Carp fishing is all about knowledge but its how you use that knowledge combined with your skill and watercraft to out-wit your target fish. Anglers across the country are battling every day to catch the carp of a lifetime, all of whom have built up their knowledge over many years.
Keep your eyes peeled for some tips from an absolute legend and gentleman of fishing who has kindly helped us put together this list
We have put together this “bible” of carp fishing tips from many anglers across the country, this is the ultimate collection of carp tips available online as it is compiled from anglers of all skills, experience and knowledge. Everyone from beginner anglers to masters in the sport have given us their top tips for carp fishing success and now its time to expose the tricks of the trade that help them bank carp from day tickets and syndicates all over the country.
Lets get started with the tips, the first 5 have been provided by Ian Moore.
When planning a session, try to think of all possible angling eventualities and make sure you have made the necessary preparations should they arise. E.g. Don’t turn up with just bottom baits if the fish are possibly going to be mid water, cruising the upper layers in search of warmer water.
In terms of your kit, make sure you have suitable clothing, footwear and tackle to maintain comfort when fishing. If you are not comfortable you will not be able to fish to your maximum potential.
2 - Be flexible by Ian Moore
Treat each venue and day ‘on its merits’. Never go fishing with a pre-conceived idea of the swim you’re going to fish or tactics you are going to employ; even if you have pre-baited a lake for weeks. In most cases, fish will be where they want to be, so this is where you should try to fish for them. You may be able to ‘train’ them with pre-baiting and other conditioning tactics but you will stand a far greater chance of success by trying to tempt them where they want to be, not trying to force them to do things or feed in places against their will.
Also, if you see a legitimate reason to move swims, never be afraid to do so and ensure you can move onto fish quickly.
3 - Set yourself realistic goals by Ian Moore
Every person responds positively to success; anglers are no different. Set yourself goals which can be achieved. If this is to catch a 20lb fish or 20 x 30lb fish in a season there is no point in setting yourself up to fail. Don’t try to compete with others, who may have more time or experience, and fish for the enjoyment and reward you get from it. This will undoubtedly give you a longer and more enjoyable experience within angling and will drive you on to succeed by maintaining your enthusiasm.
4 – Invest in the things that matter by Ian Moore
Of course I’m bound to say this but the latest rods, reels and bite alarms will never have the same level of impact on your success rate as a top quality bait that fish genuinely like eating. Whilst your kit and tackle has to enable you to fish to your maximum potential (casting distance, landing large fish, reliable alarms etc) the fish do not respond to the large, expensive items of tackle that some anglers deem to be so important. Well presented, high quality baits are without doubt the most important aspect of any angler’s fishing and will have the greatest impact on their catch rate. Money invested in high quality baits is always money well spent. Even when you blank, the high quality bait you have introduced into the lake is like money in the bank; it will pay you back!
I am always amazed by the number of anglers who change their bait even after the most incredible string of results. Year after year we see anglers who have virtually emptied lakes using one of our baits and then, the very next year, decide to change the bait they are using; usually to another CC Moore bait. This really does puzzle me and often starts to puts doubts in the angler’s mind which is certain to have a negative effect on their fishing. Fish are animals; end of story! Once they get a real taste for a bait and clearly like it, DO NOT CHANGE IT (unless you have proof that the bait is no longer effective).
Some anglers will say that a bait has blown or the action has slowed down on their bait when in fact what has happened is that the fish have changed their habits, tendencies or behaviour. Try altering your tactical approach whilst still using the same bait and you will find that your results are revitalised. Fish are not so clever as to associate a truly high quality, natural bait like Odyssey XXX with danger. What they know is that they just love the taste of it, hence why it catches so many big fish time and time again; they just have to eat it when they come across it.
Note: Highly flavoured/coloured baits with a lower quality nutrient profile can be different and due to their more distinctive physical profile may be more easily detected as ‘risky’ to feeding fish. These are typical of baits that ‘blow’ and whilst they can be great ‘attractor’ baits for short term campaigns, like fishing holidays or day-ticket sessions, they are usually less effective over a long period.
6 – Don’t Neglect The Margins by BOTLN Carp Fishing
Some of the biggest carp in the country have been caught within inches of the bank, its the biggest and sometimes only feature on every water, lakes, rivers, canals they all have margins and all are a great food source for carp.
