40 Carp Fishing Tips to Catch More Carp in 2021
We have compiled the ultimate list of carp fishing tips that, if used correctly, will increase your catch rate. Some of the carp fishing tips are better suited to winter and others are going to be more successful during the summer.
Whether you are looking to catch carp quickly, are struggling to catch carp, interested in carp fishing tips for beginners or perhaps some tips for the best carp fishing rigs, we cover all of these points and more.
Leave us a comment, with your top carp fishing tips!
Fluoro carp baits
Fluoro carp fishing baits are excellent in grabbing the attention of carp and are the best carp bait in winter. Always carry a pot of fluoro carp fishing boilies in your tackle bag with pink and white being the go-to colours that seem to work more often than not. Check out the top quality Mainline Fluoro Carp Boilies, these carp fishing baits are superb.
Chopped up boilies
Chopped up boilies are a great and simple tactic to use in both your spod mix or as a hook bait. Many carp anglers will use whole boilies on a hair rig, which is something many carp will be familiar with. The carp may even associate whole boilies with danger and this could affect the number of bites you are receiving. Simply, cut several boilies in half and use these on your hair and spod to really confuse the carp.
As a bonus, you can also use boilie crumb in your spod mix for additional texture and flavour. Try the amazing Korda Krusha to make boilie crumb quickly and efficiently.
Do something different from the crowd
Many carp lakes will have a go-to carp boilie flavour that everyone uses or perhaps a certain spot on the lake produces bites. This is all good information to have and I encourage you to gain as much information as possible, but if these tactics are not working change your approach completely. I mean do the absolute opposite. The carp will be familiar with these go-to tactics that other anglers may have had some success on, but you need to try and confuse the carp into taking your bait and by doing something that most anglers are not doing will increase your chances of getting a bite.
Get the details
I touched upon this earlier, get as much information about the venue as possible. Which boilies are anglers using, which areas of the lake are producing fish? Then use this information wisely. Feel free to try these go-to tactics but I like to try a tactic that is less popular for that given venue. The carp will eventually wise up to the go-to tactics.
When you are really struggling to catch carp or carp fishing in hot weather, then try zig rigs. Zig rigs can be deadly when trying to catch carp. Always carry an adjustable zig rig kit with some yellow or black foam. Zig rigs can produce bites very quickly when all other tactics are not working. By using an adjustable zig rig, you can easily set your zig rig at different depths of water until you find that sweet spot that produces fish.
Fish in the margins
The margins are always overlooked in carp fishing. Anglers will automatically look for clear areas of the lake and fish on that area for days on end. Look around the margins for signs of fish and place a rod on that spot. Fishing in the margins can produce big carp and is also a very exciting tactic to use. Make sure you are paying attention and as soon as you get a bite, stay on the fish and try your best to keep the carp away from the snags.
Fish in the weed
Carp fishing in weed is an interesting subject. Many carp anglers try to avoid fishing in the weed, like the plague but in actual fact, there are many advantages to this. The weed will naturally contain food that carp love. A chod rig is a superb choice for carp fishing in weed as it will sit perfectly just above the light weed. I would still try to avoid heavy weed and this can be more trouble than it is worth when playing the fish.
Top secret carp baits
Carp boilies are a great bait that will catch carp all day long, but on those days where this traditional carp fishing bait is not successful why not try something from left field. Why not try prawns or mussels, anything that you can think that could attract a big carp that other anglers are not using. There is a lot of pleasure to be had when you try a new carp fishing bait and having success which I feel is a big reason why carp fishing is so addictive.
Improve your carp fishing rigs
Make sure your carp fishing rigs are fully camouflaged to the lake bed, that your knots are correctly tied and any loose ends of tackle are trimmed. All these small improvements will increase your chances of catching carp. You may have a big carp over your bait that got spooked by the rig sticking out like a sore thumb so get those carp fishing rigs as clean and tidy as possible. If you are struggling to tie your own carp fishing rigs, why not try the excellent ready tied carp fishing rigs from Korda.
Aggressive KD rigs
When carp fishing on lakes that are high pressured or bites are hard to come by, I will always use aggressive carp fishing rigs like the KD rig. The way this carp fishing rig is tied ensures the hook will try to turn aggressively into the carp mouths. Take a KD rig and run this over your palm, you should see the hook turn into your hand almost instantly to highlight the aggressive nature I am talking about. When you get a carp interested in your hook bait, you must take every advantage and hook the fish, especially on high pressured day ticket carp lakes.
Check out my other article detailing how to tie a KD rig
Chod rigs - How to target bigger carp
The chod rig is ever increasing in popularity and it is easy to see why. This type of carp fishing rig can be fished almost anywhere with minimal disturbance making it perfect for high pressured venues. The chod rig is also known as a big carp fishing rig that has captured some of the biggest carp in the UK and across Europe. The chod carp fishing rig can be cast to showing fish with confidence the rig is sitting correctly over almost any lake bed. The chod rig would be my choice if I had to catch carp quickly or I was trying to target bigger carp.
