Carp fishing, all you need to know

Carp fishing is probably one of the most popular forms of angling in Europe. The thrill of catching a monster carp, especially fish that hasn’t come out for years, is unparalleled. Anglers from around the world head to the best carp waters in order to catch that particular specimen.

The thrill of catching a monster carp is unparalleled

The thrill of catching a monster carp is unparalleled

With sophisticated fishing techniques, using particular rigs, baits and fishing strategies, carp anglers target common, mirror, leather, and crucian carp. Carp angling can be done in rivers, lakes and private venues. This is a brief introduction to what carp fishing is and the tackle that is required for this particular fishing discipline.

Essential Carping Gear

You can catch a carp with a pole or with a simple setup with a float. And most of us have caught our first carp this way! But when we think of this fishing discipline, we’re talking about bivvies, rodpods, bite alarm, baitboats and exotic carp rigs including the popup rig, the ronnie rig or the chod rig.

Carp fishing rods

Most carp fishing rods are 12ft long. This is the ideal length for both casting and playing with the fish. Longer rods are also available for those carp anglers willing to do long distance fishing. Carp rods can be bought from 40€ to more than 600€ per rod. For a carp session, normally 3 or 4 rods are used on the rodpod. 

Carp fishing reels

Carp fishing at Domaine de Brocard

Carp fishing in France at Domaine de Brocard

The fishing tackle industry offers a wide range of carp fishing reels, ranging from fixed spool reels, freespool reels, baitrunner fishing reels to big pit reels. Depending on the materials it is made off, the reel will be lighter, more durable and also more or less expensive. Famous top quality reels are those of Shimano and Daiwa.

Carp hook links and hooks, the holy grail

Carp are bottom feeders and most carp rigs are made to fish on or over the bottom. A weight (inline or swivel lead) holds the rig in place and also, when the carp picks up the bait, the weight will help hook the fish.

There is an enormous variety of carp rigs. Every rig has its own purpose and has to be used depending on what kind of terrain you’re fishing over, and the location in front of you. The simple hair rig, the classic pop up rig, the multi rig, the chod rig, the ronnie rig, the hinged stiff rig, the KD rig are just some of the carp rigs. You can tie them yourself or buy them ready made at your local tackle shop.

The most common carp hooks are the wide gape, curved shank, stiff rigger and long shank. Depending on the carp water you’re fishing, you’ll have to use barbed or barbless hooks.

Picking the right carp bait

Without bait, you’d never hook a carp. Just like for predator fishing you have different types of lures, for carp fishing an endless range of baits and products are offered. In the early days, carp anglers would use corn, potato, worms and other natural bait. The most popular carp bait now are boilies. Boilies are round baits made with the finest nutrients and attractants to draw the carp to your rig. There are hundreds of different flavours and colours. Every brand has its own secret boilies and every angler swears he or she has the ultimate bait to catch the biggest carp.

For ground baiting, pellets and particles can be used. And there are also liquid attractants to make the bait irresistible: glugs, bait dips, flavour sprays…

Carp fishing in France

Anglers from around love to fish at bucket listers such as the Canary Islands, Hawaii, Florida or the Maldives. But carp anglers prefer to travel to the best carp waters in the UK, France, Hungary or Croatia in order to catch that particular specimen. Bigger is better! And you can catch enormous carp in these countries. Carp anglers are always looking for the thrill of catching a new Personal Best. They’re looking for 30kg+ (65lb+) carp and glorious specimen carp with incredible scaling: zip linear carp, leather carp, fully scale, koi carp… you name it.

Carp fishing in France is a very good option and this is due to the sheer amount of places available to fish. There are said to be more lakes and rivers in France, with good spots for fishing, than in the rest of Europe combined. And it is for this reason there has been an influx of angling holidaymakers who take full advantage of the great spots.