7 – Don’t Be A Sheep by Spencer Wright
Try to be different. Carp are creatures of habit but are wild animals meaning they become wary of similar baiting / fishing styles after being fished for in the same way. Whether it’s washing out your baits, adding natural liquid / powder combinations into your bait or fishing baits of various shapes and sizes, this will always ‘catch’ fish off-guard.
8 – Location is Key by Calum Kletta
You can’t catch fish that aren’t in front of you! Keep your eyes on the water, especially at first light or in the evenings as this is when I find the show the most, and during the winter the fish will often show in the early hours of the morning. Once you have found the fish, a few, small bright singles cast into the area is a good bet for a bite.
9 – Think outside the box by Calum Kletta
Fish in lakes these days are being fished for all the time, and soon become used to the normal approach people take after being caught on it several times. To get a few extra bites try adding things to your bait such as Feedstim XP or Chilli Extract, which I have had some great results on. Also things about the hookbaits and rig presentations you use, and be different to catch the fish off guard.
10 – Preparation is Vital by Calum Kletta
Making sure I have everything I need with me is a big advantage, but also the extra effort of having plenty of rigs, leaders and PVA bags tied in advance. This will mean you can take advantage of all your time on the bank, and not to have to worry about having to make do with an old blunt hook with a mouldy bait on it when the fish are all over you!
11 – Polaroid glasses by Daniel Stacey
Polaroid glasses play a massive part in my fishing, Spring,Summer,Auturm or Winter it’s so important to know where the fish are. Time is limited for me so i need all the help i can to say one step ahead i really would’nt leave home without my glasses it just takes some glare from the water.
12 – Bait Usage, Not Just Quality by Richard Mercer
High quality bait is massively important to maximise your chances of getting a take but bait usage is far more important. Many young and inexperienced anglers are relying on certain baits, assuming that because they are good quality they will catch. Use your bait wisely, filling it in does not mean success.
Bait is massive to me on more than one level, the C.C.Moore stable has rocked my world if it’s a particle bait or a boilie i know the fish will eat it and keep eating it because it’s full of natural goodness, seeing the fish pass my bait is also a huge edge even on the hardest of lakes i have full confidence.
14 – Go the Extra Mile by Daniel Stacey
It’s true going the extra mile really has landed extra fish or my target fish so many times. Driving miles to put as little as 1kilo of boilies onto a spot prebaiting HELPS. Taking time to get my rigs spot on blending my end tackle onto what i’m fishing over is vital, Even sharpening my hooks i really think it’s landed me more fish it just makes it harder for the fish to eject a sticky hook. Even little things like setting my alarm for first light to watch the water, it can allow me to understand the water or even move onto fish, All vital but so important to complete the jigsaw.
15 – Strong & Reliable Hooks by Ollie Pearce
Use the strongest, most reliable components you can in every situation. This includes mainlines (depending on casting range), strong end tackle and a super-sharp, proven hook pattern. All of this is especially important when fishing in/around weed and snags for big fish – you need to have faith and confidence in the gear you are using.
16 – Keep On Your Toes by Ollie Pearce
Walk around, be patient and try to find some fish before setting up – climb trees where possible for a better vantage point and don’t forget your polaroids! Check the weather forecast before setting off and note any changes such as a drop in pressure or switch in wind direction during your stay. This will help you to be more pro-active and also able to capitalise on what you see.
17 – Planning is Vital by Charlie Kenlay
Making sure you know where your going, that all your tackle is ready, have some rigs tied, baits prepared and have all the gear you will need on your trip is key to giving you the most angling time on the bank.
18 – Take Spare Clothes by Charlie Kenlay
You do not want to be caught in a shower without water-proofs on your first day of a 72 hour session with only one set of clothes. For those of you who have not experienced it, getting into your bed bag of a night soaking wet is not a good experience. No matter the time of year, take spare clothes just in case.
19 – Don’t Take Too Much Tackle by Danny Chapman
We have all been guilty of this in the passed, having an overloaded barrow is the best of a bad situation. Having to do 2/3 trips from the car park when your fishing the other end of a 100 acre complex is not nice. Only take what you need, as a bare minimum leave the stuff you might not need in the car.
