Lake Fishing Techniques for Carp: a Brief Guide to Carp Fishing
Oh, the grass carp. Some who like lake fishing think of the carp is a nuisance fish, destroying the spawning beds of tastier fish like bass and bluegill, others have embraced the sporting aspect of carp fishing. No matter which side of the fence you stand on, one thing is clear, carp aren’t going anywhere. They are a highly adaptable fish and can thrive off of most types of vegetation. So we can’t get rid of them and we can’t ignore them; we might as well fish for them! They put up a good fight and they may expand our lake fishing horizons, encouraging us to take some tips from the Brits and go beyond our tackle box.
The first thing you need to know about carp is that they prefer vegetation over live bait. Carp originated in Asia and preferred to eat fruit that would fall into the lakes and rivers. Even though they have those distinctive suction lips, they still have a sweet tooth. To fish for them, you can easily create your own dough ball concoction with a sweet twist. Many of us are familiar with the dough balls used for catfishing; the recipe for carp is very similar. Combine water and flour or cornmeal to a play dough like consistency, mix it in with your hands and get out all of the dry spots. You can then mix in cheap jelly, maple syrup, or cherry ice cream syrup.
Now that your bait is prepped, where are you going to take it to fish? This is the easy part. Carp really aren’t too picky about where they live. Most bodies of fresh water in the U.S. have carp in them. It is pretty easy to locate them in the shallow warmer water near shore. Many times you can see their dorsal fin sticking out of the water.
Once you have located the carp in your area, you are going to form a dough ball around a large J-hook, in the same manner as you would for catfish. It is also good to attach a medium sinker to your line to ensure your bait will hit the carps’ feeding area, the lake bed. Before you cast your line out, be sure to set your drag. Since carp are strong fish that put up a good fight, set your drag fairly loose. By doing this, you will reduce your chances of snapping your line and worse yet, the tip of your rod.
Now, you have casted out into a prime spot to lake fish for carp, your dough ball has sunk to the bottom and you are waiting for a strike. This is the time when some carp anglers like to chum the water, or toss out other bait to attract the attention of the fish. I have found that dog food works great for chumming, it isn’t as appealing to the carp as the bait on my hook, but it makes a noticeable sound when it hits the water and is easy to throw.
I can not stress enough not to leave your rod unattended. When a crap takes a hold of your bait he will run with it, and fast! Don’t let the carp and your rod and reel end up on the other side of the lake.
So, regardless of your personal opinion of carp, you might as well have some fun with them. They also make a great fish to get kids hooked on fishing!
Author: Brian Ward
Mar 8, 2013