The simple answer is, not a lot. When we started carp fishing almost 15 years ago, a simple rod, reel and net was all we used to catch some nice sized fish. The local angling shop provided us with some pre-tied float rigs, maggots and information about a small carp lake. With this limited amount of gear and a few sessions at a local lake our passion for carp fishing was born.
In this article we will go through the basic gear you’ll need as well as more advanced tackle which could enhance your fishing, we’re not experts by any means but have put this guide together to help someone in a similar situation to us all those years ago. An interest for carp fishing combined with an uncertainty for what it will entail
Here are the essentials you should have when going on your first trip, the tackle we’ve mentioned all basic stuff:
- Net – Dinsmores soft landing net (Check price on Amazon)
- Rod – Diawa black widow carp rod (Check price on Amazon)
- Reel – Diawa black widow BR reel (Check price on Amazon)
- Landing mat Korum Roll-A-Mats (check price on Amazon)
- Rigs/baits-pre-tied hair rig (check price on Amazon)
A net is a basic essential required to make sure that you can correctly and safely land a fish. When buying a net the most important thing to consider is the suitability, when fishing for carp nets are usually larger and made from a softer material to prevent any potential damage.
We recommend the large dinsmores net, after having used it for many years now its been perfect for the majority of our fishing, handling 15lb carp with ease. The handle we combined with the net was the kodex kompact xl, its particle collapsing feature makes it easy to transport without compromising any of the quality, we noticed this handle did not show any signs of strain when lifting those heavier carp out of the water.
This robust and reliable combination should defiantly help your carp fishing start in the right way.
The only time we’ve had to use a larger net is when fishing for long periods, targeting fish above the 20lb mark. The larger net is something you may want to consider when landing those monster carp, our general recommendation for a bigger carp net is:
This net is more expensive however does come with a handle making a worthwhile purchase. We found the net to be outstanding quality, lightweight and work really effectively.
Carp fishing rods range in various lengths, test curves and come equipped with all sorts of fancy gadgets. A lot of new anglers go out and buy very expensive, beefy equipment that takes years of skill and experience to successfully use.
For novice anglers we’d recommend using float rods, they’re simple, easy to use and relatively inexpensive. Also, float rods allow you to build up your knowledge and confidence as you progress. Even after nearly 15 years of fishing, it’s still one of our favourite methods of catching carp.
An analogy we like to use, is to think of rods as household appliances like a tv or washing machine for example.
When you are purchasing these products you generally stick with big brands which are slightly more expensive but are also much more reliable and long-lasting. The same thing applies for carp fishing, if you are in the market for a rod we’d recommend to stick to brands such as:
Rods are one of the most important pieces of tackle required to fish for anything however having the biggest and best won’t catch you the most fish, depending on your angling level decide on a rod that will help improve your fishing as well as cater for your present needs.
The market has such a wide variety of carp rods however sticking to something simple is your best bet when starting out. For a more detail on what rod to choose check out on of our other articles best carp rod and reel combo.
A reel is one of the most important, if not the most important piece of tackle any angler will buy, hence why its a good idea to spend a bit more money on a product like this and get something long lasting. However this doesn’t have to be crazy money like some reels you may have seen online.
Free spool reels are where you want to start of, they’ll provide you with some well needed experience and a great value for money.For the novice fisherman, we would defiantly recommend bait-runner/free-spool reels. If you’re looking to purchase a free-spool reel, you may want to read our article on affordable freespool reels.
There are tons of reels on the market and upgrading or deciding what to buy can sometimes be difficult, however when you come to make a purchasing decision, consider what type of product you need to improve or maintain your level of fishing. Buying an elite reel when you’re not ready may lead to negative consequences on the bank, after having learned this lesson we can assure you it’t not fun.
A landing mat isn’t an absolute essential when you start carp fishing, however, it’s defiantly a good idea to get one if you’re planning to catch bigger and bigger.
It’s a padded cushion designed for unhooking your carp safely, we found a landing mat to really help during this process as it’s easy to control the fish especially if it’s thrashing around. There every chance that a fish could also injure itself if not giving the correct care, a landing mat will ensure your fish stays safe on the bank and returns to the lake injury-free.
