Updated: Sep 16
The first carp introduced into the UK was thought to have been brought in by monks, who took wild fish from mainland Europe and kept them in ponds on abbey grounds for food. Carp lay up to a million eggs in a single breeding season. Making them highly effective at populating an area.
Carp fishing can be done in freshwater stocked lakes, open water lakes, rivers and large bodies of water. There is a massive variety of carp available to catch
Carp fishing is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced anglers. Although, it is recommended to start with small fish and working your way up. Doing so will help you learn how to control a fish. If you approach a specimen lake early on, you may struggle to land larger fish successfully without harming them
Understanding the Species
The three main species of carp is the common carp, the mirror carp and leather carp. But there are a plethora of other carp species as well. The following is a very brief summary of some of the carp species available:
● The common carp is identified by its scale pattern over its whole body and two single barbules on each side of its mouth. They are often longer and lean compared to other species.
● A leather carp has no scales and a ‘leather’ textured appearance. A cross between common carp and koi is the ghost carp.
● A ghost carp is generally gold or silver. They have bright shiny scales.
● Crucian carp is the smallest of all carp. It rarely weighs over three pounds and has tiny scales.
● A grass carp is originally from China but have become popular in British waters. They are usually used in a wide variety of lakes for weed control. Grass carp typically have long slender bodies, rounded heads and do not have any barbules.
● The bighead carp is an Asian native species. Bighead Carp are very popular in commercial aquaculture, being the fifth highest farmed fish in the world. They are incredibly hardy and can adapt quickly to new locations.
● The F1 Carp is a smaller breed of carp which has recently moved into the UK. F1 carp brown faster than common carp. They also tend to continue feeding in colder water when other species do not.
● The silver carp is a species of freshwater cyprinid fish, a variety of Asian Carp native to China. It can get to a large size and has bright silver skin.
Baits & Attractions
As carp is generally a large fish that moves little, it takes a lot to attract them. Chumming an area of water (consistent downpour of food in a small location before starting fishing) may allow you to tempt them.
You may fish for carp with flies. Although, this is a tough challenge and is not recommended for beginner anglers. We will be focusing further on traditional bait methods within this article.
Carp eat a diverse range of foods. Such as insects, boilies, seeds, ground baits, particle baits, boilies, dips and glugs, dough baits, homemade baits, tiger nuts, hemp, marshmallows, bread and sweet corn.
Sweet corn is an all-season bait. It can be used to great success in both winter and summer and can be very versatile.
Boilies have featured as the best carp bait for generations. They catch a lot of carp. Carp like smells and tastes. Boilies float, meaning on the correct rig, they will stand out to carp.
Glug is used to attract carp. You let boilies sit in it for 5-10 minutes. The liquid seeps out of the boilies and creates a cloud of smells within the water.
Many anglers will make their mixture joined together of various baits such as bread, sweetcorn dips etc.
Generally, avoid skinny hooks for more giant carp. Start by chumming the location you wish to fish. This can be done using a chumming catapult. Rigs that are highly recommended are the ‘zig’ rig and the ‘chod’ rig. After casting to your chummed location, set the rod into a rod pod. This will stabilise the rod and will stop it from going into the water. Place an alarm on the line. If your lucky enough to get a bite, it should go off
Handling, Treatment and Care
Once the fish has been netted safely, place the fish onto a wet landing mat. Ensure your hands are wet at all times when handling the fish. If you do not have a landing met, make sure to place the fish on grass and not rocky terrain. Gently remove the hooks and use fish wound treatment on any cuts or abrasions on the carp.
Promising treatments are listed below:
Better Sporting Fishing Antiseptic Fish Aid Spray, Carp fish Care Aid spray, Intensive Care, Prologic Fish Care Spray.
Generally, carp fishing can be a slow process. Therefore, making your experience more relaxing
and comforting is essential. Purchasing a sturdy bivvy and bed will help provide shelter and warmth from harsh weather conditions. Generally, a fishing shelter will have an opening to view the rods at all times.
Rods & Reels
A beginners carp rod can be cheap and still get the job done. There are a large variety of rods available. They are ranging from beginner to advanced. These rods are designed to withstand large amounts of strain from heavy fish. Your carp rod and reel must be balanced correctly, which means that you need to select an appropriate reel for the size of your rod. Choosing the correct rod and reel can be challenging. Thankfully all of them can be used effectively with the correct technique
Understanding how to take care of carp and understanding the correct methods of attraction will make the angling much easier. There is a massive amount of carp species available. This great variety helps keep any carp angler entertained. Providing a significant amount of challenge and achievements to keep any fisherman busy for a lifetime.
By Daniel ONeill