Top 10 Big Carp Fishing Baits

27 Aug 18


Many carp anglers stick to the tried and tested method of single boilies on a hair rig to catch carp.

This is a method that will catch fish but do you want to catch more carp?

There are many different carp fishing baits you can use that will catch you more carp.

These are our top 10 carp fishing bait tips, enjoy.

You may also be interested in our extensive guide to pre-baiting for carp

Mix up the hook bait

There are many different carp fishing bait approaches you can adopt using just boilies that will add variation to confuse the carp in distinguishing between free offerings and your hook bait. Try some of the following.

  • Double up and fish two boilies on your hair. This is a great tactic when targeting big carp as the smaller fish may struggle to fit the hook bait in their mouths. 
  • Use half cut up boilies on your hair. Make sure you also add half cut up boilies to your spod mixes or Korda PVA bags and the carp will find it difficult to spot your hook bait. This simple tactic has got me bites when the fishing has been slower and the carp are shy in feeding.
  • Top you hook bait with some plastic sweetcorn for that added attraction. Again make sure you add some sweetcorn to your spod to ensure you hook bait does not stand out too much which could spook the carp, especially in the warmer months. I have had some very quick takes using this method on high-pressure waters.

Size of boilies

Boilies are of course one of the best carp fishing baits you can fish with. Many anglers will be fishing with 15mm boilies and so I will always make sure I am carrying a different size, usually 18mm or even 20mm boilies. I like to be using a tactic that is different from other anglers on the lake and something that the carp see on a daily basis. 

best carp bait

It does also depend on the size of carp you are fishing for, use the following as a rough guide bearing in mind that most carp could feed on an 18mm or even larger boilies.

  • 10 to 12mm boilies for the single figure fish
  • 15 to 18mm boilies for carp in the twenties
  • 18mm and larger for the big carp and to put off the smaller fish

Spice up your spod mix

The majority of us anglers will be using pellets, boilies, hemp and maybe sweetcorn in our spod mixes which is a great base but you should always look at adding some extras that are a very effective and cheap carp fishing baits.

  • Add some chilli oil to really give your bait a kick and something that will attract the carp.
  • Add some salt to really bring out the flavours of your spod mix. We use it in all of our cooking so why not treat the carp. 
  • Cans of tuna are another very cheap carp bait that will add not only flavour but also oils into your mix, which is a must-have in the summer. These oils will also add a slick in the water which is an added attractor.
  • Make sure you have lots of different shapes and sizes in your spod mix to really encourage the carp to feed, this approach will also give you more options when choosing a hook bait that will blend in.

Fish for a bite at a time

Carp can eat a huge amount of food especially when there are several carp feeding over your bait, however, I would not go piling in bait straight away. See how the lake is fishing, perhaps start with solid PVA bags and if the carp are feeding you can think about putting out a few spods over a clear spot. This approach gives you maximum flexibility, remember you can always add more bait. You do not want to ruin your session before it has started so think carefully before you start baiting up.

Plastic and foam baits

I am a big fan of plastic carp fishing baits and use them regularly as a hook bait. I will normally tip my boilie hook bait with some plastic sweetcorn to give it that extra bit of attraction. This has worked very well for me over the years and is such a simple tactic to try. 

As an extra tip, I have a pot of plastic bait soaking in some Mainline pineapple hook bait enhancement to again add some more flavour to lure the carp.

I will often fish using adjustable zig rigs and my first hook bait will always be some yellow foam. Something as simple as a piece of yellow foam that I have shaped with a pair of scissors has worked wonders and has caught me many carp. You can pick up a pack of multicoloured foam and see which works for you.   

plastic carp bait

Lots of different colours

Try to have a variety of different colour boilies in your tackle bag. I find during the year that different colours work much better than others, for example, when winter carp fishing, white pop up boilies are the best carp fishing bait from my experience. This colour along with pink seem to stand out much more than any other. As a general rule, I would always fish with bright fluoro pop-ups during winter carp fishing as they stand out. When summer carp fishing when the fish are feeding much more I would go for more neutral colours that do not stand out as much as this seems to spook the carp. As I mentioned earlier, try to use a hook bait that blends in during the warmer periods.

Add liquid to your boilies 

Boilies are good out of the bag but you should think about adding some extra attraction. Add your boilies to some boiling water along with a bait soak, glug, powder or flavour enhancer to give you bait that little bit extra. This takes a bit of extra effort but is worth it when you catch that big carp.

Solid PVA bags 

I am a huge fan of fishing with solid PVA bags. I have the confidence to cast them almost anywhere and know my hook bait is presented correctly. I like to use a pop-up boilie when fishing solid PVA bags to ensure the hook bait is sitting just on top of the small pile of bait hopefully to catch the eye of a carp. I will normally use varying size pellets, some cut up boilies and some PVA safe flavour enhancers or glug. As an extra idea, you can also fill your PVA bag with maggots and fish with some plastic or real maggots on a hair ring. This could attract the nuisance fish but is bait the carp love and a tactic that not many anglers will be using. 

mainline pop up bait

Pop up and balanced baits

As I touched upon before, pop up baits will sit just on top of any free offerings and should be the first that the carp feed on. I also like to use critically balanced hook bait as I believe these will naturally shoot into the carps mouth when feeding and often provide an excellent hook hold. The critically balanced approach does take a bit of time to set up, simply drop your pop up hook bait in the edge and slowly add some weights until the bait very slowly sinks through the water.


These tips for carp fishing baits will give you an edge over other anglers on the lake and should allow you to catch more carp. Many of these tips and tactics are very simple to incorporate into your fishing and can be devastating. 

Hope you enjoyed the article, see you next time.

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