11 Top Rig Influencers
Ever taken a moment to consider who we’ve got to thanks for the rigs that we all rely on? No? Don’t worry, we have!
Lenny Middleton: The invention of the Hair rig
We literally wouldn’t have the same carp scene that we do today without the quiet influence of this giant of the rig world. Lenny is widely credited with inventing the Hair rig, that made carp fishing so much more accessible to the masses. Without his genius, carp fishing may have remained a pursuit undertaken by only the most dedicated hardcore. ‘Simply’ moving the bait from the hook, onto a thin Hair remains the single biggest leap in rig design ever and influenced every rig ever made after that point. Will there ever be something as seismic again? We don’t think so. Lenny, we salute you.
Terry Hearn: Refining the Hinged Stiff Link & Chod Rig
Terry’s influence on the carp scene is hard to overstate: we wear the clothes, use the Nevs, the SS3000s, the little white bobbins and some of us even talk like Tel! That influence clearly extends to rigs too. Without Tel, we may not have had a Chod Rig, or a Hinged Stiff Rig in its most refined form. He was absolutely central to the development and dissemination of both rigs. Terry has always credited Alan Appleyard and Andy Kidd with the development of the embryonic Hinge Rig, but he certainly refined it, adding a swivel to the hinge, and perfecting the mechanics. He was even behind the first dedicated Chod/Hinge range, which yielded ESP Bristle Filament and the Stiff Rigger.
Mike Kavanagh: Inventing the Stiff Rig and Multi Rig
We could make a case for Mike to be in this list just for his media work alone, through his long-running Rig World magazine pieces. However, that would be a gross injustice, because Mike invented a couple of rigs that are still widely used today: the Stiff Rig, and the Multi Rig. His use of a thick leader material, Amnesia, to make a Stiff Rig totally went against the grain, with most anglers opting for supple braided links at the time. The results were spectacular. His boldness and pioneering
spirit led to a total rethinking of what a carp rig could be like, and how fish deal with our rigs.
Kevin Maddocks: Publicising the Hair rig to the masses
Alongside Lenny Middleton, Kevin was involved in the process that gave us the Hair rig, but the role that he played in publicising the rig, and ‘giving’ the Hair to the carp fishing public, globally, is why he’s here. For decades his technical masterpiece, Carp Fever, was the biggest-selling carp book; in fact, it may well still be, as it went through multiple editions, in foreign languages too! Kevin was an innovative, and ruthlessly efficient technician, and Carp Fever allowed the average carp angler to access the technology that propelled Kevin to the very forefront of the sport, for the very first time.
Jim Gibbonson: Inventing the Line-Aligner
This Kent school teacher, noted for his dry sense of humour, was an almost ubiquitous presence in both books and magazines throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Some found his technical style and acerbic wit hard going, but he left us with one whopper of a rig development (among much else, of course): the Line-Aligner. In a moment of genius, Jim brought the line through the side wall of the tubing that he’d threaded over the hook eye, fixing the pivot point on the same side as the hook point, which resulted in much more targeted and efficient hooking. Although its popularity has slipped a little, it’s still used religiously by the anglers who know its significance.
Rob Maylin: The Mag-Aligner and the development of critically-balanced pop-up rigs
Anyone who has read Rob’s acclaimed trilogy Tiger Bay, Fox Pool and Bazil’s Bush, will have been influenced by his rig thinking. Although Rob is widely understood to have been central in the development of critically-balanced pop-up rigs, and has several rigs to his name, it’s his role as a publisher and advocate of rig material that makes him a shoo-in for this list. Rob took over from where Kevin Maddocks had left off, publishing rigs of his own, and significant rigs developed by others in his books and magazine. His magazine was rarely without a technical article or two, and was central in the publicising of the Hinge Rig, giving Terry Hearn and others a platform to share the advances being refined on the Yateley Complex, among others.
Danny Fairbrass: Inventing the IQ D-Rig and sharing rig-tying information
We’re not sure that anyone has done more to bring DIY rig-tying techniques and information to the carp fishing public than Dan. His free DVDs and TV show, Thinking Tackle, were heavy with rig tips and how-to sections and countless carpers must have Mr. Fairbrass to thanks for the skills that they now possess, and his tackle has accounted for more PBs than we can comprehend. Dan is rig-obsessed himself and a tireless innovator. His scheming has brought us the IQ D-Rig, and he was personally heavily involved in the popularisation of the Spinner, or Ronnie Rig in recent years.
Dave Chilton: Inventing coated, strippable hooklink materials
Now, you can’t have rig innovators without the right products, and the man behind Kryston was the first to bring several key products to market. Kryton, for instance, was the first company to launch a coated hooklink material, first of all coated Multi-Strand, marketed as Snake-Skin, and then the game-changer, coated braid in the shape of Snake-Bite. Dave’s tungsten putty Heavy Metal, was also a revelation, finding its way into almost everyone’s tackle boxes at some stage! Both concepts were to be widely copied (seldom improved), but it’s good to acknowledge the innovators when we can.
Frank Warwick: The Short Rig - an early version of the Chod
Although not quite the omnipresent media personality that he once was, Frank is doubtless still innovating. He has one of those restless minds that throws up outside-the-box thinking all the time. Occasionally those ideas catch fire and we all benefit. Fluoro pop-ups, for instance, must have seemed like an alien concept to guys who saw Frank using them for the first time, but to Frank it was logical! Indeed, without his ‘Short Rig’, we may never have had the Chod. Terry Hearn saw Frank using a short hooklink, flying freely on the line while fishing alongside him at Linear Manor Farm. The rest is history, but Frank’s innovative mind is assured of its place in it.
Jason Hayward: Popularising hook sharpening
Where would we be without hook sharpening? We’d bet that, although some folk stick to out-of-the-pack hooks, a growing percentage now sharpen their hooks, or even buy ones that have been hand-sharpened by Jason himself. Although hook sharpening had been going on since time immemorial (since cavemen first sharpened bone hooks), it was a secret edge for very few big carp men until Jason finally spilled the beans in this very magazine! He’s a great rig mind, with more than a few secret edges still up his sleeve, but Jason’s remarkable contribution remains the popularisation of hook sharpening!
Kevin Nash: Along with inventing various terminal tackle items, he’s credited for the blow-back concept
Nashy makes the list partly down to several significant rig developments that he innovated, and partly thanks to his ability, through Nash Tackle, to bring them to the public! We have Nashy to thank for the very first lead clip, or Bolt Bead, as it was known, and he is credited with the blow-back concept too. He was able to write in-depth about these, and dozens of other significant products and concepts, in his little Rig Book, which influenced so many anglers in the 1990s. Another restless mind, Nashy continues to produce innovative products that continue his influence on the scene to this day.