18 Carp Fishing Tips for Beginners

Ready for some carp fishing tips to improve your angling?

Carp fishing can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it can also be challenging for beginners.

carp fishing tips

In this article, we will provide a whole host of tips for beginners and experienced anglers.

This includes choosing the right tackle, bait selection, rigs and locating carp.

1. Locating Carp

Carp can be found in most UK lakes, rivers and canals, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of locating them.

Look for features carp are likely to inhabit, such as deep or shallow drop offs, weed beds and reeds.

In warmer months, carp can often be seen near the surface, so look for areas where the water is calmer and avoid choppy areas.

Our first carp fishing tip is to invest in a quality pair of polarised sunglasses.

how to locate carp

Polarised lenses remove surface glare on sunny days helping you to see further under the surface.

Most are made from glass or plastic, using colours such as brown, yellow and grey.

Find a comfortable pair of sunglasses, and you’ll find you can see much more activity.

Here are our recommended polarised sunglasses for locating carp:

If you approach a lake with a vantage point, this can also help you spot cruising carp or spot surface breaks or feeding bubbles.

Finally, fish finders can also be a useful tool for locating carp.

By scanning the water for carp-shaped icons, you can get an idea of where they are in the lake.

You can also use your fish finder to see how deep the carp are holding, which can help you decide where to cast your line.

We recommend the Deeper Chirp Plus 2.

If you already own a Deeper, or are thinking about buying one, we’ve selected a useful video that offers tips and tricks to using a fishfinder to locate carp.

In our view, locating the carp is one of the best carp fishing tips you can learn.


2. Find Out Venue Information

Learning lake information is one of those carp fishing tips that can really give you the edge!

When you first arrive at your chosen carp fishing venue, it’s always worth having a chat with any other anglers who are fishing.

They may have some useful information about where the carp are being caught and what bait is working best.

finding carp lake information from local anglers

If there’s a bailiff or other authority figure on site, they will also be able to tell you all you need to know about the current carp fishing conditions.

If you can’t get any local information, another great way to find out what’s going on is to check carp fishing forums online.

There you can find lake information, tips and tricks and bait suggestions from other anglers who have already fished the venue.

find out bait information

When it comes to carp fishing, local knowledge really is key!

So make sure you chat to as many anglers as possible when you first arrive at your chosen carp venue – you never know who might have the inside scoop!

Bonus Carp Fishing Tips #1: Type your lake into Google. You may be able to find a lake map which can help you think about the layout, features and depths.


3. Read The Lakebed Terrain & Depth

When carp fishing, one of the most important things to do is to find out what terrain you are fishing over.

This includes gravel, sand and silt, which all provide different conditions for carp.

weedy carp lake

You will want to use a marker rod to understand the lake bed and the terrain.

Small bumps indicate gravel, a smooth drag is probably sand, whereas if you find it slow moving, this could be silt.

Weed or snags are easier to pinpoint, as you will find your marker lead may get stuck or be difficult to pull in.

marker rod setup

If you do use a marker rod setup to learn about the terrain, you may also want to find out the depths of a lake, which is likely to vary.

Drop-offs, shelfs, clean spots and gravel bars are all common areas carp are likely to feed in.

Pay attention to this rather than just casting anywhere.

Check out our recommended marker rods to help you gauge the terrain and depth.


4. Check Weather Conditions

The weather is a very important factor to consider when carp fishing, so it pays to check local weather conditions prior to fishing.

When the pressure is high, the carp do not feed as much and can often be found in the upper layers of the water.

In this situation, zig rigs are perfect for carp fishing.

using zig rigs for carp

Wind can also be a carp’s enemy, as carp love and regularly react to a wind, even if it’s a cold one.

They won’t necessarily move into the windward corner but they will almost always move from their current position when a new wind arrives.

It’s the direction of the wind that has the biggest impact on the weather as a whole.

Overcast, mild but windy conditions are what I’d call fantastic fishing weather and these are the days you want to be on the bank.

