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If you’re new to carp fishing, you’re probably in the dark as to what equipment you have to bring. Bringing the right tools is imperative to get good catches and to get the job done right. We know that shopping for angling equipment can be overwhelming. With this, we created a carp fishing equipment list you should get before you drive to the nearest fishery.
The most important equipment of all: fishing rods. For carp, most rods are 12 feet to 13 feet long, which is enough for most anglers. If your fishing area has overhanging trees, a 12-feet rod might be better.
Also, you must check the test curve of the rod. This refers to the weight needed to flex the rod up to 90 degrees from the rod’s base. Usually, a test curve of 2.75 pounds will do the job where you can cast up to 100 yards. If you need more weight, you can find rods with a test curve of 3 pounds.
If you want to skip the hassle of perusing tons of options, we recommend the OAKWOOD CARP Combo. This is a pair of a 12-feet rod and a Bait Runner Reel. The rod has a 2.75-pound test curve with a shock-absorbent butt cap. It also comes with a line guide, ring handle trim, and EVA foam grips.
Once you have a rod, the next thing to look for is a trusty reel. If you plan to target large carp at a distance, we recommend that you get a Big Pit Reel. There’s also a Quick Drag Reel, which is an excellent choice if you’re having a hard time fighting off the force of a catch. You also have the option to use a Bait Feeder Reel if you have a bait alarm system and rod rests.
Traditional anglers would usually use a Spod and Marker Reel. It has a higher gear ratio, not to mention that it has larger handles. You can bait more often with this reel with total ease. This reel also remains durable when you hook a strong carp.
If you prefer a Spod and Marker Reel, we recommend the Wychwood Spod Reel with Braid. This has a bail arm lock that reduces crack-offs as well as a 4:3:1 gear ratio.
Also, it’s readily loaded with 200 meters of 30-pound braid.
3. Unhooking mat
Most fishing reservoirs will require an angler to bring an unhooking mat. This is so they wouldn’t damage the fish while removing the hook or taking pictures. Also, some fisheries have strict rules about keeping the carp close to the unhooking mat while it’s not thrown back to the water.
An unhooking mat is a necessary gear, especially if you’re angling for large carp. Also, you have to lay the mat before you even cast your line. A thick and padded unhooking mat will last long.
If you’re looking for one, we recommend the Zite Rollable Landing/Unhooking Mat. It’s made of a polyester material that makes it easy to clean after fishing. Also, it has attachments that allow you to roll and lock the mat in place. It also has rubber bands to keep the rolled mat in place.
It’s ideal for carp, pike, and most angling activities. This is well-padded and guaranteed to last long.
4. Rod rest/racks
Relying on makeshift poles and the ground would make carp fishing a mess. Instead, you must bring a trusty rod rack or rest that will keep your lines in place while you wait for a catch. Also, a nice rod rack will let you set a hook well.
Besides, you need some time to enjoy your angling. Instead of babysitting your rods, you can place it on a sturdy rack while you grab a drink or chat with your fellow anglers.
A rod rack is also a must-have if you have multiple lines cast. This way, you wouldn’t be left panicking when all your lines get loaded.
If you’re bank fishing, we recommend the Rodeel Rod Holders. This is a two-piece set with detachable pole stands that you can use on a river, beach, or lake. It’s made of durable steel powder-coated to resist rust. You can also change the angle of these holders using the adjustable screws.
5. Bite indicator
No angler should go without a bite indicator. This device lets you know if something is happening at the end of the line. It will also save you from guessing if you have a catch.
There are many bite alarm models in the market, but the most common is the Piezo vibration sensor and magnetic wheel.
With the Piezo vibration sensor, a Y-shaped sensor will set off the alarm when the line moves. On the other hand, a magnetic wheel bite indicator has magnets that pass to the sensor to activate the bite alarm.
Both of these systems will either alert you by light or sound notification. However, the Piezo vibration sensor has a better sensitivity range, though the magnetic wheel type tends to be cheaper.
If you’re looking for a no-fuss bite indicator, we recommend the Bite Max Rod Bite Alarm. You just clip it on the rod, wrap the line on it, and you’re good to go. It doesn’t tangle, and you’ll be alerted when the LED light turns on.
6. Rig puller
The last thing you want to happen is having a loose knot when you get a large carp. Bait drills are always ideal, especially if you’re joining a fishing competition. A rig puller plays an important role here to ensure that all your knots are tight and ready to endure a big carp.
Rig pullers are just small pieces of tackle, but it will let you fish with confidence. It’s best used in pairs with one placed at the hook and the other placed at the end of your rig.
