Carp fishing is a rapidly growing sport in the USA. This is because carp are one of the hardest fighting fish, and catching one is thrilling.
Did you know that carp live in all kinds of bodies of freshwater, including ponds? Would you like tips on how to catch carp in a pond?
Carp spook easily, have great eyesight and are smart for a fish, so it can seem almost intimidating to even go try to catch a carp. If you’ve been worried about going out to catch a carp, follow these 11 tips and you’ll be catching carp in no time!
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Make sure there are carp in the pond
- 2 2. Fish in the right spots
- 3 3. Go fishing at the right time of day
- 4 4. Bring the right gear
- 5 5. Use the right bait
- 6 6. Offer the carp some free food
- 7 7. Use the right techniques
- 8 8. Have your camera ready
- 9 9. Ask the other anglers
- 10 10. Catch and release
- 11 11. Bring polarized sunglasses!
- 12 Final Thoughts
1. Make sure there are carp in the pond
Just because carp can live in a pond, doesn’t mean there will be carp in every pond you find.
If you head out in the morning, you’ll probably be able to see their lips breaching the surface of the water. These fish have orange lips, and they’re hard to miss.
If you’re fishing as the sun is setting, you might not be able to see the fish anymore, but you might be able to hear them crash out.
Carp make a lot of splashing noise towards the end of the day.
2. Fish in the right spots
Standing on the bank of a pond and casting randomly into the water probably won’t result in any catches.
Carp are shy fish, so you’re going to want to check any shelves or drop-offs where carp can hide.
You should also be fishing in covered areas where there are lilies, fallen trees, or near reed beds.
They seek shelter here, but they also forage for food in these areas. Finding a cleared spot in an otherwise dense area of weeds could suggest that it is a feeding area.
Take a look around the pond. Is anyone feeding ducks in the water? That is also now a great spot to try catching carp. Carp are shy, but they aren’t going to miss out on a good meal.
3. Go fishing at the right time of day
Carp can be caught at any time of the day, but the best times to catch them are early in the morning, or early evening.
At these times the carp are hungry and they’ll be actively foraging for food.
Hungry carp is going to mean more bites, and more bites might mean a great catch!
4. Bring the right gear
Carp can be a challenge to catch, and nothing would be worse than your line snapping or your rod breaking while you’re trying to reel in a fish.
When fishing for carp, you’re going to want a rod with a good backbone. The length of the rod won’t matter too much when catching carp, but you will need a medium-heavy, fast-action rod.
You’ll also want a 2500-3000 size spinning reel set up with a 20lbs braid and a 15lbs fluorocarbon leader.
The fluorocarbon leader is going to be practically invisible in clear water, which will help trick the carp into thinking your bait or lure is its next dinner.
If you have a reel with a lot of drag, you can get away with using 10lbs mono, but we aren’t recommending it!
5. Use the right bait
Using the right bait could be the difference between a personal record catch and a day that’s a complete flop.
Here are some baits that have been used, and recommended, for catching carp.
- Sweetcorn kernels (yes, from the grocery store!) put directly on a hook
- Fishcm Fake Soft Baits Corn
- Berkley Gulp! Earthworm
- Magic 3722 Carp Bait
- Phecda Sports Bait Boilies
- Y&C Carp Floating Fishing Beads
- Berkley Gulp! Extruded Nightcrawlers
- OriGlam Simulation Fake Corn
- VGEBY Artificial Tiger Nut Baits
- Jammas Freeze Dried Shrimp
Whatever you do, don’t use anything shiny! Carp have incredible eyesight and they know their food doesn’t shine.
They won’t go after something that doesn’t look like their food.
6. Offer the carp some free food
It’s the same idea as giving a dog a pill shoved in a hotdog, but dumbed down even more for the fish.
In areas where it’s legal to chum water, you can bring cans of sweetcorn to feed to the carp. Once they start trusting that the corn is food, you can throw in a kernel bait into the mix.
At that point, the carp will be less hesitant about eating the corn, and they’ll mistake your bait for a regular kernel.
Just don’t feed the fish too much. You’ll fill them up and they won’t want a nibble at your bait.
7. Use the right techniques
With carp, you do not want to drop your bait right on top of them or you’ll spook them. Cast further past the fish, or in front of the fish and let them spot your bait as they’re swimming around the area.
Make sure your reel is set fairly loose so the carp can pull the line out if they take your bait.
If your reel is tight, the line is going to be pulled taut and if you don’t have a grip on your rod, it might end up in the pond.
8. Have your camera ready
Whether it’s your phone camera, a nice DSLR, or a GO Pro, you will want a picture of the fish you caught.
The worst is forgetting your camera in a pocket of your tackle bag, or not setting up your go pro before the catch.
You haven’t caught a fish until you have a picture for proof!
9. Ask the other anglers
If you see other anglers catching carp, ask them for tips! Many anglers welcome the idea of being asked to talk about fishing techniques, baits, or general tips!
You might learn that you’re doing everything by the book, but it could be something as simple as the carp in the specific pond have learned that the taste of corn means that hooks are coming and you should switch to bread instead.
10. Catch and release
Catching a 10lbs carp is a pretty great day of fishing, but what if you caught a 25lbs carp? Or a 70lbs carp?
Carp aren’t great for eating, so catch the carp and release them so they can get bigger!
11. Bring polarized sunglasses!
I used to stare blindly at the water where my partner was pointing when he asked, “do you see that fish?!” I couldn’t see a single thing through the reflection of the water, even while wearing sunglasses.
It wasn’t until I switched to polarized lenses in my sunglasses that I realized what a difference it made.
The glare from the reflection is reduced so much that you can see the fish below the surface of the water.
Not only will you be able to see the fish, but you can see the small details like a clearing in dense weeds, or fallen trees that are completely submerged.
Once you see it, you can start fishing those areas.
The thrill of catching a hard-fighting fish is increasing the popularity of carp fishing, even though they aren’t the greatest fish for dinner.
These 11 tips are a great place to start when you’re heading out to catch your first carp. Good luck!