Pop-up baits presented directly off the lead weight don't seem to be used much on UK waters. As a result the majority of carp probably wont see this type of bait presentation as a danger. It may be a good idea to exploit this and start using them more often. This is one of the reasons why Martin Clark invented the Scorpion Carp Rig. He has illustrated this rig in his book "strictly carp", which is available at some online tackle shops.
The scorpion rig is a pop-up that comes straight off the lead. It is a buoyant carp rig using a pop-up, and the buoyancy of the hook bait is controlled with a counterbalanced lead-free shot. It has the ability to extend to double its length of the hook link when the bait is drawn upwards. If a carp sucks at the bait, the hook link section will extend deep into a carp's mouth, improving the hook's potential to grab a firm hold.
A pop-up presented from the lead has direct contact to the lead weight. This is beneficial to us because when a carp takes the bait it is immediately in contact with the weight of the lead, this gives these carp rigs highly effective hooking potential. The scorpion rig is not quite in direct contact with the lead, the fish will have to move a few inches before the hook can set effectively. However, the scorpion rig design makes it hard for a carp to eject it because the rig ring runs over the boom without any resistance. As the carp tries to eject the pop up by shaking its head, the hook link at the rig ring, easily slides up and down over the black amnesia boom (see the first pictures).
The scorpion carp rig is best to use with pop-up presentations, and I generally use it in, or between weed beds. Like Martin's Snake Carp Rig, I don't like to use it in clear areas, unless I shorten the hooklinks right down.
A full view of the scorpion carp rig, the right photo is the rig popping up in water. You can change the length of the booms to suit your specific carp fishing situation. In the photos above, I have used black amnesia stiff line just so I can illustrate the rig in detail. I normally use the rig with both booms made from fluorocarbon stiff mono links (as you can see below in all the photos on the left side).
In the photos above I used a fake, buoyant tiger nut to illustrate this carp rig, although, I have tried smaller pop-ups, as well as other floating, fake particle baits on the hook. Martin has stated in his book, that he also uses coloured rig foam as the hook bait. This is a good idea because a small piece of rig foam will leave most of the hook exposed, resulting in quicker hooking potential.
I do prefer to position the hook bait just beneath the big pop-up bait (as shown in photo above right). This helps to hide the hook that little bit more.
Notice the freedom of movement the rig ring gives the scorpion carp rig?
It also reduces possible tangles because the hook link can swing around the stiff boom.
How the successful scorpion carp rig looks when using clear monofilament fishing line.
I use a blow-back feature on this pop up rig. Although, you can use different hair features when using other hook baits.
I use a small rubber bead just under the big pop-up bait, this helps protect the knot from the rig rings when playing a fish.
It's probably best to to match the stiff links, I only used black amnesia on the pop up boom because it shows up better for the water pictures!
With this carp rig you can change the position of the hook by increasing or decreasing the weight of the lead-free shot that controls the buoyancy. In the picture on the left above, I put on a small shot. In the photo on right, I added a tiny bit of rig putty around the shot, this increased the weight and the hook bait dropped down slightly.
The picture above shows how the scorpion rig looks when viewed from above. The bigger pop-up boilie hides the hook and line. A very successful rig feature when trying to catch carp using pop-ups!
It's possible to change the hook link for different types of materials. Use black amnesia lines for fishing over silt, or more probably, when fishing over dark leaves and debris. The hook link doesn't necessarily need to be stiff material as the buoyancy of the pop up will straighten it out. this means it is possible to use a more supple braid, although you may need to stiffen up parts of it using superstiff solution (as shown in the photo above).