Carp Fishing Gear: Everything You Need To Know

June 24, 2020

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Carp live on almost every continent in the world and are a great fish to start fishing for. They grow to large sizes but don’t require sophisticated fishing gear to go after. You can also fish for them effectively without the use of a boat. So what’s the best carp fishing gear? And what all do you need to start carp fishing? Don’t worry, you have come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll cover all the carp fishing gear you need to get started and recommend the best carp fishing gear from our experience. Below you can find our favorite carp fishing rod, reel, hooks, and bait. If you don’t know where to start when getting ready to go carp fishing, buying the items in this article would be a great place to start. Let’s dive in!

Best Carp Fishing Rod: Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Rod

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Rod might seem like overkill until you realize that carp can grow to over 80 lbs as mature adults! The average size is often over 20 lbs, and you want to be extra prepared if you hook into a monster carp. The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Rod is built for battling tough predatory fish and will be up to the challenge no matter what size carp you throw at it.

Best Carp Fishing Reel: Penn Battle II Spinning Reel

The Penn Battle II Spinning Reel has won many of our other fishing comparison reviews, and it’s your best bet for carp fishing as well. The larger sizes work excellently when paired with the Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Rod and come with the added protection of being saltwater proof. We love the Penn Battle II Spinning Reel for its versatility and durability under many different circumstances. If you decided to fish for another species besides carp, the Penn Battle II Spinning Reel will most likely be a great choice.

Best Carp Fishing Line: RUNCL Braided Fishing Line

RUNCL’s Braided Fishing Line is our choice for the best carp fishing line. We chose a braided line because it has increased strength and sensitivity over monofilament, and carp often aren’t able to see it underwater. Braided line’s extra sensitivity is extremely useful when trying to feel a tentative carp bite your bait. The extra strength also help when battling a large fish that may try and run for underwater cover once hooked. If you aren’t sure which line to get for carp fishing, get the RUNCL Braided Fishing Line.

Best Carp Fishing Hooks: Mustad UltraPoint Demon Circle Hooks

The Mustad UltraPoint Demon Circle Hooks are perfect for almost every type of bait presentation, and carp fishing is no different. Their circle hook design has the most hookups we’ve seen when fishing for carp and doesn’t allow carp to notice they’ve bitten a hook until it’s too late. When it comes to the best carp fishing gear hooks, the Mustad UltraPoint Demon Circle Hooks win with little competition.

Best Carp Fishing Bait: Tiger Nuts

We wrote an entire article about our favorite carp baits and how to present them, but if you’re wanting to buy a time-tested online option Tiger Nuts are your best bet. Tiger Nuts have the perfect consistency to ensure they stay securely on your circle hook and prove irresistible to a hungry carp. We recommend getting the red or orange tiger nuts to add to your carp fishing gear collection and seeing which works best.

What are Carp?

Now that you know what carp fishing gear you should get, let’s go over what type of fish carp are. In most cases, you’ll be fishing for what’s known as the common carp. Common carp originated from Europe and Asia but has been introduced to rivers and lakes around the world. They are the third most introduced fish species worldwide and have been fished by civilizations dating back to the Romans.

Common carp are grey/brown in color and grow to 10 or 15 lbs. They can grow much larger, however, if given the time, space, and food. There have been several reported caught carp that weighed over 100 lbs. Common carp are also easily recognizable by their large scales that cover their bodies. Carp can live in most freshwater living conditions and they prefer large bodies of slow-moving water. Estuaries and large rivers are their favorite habitats. Carp are also a schooling fish and can handle some salinity in the water they live in.

If you didn’t know already, carp are omnivorous which means they eat both underwater plants and small fish/crustaceans. They are also notorious scavengers and will eat the leftovers that other species won’t touch. This explains why they can grow to such large sizes if given the time.

Carp Fishing Tips

Even if you have the best carp fishing gear, you can lose fish if you aren’t presenting your bait correctly. Here are some general tips when fishing for carp that will help improve your carp fishing success.

  • Start by locating the carp. We like to start in the northeast corner of the lake or body of water were fishing. This area tends to get the most sun which attracts natural food carp like to eat. Other areas to focus on are where the water goes from shallow to deep quickly and around underwater cover. Carp like to hide around and in weeds, rocks, and logs.
  • Keep your carp fishing gear in good shape. After using your carp fishing gear, be sure to clean it off and store it in a dry place. Regularly use a reel and line conditioner to keep your reel lubricated, and don’t forget to sharpen your hooks if you have used them before.
  • Try out various sizes of carp bait. If one size of Tiger Nut or boilie isn’t working, try switching to a smaller size that still fits on your hook. Often times this can be the difference between getting skunked and coming home with a fish.
  • Don’t be afraid to cast far. The further away from shore your bait is, the less likely carp will get scared by errant noises and movement. If you bought the Ugly Stik, you shouldn’t have trouble flinging your carp bait far from shore.
  • Fish with a tighter drag. Once a carp takes your bait, it is crucial to set the hook and prevent it from coming off the line. Using a tighter drag will help ensure a solid hook up and help you fight the carp’s first run.


Having the appropriate carp fishing gear is important when first learning the fish for carp. They’re one of the easiest fish to catch, but can grow to large sizes and overpower the wrong kind of fishing gear. We hope after reading this guide, you now know which carp fishing gear you should get before your next fishing adventure. If you have a favorite carp fishing setup that works wonders, let us know about it in the comments below.

Happy Hunting!

P.S. ever been curious what’s on the bottom with the carp? Try your hand at magnet fishing to see!

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