How to Catch Big Carp: A Comprehensive Carp Fishing Guide



How to Catch Big Carp

Carp fishing is a beloved pastime loved by millions, blending patience, skill, and a deep connection with nature. This fishing guide aims to share my 20 years of experience, offering tested tactics to help you learn how to catch big carp, the illusive specimens.

How to catch Big Carp – Tips and Tactics

Learning how to catch big carp isn’t vastly different from catching smaller ones. The crucial step is to identify a spot the elusive larger carp species will be. Understanding the habitat, including water depth, temperature, and observations of potential big fish territories.

Some good areas large carp tend to be are places that offer shelter. Including regions with overhanging trees, dense weed growth, lily pads, also shallow water like the margins.

River Carp
Big River Common Carp

Rivers and large lakes, despite their challenges, offer spacious environments for big carp, making them prime locations. Night fishing is also a viable strategy too, as bigger fish are more active and less cautious at night.

You can attract the bigger fish with strong-smelling baits like scented boilies, and using bigger baits, like 20mm boilies, would work best. Moreover, investing in high-quality fishing gear is also crucial for landing larger fish. Your kit should include a sturdy rod, a reel with ample line capacity, robust line, and a size 4 with a resilient hook link.

Lastly, for catching bigger carp you need to be patience as these fish are cautious and harder to catch. So be ready for long waits, as patience could reward you with the catch of a lifetime.

Understanding the Characteristics of Big Carp

The big carp species, weighing 50 pounds or more, are renowned for their hardy fight. They are opportunistic feeders, eating everything from aquatic plants to small creatures. Like all carp, big carp thrive in various places. From weedy corners to bustling water bodies, islands, margins, and snaggy areas.

Carp Fishing Lake

Using a variety of bait can increase your chances of a catch. It is also essential to remember that different carp have different preferences. Thus, it is crucial to bring and use various bait options to find one that works best.

Some popular big carp bait options include sweet corn, boilies, pellets, and tiger nuts. But do not be afraid to try something new. I have had great success in the past with using fruit-flavoured baits, dog biscuits, and even cat food has also done well.

When selecting your bait, consider factors such as weather conditions. In colder temperatures, carp tend to be less active and may prefer smaller baits such as corn, or nuts. On warmer days, carp are feed more aggressively, so using bigger baits may work.

Choose the Right Bait for Big Carp

Choosing the right bait for catching bigger carp is crucial. Larger boilies are a popular choice due to their size and high nutritional value. In this section, we’ll discuss why using a specific bait can increase your chances of catching a bigger fish.

Consider Using a PVA Bag Approach

An effective technique when fishing for big carp is using a PVA bag presentation method. This involves placing your bait inside a small PVA bag and attaching it to your carp rig. As the PVA melts, it releases your bait, creating an attractive and compact presentation around the hook.

When presenting your bait, make sure it is positioned in an area where big carp are likely to be. Look for areas with underwater features such as weed beds, drop-offs, or gravel patches. These are all prime locations where big carp like to feed.

Helpful Content: Want To Catch Big Carp? This carp fishing lake in Somerset holds carp over 50lb’s, the Festival Carp Fishery is a top-notch location.

Fruity Boilies: Good Choice To Catch Larger Carp

Boilies are a popular carp bait that comes in various sizes and flavours. Boilies have high nutritional value, which is ideal for targeting bigger fish like 60-lb’ders. However, boilies are expensive, but you can use them sparingly, like crushing the boilies up to help chum the swim or casting out in a spod mix with other baits and particles.

To lure in the larger carp, use 20mm boilies because they will put off the smaller carp from taking your bait. You can also add booster flavours to improve the scent. Try tactics like the snowman rig. With two 20mm boilies at the bottom and a small pop-up or imitation bait at the top. Or try a simple double boilie presentation.

Carp Boilies and Booster Flavours
Popular Carp Boilies and Booster Flavours

Experiment With Different Types Of Boilies

While boilies are a popular choice for catching bigger carp, it’s important to experiment with different types, sizes, and flavours to determine which ones work best. Some carp may prefer certain flavours like pineapple, garlic, or even strawberry flavour boilies.

By trying out different boilies, you may find something that the carp in the venue have not seem before, and may prefer. Trial and error is the key when carp fishing for beginners.

