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Carp Fishing Tips & Tricks.

Updated on September 23, 2012

Watersmeet A Lovely Old Carp Lake

Watersmeet A Lovely Old Carp Lake
Watersmeet A Lovely Old Carp Lake

This Is What Its About.

Does The Weight Really Matter?
Does The Weight Really Matter?
Another Cracking Dawn on a typical carp lake.
Another Cracking Dawn on a typical carp lake.

Carp Fishing Basics.

What Is Carp Fishing?

What Tackle Do You Need?

Carp fishing is an addiction once you have the bug you usually have it for life, I have had it fore Over 40yrs now and it still shows no sign of waning.

Its not just the catching of the carp exiting as that is, its being outdoors and seeing nature at its best ( and worst ). Its watching that Roe Deer emerge through the mist on a June morning, waking to sound of bird song when daylight is still an hour away and the sound of a heavy carp crashing out somewhere in the darkness.

If you are just starting carp fishing do not get caught up in all the hype, you do not need to spend a fortune on all the latest gear you can still catch carp on even the basic gear just make sure that you have adequate gear to look after the carp when you have caught them a minimum 36ins landing net, a large unhooking net, a pair of forceps, weigh sling and antiseptic for treating where your hook has been.

There is a lot of basic carp gear out there but rather than buy something that is cheap and nasty just look on the eBay auctions you can pick up quality second hand gear for a fraction of what it would cost you in the shops. Just make sure that you choose the respected sellers to buy from and pay through pay pal, that way you are covered- it does not cost any thing to set up a pay pal account.

So what will you need to start?

A couple of rods, bait runner reels, a pod or buzz bar, line hooks ,bombs,baiting needles,landing net,unhooking mat,forceps,weigh sling scales and some bait of course.

If you are contemplating night fishing you will need a decent bivvy,a bed chair,sleeping bag,a set of buzzers and a stove to mash all that tea/coffee you will be drinking . Invest in a reputable head torch and possibly a lantern for inside your bivvy. As I said earlier you do not have to spend a fortune, look on eBay and check adverts in your local papers.

Carp Fishing - Tips On Picking A Carp Water.

Carp Waters come in all shapes and sizes from small farm pond type waters to huge gravel and sand pits and of course rivers and canals. Every carp water is different and will need a different approach to catch the carp that they contain. If you are new to carp fishing one of the best carp fishing tips I can give you is to make sure to choose a carp water where you stand a realistic chance of catching a few carp. Leave the big fish waters for when you have caught a few carp and know how to handle them once you have them on the bank.

Here in the UK there are a lot of what I would class as commercial carp waters, these are heavily stocked with carp. They are usually day only waters ie no night fishing but they are the ideal type of carp water to gain experience playing and landing carp and learning some basics in rigs and bait presentation. The carp in these waters are usually in the single to double figure sort of size but I do know of at least two local waters that contain carp to over the magic 30lb mark ( catching them is another matter )

An Ideal Carp Water For The Begginner

A Local Commercial Carp Water
A Local Commercial Carp Water

Carp Fishing Tips On Picking A Swim.

First Find Your Carp.

The above may sound pretty obvious but it is no good picking a swim that is the closest to the car park and then wondering why you did not catch anything. An hour in a swim containing carp is better than two or three days in one that doesn't. Before you even think of getting your gear out of the motor grab a bait bucket and have a slow walk round your chosen water looking for signs of carp. Even on small waters the carp can be stacked up in one or two swims. On larger waters it is imperative to locate the carp before you start fishing.

Some times the carp will be easy to spot as they crash out of the water, on other days they may just turn over with hardly a ripple and then there are days when surface activity will be negligible. To my mind the most encouraging signs are when the carp are fizzing, sending up patches of bubbles as they feed on natural food such as blood worm or if you are lucky some bait that you have introduced. If it is windy watch out for flat spots in the waves caused by carp rolling near the surface.

If your lake has any weed beds such as water lilies sit and watch the lily stems for movement caused by carp moving through them. Wear polarised sunglasses and camouflaged clothing when walking the banks and keep below the sky line, carp are very easy to spook and once spooked you are not likely to catch them. If there are any trees near the water you will get a lot better view into the water if you can climb them but do be extra careful. In the summer monthe always check the windward side of the lake.

When you have found one or two carp to fish for leave your bait bucket in the swim to reserve it while you fetch your gear.

Carp Fishing Tips Picking A Swim.

On Large Carp waters Finding The Carp Is Imperative.
On Large Carp waters Finding The Carp Is Imperative.

Carp Fishing Methods

Float Fishing For Carp.

One of the most under used but deadliest forms of carp fishing is the humble float. If I only had a few hours to fix this would be my first choice. Moving around the lake with the minimum of gear searching the carp out. It does require stealth and concealment. As you move around the lake just drop a hand full of bait in any likely looking areas such as overhanging trees, weed beds anywhere that the carp may patrol such as a deep margin, if you do not find any carp on the first lap of the lake go round again paying particular attention to the spots that you have baited previously, above all be quite, a spooked carp is not going to feed.

