Beginner Guide to Carp Fishing

Carp fishing is one of the best pleasures you can have in life ( Well I think so anyway ) So your looking to know a little more about it?

Often, we need to pick and choose our pleasures in life. Sometimes we need to let go of our ‘things’ to be able to hold on more tightly to our ‘ones’. Carp fishing is such an instance. Because once you have travelled the path of carp fishing, you’re hooked for life. It’s not a question of ‘if’; it’s a question of ‘when’.

What Is Carp Fishing?

Although carp fishing may sound like a huge adventure, it is actually a very light and simple process. And though it’s in many ways a simple sport, it’s in every way a challenging one. A carp is a big fish with a big mouthful! Carp fishing is not about how hard or aggressively you pull in your line, but how skillfully you can lead your bait into the Carp’s mouth. It’s a question of finesse as well as technique.

Fishing with a bait, extending a line and catching a fish is as simple as fishing with a rod, casting the bait and waiting for the fish to take the bait. What’s more exciting is catching a fish larger than you have ever caught before. Imagine having the experience of landing a carp that weighs more than 50 pounds! Imagine the world of opportunities that comes along with it. Imagine being able to brag about it to your friends and family – the kind of thrill you can’t get with any other kind of fishing. Imagine the kind of rush you will feel as you reel in your fish. The feeling that has been beyond your imagination until now can be yours to savour.

 You have to learn how to handle a fishing line, understand how to use the fishing rod and how to cast a bait. To help you with the basics of carp fishing and get you started, we have laid some ground rules that will outline the steps you need to take for a fruitful fishing trip.

Table of Contents

The Only Step by step Beginner Guide to Carp Fishing You Need!

Get A Rod License

Before you start enjoying the thrill of catching Carp, you have to ascertain if you have a rod license. If you don’t have one, then you could face a fine of £1,000.

Many new anglers get confused on license requirements, but honestly, it’s super simple, and everything is already outlined on the government’s website.

And if you don’t have the license, then you can apply for the license here-

You can choose a one days, eight days or an annual license. There are some exemptions to applying for a rod license if you want to start carp fishing.

carp fishing licence

Choose Where to Go Carp Fishing

There are many places to choose from if you want to go carp fishing. Whether it’s lakes, still water, rivers or streams, you can choose anything and have a great carp fishing experience.

Even better, there are a few commercial & priviate fisheries with an option for carp fishing. The day ticket water fisheries are more crowded than others, but they are more likely to catch a carp. The best places to start carp fishing are small day ticket lakes. You can then extend your carp fishing territory as you get better at the sport.

As a beginner, you might not be well-suited for all fishing sites. As mentioned, Carp are very cunning fish so fishing for them as a beginner on a big lake might be troublesome. Well, you should start with smaller lakes and advance as your carp fishing skills progress.

What’s the Right Equipment For Carp Fishing?

As a beginner to carp fishing, you need to choose the right gear for the job. You should be able to decide on whether to choose cheap or expensive options when buying the equipment. However, without considering the budget, you need to know why you should choose one specific item over the other. Here’s what you need to know about buying carp fishing gear.

1. Rod:

The rod is perhaps the most important part of carp fishing. There are many rods you can choose from.

The most popular option among carp anglers is a 10ft Carp Rod rods, but you can choose from a range of differant styles from telesciopic and ranging in lengh from 6ft to 12ft.

No matter which rod you choose, you need to find something that suits you and the way you will be fishing. Most experianced carp angeliers will use a 12ft carp rod to get the long distances and keep a 9ft rod for closer fishing.

Test curve is also an important feature to pay attention to when choosing a rod.

It refers to the flex of the rod. Usually, a strong carp rod has a stiffer test curve, a curved rod with a higher test curve is ideal for catching smaller Carp and other species of fish species.

Do remember, the longer the rod, the more line you can cast out, but it also means you need to develop more power to cast a heavier line.

Some of the recommended rods are:

  1. Greys Prodigy Apex 50
  2. Sonik NEW Vader X

  3. NGT Carp Fishing Setup 3x 12ft

You can read our full guide on the best fishing rods for under £200 here 

2. Reel:

For carp fishing, there are two types of reels you can buy bait runners and big pit reels. Free bait runners are great for carp fishing because they have a function that allows you to stop the spool while you wait for a bite. At the same time, you can make minor adjustments to your line to get your bait just right.

