Carp Fishing a Beginners Guide

Imagine this, it’s a still cool crisp winter morning the fog starting to lift off the river only the sounds of nature to heard then the rod bends and line peels of the reel shattering the silence, Carp fishing is an adrenaline-charged experience for the novice and experienced angler alike. Pound for pound the fight in the fish always makes carp fishing an electrifying outing.

Choosing a carp fishing rod that’s right for you. This is one of the most personal decision we make as angler not only do you have a better chance of catching a carp but it is also the direct connection between you and the carp the shock absorber and guide to what is happening beneath the surface.

Firstly, let’s look at the carp fishing rod manufacturers as there are many to choose from here is just a few.

Daiwa, E.S.P., Fox, Greys, Grauvell, Normark, Prologic, Shakespeare, Shimano, Abu Garcia, JRC, Wychwood, Chub, Harrison and Drennan to name a few.

When choosing carp fishing rods, you need to have an understanding of the style of Carp fishing you will be pursuing. For example, distance casting, stalking, float or margin fishing. Manufacturers make top quality rods suited to all these different fishing styles. With pricing to suit all levels of angling experience.

Carp fishing rods are made from different materials such as Advanced Resin Technology Blank (A.R.T.) Carbon weave and intertwined fibre on the Whisker carbon and come in extensive range strengths, lengths, test curve and actions.

With this in mind there is no authoritative answer to which is the best rod, for you, know your fishing style and shop within your budget. Here are a few basic tips if you are new to selecting a carp fishing rod. Be sure the rod has a screw reel fitting, which is used to steady the grip of the real against the rod. For the novice, a 12ft 2.5lb carp rod is perfect.

Remember quality is not expensive it’s priceless.

What type of carp fishing are you going to be doing? This will be the determining factor when choosing your new carp fishing rods. So, let’s take a look at few of the popular carp fishing styles and factors to gain a better understanding of what rods are right for each of these.What type of carp fishing are you going to be doing? This will be the determining factor when choosing your new carp fishing rods. So, let’s take a look at few of the popular carp fishing styles and factors to gain a better understanding of what rods are right for each of these.

Margin fishing or fishing under the rod tip is an electrifying experience, big angry carp bursting off at 100 miles an hour requires a good rod that can put the brakes on bringing control back in your favour. So, what rod to choose? Carp fishing this close requires a good shock absorbing rod and I would recommend a “Through Action Rod”. The design allows the full energy of the fight to be absorbed from the tip to the grip giving you greater control over the carp in the margins during the fight. A test curve of around 2.25lb is optimal for this style of fishing.

Stalking carp or sight fishing the art of stealth. This type of carp fishing requires a rod with a little back bone when engaging in difficult areas such as weed or snags. Here I would recommend a smaller rod the not the usual 12 to 13-footer smaller rods tend to have more direct control over the carp in this type of fishing. Therefore, a 6 to 9-foot rod is best this gives a better freedom of movement in the bushy areas and less chance snagging in the brush and spooking the carp you have so patiently stalked. A test curve between 1.25 a 2lb is perfect for these rods.

Float fishing for carp there are a few considerations to be made here, such as the weight and length of your rods with float fishing. The weight of the rod is important as you will most likely be holding it most of your fishing session so firstly you will want to hold the rod get a feel of it before purchase. Next is length float rods are generally long from 12 to 18 foot this allows the rod to be very responsive picking the line up from the water quickly and easier to flick your float passed 20 yards, the eyelets are better positioned marginally further off the rods to avoid line sticking to the shaft. A test curve of around 1.5 to 2.0lbs is best for these types of carp fishing rods.

Method feeder rods a few things to consider here the action can be fast and brutal so your rod choice needs to match. A good 12ft carp rod with a “Semi Through” action is also designed to give excellent shock absorbing qualities whilst playing and landing your carp also giving you a great deal of distance and accuracy casting to place you bait. Accuracy is extremely important with method feeding as placing the bait in the same hot zone repeatedly. A test curve 2.75 to 3lb is best for these types of rods.
In summary knowing what type of carp angling you wish to pursue choosing a rod will be a lot easier with the knowledge you have acquired.

