to swivel more freely. This rig should only be used with a critically balanced bottom bait, as it counters the weight of the hook and hooklink. Place a float stop on the link, then thread the hook on. Tie a secure knot in the end of the link, then super glue to ensure it holds. The knot will need to be much larger than the eye of the hook, to ensure the hook will not fall off. At the other end , tie the swivel on with a loop knot so that the link is free to move at that end, thus increasing movement.
The snowman rig provides almost neutral buoyancy which allows it to behave extremely naturally when lying just above the lake bed.
The idea behind the rig is that the small bait at the top of the hair is designed to counteract the buoyant pop-up below. Shaped like a body and head is where the rigs name, ‘snowman’ comes from. Dont make it critically balanced as it will float a little too much, the idea behind the snowman rig is to have the larger boilie pinned to the surface, with the smaller pop-up boilie above it. You can check for the correct buoyancy by testing the rig in a bait box full of water with a free boilie next to it. When you swish the water, watch to see if the rig bait moves similar to the free boilie. If the rig is too bouyant just trim a little off the pop-up. Its also good to trim both boilies so they change shape, carp become familiar with rounded boilies, and the larger carp may shy away. Colours and flavours also make a diference. There is no right or wrong, just experiment and see what works best for you.
Tying The Snowman Rig
Start by tying yourself a knotless knott. Make sure you have enough or a hair to add both of the baits. Presentation is very important, if the baits dont site correctly due to too long or too shoter hair the carp may not take it, or if they do the hook may not hold in the carp.
Using a baiting needle thread the larger boilie on, followed by the pop-up. Then secure with a boilie stop, try to match the boilie stop colour with the colour of the pop-up for perfect presentation.
Test your rig in the margins, or a water container to see how it sits. If required add a small shot or tungsten putty to keep the snowman from popping up too much.
I have experimented with many different rigs in the past, some have worked but others have failed. I wouldn’t say there is one outstanding rig to use as each one differs and the success of the rig is also down to external factors including:
• The lake conditions – has it been heavily fished recently?
• Fishing methods – Are you spodding? Fishing in the right place?
• Ground the fish are feeding on – Are you fishing on mud, weed, gravel or sand?
• Bait – Boilies, PoP-ups, meat, maggots, worm etc…
If combinations of the above are not correct the fish feeding habits could be affected. So the perfect rig on its day may not work.
Likewise, if the fish are in a feeding frenzy, a rig which not been setup correctly may still work. It’s all down to the conditions on the day.
However having a correct rig will increase your chances of catching fish when some of the other factors are in your favour – it’s all about increasing the odds!
Remember though, that carp will eventually wise up to a good rig if its used on the same lake time and time again. So I would recommend you alternate rigs after a few fishing sessions on the same venue.