Fish will often follow a wind. So if you’re looking to carp fish in ideal conditions, be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out!

Bonus Carp Fishing Tips #2:There are plenty of fishing apps you can use to track the weather and wind speed and direction.


5. Move Swims By Keeping Mobile

Fishing can involve a lot of waiting around for carp to come into your swim, ane even longer to pick up your bait.

However, carp can be unpredictable and tend to move around a lot.

This means that if you’re not mobile, you might miss out on catching carp if they are not in your swim.

stalking carp

By packing light and being able to quickly set up and move to new swims, you’ll have a better chance of landing carp.

One of the biggest challenges when carp fishing is trying to find carp in a large lake.

They can move around a lot and hide in deep water or among the weed beds.

If you’re not mobile, you might not be able to move to where the carp are and end up missing out on catching them.

carp in the margins
Credit: Carpology.net

Packing light is another key factor when carp fishing. You don’t want to be carrying a lot of equipment with you and slowing yourself down.

If you are fishing a day session, packing only the essentials allows you to move and set up in new swims quickly.

Our recommended carp gear for keeping mobile includes:


6. Prebaiting Hotspots

Pre baiting is one of the most important carp fishing tips you can learn.

By pre baiting spots around the lake, or in your chosen swim, you are essentially telling the carp where to find food.

This will, in turn, bring the carp closer to your bait and increase your chances of landing a fish.

There are a few different ways to go about pre baiting, but one of the most popular methods is to scatter a mix of boilies and pellets.

Alternatively, you can ‘ball in’ a mixture of carp baits like bread, hemp, corn, and pellets, and then add some water until everything binds together into a ball.

pre baiting for carp

Either way, make sure you spread your bait around evenly and give the carp plenty of time to find it.

The key to carp fishing is patience, so make sure you take your time and don’t rush things.

If you can, try to visit your chosen spot a few times to check on any activity or feeding signals before actually casting in your rod.

This will give the carp plenty of chances to find your bait and increase the chances of a successful catch.

Our recommended pre baits are:

Learn how to create a pre bait mix with this video from Sticky Baits.


7. Learn To Feel The Lead Down


How you present your carp rig goes a long way to carp fishing success!

As we share more of our carp fishing tips, this is a great way to boost your angling.

One of the most important factors is ensuring that you ‘feel your lead down’ so you know how your rig is presented as it sinks to the bottom.

As carp are bottom feeders, they usually tend to pick up a bait off the bottom, so it’s important that your rig is in the correct place for them to take it.

feeling the lead down

If you’re not sure how to feel your lead down, the video below may help you.

You could always learn from a more experienced angler or just getting out there and trying it for yourself!

Starting off by using a marker lead as these offer more of surface and weight to help you ‘feel’ the weight down.


8. Keep Your Hooks Sharp

If you are carp fishing, it is important to make sure your hooks are razor sharp.

A dull hook will not penetrate the fish’s mouth easily and will often just slide off, leading to a missed opportunity.

why you should sharpen your carp hooks

One way to check if your hooks are sharp is to run them over your thumbnail.

If they catch, they are sharp enough. If they don’t, you can either replace them or sharpen them with a file or sharpening stone.

Making sure your hooks are razor sharp is one of the most important carp fishing tips there is, so don’t neglect this essential step!


9. Fishing Line Selection

So, we are up to number 9 in our carp fishing tips guide, and we hope you are still reading!

There are a few different types of fishing line that you can use when carp fishing, and each has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks.

The three most common types of fishing line used for carp fishing are mono reel line, braid, and fluorocarbon.

Monofilament is the most popular type of fishing line for carp fishing.

It is supple and forgiving, making it ideal for casting in windy conditions.

However, it is not as strong as braid or fluorocarbon, so it is not suitable for fishing in heavy snags.

Braid is a type of fishing line that is made up of multiple strands of thin wire.

It is very strong and durable, making it ideal for fishing in heavy snags.

