Carp Fishing Essentials Guide
Carp fishing is an extremely broad term that describes many different styles and so, the equipment one might require will depend upon which discipline the angler wishes practice. Though obviously, as all styles relate to the art of catching carp there is some equipment that should be classed as essential. These being items relating to ‘carp care’, such as a large landing net and unhooking mat, as well as a ‘carp-care kit’ and water bucket. It is not just considered good practice to own and use these, in fact many waters state the necessity of being in possession of such in their rules, and will often either deny access or ban an angler attempting to fish without them.
Carp landing nets
Some anglers who usually target smaller carp might consider a large unhooking mat and the standard 42 inch (knotless mesh) Landing net unnecessary ‘overkill’, but, when fishing it is a good idea to err on the side of caution as one cannot be sure of what will take your bait. Even if you’re only intending on fishing venues that are known for small fish, a large mat and net offers increased protection for your captures and also allows for the possibility that you may hook something unexpected, or in future, wish to venture onto waters with larger fish present. It is important to remember that these fish may be caught several times a year, for many decades, and so it is essential that we do all in our power to limit the damage we could cause them.
Mainly for their sake but also for our piece of mind, and the anglers who fish for them after we have had the pleasure. We should also bear in mind that a large carp may have a high monetary value to the owner, with the larger fish being worth several thousand pounds! Yet another important consideration is the image angling portrays to the wider non-angling community and if we make it obvious that we both respect and care for our quarry then we are considerably more likely to be seen in favourable light. That said, there is no valid excuse for a carp angler to be unprepared, and ethically, these items should be considered the most essential parts of a carp anglers kit!
Be advised that an EA rod licence is another essential purchase for adult carp anglers, assuming you do not wish to have your hard-earned tackle confiscated by the guys in green!
Beyond that we won’t tell you what you need, the rest comes down to what you want, but there are also less necessary items which would still be included within the ‘carp-care’ category, these being scales, weigh-sling/retainers, tripod or crook. Of course, it is not imperative that an angler should weigh their catch (although some venues do actually insist upon it for stock management records), however, for our own personal reasons many anglers do wish to. Therefore, strong and reliable scales would be needed as a mechanical failure resulting in a dropped fish could be catastrophic. The same goes for weigh-slings, retainers, and tripod or crook.
Weigh-slings or retainers should be large enough and made from a strong material that will not cause damage to fish. After this, personal preference may be considered, and to cater for this we stock a wide variety of ‘carp-care’ kit, including various traditional spring-balance or digital scales.
Carp fishing tackle
Having responsibly equipped oneself with the essentials required for having caught a carp, a new angler may now consider the tackle he will require to do so and to do this one must decide upon their intended style of angling. There can be as many styles as there are anglers so it would be impossible to describe the entirety of the subject. To elaborate, carp fishing for some may be short session stalking, perhaps creeping around a small farm pond, with a single rod and reel, float-fishing with a worm. Or to another, camping out for weeks on end at a huge wind-swept reservoir, with three or four rods blasting boilies to the horizon!
The first angler may be required to carry only their landing net, unhooking mat, rod and reel, a bucket and a small rucksack of equipment, whereas the second will likely require a wheelbarrow to transport a ‘mountain’ of tackle, effectively including his/her house. Clearly (beyond aforementioned ‘carp-care kit’) each discipline requires different tools, so here at Tackle-up, we make it our business to cater for each, and all between! To confuse matters further, carp, like us, are reliant on and responsive to their environment, and so, the tackle we require to catch them can literally change with the seasons, as temperature amongst other factors impacts upon their behaviour.
As most carp angling trips span many hours, days and nights, or even weeks, it is imperative that the angler is comfortable, and especially during the colder months, warm and safe from hypothermia. To enable this, we stock a wide range of shelters, storm poles, clothing, chairs and bedchairs, stoves and cookware and even hot-water bottles and heated gillets. Some of this tackle, by necessity is quite bulky, so to reduce the risk of a heart-attack whilst ‘dragging’ your ‘kitchen and bedroom’ to your swim, we also stock wheelbarrows, since we know from experience that carrying a load of heavy gear a long way is no fun at all!
Being prepared to safely deal with a capture and endure/enjoy your time outside, we can now consider some actual fishing gear! We’ll start with rods, we stock a wide range of carp rods in various lengths and test curves, including short stalking rods for enclosed areas, ‘all-rounder’s’, distance fishing rods, floater fishing rods, as well dedicated spomb and marker rods, to ensure that wherever you’re casting and whatever size carp you’re angling for, we’ve got you covered! To accompany your rods, we can offer reels to suit, be they heavy-duty ‘big pit’ distance reels, ‘free-spool’ style reels, stalking, or dedicated spomb and marker reels. To go on your reels we offer a wide variety of monofilament lines capable of long-range casting, fast-sinking (and almost invisible) fluorocarbons and super-sensitive braids in many breaking-strains, so we’re sure we can supply something more than suitable to keep you attached!
To keep your nice new rods and reels off the ground, away from the muck (and mice who like to nibble cork and Duplon) you’ll require some bank-sticks or a pod. Then to keep your rods securely in place and prevent them from being pulled in by an angry carp, you’ll want some back-rests. When you do receive a bite, you will probably want something to let you know about it, especially if you’ve been lulled to sleep by the tranquillity! For that, bite alarms and bobbins, or swingers are invaluable, and of course we can supply you with tried and tested, quality and reliable versions of each!
Loose feeding with ‘freebies’ and/or pre-baiting is a fantastic way to increase your chances and to aid in this we can supply throwing sticks, catapults, scoops, and spombs for use with our dedicated spod rods, as well as many types of P.V.A products to help you really ‘get em rooting’.
Carp fishing terminal tackle
This leads us to terminal tackle which can be a mindbogglingly massive subject, indeed there have been several books written about rigs and unfortunately space limits us from giving an in-depth run down. If it all seems a bit too confusing, don’t panic because we stock lots of ready tied leaders and hook-lengths/rigs to get you fishing. However, if you are a bit more experienced and fancy (or enjoy) tying your own, we stock a wide variety of carp hooks, hook-lengths, swivels, clips, leadcore, anti-tangle tube and much, much more in order to help you outwit even the craftiest of carp! We also stock controller floats for those blissful sunny summer days when the carp are ‘clooping’ for bread, biscuits or floating pellets, and many styles and sizes of lead weights and method feeders for those cooler days and nights when ledgering is likely the more productive method.
Carp fishing bait
Having prepared yourself with your ‘armoury’ the next step is another potentially confusing one, choosing the bait that is going to entice your personal best and get your nice new net wet. There must be many thousands of baits to choose from. From simple ‘garden variety baits’ like worms, through the ‘supermarket style’ such as the old favourites sweetcorn, luncheon meat and tiger-nuts. Then ‘pet-shop types’ including various particles, to more complex and dedicated specially formulated carp foods, such as boilies, pop-ups, wafters, pellets and ground-baits, as well as liquids, like glugs and additives! We stock all of these, in a mouth-watering array of flavours, so we are sure we can offer you something to tickle their taste-buds!
We stock much more than can be mentioned in such a brief write up so if there are specialist items you require, such as air-dry bags, waders, finger-stalls, etc. then please don’t hesitate to give us a call and we’ll do our best to help you land that fish of a lifetime. So, now you have ‘all the gear’ you’re going to need some ‘idea’, this will however largely come from research and experience and is generally referred to as ‘water-craft’. We do not sell experience or ‘water-craft’ but we can give it away for free, so again, if you think we can help please don’t heesitate to give us a call or even better, drop by the shop!