Using Specific Baits Can Increase Your Chances

Using a specific baits can increase your chances of catching a bigger fish. For example, if you’re targeting big carp, using boilies will attract them more than bread or smaller baits.

While bread or maggots are an inexpensive and readily available, they are not be the best choice when targeting bigger carp. Mainly, because smaller baits tend to attract smaller fish like bream and other silver fish species which could reduce your chances of catching the desired larger carp. So, instead, opt for larger baits like boilies, pellets, tiger nuts.

Loose Feed Can Be Used To Attract Carp

The loose feed approach can be used to attract big carp to the area where you plan to fish. But, use a similar type of bait as what you plan to use on your hook. Otherwise, the fish may not be interested in your hook bait. This is not always the case, but it can happen.

Some effective options for spreading loose baits are by employing a spod mix. This is a rocket-shaped device that you can pack with feed and cast around your swim. Catapults can also be effective. However, their use is better suited for single bigger baits, like boilies.

Using the Right Tackle for Catching Bigger Carp

When it comes to landing those elusive bigger carp, using the right tackle is paramount. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve lost several large specimens in the past. Most of the time, I attributed this to not having enough line on the spool or strong line, and relying on old hooks.

In this section, let’s explore some of the fishing tackle requirements to ensure you don’t experience the same setbacks I did.

Carp Fishing Tackle
Carp Fishing Setup With Three Rods

Choosing the Right Rod and Reel

The right equipment is crucial in catching big carp. Ensure you choose a rod and reel combo that can handle the weight and the extra strength of the biggest fish in the lake. A rod with a test curve between 2.75lb to 3.5lb will provide enough power to handle larger fish.

When selecting a reel, look for a fishing reel with a good drag system that can handle the weight of big carp. A bait runner reel is an excellent choice as it allows you to set the line free easier when a fish takes your bait, giving you time to prepare for the fight ahead.

Using Rigs That Can Handle Big Carp

Using rigs that can handle big carp will increase your chances of success. The rig should be strong enough to hold up against the weight and again the extra strength of a large carp.

A simple hair rig would do the job in most situations with a 25lb to 35lb hook link, also use a bigger hook so as not to attempt the smaller carp in the lake to take the bait. A size 4 to 6 hook will help increase your chances of hooking into a bigger fish.

Always Bring an Unhooking Mat

Bringing an unhooking mat is vital part of fishing for big carp this will ensure the fish is well taken care of and can be released safely back into the water. An unhooking mat provides cushioning for the fish while you remove your hook, reducing stress on the carps body.

When handling a big carp, avoid touching their gills or eyes as this can cause serious damage or even death. Instead, wet your hands or gloves when removing hooks and gently place the fish back into the water once you have taken your photos’ and gloated a little.

Patience Is Key When Fishing For Large Carp

Big carp, are older and wiser than smaller carp, and are notably more cautious and thus significantly harder to catch. Even though steps can be taken and with a little bit of luck you can catch carp more quickly but patience is crucial when seeking these elusive larger fish.

The first step is spotting a good carp. Large carp typically prefer solitude or hanging around in smaller groups, so identifying their feeding areas and adjusting your bait accordingly is essential. This task can be time-consuming and requires extensive observation.

It is also worth noting that the time of day can also affect carp’s location. Early morning and late afternoon, or at night are prime feeding times for bigger carp. Once you’ve identified a spot, it’s crucial to consider the swim’s features. Many carp are drawn to areas rich in natural food sources, such as weed beds or snags, so these locations should be noted.

With all that said, catching big carp isn’t merely a matter of luck, it’s a numbers game demanding patience and persistence. You might need to plan several sessions at the venue before finally landing that trophy-worthy fish. But don’t lose heart. With enough perseverance and attention to detail, you can become a master at catching big carp.


Learning how to catch big carp involves confidence, persistence, patience, and an understanding of the these illusive bigger fish’s behaviour. Also, factors such as the appropriate bait, choosing the right location, and tackle selection should all be considered.

It is also crucial to research your fishing venue and understand your target carp type. This information will help guide your bait, tactics, and fishing tackle selection. But do not hesitate to experiment with different techniques and baits to find your winning strategy.

Tight Lines, Happy Fishing!

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