Float fishing for specimen carp

Using a float rig is tough when trying to catch specimen carp however that does not mean that its impossible. Despite being mostly used by match anglers, float fishing can be modified to target specimen fish by using the correct equipment as well as having the right technique.

In this article, we will go through some of the ways in which you optimize your chances of landing big fish on a float. 


When float fishing you have to first plumb the depth of the water in your swim to be able to adjust the float into the correct position, however, this is a drawback of using a float as you will not be able to have your rod fishing further out in the lake.

Big carp can still be caught closer in if the swim has become a feeding area for the carp. This is simple to do and can be a very effective technique, especially in the summer, this is because during warmer periods, the carp circle the perimeter of the lake, where the water is the warmest, looking for their natural food.

You have to your eyes peeled when choosing a swim and stay very quiet. Specimen carp have usually being caught multiple times and are very aware of anglers which is why they are so easily spooked.

To help pinpoint some of those fish, polarised sunglasses help substantially. These glasses are what we use for all our carp fishing and they’ve helped get so many bites in close quarters.

Fox Polarised sunglasses  (Check current price on Amazon)

Once you have chosen a swim where you can see signs of carp try to bring the swim to life before casting your float rig in the water. The key thing to understand when trying to bring fish into your swim is the attraction, the more pungent your bait the quicker the smell travels to around the water enticing the fish. A great way to do this without paying for specifically designed products is to add spices into your bait. 


An important concept to understand when trying to float fish for carp is that the equipment you use will determine whether you are successful.

If you are looking to catch some big carp on a float then using a standard commercial fishing rod will probably end up getting snapped. The vast majority of float fishing rods are built for small fish (under 5lbs), so you can’t just use commercial tackle when targeting specimen fish. This is why we recommend using the Korum Carp Float rod for any big carp float fishing, Its beefy enough to take the strain of tough carp but still has a fantastic playing action due to the K-flex carbon.

Korum Carp Float Rods  (Check current price on Amazon)

Another very important bit of tackle is the hooks you use, we recommend using either a size 8 or 10 hooks for float fishing, good quality hooks are well worth investing which is why we use Korda wide-gape size 10’s (click to check current price on Amazon). If you use cheap hooks, don’t be surprised if you lose fish when using the float, this is because you have set the hook when float fishing, which is why the sharp end is so crucial

Any old carp reel will do the job float fishing, as long as it is relatively lightweight as you’ll be holding it for long periods of time. We use a small MAP ACS 4000 FS reel for the majority of our float fishing but a freespool function really isn’t necessary when float fishing.


​Unlike a lot of carp rigs, the float rig doesn’t have to be complicated, just take what you traditionally use on commercial fisheries and bump up a level. The video below shows the rig we commonly use for our float fishing, but the basic principle is to beef everything up, we use bigger size 10 hooks and thicker, stronger line and everything else pretty much remains the same.


When trying to fish for carp using a float there are many tips and tricks which you can implement into your fishing to increase your chances of a bite. We consistently baiting up near your float rig every 10-15 minutes with small handfuls of bait.

The reason why this is effective is because it means that the fish stay in your swim for longer as when they finish eating bait more is given to them, this causes a continuous flow feeding within your swim. You want to add a little at a time, just enough so that the fish remain interested but not enough to get them full.

Another tip when using afloat is to minimize the number of times you bring your rig out, this will allow for fish to get more comfortable in the swim which is key especially when trying to hook the bigger carp.

The next obvious but crucial tip to catch the bigger carp is to have a large hook bait thus reducing your chances of hooking nuisance fish such as bream and a final tip is to be extra patient you may not have as many take-ups when using a bigger hook bait, don’t let this make you think there is something wrong with your rig, specimen fish bites won’t come anywhere near as quick as small carp and f1’s

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