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Carp Fishing Tackle – Baby Steps Guide To Catching Your Monster Carp!
Carp Fishing Basics For Beginners
If you are looking to land massive fish on a regular basis, carp fishing is a great path to explore!
Fishing for carp is a beloved pastime for many anglers all over the world, and for good reason. Various species of carp are found all over the world allowing for many different techniques and equipment preferences.
The European carp, or common carp as it is commonly referred to as, is by far the most popular carp anglers target due to its ability to grow extremely large and put up a tough fight.
The vast variety of bait options opens up a whole world of possibilities when deciding to get into carp fishing, while many choose to stick to the conventional rod and reel setup.
Carp sometimes get a bad reputation in parts of the world where they are not native and require extreme population control. The European carp, however, occurs abundantly all over Europe and North America. Other species of carp such as grass, silver, and black carp are extremely invasive and can completely change an ecosystem once introduced into a new waterway.
While some fishermen do in fact eat carp, the most common form of carp fishing by far is catch and release fishing. Because carp are seen as a sport fish worldwide many anglers safely return their catch back into the water in hopes to not only let that single fish grow larger but also the population as a whole.
European carp are can grow to exceed 40lbs. making them of the largest game fish to be introduced for sport all over the world. Anglers can target these fish on every continent excluding Antarctica, for obvious reasons. In this article, we are going to break down the basics of carp fishing along with our recommended gear to get the fish landed and released safely back to its’ home.
Carp Fishing Tackle Guide
Due to the sheer size carp can be expected to grow to, having the proper carp fishing tackle can be the deciding factor if you are able to land the fish or not. You never know what size carp is lurking beneath the surface so showing up to the fishing hole with the right equipment is a must. Low to medium action rods and reels may get prove suitable for smaller fish species, but not the common carp. Carp put up an extremely hard fight even in their younger years, especially when compared to other sport fish of similar sizes such as bass or trout.
Sturdy Rod & Reel
Heavy action rods with a reel fitted with high strength line is a surefire way to get larger carp landed without putting excessive strain onto the fish. The longer you fight a fish results in how the fish fares once being released. Long fights build up lactic acid within the fish’s muscles causing it to be too tired to recover from the battle and is the leading cause of fish mortality in sport fishing.
Large-sized barbless carp hooks are the most humane way to catch and release fish making them a staple in most anglers’ carp fishing gear stash. Hook shapes and sizes vary so be sure to experiment with what style works best for you. For a 30lb. carp, larger hooks are the way to go. Smaller hooks not only pose the risk of falling out, but they are also more susceptible to being swallowed whole.
Carp Landing Net
Having an appropriately sized carp landing net increases your chance of successfully bringing your catch to shore while ensuring the carp is being handled properly. For larger fish, a larger net is recommended. Keeping the netted fish in the water for the duration of the catch and release will increase the chance of survival for years to come.
As mentioned before, there are many tried and true baits anglers rely on when headed out for a day of carp fishing. Carp are omnivorous meaning they eat just about anything that falls in front of their face.
Worms, minnows, chicken liver, and even corn kernels are common carp bait. Carp have a downward-facing mouth that acts like a suction cup skimming the bottom of lakes and rivers for their next meal. Because of their eating style, fishermen will often have multiple rods cast at the same time to increase the chances of a carp coming across their bait mixed into the natural ecosystem.
Choosing The Right Fishing Line
No matter which style of fishing you prefer, having the right line spooled onto your reel is imperative. The strength of the fishing line is determined by the pound test which relates how it would in normal everyday life. Typically, 4lb. test can handle up to a 4lb. fish out of the water without taking into consideration other factors in the water such as weeds, rocks, or other debris. While it is possible to catch a 10lb. fish on 4lb. test, this can greatly increase the fight duration which has been proved harmful to fish in the long run.
As a general rule of thumb, you should use fishing line that can handle the largest of fish in your waterways. Monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided lines all come with their own specific pros and cons list.
- Generous stretch
- Cheap & plentiful at most tackle shops
- Basic easy to use fishing line
- Floats on the water surface
- Absorbs water
- Low visibility
- Does not absorb water
- Stiff, does not stretch well
- Super strong in low diameter (test)
- Very versatile for many styles of fishing
- Highly visible
- Poses cut hazards to fish when snapped off
- Can be tricky to fish with, not recommended for novice anglers
Additional Monster Carp Gear
Rod holders, strike indicators, and a comfy chair are all great additions to your carp fishing gear as it may take hours to conjure up a bite or two. Strike indicators eliminate the need to constantly watch your rod tip for bites as they will usually ring or emit other sounds that let anglers know when it’s time to set the hook. Having a sturdy set of pliers with a long shank will allow you to remove hooks much quicker and easier than using your hands without causing further damage to the carp.
Gloves not only keep your hands safe from injury, but they are also common practice when handling fish. Most fish have a protective slime over their entire body that prevents the fish from developing diseases or other illnesses. Overly handling fish with bare hands can quickly remove this protective slim leaving the fish more susceptible to injury. Gloves prevent the fish’s slime from coming off along with offering better grip when removing hooks or the release process.
