HOW TO START CARP FISHING

HOW TO START CARP FISHING

by Angling Times |

Specimen carp fishing is the fastest growing form of freshwater fishing in the UK so here's our guide to all the tackle and bait you need to get started and the best deals we can find for you. Who knows, before long you could become the next Danny Fairbrass or Terry Hearn!

1. PICK A CARP FISHING ROD

HOW TO START CARP FISHING

With fish from double figures up to 40lb or more possible, you'll need to step up your gear considerably. A typical carp rod is 12ft long and boasts a test curve of between 2.5lb and 3.5lb, for big fish and potentially long casts. Judge the rod to the type of venue - you don't need a 3.5lb version on a five acre lake! Heavier test curves mean stiffer actions which cast further while softer rods are better at close range. A pair of rods will double your chances of catching but three rods can be a bit too much for all but very experienced carpers, as hooked fish can wipe out other lines.

OUR PICKS

FOX WARRIOR CARP RODS from £63.17 on Amazon.co.uk

DAIWA BLACK WIDOW CARP RODS £39.99 at Amazon.co.uk

SONIK S3 from £39.99 at Chapmans Angling

SHIMANO TRIBAL VELOCITY from £55 at Chapmans Angling

NASH KNX from £69.99 at Chapmans Angling

2. BUY A CARP FISHING REEL

HOW TO START CARP FISHING

Carp reels run from 6000 up to 10000 class, although exact sizes differ slightly between manufacturers. Models can be categorised into either freespool or big pit versions. Freespools include a baitrunner-style facility to engage when waiting for fast runs while big pit reels typically have a large body and oversized spool, designed to be used with the front drag.

OUR PICKS

Wychwood Riot Big Pit from £54.99 at Chapmans Angling

Wychwood Riot Big S Black from £54.99 at Chapmans Angling

Daiwa Black Widow A from £69.99 at Chapmans Angling

Shimano Baitrunner ST RB from £34.99 at Chapmans Angling

Nash BP-10 Fast Drag from £54.99 at Chapmans Angling

3. CARP FISHING MAIN LINE CHOICE

HOW TO START CARP FISHING

Unless you're faced with an extreme snag situation, a monofilament mainline of around 10lb to 12lb is more than adequate. Avoid fluorocarbon as a mainline as it's springy and difficult to use. Also avoid braid as a mainline until you become an accomplished angler fishing at distance, because you're liable to lose fish with the lack of stretch.

OUR PICKS

DAIWA SENSOR from £9.32 for almost 1,000m on Amazon.co.uk

KORDA CARP LINE from £8.61 for 1,000m at Amazon.co.uk

GARDNER GT80 from £19.99 at Chapmans Angling

ESP SYNCRO XT from £19.95 for 1,000m at Amazon.co.uk

BERKLEY CONNECT CM90 from £17.87 at Amazon.co.uk

4. USE THE RIGHT CARP HOOK LINKS AND HOOKS

HOW TO START CARP FISHING

Coated braid hook links are preferred for carp fishing. This is stiff so doesn't tangle and is very safe and strong. Strip the coating off near the hook to give the bait more natural movement. In terms of hooks, a reliable, wide gape eyed pattern is a must. Here are some of our favourite patterns but some exceptional ready tied rigs are also available, whether you're a newcomer or seasoned carper!

KORDA DF READY RIGS from £1.99 each at Amazon.co.uk

FOX CAMOTEX SOFT COATED CAMO BRAID from £10.80 at Amazon.co.uk

KORDA N-TRAP FROM £9.50 at Amazon.co.uk

NASH FANG HOOKS from £4.49 at Amazon.co.uk

KORDA WIDE GAPE From £3.78 at Amazon.co.uk

5. MAKE A CARP FISHING RIG

HOW TO START CARP FISHING

Carp fishing is as complicated as you make it and there are loads of different rigs for different purposes. For starters however, a simple, easy rig is with a lead lip attached on the end of the mainline. Clip the lead on but don't push the tail rubber over it too tightly. Under extreme pressure the lead will come off, for example when snagged. Attach your hooklength to the lead clip, an 8ins length is about right.