20 – Be Different by Ollie Pearce
Pre-bait neglected swims, fish alternative spots/areas, use bigger or smaller baits than other anglers etc. Give the fish you are targeting a scenario they aren’t familiar with and providing you fish effectively, the rewards are there for the taking.
21 – Always Feel the Lead Down by Liam Rogers
So much information can be passed up the line to your rod tip when you cast and still only a small proportion of anglers are feeling their lead down with each cast. Knowing what your rig landed on is a huge advantage, its a huge edge especially if you do not know the lake very well.
22 – Always Be Confident In Your Method by Leslie Unwin
Your chosen set up, rig, bait and location is as it is for a reason, you have made an informed choice to fish the way you are. Do not be swayed or lose confidence if you are not getting takes, be patient and make sure everything is stacked in your favour BEFORE you start fishing.
23 – Vital French Bits by Mick Clark
In France there are certain things that you have to carry on your person while travelling to comply with local laws, some people do not realise during their fishing trips that they are breaking the law unless they have a hi-vis vest, warning triangle, first aid kit and headlight covers.
24 – Sharp Hooks by Brynn Bauckham
Always use a sharp hook, if in any doubt replace it! Even hook straight out the packet can be blunt, always check and don’t think “it will do”. Its better to lose 20p on a new hook than the next fish.
25 – Wear Drab Clothing by Dan Shutt
Don’t wear bright clothing, wear drab greens, browns and other inconspicuous colours especially when talking. Also be sure to not wear anything that is likely to reflect in water, make sure you take a drab coloured hat too if your stalking.
26 – Spend More Time Hunting by Brynn Bauckham
1 hour fishing in the right place is better than 48 hours fishing in the wrong one. Spend more time looking for fish, find them and get on top of them. Don’t fish a swim because its close to the car park or its your favourite, find the fish first.
27 – Drop The Lead by Barry Lee Crofts
There are two elements to this, dropping the lead in waters where weed exists is vital to both landing the fish and fish safety. If any form of weed is in front of you ensuring the lead can fall off if tangles happen is key to both elements.
28 – Fish Your Own Way by Peter Green
Following the crowd can work on some venues and on some occasions but usually being different is more successful fishmeal’s can work in winter, lots of bait can work in winter, find out for yourself and try different things.
29 – Carp Care by Barry Lee Crofts
A carp care first aid kit for any wounds, pulled scales or imperfections can and should be treated on the bank. Ensure you take a carp care kit, they are as cheap as chips and preserve big fish for longer so you can catch them in the future!
30 – Anti-bacterial Wipes by Darrin Scott Jones
Ensure that you take anti-bacterial wipes or liquid with you to wash your hands after handling fish, before eating and anything other contact with the water. Lots of bacteria can build up while your fishing and the last thing you want is to call your trip short because of illness.
Always try to find the fish first. Look around the lake before setting up. The best tackle and bait in the world wont catch if the fish aren’t in front of you. Keep noise to a minimum and try to wear Polaroid glasses; its amazing the difference it makes taking the surface glare off the water making your quarry very visible!
32 – Match Your Rigs by Dan Shutt
There is no point in trying to camouflage your rigs if your not matching it to the bottom of the lake where the fish will see it. Keep tubing, leads and lead-core the same and matched to the lake bed.
33 – Dont Skimp On Line by Lee Peverall
Line choice is one of the most vital components in your tackle, choosing a good quality line that is suited to your fishing situation is massively important. Breaking strain, colour and sink rate are all elements to bare in mind.
34 – Use Quick-links With Sticks by Barry Lee Crofts
When use a PVA stick ensure you use a quick-link to attach your rig, then all you have to is prepare a fresh stick prior to recasting then un-attach your rig, add the new stick and re-attach and your ready to go.
35 – Always Be Prepared To Move by Rich Langley
Fish can swim, even if you are on the fish at the start of your session they can move off quickly. Find the fish and you should catch them so always be prepared to move.
