18 Carp Fishing Tips for Beginners: How to Catch Carp


If you want to try an exciting type of angling then you will want to give carp fishing a try. These carp fishing tips are designed to help you catch your first carp and to give you a better understanding of carp behavior and habitats.

Carps have a history of being Europe’s premier freshwater game fish and can grow to huge sizes. They are also becoming a much more popular fishing species to target in North America.

Trophy fish can grow well in excess of 50 pounds and even smaller fish put up a hell of a fight.

Types of Carp in North America

There are a variety of carp species available for angling in North America including:

  • Common Carp
  • Bighead Carp
  • Silver Carp
  • Grass Carp
  • White Amur

The common carp varies significantly in terms of color and scale formation and can often be mistaken for a completely different species. These variations have given way to local names such as the decorative, colorful Koi and the mirror carp.

Carp Fishing Tips

Carp Fishing Tips

Please have a read through the carp fishing tips below. Hopefully you will learn something new about carp behavior and some interesting angling techniques to try. If you have any other tips then please leave a comment at the end of the article.

  • Carp are often found hiding in the deeper water near drop offs or shelves
  • Fall is the best time of year to catch carp in North America
  • Big carp can often be caught just before winter as the fish are feeding heavily and are more reckless in their feeding patterns
  • Look for carp breaching the surface to identify their position and then fish in that area
  • Carp can grow to huge sizes – so make sure you have heavy enough gear to handle this
  • The most popular carp baits include doughbaits, softbaits, dips, boilies, and even dog food
  • Boilies are made from fish meal, seaweed, and eggs which are boiled (hence the name)
  • Carp are primarily bottom feeders
  • Some of the common natural foods of the common carp are insects, beetles, grasshoppers, leeches, crawfish, freshwater clams, minnows, and some vegetation
  • Carp are extremely hardy and can live in all kinds of environments. Although the most common is large lakes, slow moving rivers, and reservoirs – they are also found in ditches, canals, and small ponds.
  • Carp is more commonly found in murky, dirty water
  • Carp are easily spooked – a common carp fishing tip is to use a rod holder to make sure there is no tension in your line.
  • If you are going to use a rod holder then you might want to consider an electronic bite alarm. This will let you know if you have a bite even if you are away from your rod.
  • You will want to have one of the largest nets you can find for carp fishing. Big monster carp can be difficult to land.
  • Consider chumming the water to attract large carp to your bait.
  • Be patient and quiet – carp are notorious for nibbling on the bait before taking it fully.
  • Keep an eye open for ducks – carps are famous for living around ducks, particularly if they are being fed by humans
  • Canned sweet corn is a popular bait (even more so than corn off the cob)

Carp Fishing Tips Video

The video below gives some carp fishing tips and techniques that you may find interesting:


If you are looking for more information or carp fishing tips then please read through some of the information the International Game Fishing Association provides.

Carp fishing is one of the fastest growing angling species in North America. They provide a great combination of power and excitement to catch, as well as living in beautiful habitats that are great to spend time in nature.

We have put together a list of some interesting and innovative carp fishing tips, but there are still plenty of information available elsewhere. If you have any tips or advice of your own, then please leave a comment below so more anglers can learn from your experience.

If you want to catch more than just carp, then have a read through our guide for other fish species and how to catch them.

Happy fishing!

Photo of author

Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.