14 Best Carp Baits

What Bait To Use For Carp?

From sweetcorn to maggots, boilies to bread – we’ve chosen 14 carp baits to discuss what makes them so special!

Most food can be used to catch carp, from traditional baits such as sweetcorn, boilies and bread to less used baits like peperami and cat food.

Our list features the most popular fishing baits, and why they are so good when fished right.

We have also included some great videos to show you how to catch carp with them!

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1. Sweetcorn

The Number One Best Baits To Catch Carp

sweetcorn to catch carp

Sweetcorn has long been heralded as one of the best baits to catch carp, in fact, it can be used to catch most freshwater species.

It ticks so many boxes; the bright colour, texture, smell – and it can be placed onto your hook without falling off very easily, like bread.

Carp absolutely love sweetcorn!

I’ve used a single piece and landed carp in the margins, used it to add colour to a popup or as part of a double bait in a snowman rig.

Corn is also very effective in a spod mix, as the colour breaks up the other baits such as pellets and hemp.

Sweetcorn is my go-to bait when I see any carp activity, as it can draw nearby carp to it quickly. If they are on the surface, I will resort to using bouyant corn, bread or dog biscuits, and gently casting it out on the surface, to the side of the carp (not on top of them!)

The best thing about fishing with sweetcorn is there are so many things you can do to it. You can add colouring so it blends in with your bait, or you can use it in PVA bags provided you’ve dried it out a little on some kitchen towel.

One final tip I can share with you is to add some salt!

Open up a tin of corn, drain the liquid away and empty into a bait tub. Next, you can either add sea salt or rock salt.

Finally, give it a mix, and then add to a spod mix, or place into a PVA bag.

Sweetcorn is probably the number one best bait to catch carp, no matter what lake you are fishing!

How To Catch Carp with Sweetcorn

2. Boilies

catch carp with boilies

Boilies are one of the most popular baits to catch carp.

This is due to the endless flavours, colourings, shapes and sizes available from brands such as Dynamite Baits, Nash, Sticky and Mainline.

Boilie Flavours

There are hundreds of boilie flavours, such as krill, scopex, pineapple and strawberry amongst the most common.

More obscure flavours include peanut butter, spicy vanilla and even barbeque!

Homemade boilies are popular, because you can experiment with your own flavours.

Boilie Sizes

Boilies can range in size from as small as 6mm, right up to 24mm.

Size should be chosen according to your targeted fish size, rig selection, location and hook size.

Boilies are commonly fished on a hair rig.

My favourite carp rig for boilies is a snowman rig which uses a large and small boilie, with the smaller one either plugged with cork for buoyancy, or replaced with a small popup for balance.

Boilie Shapes

Common boilie sizes are 10mm, 12mm and 15mm.

Depending on the rig you’re fishing, trimming a boilie to create a balanced rig or simply to offer an alternative to a round bait can bring a good session, especially on a pressured water.

I like to half or quarter my boilies as part of a spod mix for baiting up, or you can use a boilie crusher to add boilie crumb to a PVA bag.

Boilie Fishing Guide

Nash Citruz Boilies

3. Hemp

Most Natural Carp Bait To Catch Carp

hemp to catch carp

When used as part of a spod mix, I think hemp is one of the best baits to catch carp due to its flavour and natural goodness.

Each grain of hemp is full of oil and natural vitamins that makes it irresistible to carp!

Hempseed makes a great carp feed, so wherever you put hemp, there is a good chance that carp will stay there to feed.

Tips To Catching Carp Using Hemp

  • Don’t throw away the juice because this is also full of goodness! Instead, use the juice in a spod mix because it clouds up the water and is full of rich oils and sugar to draw the carp in.
  • Add Hemp Oil. Hemp oil is a concentrated liquid that can also be used to boost other baits. I like to soak tiger nuts and pellets to really trigger a feeding frenzy. Excellent when drizzled over a nutty stick mix too!
  • Flavours. Hemp is wonderful on its own, but on a lake where they are used to feeding, you can try to ‘boost’ the flavour my adding a liquid to it such as betalin or tiger nut puree.
  • As a Hookbait. Believe it or not you can use hemp as a hookbait! Just make sure you disguise your hook well. Placing a grain (or two) along the shank of your hook will help it stay on.
  • Chopped & Crushed. In Spring, I like to crush my hemp and add chilli powder. This has brought some great results, especially when used in a PVA bag or stick mix.

How To Prepare Hemp For Fishing

4. Pellets

Best Carp Baits To Catch Carp Anywhere!

carp pellets

Because most carp are usually fed pellet when reared, most anglers would probably agree that they are one of the best baits to catch carp – whatever the situation!

