Best Carp Bait: Store Bought and Natural Options
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Kyle W Updated on April 24, 2021.by
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Lots of anglers love the fun that can come with trying to catch a carp. These fish can be a great challenge for any angler, putting up a strong fight as you try your best to reel them in.
To increase your chances of catching this fish, it’s good to know that you’re using the right gear, and most importantly, the right bait for the job. If you’re a beginner angler looking to catch their first carp or are a seasoned pro looking to up your game, this article is for you!
Here we’re going to cover the basics of carp fishing and outline the best carp baits available online today.
Our Carp Bait Product Recommendations
These are some of the best carp bait products available online today:
All About Carp
Before exploring the bait, let’s learn some of the basics you need to know about this fish.
Carp fish are a member of the Cyprinidae family, including fish such as roach, tench, and goldfish. A large freshwater fish, carp, are native to parts of central Asia, though these days, it’s easy to find them all around the globe.
These fish have now been introduced to different parts of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East and have become an invasive species in lakes across Canada and Australia.
These fish are survivors, with the ability to live in a wide range of environments. However, this ability to survive is what has classified them as an invasive species in many ecosystems, especially in North America.
They are usually found in still/gentle waters, rivers, and lakes but can withstand pollutants and low oxygen levels that can harm most fish.
You can identify these fish by looking for their distinct barbels (aka whiskers) at the corners of their mouth. They also have distinctly forked tails, a single top fin that sports serrated spines.
They have large scales and can range in color from bronze to silver to green. These fish commonly weigh between 4-5kg, though they can grow to be as large as 60kg.
When and Where Can I Catch Carp?
If you want to catch a carp, it’s best to fish in freshwater rivers, lakes, and ponds. (You can learn more about carp populations in various states here.)
They tend to thrive in warm, murky waters where they can feed on insects and vegetation, so it’s best to fish for them in muddy water, backwaters, or along shorelines. These fish can scare easily, so approach in still waters if possible. The best time to catch a carp would be early in the morning.
What Gear Should I Use?
When it comes to carp fishing, you can go for both long or short casting! We recommend a 4-6 foot rod if you’re fishing among vegetation or along shorelines for carp. However, if you want to create some distance or are fishing in larger waters, an 8-10 foot rod works.
Carp can be fighters, so most anglers prefer to go for a more durable fishing line. You may want to try tying a braided fishing line to give you more stability. You’ll want some weight on the line to apply a bit of pressure as well.
While we’ll get into the preferred kind of bait later, it’s important to know that carp have great eyesight and can be deterred by anything too shiny or flashy. If you want to catch a carp, it’s best to use darker hooks.
This tendency to get spooked also means that you should do your best to remove any shaking or tremors from your line. Consider using a rod holder to eliminate any/all movement on your line. This will greatly increase the chances of a carp taking a bite.
Best Bait for Carp
So, what bait will give you a guaranteed catch? Let’s look at some of the more popular kinds of bait used for fishing carp and why they work so well.
It sounds crazy, but it works! Many fishermen swear by using simply sweet corn as bait while fishing for carp. This bait is extremely easy to source from any supermarket and can set you up for a whole day of catching carp. Simply attach a few pieces of corn onto your hook, and you’ll be good to go. Best of all, this bait is totally safe for both the carp and the lake.
What makes corn work so well? Their bright color is easily spotted by a carp’s great eyesight and contains amino acids that work wonders to appeal to freshwater fish. In addition to using it on your hook, we recommend pre-baiting with corn, tossing some into the water before casting your line to attract fish to the area.
This is another simple grocery store find- cherry tomatoes are surprisingly effective when it comes to carp fishing. As is the case with corn, the combination of color and acids in a cherry tomato appeals to all carp senses. The bright red color can be easy for them to spot in the water, and once they smell it underwater, they just can’t resist.
Consider buying a pack from the store before fishing. You can either attach whole cherry tomatoes to your hook or slice them into pieces. Slicing them can make them even more effective as they release juices into the water.
As we mentioned when discussing corn, cherry tomatoes can be great for pre-baiting by scattering them in the water shortly before fishing to attract carp to the area.
Boilies are a favorite among many anglers. These bait kinds are small, tiny balls, usually made of grains, soya flour, bird food, and other products. These can be purchased from any tackle shop, or you can try to make them yourself at home!
It’s best to attach boilies to your hook and go for a boilie with a bright color like yellow or white so carp can see them in the water.
Whether you are buying boilies or making them yourself, it is best to go for something fish-based in flavor. There’s something about a fish flavor that carp can’t seem to resist. We also recommend you store boilies in a fridge/freezer, to prevent them from going bad.
Worms are a classic tool in the arsenal of many fishermen and for a good reason! These little guys can work wonders and are largely available at any tackle or bait shop found near bodies of water. As natural muddy bottom feeders, carps will go for earthworms happily.
Another supermarket buy, white bread, has proven extremely effective for many carp anglers. The trick here is to buy white bread and compact it into a tight ball attached to your hook. While this bait can be tricky to get right (bread can become soaked and slide off the hook relatively easily), it can be really useful if secured correctly.
Both the bright white color and the smell of bread in the water will appeal to a carp’s sharp eye. Plus, like corn, bread is a cheap option and relatively easy to find. It’s worth it to give this one a try.
Tiger nuts are a tuber in the same family as foods like potatoes and have proven to be extremely useful in the carp fishing world. While these can be hard to find (they’re typically available in health food stores), many companies have created carp-specific tiger nut baits. It’s also more common to find dehydrated versions that you can hydrate for use yourself.
These small pieces are more versatile than other baits on this list, meaning they’ll last longer on the line. Their color still appeals to a carp’s eye, and the hard texture means carp are more likely to bite down and thus attach themselves to your line.
Other Carp Baits
While our recommendations above are some great basics, you also can’t go wrong with some good store-bought carp bait! There are many synthetic versions of the bait above you can go for and various pasts, doughs, and other baits created with carp in mind. We’ll explore some of those below.