A balanced carp fishing rig can be deadly when fishing for carp. This type of carp fishing rig will slowly sink in the water, achieved by using a pop-up boilie balanced against the hook, and when sucked up by a feeding carp, will enter the carps mouth and hook more easily than a traditional carp fishing rig. To achieve a balanced carp fishing rig, simple drop the rig into the margin and trim the pop-up boilie until the carp fishing rig sinks very slowly. This takes a couple of minutes but is worth that extra effort.
Add a touch of colour
Adding a touch of colour to your hook bait and spod mix is a simple and powerful tactic. A tin of sweetcorn is perfect for your spod mix and this touch of yellow will attract any carp in your swim. I also like to top my boilie with some plastic sweetcorn to ensure the hook bait blends into my spod mix and doesn't spook the carp. I have landed several big carp with this approach.
Get the bait in
During the spring when the carp start to feed again is the perfect time to start adding several spods of carp fishing bait to your swim. This time of year the carp will be looking for feed more heavily and you want to try and get several carp feeding. If you do achieve this, you can land several carp very quickly. I also like to fish one rod just off the baited area as I find big carp tend to be more cautious and hang back. I believe the best carp bait for summer is not a specific bait but fishing over a baited area.
Fish for a bite at a time
During the winter months carp fishing slows down and you need to fish for a single bite at a time. Focus on bright fluor carp fishing baits that are packed full of flavour to try and attract one carp at a time. You will not be able to get several carp feeding over a baited area during the winter.
Fresh boilies are much better compared against shelf-life carp boilies. The fresh boilies that you will store in a freezer contain fewer additives and preservatives and in my opinion produce more carp. You can also get some great deals when buying fresh boilies.
Check out our list of carp bait companies for the best carp fishing baits.
I am a big fan of pre-baiting before I go carp fishing. This approach does require some additional effort but it will pay off later when you land a big carp or two. By pre-baiting, you are allowing the carp to get used to feeding on a given spot without the danger of being caught and when you do come to start fishing the carp will be in this same mindset, hopefully allowing you to land a few decent sized carp. Check your carp venue allows pre-baiting.
Check out our pre-baiting for carp top tips
Spice it up
Carp love a bit of heat and I always try to spice up my spod mix when carp fishing. I will simply add some chilli powder to my spod mix and this gives me added confidence when carp fishing.
Pimp your spod mix
Your spod mix should be packed full of flavour, texture, colour and attraction. Use different shape and size carp boilies and pellets. Add flavourings such as tuna, dedicated spod mix flavour glugs and chilli powder. A tin of sweetcorn will give you a great colour throughout the spod mix. These type of spod mixes will attract carp and get them rummaging through all the different shapes and sizes, which will hopefully lead to catching carp.
Check out our Ultimate Big Carp Spod Mix article
Every carp anglers should carry some plastic baits in their tackle box. Carp fishing with plastic bait is very versatile and gives you multiple different options in relation to colours, shapes and sizes. I often top my boilie with some plastic sweetcorn to provide extra attraction to a big carp. Plastic carp fishing baits are cheap and can be reused time after time. As an extra tip, soak your plastic baits in flavoured liquid and glugs for even more attraction.
Dedicated carp liquid flavour and glugs are a simple way to add more appeal to your hook bait and spod mix. These carp liquid and glugs are often available in a variety of flavours including matching carp boilies. I always carry a couple of bottles in my tackle box. I like to have some my pop-up boilies pre-soaked to really absorb the flavour to the max.
Use the best carp fishing line
Use the type of carp fishing line best suited to your fishing. If you are fishing in heavy weed or in the margins, braided carp fishing line is a good option as long as the venue allows for this. If you are fishing at distance, a monofilament type fishing line is a better match. If the lake water is crystal clear a fluorocarbon fishing line is ideal. Using the wrong carp fishing line could result in fewer bites as the line is too obvious to the carp or more fish lost during the fight, due to hook pulls or line breaks on snagged areas.
Check out our Best Carp Fishing Line article
Have a number of bait options
I will always have several different carp fishing bait options for a session. That will include different sizes & flavour of boilies, different types of boilie including pop-up and a mix of plastic baits as a minimum. The more carp fishing bait options you have, the better chance you have at finding a bait that is successful on that given day.
Use the right hook
There are so many different types of carp hook available from a curve, long or wide gap shank to dedicated chod hooks. Make sure you are using the correct carp hook type for the given carp fishing rig you are using. For example, if you are fishing using a KD carp rig, a curve shank hook is perfect. By using the correct hook for the rig you are ensuring the rig is performing as you expect which should lead to more carp on the bank.
