Weighty carp is the crown of every angler’s dreams. It would seem that there is nothing to dream about, because this fish is sold live in stores, and it is inexpensive. Sometimes the money spent by an angler when buying equipment for fishing carp can provide a family with fish for a year in advance. But only a person who does not know the delights of welcoming this voracious, but capricious fish, the struggle with a powerful rival, the joy of defeating him, can reason this way. The adrenaline rush!
Hunting for carp (yes, this word is applicable to this trophy) can turn life around. Yesterday we had an ordinary person in front of us, slightly fond of fishing, today he is already a devoted and fanatical carp angler. Yes, the first trophy can be obtained by chance, because, as you know, amateurs are lucky. But in general, catching this fish is a kind of art, fully comprehensible only in practice. However, we can present some theoretical foundations to you within the framework of one article.
Here is an overview of the content of this tutorial, feel free to jump to any section you care about:
- Float Fishing For Beginners
- How To Choose A Spinning Reel (Complete Guide)
- What Do You Need To Start Fishing (Complete Guide)
The appearance and habits of carp
This representative of the ichthyofauna does not need a detailed description of the appearance: a strong thick body, powerful fins, shining silver (and sometimes gold) scales, a relatively small head. However, there is hardly a person who has never seen His Fish Majesty live. But what about the lifestyle of this capricious fish is worth talking in detail: catching carp without knowing its habits is futile.
Carp is a fairly thermophilic fish: with a decrease in temperature, it practically loses its activity. At other times, it actively feeds, devouring everything and everyone in its path. The freshwater giant is surprisingly omnivorous, and with a good food base, it can afford some whims. His menu includes all kinds of aquatic vegetation, seeds that accidentally fall into his field of vision, larvae of mosquitoes and other insects, mollusks, worms, crustaceans. It is difficult to predict what exactly he will prefer this time.
The unpredictability of this freshwater colossus has become the talk of the town, causing a lot of trouble and worries for anglers. Well, the more interesting the process and the more desirable the extraction. However, this capricious person has some stable habits, which is what experienced carp anglers use.
For example, carp rarely leaves far from the beaten track once and for all, along which its “canteens” are located. Like other respectable fish, he loves to stay in the zones of certain anomalies. On rivers, it often feeds on clay edges and boundaries between intense currents and backwaters. This fish loves to graze in shell rock, on dumps, in the zone of snags. In reservoirs with stagnant water, windows surrounded by vegetation on all sides are very promising. Many seasoned anglers create them artificially, specifically to attract carp.
When and what to catch carp
Winter carp fishing, as such, does not exist, however, experts in specific reservoirs, armed with echo sounders, sometimes get good trophies for winter bait and jig . This is especially true for periods of warming.
Early spring is also not the best time for fishing: until the water temperature reached 10 on C. And then there is spawning, when the carp completely loses interest in food. Sluggish biting begins in April, becoming more active in May-June. At this time, carp usually prefers animal food: worms, larvae, amphipods, and so on, and often goes into shallow water.
The maximum carp apparent in US falls on the period from July to September . In the hot season, carp prefers to go to great depths, going to the shallows only at night and in the morning. At this time, it is advisable to fish this fish with bait of plant origin – he becomes inclined to vegetarianism.
With a cold snap, this fish begins to prepare for winter passivity and again turns into a “meat-eater”. Carp can be caught very well in September, much worse in October, and in November only occasional bites are possible.
And now let’s take a closer look at carp tackle, very different from similar ones, but intended for catching fish of other species. Regardless of the type, they are united by the main feature: power and strength, combined with maximum invisibility of the rig.
The best results are demonstrated by a rubber band , preferably stretched along the natural bottom anomaly or overlapping it. It is best to use a braid with a load of at least 40 kg as the main line, even if it is more noticeable in the water. The fact is that when playing active fish, the tackle is loaded with a load that exceeds the weight of the trophy by 3-5 times.
Up to a dozen leashes made of monofilament or fluorocarbon, less noticeable in water, are imposed on the cord. Fastening by means of swivels with carabiners and locking beads is allowed, however, this somewhat coarsens the equipment. You can also use ready-made leads made of special material up to half a meter long. At the same time, small floats are installed near the hooks (foam balls are quite suitable) to impart positive buoyancy to them and avoid immersion in silt.
A rubber shock absorber is attached to the end of the cord, supplied with another safety cord, onto which a load is imposed (in the form of a brick or stone) and thrown into the water (preferably from a boat). The other end of the cord is attached to a support on the bank and is equipped with a signaling device (it can be in the form of an ordinary bell). Pay attention to the quality of the model gum: even if it seems quite strong and efficient, it is better to replace it after every successful carp fishing.