However, it is not as forgiving as mono reel line, so it is not suitable for casting in windy conditions.

using fluorocarbon on clear lakes

Fluorocarbon is a type of fishing line that is made up of plastic fibers.

It is nearly invisible underwater, making it ideal for fishing in clear water. It also sinks well, which makes it ideal for fishing on the bottom.

In conclusion, each type of fishing line has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks, so you should choose the type of fishing line that best suits your needs.

For long distance carp fishing, braid just won’t work, but is key for fishing close in amongst snags as it will not break.

using braid for fishing in snags

On the other hand, fluorocarbon is almost invisible, so if the lake you are fishing is gin clear, or is the lake has a lot of angler pressure, this would be a great choice.

Make sure you pack a selection of fishing lines with you. You can’t go wrong by investing in a spare spool or two loaded with braid and fluorocarbon.


10. The Right Rod For The Task

If you’re into carp fishing, then you know that having the right equipment is essential for a successful outing.

One of the most important pieces of gear is your carp rod.

But with so many different types and actions available, it can be tough to know which one to choose.

A carp rod with a fast action makes a great casting tool, but it can also lead to increased hook-pulls at your net, which is not so good!

choosing a carp rod

A through-actioned rod, on the other hand, struggles to send leads a long way when distance fishing.

Therefore, selecting a middle-to-tip-actioned carp rod that will let you throw a long way, but be soft enough to minimise hook pulls as you attempt to land your catch.

Rod length also plays a part, and it’s always advisable to go for a carp rod that fits your style, lake size and your surroundings.

I prefer a shorter rod, perhaps 10ft – or even as short as 6ft if I need to delicately poke in-between swims with dense woodland or bushes.

choosing a short carp rod

If I am fishing a huge reservoir or gravel pit, or I need to consistently put heavy spombs out, then my 13ft rods will make an appearance!

These carp fishing tips are designed to offer advice, rather than fact.

Here is a selection of recommended carp rods for a range of tasks:


11. Don’t Ignore Fishing The Margins

One of my favourite methods is to have at least one rod set along the margins.

It can be an explosive ‘up close and personal’ battle, which I love!

There are a number of reasons why carp fishing in the margins can be so productive.

When carp are cruising in open water, they can often spot anglers from a long way off and become spooked.

carp fishing in the margins
Credit: anglingtimes.co.uk

However, when they are near the margins, they are much more likely to feed as they don’t have the same level of visibility.

Additionally, carp often feed more heavily close to cover as this provides them with some security.

Carp fishing in the margins can be a great way to catch fish that are feeding heavily and it can be a lot of fun too!

Bonus Carp Fishing Tips #3: If you notice overhanging trees or inaccessible areas along the margins, you could always pop on your waders and drop in your rig. Just remember to have a friend with you, or use a stick or storm pole to test the depth before wading in too deep!


12. Don’t Avoid The Weed

Carp fishing in weed can be a challenging but rewarding experience.

In order to be successful, you’ll need to know the right tackle to use, techniques and rig selection.

Weed contains a plethora of natural foods for the carp such as snails, crustaceans, larvae and various insect nymphs.

Carp also feel protected and secure in the cover of weeds so they can be more inclined to feed.

carp fishing in weed

When carp fishing in weed, it’s important to use a heavy braid line and fluorocarbon leader.

This will help you get your bait through the weed and down to where the carp are feeding.

You’ll also need to use heavier tackle than you would normally use when carp fishing to minimise the chance of your line or rig breaking in the event of a snag or tangle.

When carp fishing in weed, it’s important to remember that carp are a very wary species and will often spook easily.

So, you’ll need to be patient and take your time when trying to catch them.

how to fish for carp in weed

We would recommend unpacking your spod rod from your holdall, and a big pit reel.

You will need to become familiar with setting the drag on your reels as carp will often dart away, or simply stay put.

Maintain pressure because you could be in for a long hard battle!