Bait bait runner reels will clicker any time you restart them. Therefore, you can easily adjust your bait while it’s running freely.

As for the pit reels, if you’re mainly going to be using them for long distance carp fishing, 

These reels vary in shape and also size. If you’re looking for a heavy pit reel, then I recommend you purchase one that has a larger diameter like Diawa 20 Crosscast 45 SCW QD Reel

This allows you to cast a larger bait on a heavier line.

As a beginner, you don’t need to go for a heavy pit reel. Choose free spool reels like NGT Baitrunner

While choosing bait runners or big bit reels, consider functions like retrieving speed and spool tension release. While you’re at it, you should also think about the spool capacity of your reels. Remember, you will be catching bigger fish, and this can lead to a problem with your spool.

You can read our full guide to the best fishing reels for under £200 here

3. Line:

The line you use for carp fishing is super important as it helps you detect a bite in the thickest of weed or silt, there are a few different types of line you can fish with,

Fishing Line Attributes

There are many different features & characteristics in fishing line, They describe the main qualities of every line type and help you understand why it might be better or worse in certain situations.

  • Memory: When you pull line off your spool, does it hang straight or curl up? That’s memory. Line with a lot of memory tends to kink or knot as you reel in. It also messes with your presentation and makes it harder to cast far.
  • Stretch: Stretchy line keeps tension better as you fight a fish. It also takes some of the punch out of big head shakes. However, stretch gives you less precision and feedback, and makes setting the hook tougher.
  • Shock Strength: Another advantage of having some stretch is that your line is less likely to snap under sudden pressure. This is shock or impact strength, and it stops hard-hitting fish from breaking you off.
  • Abrasion Resistance: Ever get cut off by rocks while fishing? You need gear with more abrasion resistance. All modern line is pretty abrasion resistant, but more high-end materials tend to handle scratches better.
  • Buoyancy: Some line floats in the water, some sinks. They’re both useful in different situations. Floating or buoyant line is great for topwater fishing. Sinking line stays taut in the water, giving you more precision at depth.
  • Visibility: If a fish sees your line, it can get spooked and put off biting. To avoid this, people usually use low-visibility line in clear water. You can also use colored line to match the depth and shade of water you’re fishing.
There are a few differant types of line you can use for carp fishing, some have better uses for differant sitations like when fishing in a lot of weed or debis.
  • Monofilament – single thread, single piece of plastic, usually nylon, that’s stretched out and set into a thin tube. This is still the most popular line out there and usally reffered to as Mono         
  • Copolymer – Copolymer fishing line is essentially an updated version of monofilament. it us manufactored in a similar way by using two or more materials ,  This lets manufacturers refine their recipe and tailor the line’s characteristics to certain uses.

  • Fluorocarbon – Fluorocarbon line is made in the same way as mono, but from much denser material. meaning its abssolutly see though in the water and fish will never notice it, so its great if your stalking on a hard lake but on the other hand due to its denser material its not a tough and can break under tough conditions.

  • Braid – Braid is made by weaving together several strands of polyethylenes like Dacron, Spectra, and Dyneema, this gives you an ulimate fishing line, very hard to snap but please use this with coution, some lakes do have a braided lines banned and you must use silicone tubing or a leader to protect the fish.

Line diameter is another important factor to consider. Make sure you refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations before choosing the size. You don’t need to worry too much about knots since each kind of line has a leader in making the knot. Nevertheless, you should be careful about the weight of the line. You don’t want to add too much weight to your line.

Mono line is the good option for beginner carp fishing and all fishing because they are a briliant price point and offer an all round line, you can puchase the line in differant breaking strains ranging from 5lb to 20lb with a avarange being aorund 12lb, this will allow you to fish all syniniros and fish upto 20lb+

4. Fishing Bait:

You need to choose your bait wisely when carp fishing and there are so many choose from. There are a few key ingredients you can use but every lake is different and different carp respond to different baits so it’s always best to try and get some local knowledge from different anglers or the bailiff.