36 – Fish Close or Far by Danny Chapman
The amount of anglers fishing within an ‘easy’ chuck on most complexes is a large proportion, most of these anglers are fishing between 40-80 yards and the residents become savvy to the danger at this range. Fish past this, 120 yards, 140 yards or whatever distance you can get to. Or do the opposite, fish the margins, travel light and bait up spots and watch for feeding.
37 – Go Natural in Winter by Danny Chapman
In the colder months of the year going natural with your baits is imperative in most situations, bloodworm, water snails, maggots and mussel extracts are great ways to add a natural edge to your baits.
38 – Take Your Time on New Waters by Jon Buckingham
New venues can be daunting and difficult to learn, do your research, check Google maps and do some marker rod work to plot the lake for yourself. Don’t head straight for the most ‘well known’ swim.
39 – PVA Bags by Stuart Hall
Never overlook PVA bags, they can be a devastating set up when fishing over bottoms that you are unsure about or have a small amount of weed. When set up correctly and used on a mobile approach you can cover a lot of water and catch a lot of fish.
40 – Can Openers by Stuart Hall
Something this is often overlooked by many anglers is a tin/can opener. This is an essential bit of kit and is small and light so should always be in your tackle box just in case you have to stock up on corn from the local shop and they don’t have a ‘pull-ring’.
Wether your targeting big, old, wary carp or at your local commercial you need to use the best quality baits you can afford and get your hands on. Fresh, good quality bait doesn’t have to be expensive if used properly. You don’t need to put in 10 kilos of boilies in a session, mix quality baits with bulking agents like corn, maize and groats.
42 – Check Your Hook-points by Micky Beaumont
Check your hook points after every single cast, you can easily blunt the point by knocking a stone, twigs or any other underwater debris. If it isn’t needle sharp, replace it.
43 – Don’t Neglect The Surface by Stuart Hall
On those hot summer days do not neglect the surface, some big fish are caught every year off the top and it can be a deadly tactic if everyone else is fishing on the bottom.
44 – Take Plenty Of Water by Stuart Hall
You can never have too much water, take a car full in summer and ensure you have enough on you for your trip.
45 – Nut Preparation by Nick Cunnel
Many different types of particles and nuts have to be prepared properly prior to use for fishing because they expand when they are cook, any fish that eats a lot of raw uncooked nuts can die when the particles expand in their stomach. Research each particle specifically before use or buy ready prepared from your supplier.
46 – Charge Your Phone by Dave Hosker
Though when you are fishing you are getting away from the daily grind you need some form of contact with the outside world especially if you are away for a few days. You may fall ill, suffer an accident or worse and if your phone is not fully charged you may be unable to call help.
47 – Weather & Moon Phases by Dan Shutt
Make sure you know whats coming weather wise while your out, the last thing you want is to be caught short in a thunder storm without waterproofs. Also check the moon phases, pressure charts and other key indicators of fish behaviour.
48 – Fin Safety by Andy Williams
Ensure any fish held in a sling has its fins laid flat to its body and there is no pressure being put on them while lifting to/from the water.
49 – Casting Glove by Dan Shutt
Make sure you use a casting glove or finger protector when casting often, especially while spodding and using braided main line.
50 – Utilise Household Products by Jamie Killick
Many household goods and cast offs can be used in fishing to give you an edge, cod roe capsules, stale bread and tuna can all give you a great edge.
You can create perfect stringers by putting your standard boilies in stick mix pva mesh. Use the final boilie in the string as your hook bait by passing the needle directly through the middle with it inside the bag, and attach to your hair. This stops pressure of the cast snapping or tearing your PVA.
52 – Pre-baiting Consistently by John Beaumont
Pre-baiting and consistency in your baiting patterns is paramount, same bait, same quantity and same coverage (area) even baiting at the same time of day. Couple this with finding a nice spot, ideally one you know not fished by the masses. Is an edge for the quick hitters/ short session anglers. Play the long game and get rewards from difficult venues.
53 – Recast by Danny Cordingley
Don’t be afraid to recast if things have not happened, if you think something should have happened, recast. Your rig could be in a dodgy position or not set properly, recast and get the results that should have come.
54 – Rock-salt by Barry Lee Crofts
Rock salt and other salts are great additions to ground baits particles and hook baits. Carp love salt so add it to your baits to give them an edge.