Available in many sizes, shapes and flavours, the most popular pellets are trout and halibut.

Inexpensive, pellets can be fished as a single hookbait, in a PVA bag or stick mix, or chucked into a spod mix, which you can either spod out or you can use a bait boat to deliver your load.

There is no limit on how they can be used, making carp pellets one of the most versatile fishing baits ever.

How To Make Krill Pellets

5. Maggots

Best Carp Baits To Catch Carp in Winter

maggots for carp fishing

There is not a lot to say about how good maggots are for any type of fishing!

However, I would highly recommend using in the winter months when a bite can be hard to come by.

This is beacuse they offer lots of movement, and its a bait that you don’t need to go crazy on.

Rigging half a dozen onto a size 10 or 12 hook DOES produce in the winter. You should thread them carefully onto a maggot clip using a fine needle.

In my opinion, I swear by tiger nuts in the summer – and maggots in the winter.

They are both great natural baits.

How To Catch Carp With Maggots

6. Groundbait

Best Carp Baits To Catch Carp on Longer Sessions

carp groundbait

Understated, groundbait can be a very good tactic, especially on longer sessions or where you are restricted to one swim during your session.

A base mix also works well when used in a PVA bag or stick mix to add to hemp, maize and pellets.

It can help to bind these baits together.

However, a favourite is to ball it up and use it to target an area you think carp may be feeding, or likely to feed in.

When it comes to actually choosing a groundbait, I would try to use one that blends into my primary flavours I’m currently using.

You may find that a range of baits, such as Sticky Krill, will be complimented with a groundbait.

Using Groundbait To Catch Carp

7. Maize

carp maize

Maize is a much firmer bait than sweetcorn, and when cooked, each grain is around 8-10mm.

It can be used a hookbait, or used in other applications such as stringers, PVA bags or in a spod mix.

Because maize is a very cost-effective bait, I would agree that it is one of the best carp baits to catch carp when used in the above manner.

To further boost maize, you can add a colouring or flavourings – just make sure if you are cooking it from fresh, that you leave it to soak and then boiled prior to use so carp can digest it properly.

Carp Fishing with Maize

8. Tiger Nuts

Best Carp Baits To Catch Carp Editors Choice

catching carp with tiger nuts

Tiger nuts are one of my favourite all- time baits!

With their crunchy texture, sweet taste and natural looks, they are, in my view, one of the best carp baits to catch carp in Spring.

They are the number one particle, closely run by hempseed, because they often succeed where other baits may fail.

I must stress that you should use tiger nuts sparingly and make sure they are prepared and cooked correctly as they can be hamrful to carp.

How To Prepare Tiger Nuts

Here are the steps I take to ferment, and prepare my tiger nuts.

  1. Take 1kg of uncooked tiger nuts and place them into an empty bucket.
  2. Add 250g of ordianry sugar and 5ml of flavouring. I tend to use a spicy liquid.
  3. Now cover the tiger nuts with boiling water, stir and then seal the bucket with a lid.
  4. Allow to soak for around 3 to 4 days.
  5. Next, transfer all the contents to a large saucepan.
  6. Bring to the boil and cook on a medium heat for around 30 minutes.
  7. Check every 5 minutes to kake sure the water is still covering the nuts.
  8. Now transfer the entire contents into a sealable bucket or container.
  9. Leave for around 3 days. You should start to see a thick jelly form around the tiger nuts which can be very effective!

Top 5 Tiger Nut Tips!

9. Liquid Attractants

carp liquids

Liquid attractants, or ‘liquid boosters’, are used to give bait more flavour, or colour.

Most are PVA friendly, and there are many flavours available such as sweet tiger, pure liver, hemp oil and belachan.

Its not uncommon to use a liquid attractant in spod mixes, PVA bags, pop ups, stringers or a drizzle on the hookbait itself.

If you haven’t tried using a liquid to boost the smell and attraction of your carp baits yet, give it a go!

Liquid Filled Hookbaits

10. Artifical baits

artificial baits carp fishing

One of the main reasons to consider using an artifical bait, such as fake corn, a wafter, or a pop up, is the ability to stay on your rig for long periods of time.

Back in the day, cork was used to add bouyancy to your hookbait.

Nowadays, most imitation baits are already buoyant and these are particularly useful if you need to balance your rig up off of the bottom, or for using a zig rig.

Other reasons that anglers may turn to an artifical bait include:

  1. Avoiding crayfish
  2. To counter balance a rig
  3. Create a snowman rig
  4. Longevity
  5. For surface fishing
  6. Adding colour to your hookbait

There are many colours, shapes and sizes of imitation baits such as maggots, corn, and even tiger nuts!

