Carp is a generic term describing several types of freshwater fish, native to Asia and Europe. Imported to other countries too, they became an invasive species in some situations.
Examples of carp are common carp, grass carp, black carp or crucian carp. Delicious and easy to cook, they are an angler’s favorite. Not too difficult to catch, they can be handled by beginners as well.
Finding the right equipment
To begin with, you will need the adequate equipment first, before going to the lake. Even though some records include giant fish, they are usually in the 5 to 30-40 pounds weight range – this is the mass your rods, reels and line have to be capable of tackling without breaking or sustaining damage.
Concerning length, the rod should be about 10 feet long. A fast action provides better casting, but it can lead to hook-pulls at the net, while a through-actioned rod will have problems in reaching far away spots.
The best choice is a middle-to-tip actioned rod, which is soft to prevent the fish from coming off but also permits long distance casting.
Don’t forget to add a reliable marine GPS and a good carp fishing chair to your gear to make sure you significantly increase your chances of success.
Choosing the right bait
Hooks and bait are not specialized for carp – most people seem to prefer 4 to 6 size hooks. Black models are more suitable as they offer increased camouflage, and carp fish are usually weary and not so easy to fool.
Corn is one of the best baits for carp, especially the sweet canned one; the sodium and flavors added to it make it irresistible for the fish. Worms, snails, and crickets work too, as well as artificial worms and grubs.
A trick used on artificial baits is washing them out. Allowing them to sink in water for a few days will make the color fade away, making them look pale and worn out, looking as they have been on the lake bed for a long time. The fish will believe it is safe to eat it, so your chances of obtaining a bite are increased this way.
Typical carp behavior
Camouflaged leaders are the standard for carp fishing; lead core and pre-formed nylon models are the best, but even so, extra care should be taken when concealing the line and leaders. This trick is known by many, but it takes training and experience for mastering it. Fluorocarbon line is recommended for this purpose.
Proper tools for removing deep set hooks are another item that should not be left behind. A good pair of hemostats will make your job a lot easier and reduce the time required to set the fish free. If fishing from a bank, unhooking mats is recommended to protect them against the abrasive ground.
Once you have bought the suitable equipment, you are ready to go out fishing. The best time for this is during summer, in the post-spawn period. The spawning process is tiring and stressful, leaving its marks on the carp’s behavior. They will feed heavily, to recover the nutrients previously lost.
In the early morning, approximately at dawn, carp fish will be active feeders; another great time is late in the afternoon. Another advantage of fishing at these hours is the colder air and lack of noisy activities on or around the waters. Looking for signs such as bubbling water and small ripples across the water surface – those areas are usually rich in fish.
How to proceed
Once you have found a suitable spot, arm yourself with patience. Carp is not known for putting up severe resistance or fighting too much, but it is wary and not easy to trick. The fish usually gently strike the bait, trying it before deciding to bite. As they are so cautious, shiny hooks will send them away – matte colorings are best.
Wait until you are convinced that the carp has completely grabbed the bait. Ignore all small, false bumps and do not pull the hook too early. Once hooked, you can start reeling. Keep your rod high and focus on the movement the fish displays.
Brute force is not recommended as the soft, thin carp mouth can lose it with ease. Have a fishing net at your disposal to remove it from the water.
Following a duck or geese is another good idea, especially if you are in a place where people usually feed the birds. Carps will support them to eat a part of the bread thrown in the water, and with the suitable rig, you will surely obtain a bite. Do not cast directly toward the animals in order to avoid hurting them.
Other useful details
Carps are bottom feeders and dwell in areas full of vegetation and structures such as logs and fallen branches. Adapt your casting technique accordingly – aim not for the exact spot where you think the carps are, but slightly down current so everything seems natural to the fish. Otherwise, they could sense the noise from the hook and become even warier.
In colder weather, you will have to cast more often, and in different spots. The fish are slower in this period and will not usually chase, so you have to make several attempts until you discover their exact location.
Having a net nearby is one of the most comfortable and most efficient ways of removing the fish from the water. Using too much force on them can either harm the carp or, especially if it is quite big and heavy, it could set itself free as the mouths of these fish are thin and soft.
These are some tricks commonly used for carp fishing. The most important skill to learn is patience; with training and experience, you will no longer land only occasional game. Keep an open eye and watch everything happening when on the lake, learn from the mistakes and listen to advice professional fishers can offer you.
You will need to look for a sharp fish fillet knife to make sure you have the appropriate gear to slice and cook the carp after you catch it.