Carpe Diem

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Published on: Jun. 2, 2001

Last revision: Nov. 9, 2010

Once they saw how much fun I was having, they joined in. Carp fishing has now become a summertime vacation tradition for our family.

Gear and Bait

  • Fishing for carp is fairly simple and inexpensive. Just about any rod and reel will do, but I like to use ultra-light equipment to make it more challenging. Also, light test line tends to be more effective than heavy line. I usually use 4-, 6-, or 8-pound test monofilament line tied to a No. 8 or smaller bait-holder hook.
  • Even large carp have small mouths, so it's important to use small hooks. An ideal hook should be just large enough to hold two or three kernels of corn. A No. 10 or smaller treble hook is best when using dough bait.
  • Bobbers aren't necessary because you want your bait to sink to the bottom. A carp will drop a bait immediately if it feels the slightest resistance, so I rarely use a weight. If you are stream fishing in current, a weight may be necessary to keep your bait on the bottom.
  • Remember to set the drag on your reel properly. Hooked carp are notorious for making several long, quick runs. Your drag should be set fairly light to avoid line breakage. This is especially true if you are using 4- or 6-pound test line. It may take you 15 minutes or more to bring in a carp on such light line
  • Finding the right bait is not difficult because carp are omnivores, which means they eat just about anything. Aquatic insects are the most important item in their diet, but they also eat a variety of animal and plant material. Worms, dough balls and corn seem to catch the most carp.

How to Fish for Carp

Using corn for bait is effective, clean and inexpensive. I usually bait a site before fishing to attract more fish. Throwing the contents of five to 10 cans of corn in the water about 10 to 20 feet from shore will usually bring in a few carp.

Feed corn is cheaper than canned corn, but you have to soak it in water for a couple of days before using it. Some carp anglers mix oats, sugar, molasses, vanilla, garlic powder or some other "secret" ingredients with the feed corn to attract more fish.

You can increase your odds of catching more fish by throwing out more bait and prebaiting the site before fishing. Carp generally find

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