Be prepared to move
I see so many carp anglers arrive at a venue and set up shop for a couple of days and nights. This can be a very risky situation to find yourself in. If the carp are no longer showing in your swim you need to be able to move ASAP so try and be as mobile as possible and decrease the amount of equipment you're bringing. You will not catch any carp if they are not in your swim.
Locate the fish before you setup
When you arrive at the venue you are going to fish, have a good look around first and try to see a sign of carp. Signs such as showing fish are great indications to help decide where to fish. Picking the best swim could be the difference between catching carp or blanking, so take your time and choose wisely.
Know what you are fishing over
If you do plan on fishing over a baited area, make sure you get out a marker rod and really understand the lake bed. Try to draw out the lake bed in your mind including any clear areas where carp have been feeding or shelves and drop off areas. Knowing what you are fishing over will make life easier when deciding what tactics to employ.
Washed out baits
I am a big fan of washing out your carp boilies. When you wash out your carp fishing bait, you remove that out of the bag colour which gives the impression the bait has been sitting on the lake bed for some time and feeling safe to eat from the carp's point of view. A simple tactic to implement but also very effective.
Fishing with PVA bags offers efficiency and simplicity to your carp fishing. Fishing for carp with PVA bags allows the angler to cast to showing fish with the confidence the rig is tangle-free, surrounded by a small pile of bait. I like to have several PVA bags ready tied and using a quick change clip, swap over as and when I feel the need. Many big carp have been caught using this simple tactic.
Don't forget particles
Adding particles to your spod mix is a great way to bulk up the mix and also provide a great visual attraction. The particles will cloud up the water when casting out and provide lots of different shape and sizes for the carp to feed on. Particle carp fishing bait is also very good value for money.
Loaf of bread
Much like a tin of sweetcorn, a loaf of bread should always be carried in your tackle bag. You can surface fish with this cheap and versatile carp fishing bait. Plastic bread is also available if you want to attach to a hair rig.
Fish off the baited area
I touched upon this earlier. When fishing over a baited area, I have found that big carp tend to be more cautious and sit back to let the smaller carp feed. Knowing this behaviour allows us as anglers to try and take advantage by simply placing a rod off the baited area with the aim to land one of the big carp. A PVA bag or chod rig would be my preference in this scenario.
Carp, like all fish love maggots but this carp fishing bait, is often overlooked. When another carp fishing bait isn't working, try switching to maggots in an attempt to catch the attention of a hungry carp. I like to use a maggot clip and attached multiple maggots at once with a couple of plastic maggots to keep everything in place.
Keep an eye on the weather
The weather plays a huge role in carp fishing with overcast and raining conditions being ideal for carp fishing. When there is high pressure the fish do not feed as much and can often be found in the upper layers of water. In this situation, zig rigs are perfect.
Feel the lead down
When you cast out your carp fishing rig you should always feel the lead down to ensure the rigs is presented correctly with no tangles. Just before the rig is about to hit the water, place your finger over the line and slow it down. This will shoot the lead forward and when it hits the lake bed, forcing the carp fishing rig out in a straight line. This will ensure your carp fishing rig is sitting correctly. When the lead does hit the lake bed, you are looking for a thud which indicates a clear bottom, perfect to fish over.
I like to re-cast my carp fishing rigs often if I am seeing no success. This is especially true in the winter where I am fishing with PVA bags and bright fluoro carp fishing baits. If you see signs of carp elsewhere, either re-cast or move to a new swim.
Accurate as possible
When fishing over a baited area you need to make sure you are accurate with both your baiting and your carp fishing rigs. This should be easy to achieve by clipping up your fishing line at the correct distance. This approach allows you to keep topping up the same area and also to re-cast your carp fishing rigs to the same spot you landed the last fish.
Tidy up the presentation
Any signs of danger and the wary carp will stay well clear of your rig. With this in mind, you need to ensure your carp fishing rig is tied neatly, pinned down and your carp fishing line blends into the lake bed. You can go a step further and add back leads to pin down your fishing line.
Sharp hooks every time
When carp fishing, bites are often hard to come by and so when they do you must ensure you hooks are razor sharp. Some of the professional carp anglers replace their hooks after each take but that is not realistic for amateur anglers. A simple check is to run the hook over your nail and if it catches, you are good.
Cloudy spod mix
When creating your carp spod mix, add lots of particles to make the mixture cloudy to attract carp. Each individual piece of the particle will sink at different rates through the water which will grab the attention of carp nearby.
There are lots of carp fishing tips here that will increase your catch rate but, to sum up, just make sure you are enjoying your time on the bank. I hope you enjoy these carp fishing tips and let me know about your own tips by leaving a comment.
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