I usually carry a bucket containing a mixture of hemp, different sized pellets, a few grains of sweetcorn, a small amount of ground bait and a few samples of whatever hook baits that I plan on using such as boilies,corn, worms and one of my favorites cockles.

If you decide to give cockles a try first check the margins of your water if you can spot plenty of freshwater muscles you will probably find that they will be a killer bait but for some reason I have not found them to work as well on waters that do not have a decent muscle population.

After catching a carp from a swim I will usually visit the other spots that I have baited previously to see if there are any signs of feeding carp, do not forget to be as quiet as possible and keep below the sky line. The beauty of float fishing is that dropping a float rig into a swim causes very little disturbance as apposed to trying to place a 3oz lead into position. If I have no look in this swim I will move on to the next and so forth.

This method of carp fishing can be very active, is very exiting and can be extremely productive.

If you are fishing deeper water I can highly recommend the Polaris range of floats fished with a small bomb they find their own depth so there is no need for repeated casting to ascertain the depth, again anything that cuts down on disturbance is in your favour.The floats feature two holes in the base of the float to take different diameter lines just choose the one to suit your line and thread your line through, the float will sit above your hook link swivel until you cast out. When you have completed your cast just pay out line until the float appears and then tighten up gently until the float cocks and you have the right amount showing. Takes are usually quite dramatic with the float launching above water before disappearing hence the name Polaris float.

A near 30lb Carp Caught On The Float.

Carp Fishing Tips - Ledgering

Ledgering For Carp
Ledgering For Carp

Carp Fishing Tips Ledgering

The majority of your carp fishing will consist of ledgering in one form or another. Ledgering methods vary but you do need to think about your carp rigs and leads as one concept as in most cases your lead will be an aid to setting the hook when you get a take. Not only that you will have to take the test curve of your rod into consideration, you do not want to try casting a 4oz lead on a 2lb test curve rod you will not cast it far and you could break your rod. As a rough guide a 2lb test rod will cast leads up to around 2.5oz, for leads of 3-3.5 oz you will need a carp rod of around 3lb test curve and for fishing at extreme distances with 3- 4oz leads your rod will need to have a test curve of 3.5.

Carp tips Fixed Lead Method.

The fixed lead method of fishing has no place in carp fishing. If your line should break when playing a carp it would be left towing your line and lead and could end up condemning the carp to a slow death. Carp fishing with a fixed lead should be banned.

Carp Tips Semi Fixed Lead.

Probably the most used carp fishing method. With the semi fixed lead you have the advantages of a fixed lead in that when a carp picks up your bait and then moves off all things being equal the weight of the lead will semi set the hook, giving you time to pick up your rod and pull into the fish, notice that I said pull into the fish and not strike the carp will probally be moving at a rate of knots if you panic and strike into a fast moving fish you are in danger of breaking your line.

Carp tips Free Running Ledger.

As the name suggests this method consists of having your lead free running on your line with just a rubber bead next to your hook link swivel to protect your knot. Make no mistake about it carp do learn to avoid our rigs. When the carp in a lake have been caught a lot of times they do learn how to get away with making another trip to the bank. In some instances they have learned not to bolt off when they feel the hook, they will suck and blow and even twist around in circles against the weight of the lead until they have got rid of the hook and you probably will not know a thing about it apart from an odd bleep on your buzzer.This is when using large leads and the semi fixed method can work against you. If you think that this could be happening to you try the free running lead, perhaps with a back stop a couple of feet up the line. Anything to confuse the carp.

Carp Know All The Hiding Places.
Carp Know All The Hiding Places.

Summer Carp Fishing.

I do love my winter carp fishing but:

I love my winter carp fishing a lot of carp anglers have hung up there rods until next spring and on many occasions I can have the lake to myself its just me and the carp.

But there is nothing to beat watching the carp rolling over in the swim as dusk approaches or watching the early morning mist drift across the lake on an early June morning. Spring and early summer are usually the most productive in the carp anglers year, the carp are more active and thus easier to find, they are expanding more energy and thus have to feed more so as long as you get your location and your rigs right you are in with a good chance of catching.

Do not forget to pack your floater rod, if the carp are moving around on top in the middle of the day you are not going to catch much using bottom baits. The alternative of course is to use a zig rig.

I see a lot of new comers to carp fishing turn up at the water and just pick the first swim nearest to the car park or one at the back of the wind, they then wonder why they haven't caught anything at the end of their session when with a little thought and a bit of effort things could have been a little different.

I like to arrive at the lake at daybreak or before and spend the first hour or more just walking around the lake looking for signs of carp some times you will not have to look far as they are usually quite active at this time of day and there is no mistaking when a carp decides to crash out. Other signs may be less obvious, such as just a head breaking the surface or a flat spot among the ripples and of course bubbling. Time spent looking for carp is never wasted there is an old saying that one hour in the right spot is worth a week in the wrong one. Spend more time locating your carp before actually fishing and you WILL catch more.

Dusk Will They Feed.
Dusk Will They Feed.

Summer Carp Fishing.

Winter Carp Fishing.