In some cases, carp fishermen have even been known to use remote control vehicles to disperse baits throughout a waterway.
Our Monster Carp Gear Recommendations
From rods and reels to specially designed carp tackle, there are many different options for anglers looking to get into carb fishing. Carp fishing tackle can be complicated with all the bells and whistles or done simply when on a budget looking for the bare minimum gear to get started.
At the very least anglers need a reliable fishing rod, reel, and basic terminal carp fishing tackle to be successful during a day out on the water. Be sure to research your local rules and regulations regarding which fishing tackle is allowed in your waterways. Many bodies of water have specific rules deciding which baits and equipment are allowed to be used. The time of year you are fishing in will also dictate which carp fishing tackle will prove most successful.
Carp Fishing Rods
Here is a list of our recommended carp fishing rods to suit all the needs of anglers and meet even the highest of expectations.
Fiblink Moonsniper 2-Piece Fishing Rod
- Breaks down into 2 pieces for easy transportation
- Available in multiple lengths
- Carbon fiber construction
- Great for larger sized fish
- High strength reel fitting and nonslip rubber handle
Daiwa Ninja x Tele Carp Telescopic Carp Fishing Rod
- Telescopic rod to the desired length
- Lightweight construction
- Comfortable cork handle
- Specially made for carp fishing
- High strength
- Titanium oxide eyelets
- Different options based on budget
PLUSINNO Telescopic Rod & Reel Kit
- Includes both rod and reel
- Great for beginners
- Affordable carp fishing tackle option
- Perfect for camping or long walks to the fishing hole
- Telescopic for easy traveling
- Option of including a carrying case
- Unique design
Carp Fishing Reels
Once you have picked out the best fishing rod for your preferences, now you need a reel! Choosing the right carp fishing reel is determined by the rod you have picked out along with the size of fish you are going after. Typically speaking, larger reels are designed to handle larger fish while smaller spinning reels are designed for smaller fish. Due to the extreme size carp are known of growing too, you are going to want a larger reel that can handle the fish and weight of a large carp.
Wynchwood Unisex Riot 65S Carp Fishing Reel
- Oversized cranking power
- Lightweight aluminum construction
- Spare spool included
- Faux-wood handle grip
- 5+1 bearings
- Large spool accommodates for all line types
- Simple yet effective design
Sougayilang Spinning Carp Fishing Reel
- Affordable carp fishing reel
- 12+1 bearings
- Ambidextrous handle for both left and right-handed anglers
- Designed with big fish in mind
- Monofilament fishing line recommended
Abu Garcia 6500 Carp C3 Special Baitcasting Reel
- Top of the line carp fishing reel
- Designed specifically with carp fishing in mind
- Level wind system
- Able to pull in the largest of carp
- Best for using cut bait or live bait
- Revolutionary Carbon Matrix drag system
- 3+1 bearing system
Daiwa Black Widow Bite N’ Run Freespool Fishing Reel
- Carp version features Daiwa’s Freespool technology that releases drag once a fish has bitten the bait
- Simple elegant construction
- Tried and true reel for many carp fishermen
- Available in many different sizes
As we mentioned before, choosing the right fishing line for your setup requires a bit of research on your end. The different types of fishing line, monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided, all offer their own special touch. Many anglers prefer one type of fishing line over the other, especially when it comes to carp fishing. Using a steel leader at the end of your mainline can prevent your line from becoming weakened by rubbing against rocks or cut off by a fish with sharp teeth. Although carp do not have sharp teeth, they are known to live in environments that are more than unfavorable and love lodging themselves between rocks or under fallen trees.
Berkeley Trilene Big Game Monofilament Fishing Line
- Many pound test options
- Cheap and beloved among all forms of anglers
- Controlled stretch formula
- High strength
- Takes up little space on the reel allowing for more fishing line to be spooled on
- Notably stronger than its test rating
Seagur Red Level Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
- Virtually invisible
- Sinking line, best for fishing well below the water surface
- Super strong
- Impeccable knot strength
KastKing SuperPower Braided Fishing Line
- Extremely tough
- Low visibility color options
- Available up to 150lb. test
- Long castability
- Highly sensitive – feel your bites better
Barbless Fishing Hooks
As a catch-and-release angler, Barbless Hooks for Fishing are your best friend. Barbless hooks lack the barb that average fishing hooks come equipped with. The barb on a fishing hook is the biggest culprit when it comes to irreversible injuries to fish. Barbless hooks are easily removed from the fish’s mouth while still offering enough leverage to get the fish landed into the net.
