Hi! Want to get better at carp fishing? Then here are my ultimate carp fishing tips.
I’ve been fishing for over 30 years and carp fishing for over 20 years. In that time I’ve fished many lakes and canals, run a bait company, had a private lake for 6 years and caught a lot of carp. I’ve also filmed and watched hundreds of hours of underwater footage of lake beds, naturals and carp behaviour.
To get better at carping the key for me is to want to try to get better. Constantly learning and improving is the way to catch more carp.
I’m still learning and trying to improve!
Ultimate Carp Fishing Tips!
1 - Learn about the water
Thi is often referred to as water craft too.
The more you know about the water the better prepared you are. I always find that fish move in certain ways on water and follow trends. The more you can locate them and there movements the more chance you have of catching them.
I have notebooks on all the lakes I fish that show the clear spots and where to find the fish. They cover things like where I spot fish in the winter and the way fish move under pressure.
I have found on one lake I fish the carp patrol certain margins almost in order. They seem to swim in a figure of 8 loop around an island and two margins all day long looking for food. Catching there was just a case of getting the bait on a clear spot in the margin and waiting for them to come around at times.
If you get chance to get in the lake you are fishing with your waders for a work party then get right in! Feeling around on the bottom with your feet will give you a good idea of what the spots are like and how clear and hard some spots are. If you can have a lead around where you’re getting in before you do so and then compare what you find with your feet. You will find that some clear spots are a lot harder and more polished than others and this will tell you the better spots to target.
I was once in the lake doings some clearing with a mate who almost fell in when he stepped over a shelf in the lake. It was not in a spot where you’d expect to find one either. It was a place I’d found with a lead that produced a good few bites in the winter months.
Here’s one that came from that very shelf!
“That will do”
No it won’t!
I see this quite regularly from other carpers, cast a rod out and It lands a bit short or a bit left and then it just gets left there. It drives me bonkers. Reel it in and go again!
If you want to improve your catch rates then getting it on the right spot every time is essential. If you don;t already own them grab some distance sticks and start measuring the distance to your clear spots. Make sure you are bang on it, hitting the clip, everytime. Do not settle for “that will do”.
Distance sticks are a game changer for accuracy if you’re not already using them –
3 - Washed out baits
The first bait tip of the guide!
If you are looking for an edge in your fishing then washing out your boilies is next level.
Rather than fishing with standard boilies taking some time to prepare them gives you an edge of other carpers.
By preparing your boilies in water you give the appearance of bait that’s been in the water longer and this can leave the carp less wary of them. I find this is an under used tactic by most.
To fish them another edge is to fish them right under a peg, the next one along depending on how far and where your fishing. Drop 4-8 in the margin straight off the peg and then put a washed out hook bait in amongst them. People are always dropping bits of bait in around their feet. The carp will come round to these spots at times and pick up the freebies on offer. At times it seems the near margins are not as fashionable as trying to cast past the horizon to catch 😂
4 - Try pre Baiting
Done correctly pre baiting can be a deadly tactic on most none commercial waters.
Head to the lake on a regular basis and keep feeding the same areas. This will get the fish feeding on those spots ready for you to fish them. The key to success is the consistency of delivery. Same bait, same spots, same time produces the best results in my experience.
5 - Sit on your hands!
Arrive – spod -cast – spod- cast – spod – cast – repeat for 48 hours!
This is more a tip for when the lake is busy. On commercial waters, spodding is important, but not as important as you may think. The desire to splash around and put a lot of bait out takes over common sense.
A technique know as resting the swim can reap dividends later in your session. This means arriving at a lake and not casting out and spodding immediaty. Keep your area of the lake quiet and while everyone else is spodding you can draw the carp into the relative quiet of your swim.
Here’s a video from my YouTube channel by @backonthebank resting the swim to great results at Farlows lake.
There is an alternative tactic to this which is to rest an area of the swim. I usually do this with a near side margin spot that I can just drop some freebies in and see if I can get them feeding. By doing this you can get them to feed with more confidence before dropping a rig in.
This is something I’ve recently been doing to great effect. Dropping bait in a couple of margin spots to get them feeding and then dropping my rigs in after an hour or so. This usually gets a quick bite (within 15 minutes) if the carp are on the spot. If not I’ll move on to other spots before checkinging back later.
I’ve written a full guide to resting the swim –
Latest Carp Fishing Tips
Here are the most recent posts from my tips blogs. These cover subjects in more depth and have seasonal tips too.