The initial feeding is carried out before the tension of the tackle, along its intended trajectory. In addition, it is possible to mount feeders: homemade from plastic bottles and even springs.
The obvious advantage of the gum is its noiselessness and ease of use: an unwanted loud splash occurs only during the initial casting of the tackle. One angler can successfully service several rubber bands.
Improved bottom gear with rods that greatly facilitate the casting process also show themselves well. The main elements of the equipment are reinforced spinning reels with freespin reels and feeders, which will be discussed below. In this case, you should give preference to special carp rods, designed for high loads, and braided lines.
To catch carp with float rods , special rods are used (they are called carp rods) with powerful equipment. For fishing from the shore on ponds with stagnant water, classic plugs up to 20 m long are often used, which makes it possible to target the bait into a free water zone surrounded by vegetation. Classic telescopic gear is used downstream. It is reasonable to use match gear on condition of thorough knowledge of the bottom relief of a particular reservoir .
For fishing at distances up to 20 meters, you can use a mono line with a high breaking load. Avid carpfishers often neglect the use of a leash, increasing the strength of the rig due to its sensitivity. This is justified when fishing in places of habitual stands of fish due to its calmness and lack of expectation of a threat.
Fishing from a boat also justifies itself well, provided that you approach the thickets. In this case, the main problem is not attracting fish, but playing it out: a strong individual is able to go into the thickets and confuse all the equipment. In this case, fishing is carried out mainly vertically, with an early catch of the trophy with a wide landing net.
Fishing for carp with feeder gear is the highest art and a lifelong hobby. Many carpfishers spend hundreds of dollars on the necessary equipment, develop their own recipes for baits and baits, vary fishing tactics by going to paid reservoirs by companies. Some devote their entire vacation to fishing, first baiting the fish for several days, and only then embarking on a multi-day session.
Fishing tactics differ for each carpfisher. There are usually no problems with finding a catching place: usually they are inhabited by other fishermen, but they may be already occupied. If there are none, it is necessary to study the bottom relief using a load cast, or better – an echo sounder. From the general: preliminary baiting and massive feeding of fish just before casting, the use of special carp rods equipped with large capacity spinning reels with freespin reel and reinforced mechanisms.
It is recommended to use a braid as the main line, which should be mounted with a monofilament of a larger diameter. In most cases, rigs oversee the installation of all kinds of feeders, from traditional springs to water-soluble nets.
Animal and vegetable baits
It should always be remembered that carp is a cultured fish that lives mainly in artificially stocked paid reservoirs. There, carp is caught mainly on the usual bait, that is, on what the owners of the reservoir and other fishermen taught him to. If the carp went “on free” swimming and settled in the reservoir in a natural way, he switches to the diet available to him, so that the most expensive boilies may seem unappetizing to him.
Boilies belong to the group of baits of plant origin and are mainly used for catching trophy specimens on a feeder. In fact, this is dried dough of various compositions with the addition of flavors and colors. Thanks to various formulations, boilies are imparted with positive, neutral or negative buoyancy. They are sold in stores, but they are not cheap. Experienced carp anglers prefer to cook them on their own, and not in order to save money, but for their own pleasure, in pursuit of the ideal.
Other plant-based baits that are popular with carp include boiled barley, canned corn and peas, bread crumb, dough, boiled potatoes, semolina, and so on. Steamed wheat occupies a special place among the culinary preferences of carp . This can be explained simply: it is with this cereal that the owners of reservoirs usually feed the fish.
Of all the variety of baits of animal origin , the common earthworm in all its variations, from rain to dung, should be especially noted. The fact is that the worm is a common component of the carp’s diet in any body of water and at any time of the year, so there is no more universal option. Insect larvae, mormysh, freshwater molluscs are best eaten by carp in spring and autumn.
The secret of successful carp fishing lies in large part in the variety of baits that change during fishing in the hope of pleasing His Capricious Majesty. And remember: you should focus on the food base of a particular reservoir.
Carp fishing in modern conditions is unthinkable without multi-stage bait. At first, the fish is bonded to certain places for several days, for which either they periodically throw a bait mixture into the fishing area, or hang a net or cloth bag filled with fish delicacy on a spear. Before the fishing itself, the fish is massively fed (the mixture is rolled into balls the size of an apple). Slingshots, catapults, rocket feeders, and even special radio-controlled ships are used to deliver complementary foods to the fishing site.
Now about the composition . The main principle is to attract the fish, but not to feed it to the dump, and the bait should not be tastier than the bait. There are a lot of recipes for preparing bait mixtures aimed specifically at catching carp. Most of the fruits of the amateur culinary creativity of fishermen are based mainly on fish feed, cereals, bread, bran, oilcakes, cereal seeds, flour and so on. In spring and autumn, it is recommended to add animal components to the mixture (for example, fodder bloodworms or cutting of worms), but this should be done immediately before casting the balls.