Winter Carp Fishing Tricks.

Its that time of year again, water temperatures are dropping and the carp are less inclined to feed. A lot of carp anglers will be hanging up their rods for the winter, WHY???

I love my winter carp fishing there are far less anglers on the bank indeed on some of the waters that I fish I can nearly guarantee to have the water to myself. Its true that with the lowering temperatures the fishing does drop of for a few weeks but once the temperatures have stabilized the carp will start feeding again, and with less anglers on the bank you have more chance of catching them.

So What Winter Carp Fishing Tricks Have I Learnt Over The Years?

The most important trick to winter carp fishing has nothing to do with rigs, or bait, whether you are just fishing days or are fishing nights, its to do with keeping warm. If you are cold wet and miserable you are not going to fish effectively or enjoy your fishing. This applies doubly to night fishing, winter nights are long and cold I have fished many nights when the lake has frozen over and nights when I have struggled to land a carp because my landing net has been frozen to the ground. Winter night fishing is not to be taken lightly you do need the right gear.

Carp Fishing Tips And Tricks Winter.

Winter Tips And Tricks-Bait & Rigs.

Here in the UK they say it has been the hardest winter for a hundred years and I for one would not argue that point. My local lakes have had 7-8ins of ice on them for weeks on end. Some local fisheries have lost fish some of them a lot of fish. This is not so much due to the extremely low temperatures but more to the lack of oxygen in the water. The only other year that I can remember being on the same scale was 1963.

We still have the potencial for more bad weather yet but hopefully the worst is behind us and we can get on with our carp fishing.

Winter carp fishing tips and tricks? or what bait and rigs to use, what waters to choose, Is it worth the trouble?. I will answer the last point first, when you are struggling in the middle of the night to take a photo of a carp you have just landed, because your fingers are too numb to hold the camera, when its dark at 5pm and does not get light until 5am but you cannot sleep because you might miss that one carp roll that may reveal their whereabouts, when you catch the biggest carp that you have caught all year YES IT IS WORTH IT.

I have managed to fish two 24hr sessions in the last three weeks the first since before the Christmas period, I do normally carp fish the year through but with work and the weather what can you do?

Tips And Tricks Bait.

The first session of the new year was on a small local carp lake at Ranskil South. Yorkshire  It is a what that I only fish in the winter as it gets too busy in the summer months for my liking, but in winter I can usually have the lake to my self. A deep water of around an acre and a half it can usually be relied on to produce a carp or two in the winter period.

After watching the water for a couple of hours and with no fish showing I decided on swim 1 which gave me access to an island to the front and a no fishing bank to my left. I think that one of the hardest things to decide on in winter is how much bait to use, too much and you could kill your swim before you start. I have caught carp over big beds of bait in winter but I do feel that the conditions have to be right, for this reason I will usually start by using hook bait only on one rod and perhaps PVA bags on the other rods for the first hour or two and then decide whether to use any more bait.

A couple of hours in and no syns of any carp movement and no indicator movement so I decided to bait up along the left hand bank with a couple of kilo of hemp and a few 10 mil boilies , that was two rods covered, the third rod would be fished in open water with a PVA bag and no freebies. I do not like fishing to islands, yes the carp do patrol them they are also more wary there. Hook baits were two 10mil baits on a longish hair and size 10 hooks for the left hand rods and a small pop up and PVA bag on the open water rod.                                                           

I finished the session with two carp, both to the same rod and spot up the left hand bank. What size? both doubles biggest 16lb+ but does that matter, a winter carp is a winter carp and it was just nice to be back on the bank again.

With The Right Gear Even Fishing In These Conditions Can Be Enjoyable.
With The Right Gear Even Fishing In These Conditions Can Be Enjoyable.
It Helps Of Course If The Water Is Liquid.
It Helps Of Course If The Water Is Liquid.
These conditions are extreme but I have watched carp feeding under the ice, so as long as you can get a bait in the water there is always a chance of a take.
These conditions are extreme but I have watched carp feeding under the ice, so as long as you can get a bait in the water there is always a chance of a take.

Holiday Carp

Cracking Spanish Common
Cracking Spanish Common


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    • MVKilgore profile image

      M. Victor Kilgore 

      3 years ago

      Never gave carp fishing a thought, much less a try...Nice hub.

    • badgeroo profile image

      paul badger 

      5 years ago from Worcester, England

      Great hub, I have just recently been hooked on carp fishing,will be looking to catch some big fish in the near furture.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      just caught a 21 pond carp wit hair rig

    • profile image

      lee ambrose 

      7 years ago

      still dates for 2011 [ carpfishing in france}

    • pattester profile image


      7 years ago

      just a quick note have a look at fishing in france went to staceysplace this week it rock worth a go and very cheap

    • profile image

      back of to france this week cold but love it so much 

      8 years ago

      back of to france this week cold but love it so much

      at staceysplace

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      cant beat fishing in france love it

    • profile image

      lee ambrose 

      8 years ago

      just got back from a great week fishing at staceysplace

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very informative article I am just a begginner at carp fishing but am enjoying every minute

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      good info!


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