Rods setup for catching carp

The carp fishing tips for beginners that you’ll find in this post are going to help ensure you have a successful time on the water. Fishing can be one of the most relaxing and rewarding hobbies out there, but it’s important to know what you’re doing before you head out onto the lake or river. We’ve compiled some great carp fishing tips below that will get you started off on the right foot.

Carp fishing is a popular sport in the UK, and it’s not too difficult to find carp near your home. With all of the lakes, rivers, and ponds around, you can’t go wrong with finding good fishing spots. Before anything else finding a venue with carp in it is definitely the first step into getting one on the bank. Let’s start off by looking at what tackle we will need for catching carp.

The Right Tackle for Carp Fishing ( Carp Fishing Tips)

Carp Rods

Though you don’t have to have 2 rods for carp fishing, it certainly does put the odds of catching a carp more in your favour. A good few carp anglers have a 3-rod setup, but it’s a bit too much to cope with if you are just starting out. So I would just stick with 2 rods for now.

For an average type of rod, you will probably be looking at a 12 ft rod with a 2.5 to 3.5 test curve. If you are fishing big waters such as large lakes, big gravel pits, and reservoirs then you will probably want to get a rod nearer the 3.5 test curve. This will allow you to use bigger leads and get better casting ability. Ensuring you can get it out as far as you need to.

If you are fishing smaller venues such as small lakes, commercial fisheries, canals, and rivers, then a 2.5 test curve rod will suffice.

Nearly all the top makers of tackle make good rods for catching carp nowadays so it is really down to personal preference and budget. It is always worth going to your local tackle dealer and having a feel of the rods and a chat with the dealer. They are always more than happy to help people who are starting out fishing.

Carp Reels

When it comes to reels I certainly wouldn’t go too cheap. With reels you really do get what you pay for in my eyes. When fighting a big carp there is a lot of strain that goes on your reels. You don’t want to be losing your PB (personal best) to a cheap crappy reel.

Brands such as Shimano, Daiwa, Fox, and Nash make some good reels that will suit almost all budgets.

Size-wise you will want a reel that is big enough for the job at hand. It needs to handle big fish (hopefully) and cast a good distance. So you will need a reel with a spool big enough to hold a few hundred yards of line. For this reason, reels ranging in size between 6000 and 10000 should do the job. Again as with the rods, match the size of the reel to the size of the venue you are planning on fishing.

There will be two types of reel you will be looking at. A free spool type and a big pit type. The free spool reels will have a baitrunner on them which will let the fish take the line. Just be sure to set it up right, not to loose and not too tight. You could find yourself in a big tangle or worse have your rod pulled in. The big pit reels have a large oversized spool designed to take plenty of line and the drag is at the front of the reel.

The Right Braid/ Line for Carp

As a general guide, I would use a mono line of around 15lb breaking strain, depending on the venue and if it is prone to snags. your average commercial carp ponds are usually snag-free so you could go a bit lighter to 10lb or 12lb line. 

If you are just starting out I would steer clear of braid for now. Braid is a lot harder to use due to its fineness. It is more prone to tangles and the fact it doesn’t have any stretch in it will make it harder to use for a beginner. Be sure not to scrimp online, buy a decent brand such as Daiwa, Korda, or Fox.

Bite Alarms

Bite alarms have come a long way over the years. I remember a time when if you wanted a decent bite alarm you got a Fox Micron. I still have a set of these from 25 years ago and they still work as good as the day I got them. Nowadays there are sooooo many more to choose from. If your budget allows you, you can literally spend hundreds and hundreds on bite alarms. 

Personally, I have never seen the need to go right at the top end. But saying that you don’t really want to get some proper cheap rubbish that will pack up as soon as they are out in all weathers. There are some really good bite alarms around that aren’t going to break the bank. Some sets even come with remote controls and receiver boxes so you can hear your rods screaming off from the comfort of a bivvy. Some of the best bite alarms today are manufactured by companies such as Sonik, Fox, Nash, and Delkim.

