How to Fish for Carp: 7 Essential Tips to Improve Your Carp Rigs

When you are fishing for carp, there are dozens of carp rig designs to choose from and each carp angler will have their favourite. Whatever type of rig you prefer, here are some key tips to improve them and help you get on the big carp.

1. Use double carp baits

A rig based on double carp baits is harder to eject because it makes the bait and hook combination longer. It is also more attractive to the fish because it releases twice as much smell into the water. The extra weight of two baits also help the rig turn over and land better when cast without PVA bags or stringers.

2. Sharpen your hooks

Sharpening your hooks makes a huge difference! Since adopting this method a couple of years ago, my hook to land ratio has gone from 80% to 95%. It is also vital to re-check the hook before every cast (you’ve only got to hit a stone on retrieving the line and the hook point is gone). Hook sharpening will also save you money, as you won’t necessarily need a new rig each time you re-cast.

3. Use thick line

Personally, a 25lb line is the minimum I would use anywhere to fish for carp. The increased thickness of the braid helps prevent mouth damage, improves abrasion resistance and it sinks better.

4. Learn to land the rig

If your current casting technique simply involves firing a lead into the fishing lake, then this tip is definitely for you. If you cast out and don’t trap the line to land the lead on the water or hit the clip just before the lead hits the water, there is a chance that the rig is tangled (a supple braided rig will end up in a real mess on the bottom). Coated braids are more forgiving and were developed to help prevent such problems but relying on them in all situations is risky. The problem is what happens on the bottom of the lake. A coated braid will never sit as well as a supple rig and will therefore be easier for the carp to detect. Correctly cast supple braided rigs, pinned down with a little putty will land and sit nicely over virtually anything and reset perfectly if they are picked up and dropped by a carp.

5. Minimise rig components

Everything you add to your carp rig is potentially another source of a tangle or failure so make sure you keep your rig components to a minimum. Personally, I have no intention of changing rigs during a session unless a hook or hook link is sufficiently damaged in which case I cut it off and tie on a new one.

6. Make sure the rig is safe

Despite all the great information available on carp rigs, from time to time, carp safety can be compromised by dangerous rigs. The rule is simple: never setup anything that would prevent the lead from separating from the mainline and the hook link in the event of a mainline failure.

7. Test your carp rig

Finally, it is essential to test every aspect that is critical to how the rig functions, for example:

  • Test every knot properly using a leather glove and knot puller
  • Test the buoyancy of the baits in a bucket of water
  • Test rig turnover with baits on using the palm test

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