Stalking Carp

Stalking Carp is a sport in itself watching the water for signs, hearing the surface suck of a feeding carp then moving in a quietly so you are undetected to fool a carp can be a challenge and take some time to master. If you’re unfamiliar with an area it best to get acquainted with the local water firstly before you begin. Some excellent spots to find carp feeding or basking are reedy bays, reed beds, banks, an area of lily pads, manmade structure or natural. So, which rods are best suited to stalking carp?

Choosing a Stalking Rod
Most Carp fishing rods are long 12ft and longer, however stalking carp requires a different strategy small rods down 6ft is not uncommon even smaller if you want a custom-made rod. Small rods are designed for a few different reasons. It is easier to place the bait accurately on a Carp you have stalked in many cases you will have more than one feeding at your feet and timing is critical if you are selectively targeting. Another practical reason is long rods tend to be sloppy you can get yourself caught up in brush and then all the time you have invested get close to your carp is over in an instant. What makes a great Stalking rod?

The Perfect Rod
Here a few factors come into play. Test curve is one factor all carp fishing rod have in common. It is a rating of the rod under stress of weight that bends the rod to 90 degrees to the butt from a horizontal position. The test cure for a stalking rod should be in between 1.25 and 2lb for best performance. Rod length depending on the water you fish 6 to 9-foot rod the more open the landscape the longer the rod can be any wooded area have a nice 6-footer in your arsenal. Having the right carp fishing rods are key to your success.

Carp Rods General Info

Understanding the basics of a carp fishing rod is essential without this knowledge your chances of consistent success will be greatly diminished, however, the popularity of carp fishing works to your favour finding a rod won’t be a problem the first question one or two? Well, most carp anglers these days have and use at least two rods. why two rods you ask well? Carp fishing is very much a measure of patience and secondly area coverage, the great the area you cover the better your chances of a faster hook up. The general Carp rods are typically 11 to 12ft and segmented into two or three pieces they are heavy duty in construction by design. Carp rod is rated by its Test Curve the action of the rod also plays an important part both are unique and play their part for the rods overall performance which we examine further in depth in this article.

What is Test Curve?
Test Curve is a load measure of how much weight is required to bend the tip to a quarter circle or 90 degrees to the base of the rod. This gives some indication as to how much weight the rod is capable of casting. What this tells you is how much weight the carp rod is designed to cast, most are generally are 2 to 3lb however depending on the style and purpose the rod it may be low or higher in test curve.

It’s all in the action
Rod action is also important as test curve and the style of carp fishing you intend to pursue will be a factor that is of high importance. Think about what style you wish to pursue for a moment and now here is the rod action you will need. There are three types: fast taper or tip, perfect for long casting and fight control at a distance. Through action, perfect for brutal bursts while margin fishing in close. And medium tip action is a blend of both making it a good all-rounder.

Through Action Carp Rods
For close in and short to medium range carp fishing, and all through action is the smart angler’s choice, through action Carp rods progressively and evenly bend throughout its length making it a powerful shock absorber taking all the fight a big carp has and the more the carp fights the power is passed through the entire length of the rod bending from tip to grip. This is what makes it ideal for fishing the margin and in close carp fishing.

Fast Tip or taper Carp Rods
For really long distance work where heavyweights of 2 to 4 ounces need cast around hundred metres or more, then a fast tip action rod is best they have a faster and stiffer action. Fast taper or tip rods will have plenty of flex at the tip and transmit the energy quickly through to a strong solid base and are usually twelve feet long. This making it the obvious choice for distance carp fishing.