Fishing with Pop Ups

11. Worms

fishing with worms

Worms. What a classic bait, not just for carp!

They are very cheap (free if you dig them up from your garden!), offer plenty of movement, and, although under used these days, are a superb natural hookbait.

Once you’ve hair rigged them, cast your rod, and set your bite alarms, I’m sure you won’t have to wait too long until you get a bite!

If maggots fail to make an impression when fishing in the winter months, I’ll often go and dig up a few nightcrawlers and fish these.

Worms offer lots of attraction, and if you rig a few of them, they make a very tasty meal for enticing other species, such as tench.

For many years now, worms have been one of the best baits to catch carp.

Worm Fishing for Big Carp

12. Bread

Best Carp Baits To Catch Carp On The Surface

using bread to catch carp

I love fishing for carp on the surface using bread – its explosive!

One of the cheapest and readily available baits, you can prepare bread in various ways.

You can fold it onto your hook and cast it so it floats on the surface (I highly recommend using a Nash Bread Bomb).

Turn it into crumb or flake and add it to groundbait, stuff it into a PVA bag or add to a spod mix.

Or even feed it to the ducks……(away from your swim though!)

Surface Fishing with Bread

13. Luncheon Meat

carp luncheon meat

As a kid, luncheon meat was one of the best baits to catch carp on my local park lake.

A tin can be bought from the super market for about a quid.

All you have to do is cube it up into a bait box and away you go!

Modern day carp anglers seem to bypass this excellent bait for boilies, purely because it doesn’t stay on your hook for very long I guess.

However, luncheon meat remains a very popular coarse fishing bait, especially in competitive match angling.

Preparing Luncheon Meat

14. Paste

Best Carp Baits To Catch Carp in Rivers

how to use boilie paste

Underused, but highly effective, boilie paste comes into its own when fishing for carp on rivers.

This is because it works well when moulded around a feeder and parts slowly disintegrate by the flow of the river. It can be devastating!

Alternatively, you can simply wrap your hook up in the paste by firstly flatenning it up in your hand, and wrapping around your chosen hookbait.

If you want to boost your bait presentation even further, you can roll out a chunk of paste, wrap it around a feeder or hookbait and press some micro pellets into it.

This is a very popular paste method, resulting in some very large carp!

How To Use Boilie Paste

15. Carp Bait Recipes

Before you go, firstly, we hope you enjoyed reading the 14 best carp baits to catch carp.

We’ll finish up by showing you a basic, but effective carp bait recipe.

I find it very rewarding and exciting when I’ve made up my own fishing bait – and then caught on it!

If you haven’t already, give it a try!

Peanut Butter Balls

Courtesy of carpfishinguk.org, this recipe combines peanut butter, which is protein rich, with some classic carp baits.

A simpe recipe that can be made using easily available kitchen ingredients.


  • 2 slices of white bread
  • 1/2 cup of Quaker Grits
  • 1/4 cup of plain flour
  • 1 cup of peanut butter

How To Make

  1. Tear the bread up with your hands, and place into a mixing bowl
  2. Add the grits, plain flour and peabut butter
  3. Mix all together to form a dough
  4. You may need to add a little more peanut butter so the mixture sticks.
  5. Finally, form small balls with the mixture.
  6. Place them into an airtight container.

This recipe works like magic when it comes into contact with water!

**You can further boost each peanut butter ball by adding a few drops of attractant, especially a nut based flavouring.


When do carp feed the most?

Carp are most active and feed the most during dawn and dusk. This is because they are cold-blooded creatures and their metabolism slows down in cooler temperatures. If you want to increase your chances of catching a carp, fish during these times.

What carp bait to use in winter?

During winter, carp prefer baits that are high in fat and protein. This means that worms are still a good choice, as well as fatty baits like cheese or corn. You might also want to try using live bait, such as maggots, as the movement will attract the carp’s attention.

Why do carp like salt?

Carp like salt because it is a natural electrolyte that helps them regulate their body temperature and metabolism. Salt also makes carp thirsty, which encourages them to feed. When using salt as bait, it is important to not use too much, as this can cause the fish to become sick.

Carp bait for PVA bags?

PVA bags are a great way to present your bait to carp. Chopped pellets are a popular choices for PVA bags because they break down quickly and release a lot of flavours and oils into the water column.

Are worms a good carp bait?

Worms are a good carp bait because they are high in protein and nutritious for the fish. Carp love to eat worms and will often strike at them when they are presented as bait. Worms are also easy to find and gather, making them an ideal choice for those who want to fish for carp without having to invest in expensive baits.

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Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API