Helicopter rig for Bream fishing a lake

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Helicopter rig for Bream fishing a lake

One of the best rigs for Bream fishing on a lake is the Helicopter rig. It’s easy to understand and use. It can be cast any distance with very little chance of tangling and works well on all but the softest of lake beds.

Helicopter rig diagram

Helicopter Rig

How to tie a Helicopter rig for Bream

Begin by threading the first of two lines stops onto the main line. Follow it with a small or medium size quick change hook link swivel. Thread the second line stop on and slide the whole assembly up the line out of the way.

Tie a figure-of-eight loop in the end of the main line for a snap link swivel. Either include the snap link within the loop or use the loop to hitch the swivel on later. Either way, leave a long tag end to the knot.

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Create a two or three inch twizzled boom with the long tag end and main line. Tie off with a double overhand knot. The twizzled boom serves two purposes. Firstly, it provides a length of stiffer line above the feeder to reduce the risk of tangles. Secondly, if a big fish is hooked, the bottom line stop will slide down towards the feeder during the fight. The knot in the top of the tizzled boom will prevent the stop and hook link from getting too close to the feeder. Next clip on a feeder and lastly attach a six inch look link to the quick change swivel.

Helicopter rig bream fishing

Slide the line stops down until the hook hangs an inch or two above the feeder. Leave a small gap between the two line stops to allow the hook link swivel to feely rotate on the line. This allows the hook link to “helicopter” on casting rather than wrapping around the main line.

What size hooks for bream fishing

A size 16 to 12, spade end, swept point, medium shank, barbless hook tied to six inches of 3½lb (0.11mm) or 4½lb (0.13mm) mono to a 6lb main line is my usual choice. The hook size used does depend on type and size of the bait. With pellets, I use an eyed hook with a pellet band on a hair. With worms, I may use a micro barb pattern or hair rig the worms using quick stops.

Fishing the helicopter rig

Feeding the swim

Any of the classic swim feeders can be used with a helicopter rig. Deciding which is down to the length of cast, depth of water and whether fishing a lake or river. The real trick though, is to provide sufficient feed for the Bream on the day. Discounting those rare red letter days when the Bream are queuing up, building the swim up slowly is usually best practise.

Session report

On a recent trip to a local lake I fished a 20g cage feeder on a helicopter rig. I fished a clear patch of lake bed between 20 and 25 meters out in about five feet of water. Bream like a bit of food in the swim, so I took a selection of dead reds maggots, corn, hemp, 2mm and 4mm coarse pellets. On this occasion I used a multi mix ground bait, but a sweet fishmeal mix may have been better.

Bream fishing baits

I began building the swim with six full feeders cast at five minute intervals. The tip indicated the presence of fish right from the off. Just the little twitches of impatient juveniles, which in time might draw the attention of their betters. I sustained the twitchers by reloading the feeder every ten minutes, filling it with everything except the pellets.

loading a feeder

Eventually the twitches of the Roach give way to slow pulls and spring backs of line bites. Line bites that look very much like better fish moving into the swim. After three hours I might now get some Bream I remember thinking.

Feeder rod fishing

A proper bite with a helicopter rig is nearly always a pull, followed by a full drop back of the tip. The initial pull is caused by the fish moving off with the bait. Then, as the line tightens against the feeder, the fish hooks itself and dislodges the feeder. When the feeder is disturbed, tension is released and the rod tip signals a drop-back bite with a self hooked fish.

Bream fishing

I had a couple of Bream that day, but they never showed in any numbers. I did try pellets for a while, but it was no use. Despite everything going to plan, the Bream just weren’t in the mood. Maybe next time.


The Helicopter rig can be used close in or at long range. Any type of swim feeder can be employed depending upon the conditions. Wait for a proper drop-back or the constant quivering of something smaller before picking up the rod. Lastly it requires an good effort on the part of the angler to get in a tangle.

If you are new to feeder fishing or in any doubt as to which rig to use, try the Helicopter rig.

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