Fishing for Barbel with Cheese on a Hair-Rig


All these fishing items are available from all Angling shops

  • Soft braid, 6-8 kg strength
  • Baiting-needle
  • Braid scissors
  • Eyed-hooks, 14, 12, 10
  • Cheese, for example, Gruyere (authors choice) or Emmentaler, cut into cubes of sizes 1 – 2cm
  • Plastic bait-stops


Using a baited hook is a standard technique for ledgering on the riverbed. But what else can you do? Well, big fish anglers have devised another very simple, but effective technique. The hook is not baited, but is just tied above the bait, fixed on a hair. What is a hair? A hair is a short length of fishing line; usually soft braid, but it could also be a length of nylon monofilament.

Setting-up the baited hook

 Step 1 - Cut-off about 45cm of braid to use as the hook-length with braid scissors. Tie an overhand loop (0.5 – 1cm) in one end of the braid – this will form the hair-rig.

Step 2 - Pass the braid through the eye of the hook.

Step 3 - Move the hook to approximately 1 cm above the loop.

Step 4 - Wrap the fishing-line around the shank of the hook about 5 to 8 times and then thread it back through the eye of the hook, forming a knotless knot.

Step 5 - Pull the fishing-line tight and leaving the hook sitting just above the loop.

Step 6 - Tie a second loop at the opposite end of the fishing-line to attach it to the main line.

Step 7 - Take the cheese bait (a cube of 1 – 2cm) and push the bait-needle through it.

Step 8 - Put the baiting-needle hook in the loop and push the cube of cheese over the loop, close to the bottom of the hook.

Step 9 - Push a specially designed plastic stop in the small-loop at the base of the cheese to keep it on the hair.

Step 10 - Fix the baited hair to the main fishing-line by using a loop-to-loop knot and cast the cheese bait to your chosen location.


A picture is a worth thousand words, so look at the hand-drawn illustration below:

Cheese Hair-Rig A fish samples the bait and doesn’t feel the hook until it is too late. The fish bolts away and hooks itself, giving you a clear bite. The rod-tip usually bends over and there is no need to strike. Then just play the fish as usual.

Look at the picture to see how I set-up my rod when fishing on the river. Sometimes, the tip of the rod will straighten as the fish runs towards the bank, releasing the stress on the fishing-line due to the current flow. 

Fig 2. Fishing on the Rhine

 Insight rod on Rhine


 Try the hair technique. You will be surprised at the size of fish that you can catch.