15 ideas to help you catch a carp

Simple tips for budding carpers

Boilies tend to be round. But these can become familiar to carp. Why not try fishing half a boilie instead? Not only will this look different, you will have broken the skin and allowed added scent to escape into the water, too.


Barrel-shaped boilies, or those that are completely misshapen, are also worth a look. You can make your own in these odd shapes or simply take a pair of scissors to a traditional round boilie. Remember, different is good.


Give your hookbait extra attraction by dipping it one of the many bait glugs available. I like maple and plum flavourings.


Alternative natural baits are surprisingly effective for carp. I know a lot of people who have used snails, slugs etc and caught fish that are rarely seen on the bank.


Bright baits are a great way of scoring instant success. Carp can home in on anything visually striking, and baits like bright boilies and sweectorn are always worth trying on short sessions. And sweetcorn can be flavoured, too.


Hair-rigging baits like boilies, pellets and sweetcorn has become the norm, but what about maggots? These can threaded onto a D-ring with a needle and thread – and they make a great alternative.


Having faith in a piece of plastic might be tough but fake baits have accounted for countless huge carp. Try imitation boilies, sweetcorn and even maggots. They have the added benefit of durability.


Worms are a brilliant bait for carp. They work especially well when stalking. You can put them straight on the hook or chop them into sections and hair rig them.


Spodding is a way of introducing large quantities of bait into a swim accurately at range. Just be careful not to overfill the spod, something that will see bait spread far and wide. Plug the end with groundbait to avoid this happening. Alternatively try using a Spomb.


Always take PVA bags with you. The bag can be filled with bait and it melts on contact with the lake. These come in two types – mesh or solid – and they provide a neat and most effective way of getting loosefeed near your hookbait.


If you see a carp break the surface, cast to it. You’d be surprised at the number of fish that get caught in this way.


Stalking is a very active – and very effective – way of catching carp. Spend time walking around your lake looking for feeding fish, or introduce bait into a few spots, before returning later.


When surface fishing for carp it’s better to use a clear hooklength to avoid spooking fish. Use the lightest diameter you can get away with, too.


Big carp fishing can be a waiting game, so most carpers use bite alarms. This means anglers can fish for long periods without the need to concentrate on looking at bobbins.


Most carp fisheries insist on the use of an unhooking mat nowadays and no angler should be without one. They also double as something to sit on when stalking!