Top Secret Carp Baits


We are all looking for it. That ‘magic bullet’. The one bait that guarantees us success. Well, we’ll tell you now it doesn’t exist. If it did it would be called “catching” instead of “fishing”. However, you can tip the odds in your favour, and we are going to let you in on a few secrets as to the best bait to catch carp. Read on to find out about some top secret carp baits.

What flavours do carp like?

The simple answer is almost everything! It has often proven to be the case in recent years that the more exotic your bait smells, the greater the chance of success. We’ve seen curry powder, marmite and even garlic cloves used on our local venue.

The aim of the game would appear to be to mix it up. If you can think of it, then give it a go. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t always pay to use a really well known and popular flavour. Think about hard fished waters. What is your every day, run-of-the-mill angler using to try and catch? Chances are if he’s using it, you may not want to. Take for example ‘sweetcorn’. It might get you going early in the season when the carp will eat anything, but towards the end they’ve seen, and smelled it, all before.

What are carp attracted to?

Whilst carp do use their sense of sight to locate food, they rely heavily on smell. If you’ve ever seen a video of a carp grazing, they often have their heads pointed straight down with their noses firmly in the trough. Choose the best bait flavours, and it is like turning on a switch where the carp will go into a feeding frenzy.

What smells do carp like?

Pick something strong smelling. A hint of this or that isn’t enough. You want the bait to be positively humming with smell and flavour. Remember that leaving it in the water will eventually lead to the smell  ‘washing out’. Meaning you have to bait up again. The less you have to do this, the better.

Carp love salt. So, if you are wanting to get them going, use your imagination. If you are making your own boilies tip a tablespoonful into the mix. Smother your baits in marmite, or add an oxo cube to anything that will soak up the liquid.

Carp also love the smell of fish. If you have ever owned a goldfish you will know that the flakes absolutely reek of the stuff. Well carp are basically big goldfish, so use this knowledge to your advantage. Prawns tend to be a bit whiffy, and they are packed with juices that will leech into the water in an attractive cloud. As an interesting side point, they are also an unusual shape which will wrong foot a ‘boilied out’ carp.

One product which is seeing more and more use is Betaine. It is found in the hard skeletons of crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp and comes as a rich dark liquid. By soaking boilies, maggots, nuts or sweetcorn in it, you’ll find that it should give you a marginal increase in bites and interest in your baits.

What shape of bait should I use for carp fishing?

Another key area to focus on is shape. Often carp learn to associate certain shapes with danger. On a busy water with round boilies? Forget it. Go for something square or unusually shaped.

Check our list below for some suggestions.

What is the best bait to catch carp?

Well we said we’d give you a few secrets, so here are ours. If you have been reading carefully there are a couple thrown in there already! Remember, the key is to use baits that the carp haven’t seen for a while, some of these are a bit crazy, but you won’t be saying that when your arm is tired from hauling in specimens!


Who doesn’t love a nice lump of cheddar? The carp certainly do. Go for mature cheeses for maximum scent. Cut your bait into cubes or use a bait punch to get a bite sized pellet.


We’re sounding all French here so far aren’t we? By sausage we mean something hard and easy to hook. Pepperami is an excellent choice. The red one is particularly oily and just a little bit fragrant.


Go for the big puffy ones or even the little ones used to decorate cakes. This is more of a visual thing as they don’t release too much in the way of smell. They make the ideal floating bait due to the amount of air trapped within.

Peas and pulses

If the carp are turned off by strong smells go au naturel. A tin of kidney beans or peas will last you a long time. The smell isn’t that strong but that said many beans come soaked in brine. Salty goodness for a hungry carp.

Fresh squid

We weren’t kidding when we said that carp love fish. As you’ll know squid is a saltwater species, so they have been basted in salt all their life, a good bait for carp!


Go natural, go local. Any berries from the surrounding trees are sure to be a favourite at your venue, the carp don’t just rely on your pellet mix to keep fed you know? By offering something unusual and natural you may just break the mold.

Thai fish sauce

Ok full disclosure, no one will come near you if you use this, as it absolutely stinks. But as a cheeky marinade, that is packed with scent and salt, the carp will be your new best friend.

Cat/Dog food

8 out of 10 carp recommend it. Especially when mixed with ground bait balls.


Not just bread flakes though. Give a loaf a blitz in a blender and you’ve got the perfect ‘naked’ bait that can be mixed with bloodworm, marmite, oxo or any other flavor. Go bananas…. In fact, that’s just given us an idea….


It pays to think outside the box when it comes to bait. Top secret carp baits aren’t really a secret. They normally come as a result of an angler having a huge amount of success by trying something new, so why don’t you do the same. Just give it 20 minutes alongside your old favourites. You might surprise yourself… and the carp too!