55 – Keep It Simple by Danny Cordingley
The more things going on with your rig and the more complicated it is the more things that can go wrong, keep it simple, stick to what you know and use a good quality bait.
56 – Bare Leads by Harry Allwood
If you need to lead around just use a bare led and attach a marker float once you have found a spot, this causes less disturbance and is easier and quicker.
57 – Solid Bag Trick by John Beaumonth
When fishing PVA Solid bags, use PVA to add a popup onto the hook to lift the hook bait above loose bait in the bag, combine this with a nice chunky lump of tungston putty an inch above the hook and when the pva melts your hook bait will sit perfectly on top and in the middle of the contents of the bag. Meaning as soon as the carp hits the baited spot the first food item it finds is the hook bait. Test this in the edge to check its working correct and the majority of the rig remains buried.
58 – Get a Quick Bite by Spencer Wright
If fish are evident within the swim you are in, before crashing a lead through the waters surface, it is beneficial to flick one or two baits in over the spot. This normally semi-spooks them for roughly 30 seconds as they will do a quick lap before returning to the spot, giving you time to introduce a rig into a fishing position.
59 – Unhooking Mat’s by Barry Lee Crofts
After catching your target fish you have to take care of it, unhooking mats are an essential for landing any carp, no matter what size. Fish safety is paramount.
Fishing is all about learning, gaining knowledge over time so start at the bottom and learn your trade. Challenge yourself to learn quickly but don’t go under-gunned to venues that hold big fish.
61 – Buckets of Water by Barry Lee Crofts
When handling fish out of the water ensure that you always have a fresh supply of water to pour over its gills, ensuring that is stays wet especially in the warmer months.
62 – Be Adaptable by Marvin Wait
Be adaptable and don’t be afraid to change if what you are doing isn’t working. Don’t change too much at once, hook changes, bait changes, adding a rig ring and other minute changes can win. If you change too much at once you will never know what it was that helped for next time.
63 – Sink Your Lines by Steven Lawley
Pin your lines down with putty/flying back leads and back leads if needed to ensure all your lines are pinned down to the bottom, not spooking off any fish.
64 – Do Your Homework by Sam Masters
Do your homework and find out the fishery rules before you leave home as you don’t want to turn up at your chosen lake/river and find out the bait you have brought with you is banned.
65 – Releasing a Fish by Paul Matthews
When releasing a fish, don’t just slip it out of the sack/sling, hold the fish upright with both hands untill it swims away freely, this will ensure the fish does not get caught on any net or unhooking mat that is present and you can make sure the fish is ready to go back and support itself.
66 – Glug Your Hook-baits by Danny Chapman
Glugging your hook-baits is a great way to add some extra attraction to your hook-bait, making it stand out from the rest of the free offerings. Simply dip your made up rig in to the glug pot just before casting, just make sure your glug is PVA proof if your using a stick.
67 – Always Carry Polaroids by Jake Carling
Polaroids are an essential bit of kit for any days fishing, they can make the difference between spotting fish and catching them or not catching and wondering what happened.
68 – Enjoy Yourself by BOTLN
Of course you go fishing to catch fish but you also go to enjoy yourself on your days off work, enjoy it, go with a friend and by all means have a laugh.
69 – Take Your Rod License by Stephen Newton
Make sure you always have your rod license up to date and on your person when fishing, big fines are levied for anyone caught without one.
70 – Wet Your Knots by Stephen Newton
You have to wet your knots while tying, the extra lubricant ensures they are tight and more solid for when you get a take.
71 – Wash Your Baits Out by Stephen Newton
Washing out your baits by soaking them in lake water for a day or two before you go fishing, after losing their colour and expanding boilies look more ‘safe’ to carp, they look like they have been on the lake bed for days the moment you put them out. This can be a great edge especially for wary fish.
72 – Take The Right Gear by Jamie Robertson
Match your tackle/gear to the lake you are fishing, don’t target 30lb carp on 6lb line and on the flip side, don’t use 30lb mono when your surface fishing for single figure carp.
73 – Deep Water by Jamie Robertson
Carp are at home in water, whether that is 1 or 30 ft deep its what they are used to. Bare in mind temperatures and pressure when fishing in deeper water but certainly don’t be scared of it.
