Once you get started with carp fishing, there are many choices that you need to make, and knowing which gear to choose can be a difficult endeavor. This is why we have taken the time to answer all the questions that you might have below, together with other articles such as the one about the Ugly Stik Bigwater, which is a great spinning rod for carp.
What spinning rod and reel to use for carp fishing
While carp are not as hard to catch as other fish, they can still get quite big and put up a fight (grass carp can reach a weight of up to 80 pounds). If you want to catch carp, then a medium spinning combination works best. With that said, there are situations in which a conventional combination or a fly rod might work better, and we will explore that in detail below.
A spinning rod and reel combination is the best multi-purpose solution since it works quite well in most situations. Spinning rods are very easy to cast with good accuracy, and even though other types of rods might be more accurately casted, they require a greater skill level to maneuver. For the average angler, a spinning rod is perfect for carp.
Things are even easier with modern spinning reels that come with excellent drag systems to let the fish run. These types of reels are ideal for large grassy areas where grass carp like to feed, or in open shorelines for other kinds of fish.
Depending on the size of the fish that you want to catch, you can either use a light reel for smaller fish, or a larger one for bigger ones like the grass carp. It is important to choose the size of the reel carefully since carp can be frustrating to bite as it is, and you don’t want to use an undersized reel that could make you lose the fish.
When it comes to the rod, the most versatile one that you can purchase is a seven-foot spinning rod. It should come with fast action to give you more sensitivity and allow you to feel each bite, as well as more powerful and faster hook-setting capabilities.
Furthermore, since carps tend to pull hard once they realize they’ve been hooked, a medium gear ratio will give you the right balance between having the finesse you need to use an artificial lure and a little more power to reel them in. The slower the gear ratio, the more power you’ll have per handle rotation.
Baitcasting rods and fly rods for carp fishing
If there are obstacles around such as tree roots, fallen trees, etc., a conventional or baitcasting, rod and reel combination can help you catch more carp. The reason for this is due to the fact that baitcasting tackle gives you more leverage against powerful fish than a spinning tackle of the same size would.
Unlike a spinning reel which has the line wound around it perpendicularly, a baitcasting reel has it wound parallel to the fishing road. This allows the angler to lift the fish and prevent it from potentially getting stuck in certain spaces.
Just as is the case with a spinning rod, the size of the baitcasting rod depends on the size of the fish that you are targeting. For anglers that want to sight-cast small or medium carp in the shallows, and want to use the accuracy of a baitcasting rod, a light reel will do the trick.
If, on the other hand, you want to be able to pull bigger fish away from any potential obstacle, then a medium reel will be mandatory so that you have a strong enough line capable of reeling in your fish.
Fly rods, on the other hand, are used to catch fish that like to eat insects, underwater vegetation, and other small things. While carp does come in all sizes, if you want to catch them using a fly rod you will need to get one that is 4-to-6 weight. Most carp are around 10 pounds, which makes the range of fly rods appropriate for the task
Another important detail to keep in mind if you plan to go fly fishing is to get a stiff, fast action rod. Carp does not have a powerful bite-and-run, so a sensitive action rod is needed in order to feel the bite. Fly fishing for carps is starting to gain popularity very fast, so if you want to try it now is the time to do it.
Other essential carp fishing gear
While the rod is the main piece of gear that you need to focus your attention on when carp fishing, you shouldn’t ignore the importance of the other essential fishing gear that you will need if you want to guarantee a successful fishing trip.
Because carp can get spooked quite easily, most of the baits that are used require for the line to be absolutely still, with no tension whatsoever. Holding the rod in your hand will not allow the rod to remain completely still, which is why a rod holder is a must-have product when fishing for carp.
Rod holders are available in all shapes and sizes, but most have the shape of a forked stick. You can start with such a design since it is the easiest to use and it can get the job done with minimal fuss. If you have a bigger budget and you want the best experience, you can get a bank stick or a rod pod.
If you want to be able to detect the sensitive bites of carp, you can get a bite alarm that is mounted to the rod holder and that can let you know when the fish has taken your bait. The device works by having the line run through a sensor that can detect any movement. They are quite affordable and they have become a crucial piece of gear for today’s carp anglers.
Fishing nets are another important item you will need to have with you since once you complete the fight, you will need to bring the carp to the bank. Since carp can grow quite big, you should get one of the largest nets you can find, and make sure it has a long handle especially if you tend to fish from high banks.
Finally, since carp fishing is mostly a catch and release activity, you will need to release the fish safely and in good shape. Unhooking mats are designed to protect the carp from the abrasive ground. Make sure that you wet it first since a dry mat can absorb the protective slime layer of the fish and leave it vulnerable to disease or infection.
Furthermore, if the hook is not on the lip or corner of the mouth but deeper in the mouth, you will need a tool to get it out. Hemostats are the perfect tools for this job, and if you don’t yet have a pair, you should get one next time you go shopping.
Additional tips for catching carp
If you are a novice, the best time to hook a big carp is during the summer since this is the period that they go on a feeding frenzy after spawning. The best time of day regardless of the type of water is either in the late afternoon or early in the morning.
Patience is also important since you will need to learn how not to get too excited and start to reel in the line after you’ve felt the smallest tug. Wait until the fish has had the time to bite the hook, and when it does don’t pull too hard, as this is not a catfish and the hook could get loose if you pull too hard since carps have a small and soft mouth.
In the end, even if you read all that the internet has to offer, nothing is more useful than first-hand experience. Mistakes will happen, but what is important is that you learn from them and use them to become a better angler.