Beginner Carping

Tips and advice for Beginners


Welcome to the CAG Carp Baics section.


The trick is finding fish that can be caught readily. Of course, you don't have to start out with 20 pound fish. An 8 pound carp puts up a good fight, especially on light line, and is probably the largest fish caught by the majority of anglers.

The best places to start are small public waters such as the Forest Preserve Lake system in Chicago. This type of venue is easy to scout and the fish usually have nowhere to hide. In addition, if the water is over 10 years old, fish will have reached a good size. Public water always has carp because carp minnows are favorite bait.

Carp are often found on the margins of a small lake or pond because that's where the food tends to be. In public water where citizens feed the ducks, the carp are right under the food supply. Because there are few anglers interested in carp, these fish will be caught readily on bread flake or dough balls.

Another good tactic is to fish with the wind in your face. Eventually carp will migrate to the windward side of a pond because the waves cause the grubs and other protein sources to be more available.

Rivers, such as the Connecticut, the Potomac, the Red River in Canada, and the St. Lawrence Seaway, are prime producers of very large carp. CAG members report 30 pound fish on a regular basis on these rivers. Rivers are more difficult to fish, so you might want to bring a guide or an established carp angler with you.

Check out the CAG Forum for contacts on where you can find carp in your area.

In this section you will find tips, tricks and advice given by Carp Anglers. These articles vary from the most basic methods to more advanced techniques.

We cover all from Fly Fishing for carp, Wild waters carping to “Paylaking”. You'll see what the differences are in the way the anglers approach their favorite way of carp fishing.

For each topic you’ll get 100 different opinions on “how” or “why” to do things, all of them are correct since they work for that angler.

We’ve just selected a couple articles pointing out the basics, a point we all started at some time in our life.

We also have a growing library of tutorial videos from CAG members showing how to make, create, modify or apply the different tackle, baits and gismo’s the carp angler use.

The CAG Forum contains a wealth of information with 500 000 + posts on carping.

When done browsing the basics on these pages, jump on the CAG Forum and see the rest of the story.


First question most new "Catch & Release" carpers ask is "What's the basics I'll need to start?". That question will give many different opinions, so the following is what we consider "The Basics".

There are a couple questions you must ask yourself before you take on carp fishing.

“Do I want to just fish for carp?”

“Do I want to become a Specimen Angler?”

“Do I want to fish Euro Style or Paylake?”

“What is my budget?”

Each one of those question will take you in a slightly different direction.

>>>More articles can be found here<<<


 You can use pretty much ANY fishing rod to catch carp. Nothing like fighting a low teen carp on light tackle!!

With that said, special carp rods give the whole fight a completely different “feel”. They are designed to handle the bigger fish with a 12 second 100m dash.

They are very forgiving and assist in landing a carp, especially when fishing alone. The common length for a carp rod is 12 ft., in two 6 ft. segments.


Prices vary from $29.95 for a “12’ Carp Rod” up to $500+.

They say when a “good” blank is used to make a carp rod, the price will be around $150 / rod.

I’ve got some $80 rods that I’ve been using for 4 years, and I got them 2nd hand and they still work great. I’ve also got a couple pairs of $200 rods. Unless you’re a “pro” you will never be able to tell the real differences between my $80 rod and my $200 rod, they both look and feel like fishing rods. If you take good care of your kit, it will take care of you. If you try and cast 6oz a 100yrds with a $50 1.75TC rod, you WILL break it.

Test Curve (TC)

TC can range from 1.5 lbs t0 3.5 in increments of .25.

The “All Rounder” mostly recommended for most waters is 2.75.

Just like your bass rods are rated “light, Medium or heavy”, carp rods are rated by TC. Test curve has been used carp rods since the 1950's.

Test curve tell us about a rod’s power and action, the weight in lb.’s and oz. needed to pull the tip 90 degrees to the butt. Test curve is a flawed measurement, but the best we can do.(Hardy’s & Dick Walkers did not agree on TC, but that’s another discussion on its own)

See this Shimano video on TC  :

See vendors below for Carp Rods






Watch this spot for Bait advice



The most common reel used by carpers is the “Baitrunner”, used by carp specimen anglers. It’s an open faced reel with a rear drag system that has a lever at the back. Lever in the back switch from “Running” drag to “Play / Fighting drag”. The baitrunner allow line to be pulled from the reel by the fish, thus the name “Baitrunner”. When the angler flips the switch (or start reeling) normal drag is activated.


Some reels make use of a “Quick Drag” system. This system does not have a rear drag system or a switch to flip. Front drag only, which can be switched from normal to free with just a small turn of the front drag knob.


Reel prices vary from $30 up to $600+ per reel. Price for the most common reels used $150 - $250 per reel. Just like the rods, I have $60 reels and $200 reels. Both still working great. If you can I suggest saving up for the $150 range reels, it’s worth it. In the meantime see if you can get some 2nd hand reels cheap until you can buy new reels. 90% of new carpers start out on 2nd hand gear.

See vendors below for reels





Rod Pods, Tripods & Banksticks


Now that you’ve got your rod and reel, it’s time to find something to rest your rods on while waiting for that bite.

Bank sticks and rod pods are used by all carpers. If you have soft enough bank, bank sticks are perfect, but on concrete and rocky banks the rod pod is a wonderful thing. Most carpers have a combination of both and use what they bank of the day dictates.

 With 99% of rod pods, you can use the legs as banks sticks when not using the pod. Same goes for your bank sticks, they can be exchanged to make your pod higher or lower.

 Bank sticks come in a variety of lengths. Most have a combination to suit almost every condition possible.

 You also get “tri-pod” bank sticks that excepts your rod rests, alarms and / or Buzz bars.

 Bank Sticks can vary from $6 to $50 depending on material and length.


 Rod pods start from $40 up to $1000+, yes!! They get REAL tarty.

rodpod1.gif              rodpod2.jpg

 Tripods vary from $15 - $100, based on material you choose.


Buzz Bars, Rod Rests & Bite Alarms

In Process ............................