74 – Carry A Camera & Tripod At All Times by Gary Moore
Caught the fish of a lifetime? No other person on the lake to take the picture and need to self take? There is not always someone on hand to take that picture, make sure you do not miss the chance to get a few snaps and keep a camera and tripod in the car, just in case!
75 – Oily Pellets by Jamie Killick
Avoid using large quantities of oily pellets in the colder months, cold temperatures congeal the oils and make them hard and less attractive.
76 – Vaseline Your Hooks by Jamie Killick
Tip your hooks with vaseline so they don’t go rusty in your rig wallet
77 – Apps by Robert Kitcher
Download a couple of good weather apps to your phone to make sure you are not caught out in bad weather and can plan ahead to be fishing at the best times and places.
78 – Binoculars by Robert Kitcher
Fish spotting is greatly improved using binoculars, watch those far bank spots with ease and ensure you do not miss a trick.
79 – Quality not Quantity by Marcus K Watts
Using a small amount of good quality bait is far more effective than a shed load of poor quality baits. Quality baits score better, more often and bigger fish.
80 – Comfy Chair by Lee Peverall
You will be spending hours sitting around watching and tying rigs, make sure you have the best quality chair you can afford to make these periods pain free.
81 – DIY by Jessica Johnson
Have a go at making your own baits, it can be massively rewarding catching fish on baits that you hand made. Play around with different mixes and colours, ingredients and flavours. Make something that no-one else is using and get some extra takes.
82 – Don’t Over Complicate Your Fishing by Jack Meyer
The simplest of rigs will catch the most wary of fish. Quite often the fancy rigs will cause you more problems than they solve.
83 - Cast To Showing Fish by Jack Meyer
This is a must and is something that I have applied in my fishing a lot more over recent seasons with great results
84 -Effort! by Jack Meyer
The most important thing to successful carp fishing is the effort that you put into it. This includes everything to do with your fishing; from moving swims in the rain to getting up at 4am for work after a quick overnighter. Ultimately, the more effort you put in the more fish you will catch.
85 – Organisation by Lewis Swift
To me organisation is one of the most important aspects in fishing and is often what separates the average angler from the ‘top’ anglers. Organisation affects the way you fish but more importantly it affects your mentality which leads on nicely to my second tip.
86 - Confidence by Lewis Swift
Being confident when fishing is undoubtedly a key factor in achieving good results. You could be fishing with the best gear and bait but if you aren’t confident it will count for nothing as you won’t be fishing to the best of your abilities due to being in the wrong mind set. There is a fine line between being confident and being complacent which is something that needs to be kept in check. This is because the second you start to become complacent in fishing your results will decline as laziness and bad habits can start to creep into your fishing.
87 – Get out there by Lewis Swift
Despite everything that you are told and read about the most important thing in fishing is being out on the bank. There is simply no substitute for getting out there yourself and putting the time in. Even though you may not realise it every second you are on the bank you are learning.
88 – Search Out The Venues by Terry Lampard
As a multi species angler I fish for each species according to conditions through the year, so it is important to have a variety of venues lined up of both river and still-water to suit both the time of year and prevailing conditions. Time spent planning and searching for suitible venues is never wasted.
89 – Don’t ‘Fall in Love with a Swim’ by Terry Lampard
Unless I am bivvied up on a large stillwater that often necessitates a sit and wait approach I normally adopt a quite mobile approach, so I try not to be weighed down with too much gear which can make moving swims an ordeal.
It’s quite rare for me spend even a full day in a swim for the majority of my fishing and I will often even fish two or more venues in a day.
I see no merit at all in losing a big fish so tackle strength has to be up to the job in hand.
Rigs most importantly need to be safe for the fish, tangle free, not too complicated to tie quickly on the bank and with hooks that are constantly checked for sharpness.
My tackle bag and van always carries the basics for a complete change of approach or species should I feel the need during the course of a day, so be organised.
That’s All Folks…
And there we have it, 90 great tips that everyone from beginners to experts can use in their day to day carp fishing.
If you have another tip that you believe should be on the list, comment below and if its good we will add it in with your name too.
Thanks for reading and most importantly, tight or slack lines!
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