Landing Net

A landing net is a must whilst fishing for carp. You don’t want to be struggling to get a carp in your net after all the hard work of getting it this far. For this reason, make sure your net is at least 40″ in diameter. Almost all carp nets are triangular in size when they get to 40″. Make sure it comes equipped with a good strong sturdy handle attached to it.

This is probably one of my better carp fishing tips. The landing net is always the first thing I set up when I’m setting up my gear. You don’t want the ‘big one’ on then realise you forgot to set it up, not good at all!

Unhooking Mat

If you spend time on social media then you would of definitely heard of an unhooking mat. They seem to be the biggest cause of arguments on fishing groups. There was a time when laying a fish on a good bit of grass would suffice, but it is frowned upon today for some reason. Anyway, if you are likely to want to post any photos of your catch on social media I would suggest getting one. Plus if you are fishing anywhere with no soft grass then they really are worth having with you. Most mats will roll up nicely so they are easy to carry to your swim and really don’t cost that much to buy.

Some people prefer a cradle to an unhooking mat, which literally is a small soft cradle that stops the fish from going anywhere while you sort it out. These are a bit bulkier than your average unhooking mat and generally cost a bit more as well.

Fishing Chair

I see a lot of beginners buying chairs like in the image opposite. These are alright to a certain degree but they are not ideal. The main disadvantage with seats like these is that they don’t have extendable legs.

If you are sitting on a completely flat surface like in the picture then you may get away with it. But as soon as the ground is just slightly uneven then it is near on impossible to sit on, especially if it is a long session.

For around £50 you can get a decent little day chair such as the JRC which will be comfortable, robust, weatherproof, easy to clean, and have extendable legs and armrests.

If you can it is worth sitting in a chair and trying it out before you buy, you will be spending a lot of time sitting in it waiting for the monster carp to come your way.

Other Stuff Needed for Carp Fishing


 If you take up carp fishing seriously then you will almost certainly take up night fishing. These two kinda come hand in hand because generally, carp are more active after dark. If that is the case then you are going to be needing a bed chair. You don’t want to be uncomfortable whilst waiting for the fish to bite. When choosing a bedchair, pick one that has some good padding on it. It is surprising how much you can feel the bed frame come through on your back while lying on it. Also preferably go for one that has six legs rather than four. These extra legs make it a lot more robust and stable.


A bivvy is basically a kind of tent designed for fishermen/women. One of these is a must if you start going night fishing. You can get these generally in two sizes, a one-man bivvy, and a two-man bivvy. The only difference is really the size. I like to have a two-man bivvy so I have lots of space for all my stuff. Nash does some well-priced bivvys that are built to last and would be well worth a look.


You really don’t want to be catching your biggest carp of all time and have no way of weighing it. Like with most fishing tackle nowadays there are so many makes and models to choose from. For me and many other fishermen, I know you cannot beat Reuben Heaton scales. They are strong and reliable and serve you for many years. 

There are basically two types of scales, the dial type, and the digital type. I personally don’t really like going digital because they are battery operated and it is just something else that can go wrong whilst out on a session.

End Tackle

End tackle basically refers to anything that is attached to the end of your line. You are going to need leads, hooks, rigs and bits and bobs. I will go into more detail about end tackle in a separate post. Your local dealer will be more than happy to advise you on this type of thing. Click on the link if you want to know what bait you need for carp fishing.

To Conclude

I’ve started my carp fishing tips by covering the basic fishing gear you will need to catch them. Carp fishing can be very rewarding, if you put in the effort you really can get so much out of it. It can be a really good way of having a good social catch-up with your fishing chums as well.

If you’re not careful it can get a bit expensive buying all the latest gear that keeps getting released on a regular basis. To start off with try not to buy all the latest gear, carp fishing might not be for you. A good place to start would be to buy some good gear second-hand, that way if it isn’t for you, you will probably get back what you paid for your tackle if you sell it on. Anyway, I hope this article helps and I wish you luck on the bank, above all else, enjoy!!

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