You can find rig pullers in every angler shop and online store. Also, you can get a set for a low price. We recommend having multiple pairs handy in case you lose one.
For this job, we use the JSHANMEI Carp Knot Puller. It’s a three-piece set made with ABS plastic grip and a stainless steel hook. It has a textured T-handle that prevents slippage.
7. Tackle bag
You need a bag where you can stash all your angling equipment. Your tackle bag should be spacious enough to fit your bait, rods, reel, and other gears. Although you can use just about any bag, a fishing bag is designed with lots of small pockets, insulated compartments, and durable construction.
Always choose a rugged tackle bag that’s comfortable to wear. The straps should be thick, and there should be a waterproof lining to keep your equipment dry should it rain while you’re angling.
We personally recommend the foolsGold Carry-All Fishing Bag. It’s made of 900D polyester, set to endure the rugged outdoor elements.
This bag has a large insulated compartment where you can stash your tackle box and bait. There are also pockets on each end of this bag where you can secure smaller gears. Overall, there’s plenty of space for your reels, scales, rod pods, disgorger, and more.
Aside from that, the foolsGold fishing bag has two handles and a padded strap to make it comfy and easy to carry.
8. Weighing scale
So you caught a large carp, but how are you going to know exactly how much it weighs? You should always bring a weighing scale. This way, you can document your catch and identify if it broke your previous record.
However, you shouldn’t bring just about any scale. We recommend ones made for angling for accurate and convenient weighing. Also, digital is the way to go when fishing carp. It’s a lighter and tried and tested choice among anglers.
Opt for compact and well-lit scales so you can weigh your catch even on poorly lit areas. Also, look for one with a durable carabiner that can carry heavy loads.
If you’re looking for a fishing scale, consider getting the NGT Carp Digital Weighing Scale. It has contoured handles for an excellent grip as you lift your catch. The LCD display is also made larger for easy reading. It comes with a tare weight function so you can factor in the weight of the mesh that comes in the package.
Once you’ve pulled the carp out of the water, you must remove the hook from its mouth. That way, you can take pictures and weigh the fish right away. A disgorger is a simple tool, which usually appears like a stick with dents on it.
To use a disgorger, simply thread the line into the groove on its tip. After that slide it down until you’ve reached the hook on the carp’s mouth. You can easily pull the hook out without damaging the carp. For large carp, you may need the assistance of small forceps.
We personally use the Universal Tackle aluminum disgorgers. It comes in a pack of two and works well in removing hooks. Also, it doesn’t rust, and it’s suitable for hooks between 14 and 22. Overall, it’s 5 inches long and works well on small to medium-sized carp.
10. Landing net
Lastly, you should get a decent landing net. Once your line gets loaded, you need the landing net to assist in retrieving the carp from the water. This will save you from relying on your line to carry the weight of the fish. Also, a landing net makes it easy to put the carp to your unhooking mat.
We always opt for a landing net with telescoping handles. It’s a convenient option, especially if you’re fishing from the banks.
We recommend the NGT 42-inch landing net that has a floating system. This way, you set it within the banks prior to fishing. You simply direct your line into the submerged net, lift it, and get your catch. It even comes with a spreader block. However, you’d have to purchase the handle separately. For such an affordable landing net, this is just a small hassle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are carp bottom or top feeders?
A: Carp is a bottom feeder, and they will often gobble through a lot of silt and mud. Some will go to the surface to feed when the food source is a little scarce or if the bait is floating on the water surface.
Q: What is the right size for a carp landing net?
A: A landing net between 42 and 50 inches should be fine. Always look for one with a spreader block so you’ll have a drawcord to attach the two arms. Also, your net should have a bow shape.
Q: Can I unhook a carp without a disgorger?
A: Yes, but you’d need a pair of pliers to remove the hook. It would be challenging, and you may end up damaging the carp’s mouth. If you’re catching large carp, you might as well invest in a durable disgorger.
Q: Do I need a special fishing bag?
A: You can always use any bag as long as you can organize all your angler equipment. Still, fishing bags have special pockets and compartments made for various fishing gears. Also, many are crafted with insulated compartments that keep your baits fresh.
Q: Do I need to purchase all the fishing equipment at once?
A: Not really. You can buy some of the basic gears like rods, reels, baits, and landing mats, among others. From there, you can build your toolkit as you progress in your carp fishing hobby. But if you have the budget, there’s nothing wrong about stacking up with the right equipment for angling.
We hope that this carp fishing equipment list helps you get started with angling. These are the basics that you should have to make your carp fishing a more enjoyable experience. Most of them are affordable and can be found in all angler stores.