OUR PICKS

CARP LEAD SETS from £3.99 at Amazon.co.uk

KORUM LEAD CLIPS from £2.35 at Amazon.co.uk

KORDA HYBRID LEAD CLIPS from £4.50 at Amazon.co.uk

6. PICK THE RIGHT CARP BAIT

HOW TO START CARP FISHING

Boilies are by a mile the most popular big carp bait going. Modern shelf life boilies are ideal but stick to a tried and trusted brand. Try a size of around 14mm 15mm or 16mm.

You can use the same on the hair-rig, or you can go for pop ups.

OUR PICKS

CC Moore boilies from £9.99 at Amazon.co.uk

Mainline Cell boilies from £11.75 at Amazon.co.uk

Sticky Baits Manilla boilies from £11.99 at Amazon.co.uk

Dynamite The Source boilies from £11.99 at Amazon.co.uk

Sonubaits Code Red boilies from £22.99 at Amazon.co.uk

7. WHY YOU NEED BITE ALARMS

HOW TO START CARP FISHING

A good set is paramount. You can buy wireless alarms with receivers to transmit a signal to your bivvy too. You'll also need a set of bobbins to use with alarms to register drop backs, as not every bite will tear off to the horizon.

OUR PICKS

Delkim EV Plus £64.49 at Amazon.co.uk

Nash Siren SR5 £49.99 at Amazon.co.uk

Fox Micron MR+ £64.00 at Amazon.co.uk

8. BUY A ROD POD

HOW TO START CARP FISHING

You'll need something to hold your rods and bite alarms whilst waiting for a run. Bank sticks with or without buzzer bars are one option but pods are easy to set up and are great for all surfaces. Always remember to have to your nearest line guide on your side of the bite alarm, to avoid the risk of losing the rod!

Rod pods from £13.95 at Amazon.co.uk

9. GET THE RIGHT LANDING NET

HOW TO START CARP FISHING

Go for a landing net of at least 40ins in size, so we're talking a triangular specialist version rather than a spoon.

42" Landing nets from £11.96 at Amazon.co.uk

10. CHOOSING A BIVVY OR BROLLY

HOW TO START CARP FISHING

You'll need to be prepared for longer sessions and overnight stays on lakes so some sort of shelter is a must. A brolly system tends to be an open face shelter so is probably better for warm weather and shorter sessions. A bivvy can be fully zipped up to keep the elements out.

OUR PICKS

JRC Contact 1 Man Bivvy £59.36 at Amazon.co.uk

Korum Carper 1 Man Bivvy £70 at Chapmans Angling

Chub RS Plus Shelter £80 at Chapmans Angling

Korum Day Shelter £85.49 at Amazon.co.uk

11. INVEST IN A BEDCHAIR

HOW TO START CARP FISHING

If you're going to be serious about your carp fishing and you intend staying for a full day or more, a bed chair is great for reclining on. For overnight stays a sleeping bag will also be needed with it.

OUR PICKS

JRC Contact Lite Bedchair £79.99 at Chapmans Angling

Daiwa Infinity Sleepeezy £100 at Chapmans Angling

TF Gear Deluxe three leg £69.99 at Chapmans Angling

12. GET AN UNHOOKING MAT

HOW TO START CARP FISHING

Looking after your catch is paramount, especially when you've got a large carp in the landing net ready to bring onto the bank. Invest in a large unhooking mat with plenty of padding, ideally with walls or a flap to keep the fish contained, or a cradle. Always wet the mat with a bucket of water before a fish goes on it.

OUR PICKS

TF Gear Hardcore Packaway Unhooking Mat £39.99 at Chapmans Angling

Fox Easy Mat £59.99 at Chapmans Angling

NGT Jumbo Folding Carp Fishing Cradle/Inner Padded Mat £37.99 on Amazon

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us