Home Fishing Tips & Advice How to Fish a Helicopter Rig

How to Fish a Helicopter Rig

A helicopter rig can be used in a range of fishing situations and is used to fish a range of species all over the world. However, it is most often used in Europe and the United Kingdom for carp angling. This rig is best suited for bottom-fishing when the bottom comprises of weed or silt. 

Fishing a Helicopter Rig

The helicopter rig’s name comes from the rating movement that the hook makes around the leader as the angler casts out. This motion prevents the rig from becoming tangled because the link is stretched and cannot become wrapped around the leader. 

The lead weight is placed at the end of the main line making for an aerodynamic movement that is perfect for long casts. You can also adjust the placement of the top-bead to ensure the hook-link is perfectly cast over any bottom. 

This rig works best if you are bottom-fishing on a floor of silt and weed. If you chose a normal sliding-sinker rig in this situation, the weight would slide down the line and the baited hook will be on the bottom end. While this works in most fishing conditions, casting this type of rig into weed, silt, or mud, your bait and hook will likely get buried at the bottom. 

A helicopter rig enables you to attach the weight at the end, while the bait and the hook can freely slide up and down the line. If it lands on a silt bottom, the weight may sink and become buried, but the hook and bait will rise up the line and remain above the soft bottom. Thus, the fish can still locate and feed on the bait. 

Helicopter rigs are perfect for fishing carp but they can also be useful for fishing catfish and other fish that remain near the bottom in soft water conditions. Just remember to choose a weight and hook that match your fishing conditions. 

Benefits of a Helicopter Rig

There are a few benefits to using helicopter rig and they will enable you to fish in areas that other set-ups would be unsuccessful. Helicopter rigs very rarely become tangled, they are easy to cast as the lead weight is at the end of the rig, and it is easy to present the bait to a range of different bottoms if it is used correctly. 

You can simply adjust the placement of the top weight on the leader to ensure that the hook-link will present perfectly on top of silt, weed, or debris. This set-up will ensure that the hook always sits next to the top-bead when you cast off, leaving a certain amount of separation between the lead and the rig. 

How to Set Up a Helicopter Rig

Pre-set-up helicopter rigs are available to purchase online, however, they are not readily available in all countries. It is important to note that must such rigs will come without a sinker. All you need to do is pinch or attach a bell-sinker onto the end of the rig. You may also choose to use a grabber-lead sinker which is specifically designed for fishing carp. 

Kits containing the components for setting up a helicopter rig are usually simpler to find than pre-set-up rigs. You will, in this case, have to set-up the rig yourself, however, it is not too difficult or time-consuming. You also do not have to choose a complicated helicopter set-up as is common in the United Kingdom, there are other set-up options. 

If you decide to tie your own helicopter rig, you will need a few components. The first is a hair-rig or just a hook on a leader which you will connect to your swivel. Then you will thread the line through the swivel, enabling the hook and bait to slide freely along the line. Then push the bead onto the main line and attach the fixed swivel to the end of the line. Then you are ready to go. 

Depending on the situation, you can add some additional components. Silicone tubing can work well to ensure a section of the rig remains straight or to prevent any snags or tangles. Extra beads can also be used to protect any knots or to help it to slide. You can also test out a range of different sinkers to see which works best for you. You will have to try a few variations before you find the perfect rig for your needs, however, that is true for every fishing rig. 

Baiting a Helicopter Rig

For this rig, it is important to pay attention to your bait choice. The whole method is designed to present the bait to areas of the lake where other rigs cannot do so. Thus it is important to choose a bait that is balanced and has some amount of buoyancy. 

If you are new to angling, a “balanced” bait, is one that has a neutral weight when in the water and sinks slowly toward the designated area. Anglers often add little amounts of putty to their rig until it is heavy enough to start to slowly sink. This will take time, trial, and error, but it is worth it when you get it right. 

If you are fishing over an area of silt or weed, a bait that sinks too quickly will end up sinking and becoming submerged in the bottom which counteracts the whole purpose of using the helicopter rig set-up. Choosing a balanced bait instead will ensure that it falls slowly to the bottom and enable it to rest or float on top of the bottom of the weed and silt. This will give you a much higher chance of catching carp in these conditions. 

To Sum Up

The helicopter rig is a good option for certain situations. If you are bottom-fishing for carp or even catfish in an area of soft silt or weed, this is a great method to try. Any other rigs may result in the hook and bait become caught and submerged on the bottom.