To tint the resulting composition or not is an individual matter, but some carpfishers use cocoa and cola for this purpose (here you also have aromatization). In general, the aromatization of the bait mixture is a rather subtle point. Among seasoned fishermen there are some kind of nihilists who deny the attractiveness of certain smells for a certain type of fish. Carp flavor is nothing more than a marketing gimmick of attractant manufacturers. But that’s not the point. Worst of all, the preferences of carp depend not only on the specific reservoir, but also on the season, weather conditions, and in general it is difficult to know what exactly.
Some of the most versatile and affordable flavors include unrefined vegetable oil (any), anise and edible vanillin. In a specialty store, you can buy an attractant with the smell of a worm, shrimp (for fishing in spring and autumn) or the completely unexpected, but sometimes very effective aroma of garlic. The spectrum of fruit and berry attractants always works well.
Fishing for carp downstream requires bait balls that are more resistant to destruction, so a little clay is sometimes added to their composition. But since this reduces the nutritional value of the mixture, some anglers use rolled oats as a binder, and breadcrumbs and semolina as a baking powder. If nutritional value is unimportant, sand is an excellent and worthless baking powder.
Traditional and modern carp feeders
At long distances, the delivery of groundbait to a specific place is especially important. Sometimes carp anglers during fishing are transported to a given square up to half a centner of the feed mixture. To do this, use:
- Slingshots . Slingshots are the most primitive mix delivery devices. You can make them yourself (the boys of the past did a great job with this), but they do not differ in their long range.
- Catapults . Bait catapults are stationary devices that operate on the principle of slingshots.
- Sling . Sling (parachutes) – devices used in tandem with spod rods. Groundbait can be done with very large balls and in a short time.
- Cobras . Special throwing “horns” are purposefully sharpened for feeding boilies.
- Buckets . In general, special buckets are designed for feeding from a boat, but models with telescopic handles show themselves well when fishing for carp from the shore at short distances.
- Rockets . SPOD rockets are aerodynamically shaped open feeders attached to a rig. Upon entering the water, they turn over and are emptied from the feed contents. SPOMB rockets are closed feeders that open when hitting water.
- Radio controlled ships . Very interesting devices that allow you to deliver the mixture to the fishing area without physical effort, but with filigree precision.
The feeder can be part of a special assembly included directly in the rig. There are many mounting options available to make the tooling less visible while maintaining its strength. In general, the task is that the carp, which has already outwitted hundreds of anglers, is hooked for you.
The structure of carp assemblies can include the following types of feeders:
- Spring . The oldest and most well-deserved feeder, used with both bottom rods and carp rods. Many carp anglers make springs in an artisanal way, but industrial models are objectively more versatile: in particular, they can be used when installing sliding equipment.
- Makushatnik . Carp has long been fished on the top of the head: this is a very well-deserved tackle. In the classic version, it is a lead plate with several leashes, on which a block of “cake” (pressed cake) is attached.
- “Method” . Before us are feeders that look like springs, usually with one flat closed side. They are usually made from artificial polymers.
- Cork . The design of the feeder is based on a cork from a large diameter plastic bottle. A flat load is mounted to it from below, leashes with hooks on the sides.
- “Cage” . Another traditional option: earlier “cages” were made handicraft, from women’s hair curlers and metal mesh, now there are ready-made feeders on sale.
- But this is already a novelty of recent years – threads and nets made of PVA materials . The trick is that they are stable while dry, and dissolve in water. Boilies are strung on a thread, and bait with a snap is put into mesh bags. After the PVA dissolves, there is a bunch of carp treats at the bottom.
Reasons for the lack of bite
Lack of bite when fishing for carp is by no means uncommon. There can be many reasons for this:
- Unfavorable weather conditions . Carp reacts quite noticeably to changes in atmospheric pressure. It is especially sensitive to cold: water at a temperature below 10 of the C drive and fishing is not necessary.
- Illiterate groundbait . The competent bait of His Capricious Majesty consists of several stages. In this case, you need to focus on the diet that is familiar for a particular reservoir.
- Incorrectly selected nozzle . An experienced carp angler has at least five or even ten baits in his arsenal, and operates with them during fishing.
- The rig is too rough . Carp is very careful, especially on paid water bodies, he is used to feeling a catch in everything, so an unnecessarily rough rig can alert him.
- Ignorance of the behavior of carp . Moreover, you need to know the nuances of the behavior of this fish not in general, but in a specific season and in this particular reservoir. It is difficult to do without the advice of experienced people.
The main advice for beginners: catching carp from the start is not worth it – this is the lot of anglers with some kind of experience. Try yourself in catching less cunning and finicky fish with less expensive tackle and only then join the worldwide community of dedicated carp anglers.