Carp have become a sought after species in many parts of the country. That’s mainly because they’re challenging and fun to catch.
Today, we will be talking about the best tackle for carp. At the end, you’ll know what line, rod, and hook to use to catch more carp. We’ll also introduce our new favorite carp rig – the hair rig!
What are carp?
Carp are large sucker fish that are bottomfeeders. Although this does not sound glamorous, carp fishing is on the upswing in terms of popularity. There are a number of carp subspecies, but the common carp is the most fished in many places.
They usually have a thick slime coat, large scales, and thick tales. These factors all come together to provide an incredibly strong build.
Carp are usually found in grassy areas and eat bread, corn, and other food sources found on the bottom. Carp fishing is not usually active like it would be with bass or other species. The fishing is more passive as the capr circle around and pick up food from the bottom.
The Best Carp Tackle
Using the right tackle will give you an advantage when targeting carp. We’ll start with the best rod, then cover the best line and hook for carp fishing.
Best Rod for Carp
Every style of fishing has rods that best suit the species you’re targeting. For carp fishing, there is no exception. There is a specific area of the market that caters to carp fishing.
Generally, a spinning rod is best for catching carp. Large, beefed up spinning rods are great for getting the job done. Carp pull really hard, so be sure to choose a rod that is specifically made for carp (or similar species).
The length of the carp rod is important so you can handle the power being exuded by the fish. I prefer longer rods for carp and have found that rods in the 12ft – 13 ft range work best.
Our favorite Carp rod:
Line is super important because it needs to be strong, light enough, and transparent enough to trick an unsuspecting carp to take a bite.
Here are the three types of fishing line on the market and how they play with carp fishing!
Monofilament is probably the most common fishing line out there. This is because it is affordable, easy to find, and clear. Overall, this is a high quality line that can be found anywhere. The key to using mono is finding the right strength.
Although mono is the most simple, there are cheap and nice options on the market. This plays into both the brand and the weight rating. For mono, 10-15 pounds works best. This keeps you in a good position weight wise while also keeping the line diameter fairly thin.
In our opinion, monofilament is the best type of line for carp fishing. And our go-to brand has always been Stren. Check out their 12lb mono in low-vis green.
Other line options
Flourocarbon is the other clear line on the market. This is monofilament’s more expensive cousin as it is slightly clearer and tends to have a good livelihood. Unfortunately, fluoro is best for reels that have constant casting, which is not what usually happens with carp fishing. So, it may end up being more of a hassle than a help.
Braid is by far the strongest and most expensive of the three. I like to use braid that is 20-40 pounds. Although this might seem like a lot, braid’s line diameter is smaller than either of the other two options even at a higher weight.
The key to using braid is to also use a leader. Leaders are generally strips of mono or fluoro that connect the braid to the hook. This is so the area where the carp will be biting will be clear enough to trick the fish into striking.
The style of carp hook can be described as an elongated circle hook. This ensures that when the carp bites down, the hook will enter and not release easily.
In terms of size, you want to downsize a bit and keep your options open for any carp swimming by. Too big will scare off smaller carp. You want the size of the hook to directly match your bait. If you are throwing pieces of corn, you will need a smaller presentation. If you are beefing it up, you can move that carp size up as well.
The best hook for catching carp is a size 4 or 6 circle hook. You can also go with a smaller size 8 hook.
What are hair rigs?
A hair rig is a popular rig for catching carp and other species, like catfish. A hair rig presents the bait on a ‘hair’ that extends from the hook, instead of on the hook itself. You may be wondering, what sense does that make?
Hair rigs work because of the fact that carp will often suck bait into their mouth and taste it before swallowing. And often they will spit the bait out if they don’t like it. With he hair rig, the carp will still get hooked (most of the time) even if they spit the bait out.
All we know for sure if that some serious fisherman did a ton of experimenting with this rig back in the 80’s. And we’re thankful because the hair rig has become our favorite rig for catching carp. You should definitely try it out if you haven’t already!
Make sure to check out our guide on how to master the hair rig.
Pro Tip: You can pretty easily make your own hair rigs. We linked a good how-to video below. But they’re also available to buy and are very affordable.
Here’s a great hair rig variety pack that includes hooks from size 2 to size 8. Perfect for catching carp!
Or of you decide to go the DIY route, here’s super helpful video on how to tie a hair rig:
Carp fishing is growing in popularity and having the best tackle for carp is the first step. Once you have your gear dialed, you can start building your knowledge base and catching carp!
Good luck and happy carp fishing!
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Hello! My name is Tim and I’ve been fishing for over 30 years. I’ve learned a lot about fishing during that time and I love sharing that knowledge with others. I’m also a member of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA). Thanks for checking out the site!