Having a good landing mat will give you some assurance during the unhooking process, in the past, we have landing injured carp, the unhooking mat allowed us to safely apply a carp care product to the fishes mouth, this hopefully minimized the chance of infection and ensured a speedy recovery.
The landing mat we used at the time was the korum A-roll xl, if your interested in a landing mat, this is a solid option.
When staring carp fishing, consider a landing mat, its not the most interesting bit of kit but could come very handy especially after landing a big carp.
When it comes to fishing especially for carp the bait you use has to be highly attractive good quality stuff if you want to aim for those bigger fish, depending on where your fishing and the conditions at the lake using the right bait will ensure you keep catching. For more information on the best carp baits, you may want to check out our article on the best carp fishing baits 2020.
However, here is a quick list of our favorite carp baits that have worked wonders;
- Method feeder mix
- Sweetcorn, real or fake works
Rigs are the setup you use to hook your fish, they consist of a hook, bait, and a lead of some sort.
If your a beginner, getting a pre-tied rig may help you to learn the fundamentals and improve at your own pace, we found pre tried rigs really helped us when we had no idea of what we doing and just wanted to catch some fish.
Rigs can be hard to tie at first but keeping persistence will ensure you learn how to do things properly.
If we’re ever fishing with ground-baits, worms, pellets, etc. We always take our mixing tubs, they have quite a lot of storage and are perfect for sticky, messy baits or little bits of tackle. Any container works for storing baits but we personally like to use fox mixing tubs which have a nice green carpy colour. Tubs and containers like these are also perfect for hard baits such as pop ups dry pellets and boilies, in general, we think they’re very useful to have.
TOOLS & EXTRAS
Number one: Multi-size cushion shot dispenser
For any carp angler cushion-shots are must-have in the tackle box. This dispenser keeps all your shots organised and separate, as well as having a large range of variety allowing you to perfectly balance your rigs. We’ve been using this product for a couple of months not and have found it to help keep things neat and tidy.
Number two: Method feeder mold
For carp anglers that use a method feeder this product is well worth considering. Although technically it is not necessary and you can just squeeze on pact-bait with your hands, the Guru X-Press just makes it much easier, faster as well as making your rig more presentable.
Number three: Good quality hooks
It’s really worthwhile buying good quality hooks, they only cost a couple of pounds extra but make all the difference. We’ve been using these Kaptor hooks for many years now as well as trying the the new Kamakura by Korda that also have worked great.We found ourselves having landed more carp, hooked well (in the bottom lip). We also rarely found it a struggle to remove the hooks, which makes things on the bank hassle free.
Number four: Baiting needle
For every carp angler, this is an essential and basic tool, it only costs a few pounds but it means you can tie your bait on using a hair rig, which is a very effective technique. This will give you a much higher hookup rate and is completely worth the extra bit of money. When carp fishing a hair rig is defiantly the way to go when fishing on the lake bed.
Number five: quick change bead
We use the quick change bead for most of our method-feeder rigs. It is made up of two parts. It allows you to quickly and easily connect two lengths of the line much like a swivel bead. However the large part of the bead is made of rubber instead of plastic and comfortably holds the method lead on top of it without clashing the plastic, overall it is a useful piece of equipment to have in your tackle box.
Number six: swivel bead
A swivel bead makes changing rigs quick and efficient, it’s as simple and inserting the loop in and closing it. This will make your life on the bank so much easier and it means you won’t take forever rigging up allowing you to get started with fishing sooner.
Number seven: Bait stops
Hair-rigs are one of the best ways to hook a carp cleanly and well. If you’re not using them yet we would recommend you do (they significantly increase hook-ups). A bait-stop is something that you’ll need all it does is simply prevent the bait from coming off the hair.
Number eight: Bank sticks
If you’re fishing with only one rod a bank stick isn’t necessary as holding the rod will work just fine, however many carp anglers often fish with multiple rods.
This is where a bank stick comes into action, they keep the rods in an organised formation next to one another allowing you to clearly see when you have a take and as well as keeping everything well nice and tidy. Without them your setup would be chaos. We found the dinsmores bank sticks to work really well for us, if you’re thinking about fishing multiple rod click our link to get the most up to date price, they’ll make your life a heck of a lot easier.