Shaddock Barbless Carp Fishing Hooks
- Super sharp shank
- Carbon steel construction
- Many size options
- Low mortality rate
- Curved back eye
AGOOL Barbless Carp Fishing Hooks
- Elongated reverse point
- Black nickel plated high strength carbon steel construction
- Various size options
- Curved shank holds bait on for longer
Owner American Barbless Circle Hooks
- Special design holds fish on longer
- Reverse eye
- Hangnail point replaces the barb
- Seamless hooksets
A landing net makes it quick and easy to get carp landed without adding excessive force to haul it onto the riverbank or boat. Rubber nets are more suitable for fish as they are non-abrasive and reduce the risk of injury to the fish, a very common issue with nylon landing nets.
Read our guide about “Selecting a catch and release fishing net“
Demeras Rubber Landing net
- Foldable Net & Telescopic Handle
- Lightweight & durable aluminum construction
- Rubber netting
- Large diameter perfect for landing big carp
Fish Grips & Pliers
Pliers and fish grips assist in removing the hook from a fish’s mouth along with giving anglers a way to hold the fish’s mouth open without losing a finger.
ZACX Fishing Pliers & Lip Grip Kit
- T-handled fish gripped with an improved cushioned handle
- Carrying sleeve included
- Aluminum skeletonized pliers
- Spring-loaded handle
- Multi-functional plier options
Carp Fishing: FAQs
What tackle do I need for carp fishing?
Like all forms of fishing, you are going to need a fishing rod equipped with a reel, an appropriate line spooled onto that reel, and sharp barbless hooks tied onto the line. Sinkers or weights are great for getting your bait down to the bottom of the waterbody to target suspended fish. A strike indicator makes it quick and easy to tell when you are getting bites without having to watch the rod tip or feel discrepancies through the line itself.
If you are going out for a long day of fishing or even an overnight trip having a comfortable place to sit down or take a nap can prove extremely useful. It can oftentimes take hours to get a single bite which is one of the many reasons anglers choose not to target carp.
What pound line should I use for carp fishing?
Because carp come in a wide range of weights and live in a wide variety of environments, your line preference will depend upon your fishing conditions. When in doubt, always choose a stronger fishing line than you think is necessary. 15lb. or 20lb. test fishing line should get the job done for large carp and will be more than enough to bring in smaller carp.
Before heading out for your carp fishing adventure, be sure to test your line to ensure the test rating is correct.
What is the best method to catch carp?
The best method to catch carp, by far, is the conventional rod and reel setup that most anglers are used to. While carp can be caught on artificial lures and flies, the most common bait for carp includes corn kernels, worms, and small fish. Carp are sensory feeders and are attracted to smelly baits that draw their attention. Fishing for carp on the surface with poppers or wake baits is also very common although the most popular tend to be baits suspended in the middle of the water column.
Trying out different methods and baits is the best way to learn about what type of forage carp in your area are keen on eating. What works in some parts of the world to catch carp may not work in your local pond or river.
What size fish can I catch on 10lb. line?
Many people think using 10lb. test means you can catch a maximum-sized fish of 10 pounds. This is not always the case. There are many factors involved with how large of a fish you can catch on 10lb. test which typically varies between fish species. While it is very common to catch fish much larger than the stated test rating, this poses a few issues. Every fishing reel has drag built-in, this allows for fishing line to be released once it has reached a certain weight limit. This prevents the fishing line from snapping off while allowing the fish to take a run. If you have your drag set really low, the chances of your line snapping off are minimized.
Although drag is a great aid to ensure you will not lose the fish, this can tire out the fish tremendously which has proven to adversely affect the mortality rate. You may be able to catch a 20lb. fish on 10lb. line or you could get snapped off by a 3lb. fish who decided it’s not going to give up so easily. Opting for the heavier line will not only increase your chances of landing that personal best European carp, but it will also increase the likelihood of the carp surviving the entire endeavor.
What is the best line for carp fishing?
Choosing the best line for carp fishing is really determined by your style of fishing, bait choice, and water conditions. We have talked quite a lot about the different styles of fishing line along with their benefits in the field. Monofilament is perfect for starting out with carp fishing as it is very versatile and can be used for both topwater fishing and sub-surface fishing. Fluorocarbon line is great for fishing deep waters and other baits that sink. Because fluorocarbon fishing line is almost invisible, this is a great option when trying to maintain stealth within the water.
Braided fishing line is great for bodies of water with abrasive debris beneath the surface of the water as it is extremely tough and resistant to rocks and sticks. As a whole, monofilament fishing line is the most versatile fishing line when considering carp fishing gear.
How big of a fish can I catch on 12lb. fishing line?
The size of fish you are looking to catch is more dependant upon your techniques rather than the pound test you are using. A skilled fisherman can easily land a 20+ pound fish on 12lb. Line with ease while other anglers may snap off immediately.
If you have a heavy-duty reel and likewise rod, you can land a very large fish with 12lb. fishing line. For catch and release fishermen, 12lb. fishing line would be one of the lowest grades of line to use as it poses the potential of breaking off with the hook left in the fish’s mouth. It goes without saying you are typically able to catch bigger fish on 12lb. test than you would on 10lb. test.