Carp fishing equipment & tips


August 10, 2023


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Carp fishing

Did you know some of the best carp fishing in the world is in Ontario? It’s true. Even better is the fact it’s easy to get started catching carp. You only need a few key pieces of carp fishing equipment, plus a little bit of knowledge about where to find and how to catch carp — all of which is covered below.

Learn more about carp fishing in this article:

  1. Carp fishing success begins with bait
  2. Carp rig highlights
  3. Bolt rig benefits
  4. Carp fishing rods, reels and line
  5. More essential carp fishing equipment you need

Carp fishing success begins with bait

Unlike other types of angling, shore fishing for carp isn’t about covering water to find and catch fish. Instead, you choose a location, put out a spread of yummy ground bait (i.e., chum), and wait for carp to arrive and start eating the free meal off the bottom until they find your bait. Reliable locations to chum and catch carp are warm, vegetation rich areas, featuring mud, sand and gravel bottoms.

Ground bait and chumming

Many ingredients can be used for chumming. An internet search will lead you to all kinds of fascinating carp ground bait recipes you can try, such as mixing corn, oats, seeds and carp attractants, like Carp Zoom’s Turbo Seed 5X Mix.

There are also advantages to buying some premixed ground bait. Prepackaged chum is convenient, mixes up fast in a bucket and is proven to appeal to carp. Options include products like Carp Zoom’s Turbo Seed 5X Mix, Feeder Zoom and Supersweet Groundbait, Dynamite Baits’ Silver X Carp Bait and Silver X Feeder Explosive Bait and Swim Stim Ground Bait.

Boilies are also used for chumming strategies. These flavoured dough balls have a reputation of appealing to big carp and regularly used, too, for baiting a carp rig.

Tools and devices for ground baiting

Chumming can be done by taking some wet ground bait in your hands, making a ball and tossing it out into the water. This works, but you’ll soon find it’s useful to own a few specific chumming tools.
A baiting spoon is great for ground baiting short to medium distances. Easy to use, you simply scoop up some chum and toss it over the water.
The Carp Zoom Long Casting Spiral Feeding Basket and CD Spod 20 are also worth owning. They offer two different methods for spreading bait in an area, and can reach farther than a baiting spoon.

Carp rig highlights

Once you start fishing for carp, you’ll soon learn these big, bottom feeders aren’t easily fooled. Thus, carp anglers have created a wide range of bait presentations for duping these fish.
In the interest of keeping things simple for this beginner’s blog, we suggest picking up some pre-tied “ready rigs”,such as Carp Spirit’s Opti-Mex Snell Hook, Re-Action Snell Hook, 360 Snell Hook and Chod Snell Hook. All of these rigs have either a line extending beyond the hook or a pop-up peg along the shank. These are where the bait is added, not the actual hook.

Pegs are designed to hold pop-up baits, like Dynamite Baits Robin Red Pop-Up Bait. Whereas corn, boilies or pop-ups can be threaded on a hair rig (e.g., Opti-Mex or Re-Action Snell Hook) using a bait needle and are held in place with a bait stopper (e.g., Carp Spirit’s Boilie Bait Stops and Corn Boilie Bait Stops).

At this point you might be wondering how these rigs catch carp without having bait on the hook. When a carp sucks up the bait, it also vacuums in the hook. Next, the fish soon senses the unnatural hook, startles and tries to swim away. In the process it ends up hooking itself — which brings us to the importance of the bolt rig.

Bolt rig benefits

A bolt rig consists of a heavy sinker connected to the mainline a short distance from a baited hook rig. The 3- to 4-ounce Carp Spirit Universal Gravel Lead or Gravel Distance Lead are two products to consider, either easily attached to the mainline using Carp Spirit’s Lead Clips, which are especially tailored for safety bolt rig setups.

Using a fairly heavy sinker is important for the bolt rig to do its job properly, which isn’t just keeping your bait on bottom. As noted above, when a carp detects the hook after taking in the bait, it swims away and, in turn, ends up setting the hook on itself due to the bolt rig’s heavy weight combined with the ultra-sharp qualities of carp fishing hooks.

After this happens, the real fun begins. All you need to do is grab the bouncing rod and start playing the fish.

Tip: Threading on a section of tubing above a lead clip is recommended to prevent tangles during the cast or when falling to bottom.

Carp fishing rods, reels and line

Carp are powerful and can grow big, which means it’s best using specialized carp fishing equipment in most situations. This begins with a quality fishing rod.
The 12’ Daiwa Maddragon and 10’ Okuma Avenger are two technique-specific carp spinning rods to consider. Their length helps cast your bait farther way from the shore. The Maddragon and Avenger also have the power and blank action needed to play a big, powerful carp and get it into your landing net.

Not ready to invest in a carp-specific rod? You can get by with a 7’ to 8’ medium-heavy to heavy, fast action spinning rod.

A spinning reel with plenty of line capacity and a smooth, reliable drag is also an essential as carp are notorious for making long runs. Be prepared to watch plenty of line peel off your reel’s spool during the fight.

Various types of fishing line can be used, but for those starting out fishing for carp it’s hard to argue with braid. Consider 25-pound test the minimum. Carp Spirit’s 4D and Combi-Soft Coated are just two options.

More essential carp fishing equipment you need

  • At least one large bucket for storing, mixing and transporting bait.
  • Bank sticks and rod rests for securing rods when carp fishing. Or splurge on a rod pod. These devices will be adjustable so you can perfectly position rods on uneven terrain.
  • Bite indicators are also extremely handy. These devices sound an alarm when a carp gets hooked and starts peeling line.
    A fishing net makes it easier to land carp when fishing from shore. Many anglers also use carp mats for putting fish down on to reduce stress and injuries during the unhooking process.You may also want to consider investing in some high rubber boots or waders to give yourself the option of going in the water when playing, landing and releasing carp.
  • A carp-specific tackle bag and rig wallet are useful for carrying and organizing fishing tools, terminal tackle and other items.A padded outdoor chair and sunshade will help keep you comfortable when fishing long hours on shore.
  • Don’t forget plenty of water, snacks in a cooler, sunscreen and bug repellant because when the carp are biting, you won’t want to leave.


How to fish for carp

What equipment do you need for carp fishing?

Where to fish carp in Ontario and Quebec


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