Specimen Rig Building

Specimen Rig Building

Specimen Angling in many ways is much different to Conventional angling. The Rigs are especially much more advanced and in general specimen Tackle is way more costly. Specimen Angling is very rewarding as the Size of the fish now adds Adrenalin to the mix. With the Fish being much larger The end Tackle needs to be way stronger and this is why Specimen Anglers use Braided Line.
There are many Different Rigs that can be Built for Different Water conditions and Styles of Bait Presentation. Arguably Every Specimen Angler will have his/her Personal Favourite Rig and Specific preferences as to how the Rig should be Built. None the less, If the Rig catches Fish then it is a good rig in my opinion.
So let us Start this section off with some Terminology and Basic Rig Building Tools as well as end Tackle required to build a Basic Specimen Hair Rig.

Hair rig building is a science that does not need to turn into a complex mind boggling disaster. Once you have mastered the basics of hair rig building you will easily be able to build, modify and even invent new ways to build your rigs. With this step by step guide I hope to teach even the beginner the right way to build and bait a hair rig. To many times have I been at the water’s edge and find a angler fishing with a hair rig and having a miss strike due to a hook pull. To lose a big fish due to it out smarting you is one thing but to lose one due to a rig failure, there is only one person to blame for that! It is either you or the shop owner who sold you a ready built rig that was not made correctly. I have had way to many failures from buying readymade rigs that I now make my own. This way I make sure of the quality in the knots.


From top left to right:

Hooks: In this photo you will see 3 types of hooks

  1. Curved shank hook ( I will be using this hook for the rig)
  2. Wide cap straight shank
  3. Barbless semi curved shank
  • Boilie stops
  • Boilie drill
  • Gummy stops
  • Braid hook link line
  • Anti tangle rubber
  • Shrink tube
  • Splicing needle

Step-by-step instructions

Step 1:

We start by pulling out around 30 cm of braid hook link line. On one end make a loop in the line and tie a normal figure 8 knot (shoelace knot). Make sure you make a big enough loop on the end for a boilie stop to slip into.

Step 2:

Now we select the gummy stops and slip one onto the opposite end of the line. Slide the gummy down towards the boilie stop loop you tied in the other end.

Step 3:

Now select the bait you want to have on the hair. For this demonstration I have selected a 16mm boilie and  14mm pop up. Using your boilie drill, drill a hole through your boilie. The pop up should be soft enough to punch through with the boilie needle or splicing needle.

Step 4:

You now Punch the pop up with your splicing needle. Then slip the boilie  onto the needle shaft as well. Slip the hook end of the needle into the loop on the hair rig and slip the boilie and pop up onto the hair.

Step 5:

Pull just enough of the loop out so you can insert the boilie stop. Boilie stops come in different shapes and forms from hard and soft materials. You will eventually decide which you prefer. For this rig we have selected a hard see through plastic clip stop. Insert the stop and pull the boilies down onto it. Make sure the stop just pulls into the boilie so that it doesn’t stick out.

Step 6:

Now you pull the Gummy stop down on the other end and secure the boilies onto the hair.

Step 7:

Now select your ring rubber or shrink tube (shrink tube is used for this rig). Cute a small peace off around 3 to 4 mm and slip this onto your hook link braid.

Step 8:

Now select your hook. Insert the sharp end of the hook (pointing towards the boilies) into the shrink tube. Make sure the hook does not hook into the Braid! Pull the tube over the BARB and onto the hook shaft.

Step 9:

Now you can slip the braid into the eye of the hook and slide the hook down towards the boilies. Remember to insert the braid from the back of the hook shown in the picture below!

Step 10:

At this stage you will need HOT WATER or STEAM from a kettle. You will now shrink the tube onto the hook shank. This can be achieved by holding the hook over the spout of a kettle as the steam blows out while boiling or dip the hook into boiling hot water. I use the steam method because the hook cools down faster.

Step 11:

Now that the shrink tube has cooled slide the tube till it is in line with the barb on the hook. Pull the hook down towards the boilies till you have around a 5mm gap between the hook curve and the boilie.

Step 12:

You can now tie the knotless knot around the shank of the hook. This is achieved by winding the braid around the shaft 6 times towards the boilies. Make sure you hold the braid firm and tight as you wind up. Then come over those turns with two turns towards the eye of the hook and again slip the braid through the eye of the hook from the back. 

Step 13:

Tie another loop into the other end of your braid.

Step 14:

Now you slide the anti tangle rubber onto your boilie needle. Hook the braid loop into the hook and pull the tail rubber onto the braid.


There you now have your hair rig complete.

A few finer adjustments can now be made to the shrink tube on the shaft of the hook. You can play around with this at home and see what happens when you pull the shrink tube up higher onto the curve of the hook or further down towards the eye of the hook. Too high and gravity will flip the hook upside down. This in effect will hook the top lip of the fish. As you know that is not a good place to hook a fish. The hook will simply tear the lip and you have lost a fish.

Too far down the shank and the hook will lean out and result in a hook pull. Hook pull is a term we use when the hook falls flat in the fishes mouth and simply pops out and doesn’t hook.

To test your hook and make sure that it will turn and face down simply lay the rig onto a table and pick up the boilie. The hook should face down. You can do a water test as well in a glass. If the pop up floats up and holds the boilie just off the ground the hook should be facing down. This is called a “ANTI BLOW BACK RIG” The fish Sucks water into its mouth. Sucking the sand and food into its mouth and then spits it out. This is how the fish feeds. So if the fish sucks the boilie into its mouth and Blows it out again the HOOK is facing down and will hook into the bottom lip centre every time! See the photo below.

When you hold the baited rig in the air and let the boilies hang down. The hook should be directly under the BOILIE. Not sticking out to the left or the right.

Next – Lead core

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