Hello again, and welcome to one of the juiciest sections of the website – carp fishing tips!
Over the years, we’ve received a lot of questions about choosing one item over another or what the differences can be in tackle as a whole.
We’ve even had a question as far afield as Romania!
All we can do is help you get value for money – as the budget you’ve got to work with really does play a big part when deciding what you go for!
So, what we thought we would do is provide you with some fantastic carp fishing tips that you can apply to your fishing.
So whatever tackle you have – you’ll have the same chance (or thereabouts) of nicking those extra carp!
We absolutely welcome any carp query you have so just head over to our contact form and we’ll gladly answer them.
- 1 1. Time of Day
- 2 2. Margins
- 3 3. Noise Reduction
- 4 4. Those awkward ‘never fished’ swims
- 5 5. One Rod is all it takes!
- 6 6. Shadows
- 7 7. The Humble Float
- 8 8. Freebies
- 9 9. Bait Selection
- 10 10. Local Knowledge
- 11 11. Amount of Tackle vs. Duration
- 12 12. Accuracy
- 13 13. Taking Notes
- 14 14. Outsmart the Carp
- 15 15. Bite Indication System
- 16 16. Bait Improvement
- 17 17. Sharp Hooks
- 18 18. Try Artificial Baits
- 19 19. Hook Change
1. Time of Day
Now, think of it like this.
The majority of carp anglers set an early alarm and head to the bank at the crack of dawn (maybe to land the best swim) and the lake can become pretty busy at these times.
Maybe you could try booking half a day, or a short session at dusk?
These last few hours can really produce carp and the lake has probably quietened down at this time.
If you’re lucky – you may even have the lake all to yourself!
This is a biggie!
We CANNOT underestimate how important it is to try fishing (quietly) in the margins.
It’s a known favourite place where carp like to patrol!
Two good reasons for this are anglers who have packed up for the day often throw in leftover bait.
The other is natural food sources (think nuts etc) that fall into the lake from overhanging trees.
The bigger fish can often be right under your feet so again, try later in the day to maximise your chances!
3. Noise Reduction
Over the years, we’ve witnessed many fishermen causing too much noise bankside.
From bite alarms going off to heavy leads dropping everywhere, carp are switched on to sound and movement.
You should make yourself aware of this, even when walking by or approaching swims.
If a carp, or worse – a group of carp, are close – they may not return for many hours!
Maybe you could try swinging your rig in instead of casting to lower noise levels around you.
4. Those awkward ‘never fished’ swims
A famous method in carp fishing is ‘find the carp first’.
This is true – but carp are intelligent creatures (think of how many rigs there are these days) and will often learn the areas that are over fished and avoid them.
That quite corner with no stand out features could potentially hold big carp!
Any good angler should consider the whole lake – even areas that are hard to cast to could really pay off with a little persistence!
5. One Rod is all it takes!
Most lakes today will gladly let you fish with two or three rods – but there are still some that apply the ‘one rod only’ rule.
Don’t let this put you off!
This rule alone will put a lot of mainstream anglers off going anywhere need the place – so all the competition is eliminated for you!
When you do your walk around of a lake, have you ever noticed some anglers hunched up or sitting over the lake edge?
Unknowingly to them, they could be casting a shadow over the edge which will definitely alarm nearby fish!
The same applies for your bivvy, luggage or any other carp tackle that is close to the lake.
This may not seem like a big deal – but if you are fishing close in, you may off already spooked any carp that were there!
7. The Humble Float
What may now seem an ancient method of carp fishing doesn’t mean it no longer works!
It’s by far one of the most efficient ways to land fish – especially on a warm day when carp are more likely to be up on the surface.
You could even ditch the float and just freeline a flake of bread or floating pellet for an explosive take!
As the carp is already up on the surface, this should make landing it a lot easier too.
Now, we don’t mean dropping a few kilo of bait in and waiting it out!
To really improve your baiting technique, if you slowly introduce just a small handful of bait here and there (over a period of time) can really boost your chances.
Don’t just do this over where you’re fishing – try and bait up pockets around your swim such as those with bushes, reeds and weed.
Oh, and if you do hear that unmistakable sound of carp slurping, try this method to keep it there!
9. Bait Selection
As far as we’re concerned, bait selection is right up there with choosing a rig!
This one single change can turn a dull session into a great one!
Now, we don’t mean trying 10 or 20 pop-up flavours or increasing the amount of bait to your swim every 10 minutes.
