The term pop-ups refers to baits which
float, and therefore rise up above the weight
as far as the rig allows. The result of this is
a bait which, instead of just sitting on the bottom
like most would, sits a few inches above it, thus
being more easily spotted by the carp.
Why pop-up baits
This can have tremendous advantages in situations
where normally your bait would be hidden in weed
or silt or covered in dead leaves. It also has the
advantage of catching the carp's attention. Imagine
a bed of free offerings which are lying on the lake
bed and your bait is in amongst them. There may
be only a few freebies or there may be fifty or
a hundred, depending on your feeding method. The
chances of a lone carp taking your bait in preference
to the freebies are fairly small. Now imagine a
bed of free offerings with one bait floating just
above all of the others. It is going to catch the
carp's attention. As the carp moves past, the water
movement will make the lone bait sway about. Of
course in some instances this may not work in your
favour. It may cause suspicion. Why is this bait
different to the rest? The carp may not trust it
and take others in preference. However, it can be
an excellent method when others fail.
Over silt, pop-ups really score well. The bait will
sit visibly above silt whereas a normal boilie will
quite likely sink into it and only be found by a
carp rooting around searching for food.
Very often, especially in the autumn and winter,
a lake bed will be covered in dead and decaying
leaves. A normal boilie will often end up covered
in this debris and be invisible to the carp. A pop-up
however will rise just above it and still be easily
Pop-ups also make great floaters. They are a lot
easier to cast than dog biscuit and crust, will
stay on the hook longer and a often more readily
accepted. Add a bit of extra flavour or place in
a dip or soak just before use and they can give
some superb sport once the fish are taking them.
To Cook or to buy
There are several ways to make pop-ups. Microwaving
ordinary boilies will cause them to float, or if
you are making your own, you can either buy pop-up
mixes or hand roll a few of your boilies around
small cork balls. You can of course buy ready made
pop-ups and some bags of boilies even come with
a small bag of pop-ups contained inside.
If you are already fishing and decide
you need a few extra pop-ups, then you can place
a small polystyrene ball or piece of rig foam
inside a drilled out boilie. Alternatively, slice
the boilie in half and add a disc of rig foam
between the two halves before putting it on the
As well as boilies, this latter method can be applied
to other baits and particles. It is often used with
tiger nuts and a cork ball placed on a hair with
a tiger nut can often fool a greedy carp.
Rigs for pop-ups
Of course you don't want your bait floating upwards
from your weight until it is about a foot off of
the bottom. Usually an inch or two is about right.
So to anchor the rest of the rig, attach a piece
of lead putty to the hook length at that distance
from the hook. You will need to experiment a bit
to get the correct amount of weight. Try dropping
the rig in the shallows in front of you and see
what it looks like in the water. You can also try
attaching two boilies to the hair, the one nearest
the hook a sinker and the other a pop-up. This will
cause the baits to sit in the water one above the
other, and is known as a snowman rig.
Whatever type of pop-up you
prefer, give them a try and experiment a bit.
Try different combinations and flavours and different
distances from the bottom. It can often turn a
blank session into a winner.