Medium Action Carp Rods
A medium action rod is a good general combination of both through action and fast taper or tip action it cannot achieve the extreme long distance casting more to the medium to long range or control type casts and also can be used for in close or margin fishing having a nice blend of tip action that will transmit through the rod. If you’re new to carp fishing, then I would suggest this be the first rod type to purchase.

Reel Seat and Line Guides
Don’t rush to buy the first rod you see in the shop, go through as many as you can and be sure to pay particular attention to the design of the reel seat and the quality of the guides (Fuji and SiC are the mainstream at present). The handle will include a fitting to which the reel is fixed. Most are screw fittings to hold the reel securely. It is worth trying the reel that you have or are about to buy the rod to ensure that the two fit together successfully – despite universal fittings some reels and rods do not match! The eyes, rings or guides (three names for the same thing) guide the line. Generally, these are lined with a dark ceramic material that resists the wearing of the line.

Making a Selection
Right so now you have this knowledge you can go to a tackle shop and start having a look at whats available, we’d recommend a rod in the range of 2 1/2lb to 3lb TC with a medium action as this should be fairly well suited to most carp fishing situations.

Rod Handles
There are commonly two materials used for the handle, these are either cork or duplon, choice of that really is entirely down to personal preference, with the duplon you are also faced with two other choices and that is whether you want a full handle or abbreviated handle, again that is down to personal preference. Every rod (excepting poles) has a handle; these were traditionally cork but more typically are made from a black sponge-like material called Duplon (although of late cork has again become fashionable).

Section joints
One thing that is often overlooked when buying carp rods is the type of joint used for connecting the rod sections, a spigot joint is normally far stronger than a simple slip-over but they are a bit of a rarity these days so the norm is the slip-over joint but as the technology of rod blanks has greatly improved these are far more practical and acceptable. Most rods are too long to be carried around in one piece so they are made into several pieces, and the joint between each section is known as a ferrule, although the modern term is simply ‘join

Rod Composition
The vast majority of rods are made from carbon impregnated resin – carbon for short. A few very cheap rods are made from a composite mix of glass fibre and carbon fibre, and some from fibreglass alone.

Time to buy your First Carp Fishing Rods
By now you will have had time to give thought to the style of Carp fishing rods you will need and probably dreaming about that first-rod doubling reel destroying burst of monster carp energy “oh yeah”. So, slow down don’t rush, find out what best in your area check the pricing at local tackle shops and compare prices online you will be pleasantly surprised.

Check our Guide for the Best Carp Fishing Rods

Carp Fishing Reels

What type of Carp Fishing Reel is right for you? There are three commonly used reels the fixed spool or spinning reel, bait runner which is in essence a spinning reel with a free spooling level to engage or disengage and a centrepin reel.

Fixed spool or spinning reel
Generally, the most used type of reel the reel is typically basic in design having a few internal gears which dictates the ratio of bail return to one turn of the handle 5:1 for example. The spool is designed to hold the line and line capacity varies with each reel size. All fixed spool reels have internal ball bearings the more ball bearings the better the quality the reel is as general rule of thumb. The drag system is either on the top of the line spool or at the base of the reel and is adjusted for pressure on the line below the breaking strain rating. The last major feature is the bail arm this simply is either raise for casting or in position to wind the line back to the spool.

Bait Runner
Bait Runner reels are described as the above fixed reel the only major difference is a lever clutch system this is engaged to retrieve line or fight a hooked carp. And disengaged to allow the carp to swim away freely with your bait when you are ready to strike you simple engage the reel and normal drag control comes in to effect. Note be sure to have adjusted your drag before setting your baits otherwise engaging the reel may cause for a break off if the has been forgotten.

Centrepin Reels
Are different from fixed reel and bait runner. They are not designed for long casting more for close in fishing styles such as Margin fishing or stalking. The reel itself is designed to carry the line in the centre. They are simply but elegant in design and have a powerful one to one wind ratio. Making them perfect for in close fishing styles.

Learn More about Carp and where to catch them here