Carp fishing and carp fishing tactics are a mysterious to a lot of US fisherman because we have all seen big carp cruising our favorite waters but its so hard to get them to bite using a lot of the fishing gear typically used in the US. However, if you are a cat fisherman, carp fishing is remarkably similar to cat fishing.
The major difference between cat fishing and carp fishing is the size of hooks and the bait used. With those two small changes you can immediately begin to tackle the basics of carp fishing.
Chumming is a major part of carp fishing. Because carp bait is often very small (a single kernel of corn for instance) a large carp can swim close by without even noticing your bait. Chumming gets carp’s attention and gets the aggressively feeding around your hook bait.
Chumming can also help calm spooky fish. By eating freebies, a carp relaxes and gets more confident.This is important for catching multiple carp from the same spot. The freebies help the remaining carp forget the commotion caused by fighting a carp.
The chum can also attract schools of carp. The competition caused by school of fish can make each fish more aggressive and increase the likelihood of a hook up.
Chumming is easy when fishing close to shore or boat. But if you want to be able to chum at long distances you will need specialized tools. Spods, PVA bag, boilie sticks, sling shots, bait boats and method feeders are all tools for chumming close to your hook bait at distances.
Bottom baits are the most common way to catch carp. Carp often feed along the bottom, though not exclusively. A sinking bait fished on the bottom is the most common way to catch carp. Using a bait that just barely sinks is an important tactics. When bait and hook barely sink, the carp will be able to suck it up into its mouth very easily.
A floating bait fished on the bottom is called a pop-up. Pop-ups serve several purposes: 1) they allow you to put your bait slightly above shallow weeds or soft silt, 2) pop up put your bait at mouth level and helps you bait stick out slightly above your chum and 3) because pop-ups float they are more easily sucked into a carps mouth as compared to heavier bottom baits.
Pop up can be used in combination with bottom baits to create a neutrally buoyant set up. A snowman rig is when a smaller pop up is paired with a larger bottom bait to create a neutrally buoyant pair on your hook,
Float or Bobber Fishing
If you want to fish close to the surface or drift your bait, then a bobber or float is a great way to go. The difference between a bobber and a float is that a bobber is a round ball that simply floats on the surface while a float is long and skinny and rises and falls in the water column. The advantage of a bobber is that they are cheap and easy to use. A float’s advantage is that it allows you to measure positive bites. Positive bites are when the fish takes the bait and goes up instead of down or away. When a positive bite occurs under a float, the float rises up in the water column while a bobber wouldn’t do anything.
Zig rigs are for fishing in the middle of the water column. If the carp are not feeding near the bottom a zig rig is a must. Zig rigs are a powerful tool for winter carp fishing.
Zig rigs are basically a popup rig on very long leader. Instead of the bait popping up a few inches off the bottom the leader between the hook and the weight is several feet long. This allows the zig bait to float from the bottom up to the desired depth.
Zig rigs require a light monofilament leader, the smallest hook you can get away with and a buoyant bait. Pop up boilies, bits of colored foam covered in scent and foam insects are common zig rig baits.
Hooking carp on the surface is a rush. You can watch your bait as it sits on the surface and is engulfed by a massive carp before your eyes. Casting a surface bait with a lead weight will sink your surface bait. And surface baits are by their natural light, so casting your surface bait is a problem unless you are a fly fisherman.
A water filled bobbers or “bubble floats” are a great tools. Bubble floats are clear plastic bobbers that you can wholly or partially fill with water. The water gives the bubble float weight for casting, but the air trapped inside keeps it from sinking your surface.
breakfast cereals, bread and commercially produced surface baits are all good choices when carp are feeding on top of the water.