Aim to get the carp out of the weed into open water as this offers the best chance of landing it.


13. Lead Choice

There are a range of carp leads available, but which lead should you choose to fish with?

Generally, a pear lead will cover most situations up to around 80 yards.

Beyond that, you should select a distance lead, which are streamlined to help you achieve that distance.

distance carp lead

If you are fishing on top of silt or debris, then a flat pear lead won’t sink into it. It will just sit on top so you are fishing more effectively.

Here are a selection of the most common leads:


14. Don’t Underestimate Single Baits

During the winter months, carp are much less active.

This means that they feed less, and switch off to large amounts of bait.

Chucking out a single to showing fish, or promising spots could yield a bite in much cooler conditions.

In the colder months, I prefer topping my hookbait with maggots, as this offers extra movement and can turn a blank into a good session if you have located the fish!

hookbait topped with maggots

15. Chopped Boilies

When carp fishing, it’s important to use a variety of baits to keep the carp guessing.

One simple way to do this is by chopping up your boilies.

This can be done in several ways – you can cut them into small pieces, or you can cut them in half using a boilie chopper.

Either way, this will add some diversity to your bait and may lead to more bites.

Carp are often familiar with whole boilies, so chopped-up baits can be a great way to confuse them.

This is a simple tactic that can be used in both your spod mix and as a hook bait.

It’s a great way to add some excitement to your carp fishing and keep the carp guessing!


16. Zig Rigs

Carp fishing in hot weather can be difficult, but using zig rigs can increase your chances of success.

Adjustable zig rigs allow you to find the perfect depth for carp, and can produce bites quickly when other tactics are not working.

Zig rigs are a great way to catch carp when they are up in the surface.

So if you’re looking to catch carp in hot weather, be sure to try using zig rigs!

We’ve put together the ultimate zig rig diagram guide to help you get started.


17. Use PVA Bags

One of my favourite methods is to use PVA bags, because it is a very simple and efficient way to catch carp!

By using PVA bags, you can cast your rig directly to the carp with confidence that it won’t get tangled.

I like to have several bags ready tied so that I can re-bait as needed.

I’ve included a video that shows you how to tie PVA bags and what rigs to use.

Carp have been caught using this method many times, so give it a try and see how well it works for you!


18. Particle Fishing

Particles are such a great bait because they are full of natural goodness and carp are familiar with feeding on hemp and corn across most UK lakes.

There are a few reasons why adding particles to your carp fishing mix can be so successful for you.

Firstly, the carp will find it much easier to feed on the different shapes and sizes of bait that the particles provide.

using carp particles

Secondly, the carp will be attracted by the cloud of particles in the water, which will make them visible from a distance.

Finally, carp are often fussy eaters, so using a variety of different particle baits will help to keep them interested in your mix.

Particle isn’t as expensive as other baits such as boilies either.

So, if you’re looking to catch more carp, try adding some particles to your mix – you won’t be disappointed!

Here are some recommended particles you can use:

If you are interested in the best way to mix up particles to add to a spod mix or PVA bag, we found this video which provides some great tips!


Carp Fishing Tips: Final Thoughts

From bait selection to sharpening your hooks, we hope this list of 18 carp fishing tips help you to get more from your angling.

Most importantly, make sure you pack the right tackle for your trip, enough bait, and a selection of different types such as boilies, pellets and particles.

Finding the fish is the biggest battle, so make sure you walk around the lake and keep an eye on any potential fish activity.

A good pair of polarised sunglasses will help you with this.

Secondly, once you have found a promising swim, take your time to learn what is in front of you.

This involves feature finding and marking out depths.

Everything else, such as bait and rig choice should come after!

Thanks for reading, and please visit us again!

Like this content?

We would really appreciate it if you could please share it on social media, or Whatsapp it to a friend, or even email a colleague who may be interested.

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means we may receive a modest commission if purchases are made through those links. This adds no cost to our readers and helps us keep our site up and running.

Last update on 2022-05-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API