How to fish a ronnie rig - man holding ronnie rig in hand with pop-up

Carp fishing is becoming increasingly popular, with many more anglers taking to the banks regularly to try and put a few of the large carp swimming in local and national finishing venues.

Carp can grow to sizes that completely outmatch the native coarse fishing species swimming in fresh waters in the UK, Europe and across the globe, and their distinct behaviours make for great sport.

When it comes to carp fishing, specialised tactics have been developed over the years to entice the carp into your swim and hopefully pick up your hook bait.

A lot of these tactics only target carp, so beginner anglers have a lot to learn if they want to become a successful carp angler.

One area of angling that can make the difference between catching plenty of fish in a session to catching nothing at all is the rig that you choose, so it is imperative that new anglers learn all about carp rigs and how to use them.

One of these rigs is the ronnie rig.

This rig has been increasingly popular in modern times, with many anglers swearing by this presentation.

So, let’s look at how to fish a ronnie rig.

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  • How to Fish a Ronnie Rig?

    Ronnie rigs provide a great presentation for carp anglers, and it should be a rig that all anglers know how to fish effectively if they want to fish slightly off the bottom using pop-up presentations.

    If you want to learn how to fish a Ronnie rig you need to know the basics behind the rig, why and when it is so effective, how to tie a Ronnie rig and what hook baits you’ll need for fishing the rig.

    Let’s get into it.

    What is a Ronnie Rig?

    The Ronnie rig is an extremely new carp rig and is thought to be developed in the 21st century by Steve Cliff on the Bedford clay pits of Elstow.

    Some anglers claim to have been using variations of the Ronnie rig for years, but it was only really brought to the masses in the last ten years and is a common rig used by experienced carp anglers today.

    The Ronnie rig is a low-lying pop-up rig with bait just above the lake bed.

    The main benefit and use of the Ronnie rig are its presentation, the way it moves in the water, and the hook hold it can produce on carp willing to suck in the pop-up hook bait.

    The rig is tied with a swivel that allows your pop-up to swivel 360 degrees, and the shrink tube and lock swivel allow the rig to rotate easily.

    This means that the rig will maintain its hooking position at all times, giving an effective presentation in the water.

    These swivels and rotation also make the Ronnie rig almost impossible to tangle together, so you can be confident that it is useful when cast out into a swim for hours at a time.

    When is the Ronnie Rig Most Effective?

    As the Ronnie rig is a low-lying pop-up rig, it is best fished over clearish bottoms and is not generally that suited to fishing in dense weeds.

    Small amounts of weed, deeper silt and some debris on the bottom should not be too much of an issue. Still, if you’re fishing over denser weed or heavy debris on the bottom, then a chod rig might be a better presentation as it allows the pop-up to slide up the mainline and settle on top of this weed or debris.

    If you’re unsure what the bottom of the venue is like, you can cast out a lead and feel it down to the bottom through the line to have a reasonable understanding of what the bottom is like and if it is suitable for fishing a Ronnie rig.

    f you feel the lead land on a hard surface, this will typically be an area of clean gravel, and you can clarify this by feeling the lead bounce over small stones as you reel it back towards you.

    If you have cast-over silt, you may not feel much of a drop at all as the silt cushions the lead. When you start reeling in the lead, it should feel smooth and steady as the lead pulls through the fine silt.

    On the other hand, if the silt is especially deep and made up of lots of decaying organic matter, you may feel resistance you reel in the lead, and the lead may be covered in “sludge” that may smell.

    This is one example of when it could be best to opt for a chod rig instead of a Ronnie rig to avoid your low-lying bait being swamped in this heavy silt.

    If you have cast into weed or dying weed, you will most likely hardly feel the drop, and you’ll be met with heavy resistance as you reel the lead back in.

    The weed will also likely tangle around your lead, so you’ll be able to see some weed or dying weed as you remove your lead from the water.

    This is another situation where choosing a Ronnie rig might not be the most effective, as it is best fished in clear bottoms of silt, gravel or even over clay.

    How to Tie a Ronnie Rig?

    The next step you’ll need to learn is how to tie the Ronnie rig. 

    The Ronnie rig can be easy to put together and doesn’t take any complicated knots, and can be put together by putting together a few components.

    As with most carp fishing rigs, you can buy pre-tied Ronnie rigs that make it far easier to put rigs together, as all you need to do is attach the pre-tied hook and rig to a lead and then fire on a hook bait.

    If you’re more interested in tying your own rigs, then the video below provides easy-to-follow steps and some reasoning on how you can put the rig together and why it is effective.

    YouTube video

    Things you’ll need:

    • Spool of boom material
    • Curved shank hook
    • Spinner swivel
    • Kicker
    • Micro ring swivel
    • Hook bead
    • 0.6mm krimps
    • Anti tangle sleeve
    • Rig putty
    • Small bait floss

    The steps:

    1. Attach your hook to the spinner swivel 
    2. Put a kicker over the shank of the hook and push it down over the end of the spinner swivel
    3. Thread micro swivel onto the hook 
    4. Follow this with a hook bead and push this over until it is in line with the barb of the hook
    5. Cut 8 inches of boom material and thread on one of the crimps, and then thread the boom material through the ring on the spinner swivel
    6. Pass the boom material back through the crimp to create a loop for the swivel, and then compress the crimp using the crimping tool
    7. Trim the tag end 
    8. Thread anti-tangle sleeve onto the hook link
    9. Create another loop with another crimp to make it easier to attach this to your lead set-up
    10. Slide the anti-tangle sleeve over the crimp while leaving the loop exposed
    11. Cut a short length of bait floss, push the pop-up onto the baiting needle and then thread the bait floss through the pop-up; cut the tag end of the floss leaving around 1 cm 
    12. Burn these down and press the bait floss against the pop-up with the lighter to secure the bait

      Hookbaits for the Ronnie Rig

      As the Ronnie rig is a pop-rig, the hook bait you should be using is a buoyant pop-up. This allows the bait to float marginally off the bottom before the weight of the lead keeps it in place.

      Your pop-up size should be balanced with the size of the hook you’re using to avoid impeding the movement and rotation of the hook, which is the main appeal of the Ronnie rig.

      A size 12 or 14mm pop-up works great with a size four curve shank hook, but if you’re scaling down the hook size, then you should also scale down the size of the pop-up to match.

      Some anglers may use a bottom boilie or wafter on a Ronnie rig. There shouldn’t be too much issue with this, and it will still catch fish, but to take advantage of the Ronnies presentation fully, a pop-up should be the bait of choice.

      Balance The Rig

      You should test the rig in the shallows to see if the rig is balanced effectively and if not, you should add some tungsten putty to improve the presentation.

      If the rig does not sit correctly, with only the hook and bait sitting above the water, then some tungsten putty should be added to the knot attaching your hook link to the end section of your Ronnie rig.

      That’s All

      Ronnie rigs are fairly new to carp fishing but provide an extremely effective presentation for fishing a pop-up bait just off the bottom.

      The added swivels in the rig allow your bait and rig to rotate freely, which should aid in good hook hold if any fish decide to pick up your bait.

      The angle at which the hook sits at in the water is another reason why the Ronnie rigs are great for hooking fish. You can be confident that your rig is always fishing effectively (if tied correctly) because it is nearly impossible to tangle.

      One thing to keep in mind I what bottom you’re fishing over, as the Ronnie rig is not all that effective in dense weed or lots of debris on the bottom.

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