Carp fishing isn’t as mainstream as fishing for bass, trout, or pike – well, at least not here in our country. In other parts of the globe, a huge number of anglers find this game fish fascinating, so much so that it’s been considered one of the most sought-after fish species in the world. Fortunately, carp fishing is slowly easing its way into the hearts of many local anglers, and it should only be a while before the magnificent carp finally lands a spot in their fishing bucket list. If you are just getting started with fishing and would like to know how to catch carp, or an experienced angler who’s looking to try something new, this carp fishing guide which includes basic carp fishing tips is for you.
Where to Find Carp
Carp can be found in just about any body of water. You can fish for them in lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks, and reservoirs. In fact, they’ve become so prolific and abundant all over the country that some people actually consider them pests. Despite their large population, there are places where they simply don’t thrive (i.e. fast-moving, clear waters.) To catch carp successfully, you need to be able to identify those places where they are most likely to be found.
Determine Food Sources
There are several carp species like silver carp, common carp, grass carp, black carp, and others. Although the particular diet of each species may vary, essentially they all eat the same things: aquatic plants, aquatic insects, crustaceans, and other smaller marine lifeforms.
That said, you’ll want to look for fishing spots where these natural food sources are most abundant. Needless to say, you’re more likely to find fish in the same places where they feed. Areas with dense vegetation is a good place to start. Look out for clear patches amongst weeds since this may indicate a frequented carp feeding zone.
Carps are also opportunists and tend to hang out in places where food is given freely like in duck feeding stations. Visit warm water inlets as well since the steady flow of water brings an ongoing food supply for carps.
Go to the Bottom
Carps are typically bottom feeders, roaming around the floors of rivers and lakes and tearing through the vegetation in search of food. More often than not, carps usually hold in lakes and river bottoms that are made up of sand, clay, gravel, and mud.
Find Their Hiding Places
Generally, carps are shy and spook easily and will thus prefer hanging out in areas where they feel secure. Such places include relatively calm waters with little surface disturbance. Look also for places with covers like lush vegetation, driftwood piles, and sunken logs. Some carps will often hide in shelves and drop-offs, especially those that allow immediate access to deep waters where they can easily escape when they sense trouble.
When to Fish for Carp
To further increase your chances of landing that elusive, gargantuan carp, you’ll want to take note of the times when they are most likely to be active and foraging.
Best Time of Day to Catch Carp
Although carp can be caught at any time throughout the day, anglers noted that they were more successful at landing a carp during the early morning and early evening. Accordingly, carps are more active during these dark hours as they patrol the margin areas and river bottoms while foraging for food.
Carp can be fished during any season of the year, though of course, some seasons will prove to be more productive than others. Accordingly, spring and summer are considered the best season to fish for carp.
During springtime, carps can be found aggressively foraging for food after coming out from winter when food sources are low. This season also marks the beginning of the spawning season, which means that they’re mostly out in the open looking to mate.
Summertime can be just as productive as spring. This is because carp will be more active in foraging for food since their metabolism at this time of the year is pretty high. When fishing for carp during summer, you’ll need to learn how to fish for them on the surface. During summer, it is common to see carps lounging near the water’s surface especially in the early morning.
Fishing for carp during the colder months of the year can be challenging, but not impossible. If you decide to go carp fishing during winter, consider visiting the shallower areas of the lake or river. Carps usually hold there since these parts of the water heat more rapidly than the deeper parts.
Tackles for Carp Fishing
Carps are some of the largest and hardest fighting freshwater fish, and if you don’t go at them with the right fishing tackle, you’re bound to lose the battle. Different carp anglers have different opinions about what are the best rods and reels for carp fishing.
Some carp anglers prefer using a long baitcasting reel as it allows them to cast farther into the water. Remember, carps spook easily so you’ll want to put a good distance between you and the fish. Other carp anglers use spinning reels with large spools and line capacity.
As there are fishing rods designed for bass fishing, there are also rods designed for catching carp. Such rods are usually long, feature fast tapers and responsive tips. They also have stronger lower portions which allow them to handle those line-screeching runs of a gigantic carp.
But do you need to have these specialized carp fishing tackles to be successful? Probably not. Many anglers can manage with the longest, most powerful, and high-line capacity they own, so take the tips above more as a guide than a rule.
Lines for Carp Fishing
Carps come in a variety of sizes, usually ranging from 5 to 20 pounds. However, they can grow much bigger and weigh much heavier, especially the grass carp. Given their enormous size and violent behavior when hooked, you’ll want a line that will hold and last throughout the fight.
Many anglers hunting for large carps usually choose fishing lines between the 15 and 20-pound test. More often than not, they’ll use a premium 15-pound braided fishing line with a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader line.
For smaller carps, a lighter fishing line with a four to six-pound test should be good enough. The lighter line makes you feel the carp’s bite better and at the same time allows you to cast your baits farther.
Besides, you’ll want to make use of a clear line or a line that matches the color of the water. Carps tend to swim away when they see any sort of line.
Baits and Lures for Carp Fishing
Carps are voracious and will eat up almost anything. Thus, it is safe to assume that you could literally use just about anything as carp bait. However, some baits are more effective than others such as the following.
- Boilies are popular choices simply because they work well. These baits are essentially a ball of fish meal, weeds, and other enticing ingredients that omnivorous carps love.
- Earthworms and Grubs. These work just as well as boilies, but they’re more accessible since they’re basically found everywhere. Just be careful when using these baits because catfish, bass, or any other fish will be attracted by these.
- Soft Plastics. When it comes to lures, soft plastics seem to be the most effective since they love to dine on small insect larvae and other small creatures at the bottom of the lake or river.
- Veggie Flies. If you’re after a humongous grass carp, then veggie flies are your best bet. They’ll basically think that it’s a floating piece of grass or vegetation and will gulp it down right away.
Some countless other baits and lures were proven to be successful for carp fishing. However, if you feel overwhelmed with all the choices available, then focus on getting the ones mentioned above.
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The size and strength of carps can result in a very rewarding fishing experience. They’re not great for table fare, but they do make for a nice trophy. Just make sure that you come well prepared for the battle by learning how to catch tarp and arming yourself with a decent fishing tackle. That way, you’re more likely to find, hook and land one of the hardest fighting freshwater fish known to anglers all over the world.