Best Air Pressure for Carp Fishing

Carp fishing is a game of variables and many carp anglers are becoming more technical. You can increase your chances to catch by choosing days where the odds are in your favour. Barometric pressure plays a massive part in how fish behave and how likely they bite. It can also give you clues about the best place to catch them. Here’s how to do it.

The best air pressure for carp fishing is normally high-pressure days. Aside from causing nicer weather, high air pressure places less stress on the fish’s swim bladder, meaning they will be much more active and likely to feed.

Keep reading to learn about this more in-depth…


Why Does Air Pressure Affect Carp Fishing?

We need to talk about bladders. Particularly swim bladders. All fish have a swim bladder, and it is this organ that is affected by barometric pressure. A swim bladder is an air-filled sack that the fish use to maintain a sense of balance and control their own buoyancy.

Ever seen a bag of crisps on an aeroplane?

When the air pressure is low (like when you are at altitude), the bag puffs up and inflates. A similar effect happens to a fish’s swim bladder on low-pressure days.

An overinflated swim bladder isn’t comfortable for fish and tends to have two effects: –

  • The carp are less likely to feed
  • Carp will seek refuge in deeper water to relieve the pressure inside their swim bladder.

By knowing these two facts, you will be able to modify your carp fishing strategy. On low-pressure days, carp anglers will have much better success bottom fishing. Knowing where the deepest spots on your venue are will offer you a key advantage.

You’ll also want to feed less. The carp will tend to hunker down and only eat sporadically, so it’s best not to fill them up with too much ground bait.

Carp Fishing Air Pressure Cheat Sheet

We want to make life easy for you. Here’s an at a glance air pressure chart for carp fishing based on our research. Pair this up with a reliable barometer, and you’ll get loads of good information to help you catch fish.

Air Pressure

Conditions and outlook

Carp Location

Carp Feeding Behavior

LowBlustery, wet and generally unsettledDeep in the water column. Sporadic if at all
RisingWet and unsettled, turning to mild conditionsStarting deep, coming higher in the water as conditions improveStarting slow and increasing in intensity
High Mild conditions, with good visibility and still airIn all areas of the water columnConsistent feeding, perfect conditions 
FallingCalm conditions become more unsettledIn all areas, retreating to deeper water as the pressure dropsStarting strong, tapering off with the arrival of bad weather

Do Fish Like Low or High Pressure?

Generally, fish like high pressure much more than low pressure. The pressure within their swim bladder can only change slowly. When the air pressure is high, this compresses their swim bladder. When the air pressure is low, it swells, making the fish slow and lethargic.


On any given day, the air pressure rarely remains static. It goes up and down depending on local conditions and weather patterns. You’ll find that changes in air pressure will influence fish feeding behaviour. The air pressure will suddenly rise following a storm (which usually happens during a ‘low’).


That you can still fish during low conditions. Often immediately after a storm or heavy shower, the fish will start to feed with real enthusiasm.

How is Air Pressure Measured?

You’ll generally hear air pressure referred to in a few ways. The European measure for air pressure is in either millibar or hectopascals. In the United States, it is measured in inches of mercury.

Want to know what ‘high’ and ‘low’ pressure air pressure is? Here’s a quick table to help you interpret what the air pressure is doing

Air Pressure Reading in Hectopascals

How Air Pressure is Defined

970 – 1010 hPaLow Air Pressure
Around 1013 hPaMedium Air Pressure
1016 – 1040 hPaHigh Air Pressure

How Can I Tell What the Air Pressure is for Fishing?

There are actually quite a few ways to work out what the air pressure is doing. Use the following ways or a combination to ensure that you are carp fishing in the best possible conditions.

Watch the Weather

The weather is the best way to work out what is happening with the air pressure, provided you know what to look for. Here’s the weather typically associated with different types of air pressure conditions: –

  • High Pressure – High pressure tends to bring those calm and clear days. If there are clear blue skies and very light winds, this is a surefire indicator that it is a high-pressure day. These days aren’t just limited to summer either. Frosty weather and those crisp autumn days are nearly always high-pressure days.

High-pressure days are absolutely perfect for carp fishing, not only because the weather will be relatively nice but because the fish are more active.

  • Low Pressure – Low-pressure days bring unsettled weather with strong blustery winds and precipitation (a posh word for rain). Large billowing clouds (called cumulonimbus) are an easy to spot feature. Also, high winds are a good indicator of low air pressure too.

Use a Barometer

Without turning into Michael Fish, there is an easier way to tell what the air pressure is doing.

Invest in a barometer.

Gone are the days when you need a wood and brass instrument hanging in the hallway. Instead, there are cheap (and highly reliable) digital solutions. They give you loads of good information to help you when carp fishing. Including: –

  • Instantaneous air pressure readings
  • Trends in the air pressure
  • Weather forecasts
  • General outlook

Something like this would be ideal.

Use a Fishing App

There are plenty of amazing fishing apps out there that will tell you what the air pressure is doing as well as other stuff like the wind direction. By far the best and most reliable is the Met Office Weather Forecast. Aside from giving you a general outlook, it will also provide data regarding air pressure as part of the deal.

You can even take it down to the swim with you!

Other Factors

While the pressure will make a massive difference, there are so many other factors.

You will want to keep an eye on the air temperature itself as well as the water temperature. These 2 factors will have a massive factor. Warmer weather will make the fish bite more as carp tend to eat more in the summer months. Many anglers don’t either bother fishing during the winter as the wind and rain will just put the fish off feeding.


Air pressure for carp fishing, while an important factor, is only one part of the puzzle. The weather itself, as well as the season, also has a bearing on your success rate.

Combined with this, most anglers will need to use the right techniques and bait. While you are here, why not check out our guide to our top-secret carp baits, and some other great carp fishing tips.