The Basics of Carp Fishing

I can only cover some of the basics of carp fishing in this article, as it is a very highly complex branch of fishing. Carp fishing really took off about 40 years ago in Europe and, since the 1970s has become a very highly technical branch of the sport. In part, this is because carp are an intelligent species and constantly learn about the new tricks being played upon them. Also, as carp are so popular, they attract many very fine angling brains who are continually coming up with new rigs, baits, and methods. The strategies of carp fishing have escalated rapidly, and there's now a huge amount of literature for you to ponder.

Don't panic too much though. If carp really is the species that attracts you, then go for it, immerse yourself in this intelligent species, and really get down to doing some serious learning.

Perhaps it's best to try a few sessions first before committing yourself both economically and psychologically for what can be quite a gruelling apprenticeship.

The question of carp gear is a vexed one, and I'd advise you to hold off from major expense for a few months while you see if carp fishing is really for you. It is possible to get some carp under your belt without gearing yourself up to the hilt. I'd suggest a general type of rod — around about 11 feet (3.3m) long, with something approaching a 2 pound (900g) test curve. You'll find that a rod like this also does well for pike fishing or for light sea fishing, so even if carp fishing isn't really for you, the money has not been wasted. Your general fixed-spool reel will also work for you here, but do not, under any circumstances, stint on line and hook quality. Any weaknesses in these important items and you could well end up with a lost fish, which is heartbreaking for you and very dangerous for the carp.

Carp Care

Carp grow to a ripe old age and considerable size, so there is every reason to treat them with care and consideration. This means handling the fish with wet hands, removing the hook with the fish still in the water, or laid carefully on a special mat, and keeping it out of the water for as short a time as possible.

Any proud angler whose patience has been rewarded with a spectacular fish is bound to want to weigh and photograph his prize, but with a little foresight and preparation, the trauma to the carp can be kept to an absolute minimum. A smooth-surfaced sack, rather than a keep net, can be used to keep the fish in the water until you are ready.

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