Big carp are incredibly powerful creatures, so having the best carp rod for the job is vital if you are to be rewarded for your time on the bank by landing each and every one that you hook. A whole host of different fishing rods are available to suit the many varying styles of carp angling, such is the varied nature of the modern carp scene.
Whether you're choosing a bespoke floater fishing tool or a beefier model, tailor-made for casting extreme distances, the right choice can make your angling so much more efficient. In other words, you need to pick the right rod for your preferred form of fishing. After all, one that’s perfect for tackling your local farm pond will not be best-suited to getting the best from a wild and windswept 100-acre gravel pit!
The best carp rods at a glance
• Best Casting Rod - Korda Kaizen Platinum Carp Rods - view offer on Total Fishing Tackle
• Best Stalking Rod - ESP Onyx Quickdraw Rods - view offer on Total Fishing Tackle
• Best Beginner Rod - Fox EOS Pro Rods - view offer on Total Fishing Tackle
• Best Budget Spod Rod - Wychwood Dispatch S1 Spod Rod - view offer on Amazon UK
That said, however, there are some rods available that are good ‘middle of the road’ options, if you don’t fancy splashing out on a set-up for every situation. Here, then, is our pick of some of the best carp rods on the market right now...
Available in test curves between 3lb and 4lb and lengths of 12ft, 12ft 6ins and 13ft, Korda Kaizen
- Incredible casting tools.
- Classy, low-glare matt paint finish and clean fittings.
- We would have liked to have seen a slightly lighter rod in the range for smaller waters.
A reliable rod that will cover most fishing scenarios in the UK with ease, the Daiwa Black Widow
- Range of sizes to suit all anglers.
- Perform to a much higher standard than their price range suggests.
- Lack power for really long range fishing.
A new release from Nash who, despite producing short rods like the Scopes, have gone back to the
- Classy looks and feel.
- The requisite power to punch controller floats a long way.
- We'd prefer to have seen a slightly lighter option for freelining or close in work.
Shimano's TX-5A models are truly things of beauty. The aesthetics are backed up by performance,
- Superb fish playing action.
- Good casting performance.
- Not the best for extreme casting scenarios or stalking work.
For those who want their rods to maintain a classic feel in today’s increasingly high-tech modern
- A stunning rod to look at on the rests.
- Great fun to play fish on.
- Not the best for fishing at really long ranges
If you’re new to carp fishing and want a reliable rod that you can use anywhere for any size fish,
- Plenty of power for accurate casting.
- Premium finish to the rods .
- A lighter rod for floater fishing would complete the range nicely.
Best budget spod rod
The Wychwood Dispatch S1 Spod rod might be cheaper than other rods out there but it certainly
- Powerful rod.
- Can be used for Spomb or marker work.
- Handle is a little short.
Free Spirit have cemented themselves into the carp fishing fraternity for producing quality rods
- Formidable power, incredible casting performance.
- Cork handles available.
- No smaller version than 12ft available.
If you're a fan of using rods a little shorter than the traditional 12ft length, then Sonik
- Good casting rod considering its length.
- Comfortable to use.
- Can take a while to get used to playing fish on a shorter rod.
These shorter ESP Onyx Quickdraw rods are available in 9 or 10ft and both incorporate 40mm butt
- Retractable for ease of use.
- Lightweight and easy to store and transport.
- The 9ft version isn't the best casting rod.
What to look for in a carp rod
Picking the best carp fishing rod for you will largely depend on the types of waters you regularly fish. If your venue is a small farm pond or club lake, you aren't going to need 13ft 4lb test curve rods that are built for casting. It's all about finding the right balance, that includes picking the best carp fishing reel to pair the rod with.
Like many things, carp rods tend to follow certain trends. Short rods have been incredibly popular in recent times, as have 13ft models with high test curves, but there is still nothing wrong with the more traditional 12ft length and lower test curves if used in the correct situations.
Ideally, you want a rod that can cast further than your required distance, so in harsh weather conditions you can still hit the right spots. But this also needs to be paired with a fish playing action that is soft enough for you not to lose fish under the rod tip.
Blank: The hollow carbon fibre tube that the rod is made from, attached to which are the guides and handle.
Guides: The rings that line the length of the rod that the line passes through.
Reel seat: The part of the handle that your reel attaches to. Almost all UK coarse rods have screw-down reel seats, where the fore-grip on the handle rotates and closes the seat to hold the reel in place.
Test curve: Usually measured in pounds, it's the weight that needs to be applied to the end of the rod to make it bend over 90 degrees. The greater the test curve, the more powerful the rod.
Fish playing action: A way of describing how good a rod performs when reeling in a fish. A rod with a good fish-playing action will provide plenty of cushion to a thrashing fish, preventing hookpulls (lost fish) and line breakages.
Progressive action. A rod that quickly powers up from its tip through to its middle area, providing the ideal coordinated playing action for powerful fish.
Tip action: This normally applies to traditional three-piece float rods that need a 'tip or tippy action' to be able to whip out light floats when casting, as well as pick-up line very quickly on the strike.
Through action: A rod that has a softer top section but still produces a cushioned bend throughout its entire length, giving a good fish-playing action.
Rod taper: How a rod changes in diameter along its length. A fast taper rod will typically thicken up very quickly as you move away from the tip. Although other factors come into play, like carbon types, weave and construction, typically, a fast taper rod will bend more at the tip than the butt (tip actioned).
Butt ring: The first eye up from the reel seat, generally, 40mm or 50mm in size and the larger the eye, the less friction on the cast, which can mean better distances.
Anti-frap rings: A specially designed rod ring with longer arms, generally on the tip, which prevents line wrapping around it on the cast, helping prevent crack-offs.
Frequently asked questions on carp rods
Should I choose a rod that will cast the furthest distance that I will want to fish?
No, you should choose a rod that best suits the distance that you want to fish at. A rod that is too long and powerful will make casting short distances with any kind of accuracy difficult and will have a poor fish playing action. This is why all rod ranges feature models of varying lengths and powers.
Why are rods different lengths?
Typically, the further you want to cast, the longer the rod you should go for, whilst also taking into account casting weight and fish playing action.
Will a rod with a bigger casting weight or test curve rating cast further?
Yes, when combined with extra length, you will be able to achieve greater distances with the correct technique and a weight that matches the rod. Be aware that the more powerful your rod, the stronger the line and hooks you will need to use to prevent fish losses, which could, in turn, mean you fooling less fish into taking your bait to start off with.
Why are distance casting rods so stiff?
You can cast miles with this rod, yet it doesn't feel like a broom handle to fish with. The stiffness of all distance rods works in two ways. Firstly, it helps to produce lots of casting power, and secondly, it minimises tip recoil aiding casting distance.
What are rod test curves, and what do they mean?
Quite simply, it is the weight required to pull a rod tip to a 90-degree angle to the rod butt when the rod is held in an upright position. They can also be used as a rough rule-of-thumb guide for the rod's weight casting potential.
Author Aidan Bordiuk is an enthusiastic angler who enjoys all fishing disciplines from match fishing to beach casting. He is currently occupying the position of Commercial Content Writer at Angling Times.