The key ingredients that are mostly used in carp fishing are, 

  • Sweetcorn
  • Boilies
  • Pellets
  • Lunchmeat
  • Maggots 
  • Worms 

Carp anglers use all sorts as their bait and will catch on absolutely everything, corn is always the old faithful but boilies are the main bait most carp fisherman use due to these can being constructed in many different ways like bottom baits, wafters, and pop-ups, allowing you to keep your hook rig at different heights above the lake bad. 

Boilies are also widely used as they can be made into many different flavours and sizes, these can range from 10mm up to 20mm and in 100s of different flavours, some of the main ones on the market are Sticky Baits & Mainline, these are the two biggest sellers. 

carp fishing pellets
mainline boilies
sticky baits wafters

5. Rigs:

Rigs refer to the arrangements of the hook and other items found at the end of the fishing line. If you want to catch Carp, you should choose solid rigs. One of the best rigs for carp fishing, especially for beginners, is the hair rig. Here, the line is attached to the shank, and the bait is mounted to the hair instead of the hook.

You should be able to find some hair rigs already pre-tied, but you should learn how to do it on your own. You also require some type of weight on your line. Most carp anglers rely on leads, but the type of lead chosen and weight depends on a few things. You should consider the lake bed you’re fishing in and the depth of the water. Find a lead that works in your environment. For instance, a bottom lead from Aqua Clear SP-1B is great for softer bottoms and clear water. They’re usually heavy enough to be sunken in the lake bed. However, a pop-up lead from Fox Edges is great for carp fishing in boiler type bottom. It’s light and easily pops up to the surface so that the bate can be seen.

Our Top 5 rigs for carp fishing are, 

  1. Ronnie Rig
  2. Chod Rig
  3. Hair rig
  4. German Rig 
  5. Blowback
ronnie rig

6. Rod Support:

To make carp fishing even easier, you should use rod supports. Using these makes it easier to fish without having to bend over to hold the rod in place. It also allows you to cast your line further without straining your back. There are many rods supports you can use. The most popular kind is folding pods. These are compact and simple to use. They can hold the rod without hindering your view. Another alternative is the rod holder. If you’re not looking for something too heavy-duty, you can go for the rod holder option.

7. Bite Alarms and Bobbins

These will notify you when a fish has taken the bait. Buy wireless alarms if you are going fishing at night. In the event of a drop back where the fish takes the bait and runs towards you rather than away, you need bobbins. These set off the alarm by pulling down a line which loosens when the fish come towards you.

8. Landing Net 

These are used to get the Carp out of the water safely. Choose a landing net of about 42 inches with a strong handle and strong thread, possibly carbon fibre like NGT 42″ INCH CARP FISHING LANDING NET , You can use it to land Carp even about 40 pounds in weight.

9. Shelter/Bivvy:

First-time carp anglers need the right shelter during the cold and wet months. You will be spending a lot of time outdoors, and you might need to set a camp for yourself. A shelter is also great for protection against the sun and rain. You can set up anything from a simple wall tent to a fully equipped bivvy.

You can check out our full guide to carp fishing bivvys for under £200 here

Check out our number one bivvy on Amazon click me

10. Unhooking Mat:

Fish welfare is something you should not take lightly. The best way to protect fish during carp fishing is to use an unhooking mat. You should always use a landing matt when removing fish from the lake. Carp hooking mats are simply mats that go between your Carp and the ground. They help in the immediate recovery and unhooking of your Carp by minimising the level of stress it faces. If you don’t use a mat, you’ll probably have to use your hands to unhook your Carp, which is not only dangerous but also puts your Carp under unnecessary stress.

Whether you’re a beginner or have been fishing all your life, there’s always more to learn. In carp fishing, there’s always something to discover. The best learning comes from trying out different types of bait and changing the weight of the line and the lead. You should also find out what type of line and weight works best at a given time. In time, you will realise that carp fishing is about improvisation. Therefore, don’t spend too much time looking at your line and lead. Instead, enjoy your time outside. Enjoy the outdoors and enjoy life.

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