Carp Fishing 101

Carp fishing has a strange reputation. Some anglers wouldn’t be caught dead pursuing a fish they consider undesirable and ugly, while other anglers love catching these fish for both the sport and the table fare. They are considered both an invasive species and a top sport fish, but they are starting to become more and more popular among American anglers.

If you love to fish, you should at least give carp a try. With a tremendous fight and lots of energy, carp might give you the most memorable fishing experience you have all year!


There are many different types of carp, including the grass carp, which is popular for keeping down vegetation in ponds, and the silver carp, the despised and highly invasive species known for leaping out of the water. For this article, however, we will be primarily talking about the common carp, a more popular, yet still technically invasive, species that is known for its fight, as well as its table fare.

The common carp is an omnivore, meaning it eats both plants and animals. It’s a scavenger and bottom-feeder, so any meat it consumes is usually small fish, often dead or injured. They have been known to eat insects, worms, crayfish, and other species, but they will eat just about any morsel that comes their way.


Carp can become fairly large, often weighing well over 40 pounds, so most of the time, you’ll want to start with a strong rod and heavy line. If you have a catfish pole, that would make an excellent tool for catching carp.

When you have the right rod and reel, you’ll want to select the right bait. Because carp are bottom-feeders, you won’t have much luck with artificial lures. You can find a wide variety of manufactured baits, but many carp anglers will choose items straight from the grocery store. One of the most popular carp baits are sweetcorn kernels. Some anglers have been known to use cherry tomatoes, bread, and dough balls as bait.

Common carp are generally found in still and shallow water, especially backwater areas of rivers where they can sift through the soft mud to find food. You can cast from bridges, anchored boats, or from the shore, but you’ll need a little patience for the carp to come circling in your direction.


One of the most popular ways to catch carp in the US is through bowfishing. This exciting and challenging technique gives you a new way to a think about fishing, and can be one of the best ways to spend a day on the water. Bowfishing is gaining popularity in America, and the carp is the primary target for aquatic archers. This sport has been one of the favorite activities for baseball legend Bo Jackson for years, and continues to gain ground as an entertaining way to catch fish.

There are specially made bows for carp fishing, but if you are a bow hunter, you can modify your existing rig to pull in carp. There are reels that look like a traditional fishing reel, but instead of mounting to a rod, they mount to your bow, making your hunting equipment a new tool for fishing.

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