What we suggest is making subtle changes.
Carp like and dislike many types of bait and these can change right throughout the day!
Imagine if you had sausage and mash every night of the week –you would get sick of it!
So, you should experiment with different bait on each rod.
Alter the colours, the sizes and the type and experiment as much as you can stand.
On a new lake, this of course can become painstakingly difficult!
Having the confidence and persistence to change things up a little will most certainly improve you as an angler!
10. Local Knowledge
This maybe more useful on a new lake you’re fishing, but chatting to other anglers about bait choice and recent catches all help you to gain vital information.
You should ask around about swims that are fishing well or the best times of day.
Use caution though – some anglers may try to throw you off the scent!
11. Amount of Tackle vs. Duration
You may already know this, but for beginners, this may help them a lot!
For a shorter session, you should pack as lightly and minimally as you can get away with.
The same actually applies for longer sessions too.
What we are trying to say is the lighter and less gear you bring – the easier it is to pack up and move swims!
You’ve paid good money to fish too – so the time it takes to set up is costing you valuable fishing time!
Now we’re getting to the small percentage stuff!
When casting, if you’re unsure you’ve cast to the intended area precisely or not too confident in how your rig sits – you should recast until you’re 100% with it.
Even if this takes 10 or 20 times to get it right!
That extra inch away from the opposite bank could matter!
In theory, and with a great deal of practice, you should be able to cast fairly accurately ensuring you cover those productive spots.
Go that extra mile by writing notes, marking your line and noting the distances to these areas.
This sets apart a good angler from a great angler.
13. Taking Notes
While on the subject of writing down productive areas and swims etc, you should also record catches, takes and the time of day.
Also make a note of the day, weather and any other factors that you notice at the time.
Add in any local knowledge you’ve heard or where you’ve seen carp and your job is made a little easier next time you fish the same lake!
14. Outsmart the Carp
We don’t mean Mission Impossible style here!
Little things you can do to stay ahead of the game are checking everything twice for example.
Concealment is another area where many anglers may not think about.
Carp are wary of end tackle.
From the shine of a swivel or hook, to fishing line sitting through the water column.
Do what you can at the lake edge to test how everything sits.
Could anything be concealed more than it is?
Tungsten putty can aid how your hook length sticks to the lake bed.
15. Bite Indication System
Whatever setup or combination you’ve chosen – you should become familiar with it.
Learn what signals it is telling you.
Is it as responsive as it could be?
If the bobbin shakes or rattles don’t dismiss it – investigate it!
Bite alarms are quite sophisticated these days, so make sure you understand the settings beforehand.
Many missed chances are because anglers are slow or assume it’s the wind.
Stay alert and ready!
16. Bait Improvement
So far in our Carp Fishing Tips we’ve discussed bait selection, but how could your bait choice be improved?
Carp love scent!
So with this in mind, have you thought about adding a glug or attractant to really boost your bait!
There are many oils and dips you could try.
For example, we like to soak our pop-ups in a glug over a few weeks to really help boost the attraction.
You shouldn’t dismiss adding these liquids to a spod or stick mix either!
17. Sharp Hooks
Now, over the years this has been an avid discussion on many carp forums!
Just because you have a hook doesn’t mean every take will result in the hook taking hold properly!
If it’s blunt enough – the chances are the carp could shake it!
That’s why testing each hook you use is important folks.
As you can see from the video, you should always use the sharpest of hooks.
There are tools you can use such as the hook sharpening block from Gardner.
Hooks are cheap enough, so there is no excuse for losing a fish to inadequate hook!
18. Try Artificial Baits
They are cheap and can be re-used!
They weren’t of course, and fake baits have taken their place in many tackle boxes up and down the country.
These days you can get fake bread (which stays on the hook really well!), a dozen colours of sweetcorn, plastic pellets and of course pop-ups.
Not to mention custom sizes for all of the above!
This gives the angler a huge amount of choice to add to their fishng.
You shouldn’t underestimate them!
19. Hook Change
Another one of our great carp fishing tips would be this…..
Did you know that increasing or decreasing hook size can make all the difference.
Just make sure to match the hook size to the bait you’re using.
Also, some rigs offer a convenient way of changing your hook without the need to replace the end tackle.
So, there you go – 19 carp fishing tips for you to enjoy!
We hope you liked reading them and we’ll catch you another time for more carp tips and tricks!