How to Start Carp Fishing

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How to Start Carp Fishing

Carp fish are freshwater fish that live in various types of water. Carp prefer to be in areas where the water is calm and cool. Since this type of fish is nocturnal, they usually prefer dark waters. There are many different species of carp fish, but the most common species is known as the normal carp. In order to start carp fishing you'll need to understand the various equipment and methods used to fish. 

The History of Carp Fish

It is believed that the carp fish is native to Europe. They began being cultivated in England and Wales in the 1300s. According to the Pennsylvania Fishing Commission, the carp has always been a food fish. Since it was not considered to be as delectable as other types of fish, carp fell out of popularity for decades. The carp was also ignored because it is a bottom feeding fish. Carp will eat any organism that is on the bottom of a lake. The fish is believed to have very poor eyesight. It eats waste from other fish and bait that has fallen to the bottom of the waters. Some began to believe that carp was inedible. However, the carp fish had actually been eaten by monks for many years. It wasn't until the 20th century when Richard Walker caught a 44-lb carp that people really began to pay more attention to the carp fish again.

Rod Fishing for Carp

If you are just starting to fish for carp, rod fishing is a good method of choice. In order to catch carp you will need to get your line where the carp are. Carp are bottom dwellers, and stay in the bottom of their water source. If you plan to fish in the water, you will need to purchase sinkers, also known as leads, from eBay. Leads come in various sizes, and fishers can usually purchase a multi-pack of split-shot sinkers. Smaller sized sinkers are recommended so that the fish don't see the sinker and try to go for the sinker instead of the bait.

Carp usually like dark, murky waters. Leave about a foot of line from your sinker and swivel to your hook. The bait will rise off the ground in the water and look appealing to the carp. The line needs to be strong and sturdy so that it can withstand tugging from the carp. A good 8-15 lb fishing line with a barrel swivel will work well. A swivel is needed because while carp are generally slow movers during their trips around the bottom of the water, once they are caught they will put up a good fight. Carp are considered to be knowledgeable fish, and have even been known to spit out the bait that they find unsuitable.

Fishing Methods

There really is more than one way to catch a fish. Here are a few popular methods.


Since noodling can be very dangerous, you should never do it alone. With this method a fisher must go into a river and look for holes and stumps and other places a fish would tuck itself away. When a female is laying its eggs the male will protect her. The male usually hangs out along the outside of the hole, while the female hides in the hole. However, sometimes old carp and catfish will hide out in these dark places because they prefer it. Once you have found a hole and inserted your arm, the fish will clamp down on it. Since other creatures like snapping turtles and venomous water snakes can be found in these hidden passages, this method of fishing requires extreme caution.

Bow Fishing

Bow and arrow fishing is becoming a very popular method for carp fishers. Since the fish are nocturnal, they either sleep or are very slow movers during the day. Their shadows can be seen in open water. With the bow fishing method, archery equipment is used to shoot and retrieve fish. The barbed arrow is attached to a special line, and then a reel is mounted to the bow. The freshwater fish often caught with this method of fishing are the common carp, the grass carp, the bighead carp, the paddlefish and the alligator gar. The fishing line for bow fishing is made of nylon that is braided, dacron, or spectra. The reels are different. Some are as simple as a hand-wrap, while other types include a spincast and a retriever. Most fishers prefer the hand-wrap.

Spear Fishing

One of the most popular methods of carp fishing is spear fishing. For this method fishers use a spear or a spear gun to catch the carp.

Shotgun Fishing


Shotgun shooting for carp is a common method of fishing for silver carp. The problem with silver carp is that they are alarmed by movement. Boats moving in the water are particularly frightening for them. When a boat moves through the water it causes vibrations. These vibrations can scare the fish and cause them to leap 10 feet out of the water. If you decide to start carp fishing with this method, make sure you keep your boat steady and quiet.

Traditional Rod Fishing

There are plenty of fishers who still prefer the traditional fishing rod. This is an excellent method for someone who is trying to start carp fishing. Carp fish are bottom dwellers, so rod fishers would want to put their line at the bottom of the lake or pond. Carp come in various sizes, but a carbon fibre pole is usually fine.

Decide on Your Bait Before Starting

Finding the right type of bait for carp is not difficult. Carp fish eat waste, and a delicious treat for them is corn. Carp fishers can stock up on inexpensive cans of corn during the winter months from online marketplaces like eBay. Fishers can bait carp with corn by emptying a can of corn into the lake each day. This trains the carp to come to the same area each day. Some carp will even arrive at the same time or just stay there waiting for you to return. Some fishers use dough balls to lure carp fish to the same area of the lake each day. Keep in mind that carp are bottom feeders and they will eat just about anything. If you plan to make dough balls for bottom dwelling fish that eat waste, then don't bother buying expensive ingredients.

Other popular bait types are dew worms and chips. Some fishers prefer to make their own unique carp bait by mixing cheese, peanut butter, sardines, and garlic salt. Carp fishers who make their own bait will often only use about two different types of salty items mixed with a thickener like oatmeal, cornmeal, flour, or another ingredient that will make a round ball. Keep in mind that carp don't bite the bait, they suck the bait in. Since a carp sucks the bait in, you may not even realize that you have a fish on your line until you are reeling it in. You may also want to invest in a carp bite alarm. These alarms are very sensitive and will sound when you have a tug on your line. Carp bite alarms can usually be purchased from eBay.


Fishing for carp can be a very rewarding activity. When you start carp fishing make sure you choose a method that is both enjoyable and legal for your area. If a fishing license is required in your area, make sure you attain one. Carp fishing can be an exciting or a relaxing activity. Remember that carp are nocturnal. If you decide to go fishing for them during the day you may be there for a long time. Since a carp sucks the bait in, you may want to utilize a carp bite alarm so that you'll know if you have one on your line. Before you start carp fishing make sure you have purchased all of the necessary carp fishing equipment from eBay.

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