Carp have been caught on all manner of baits ranging from the simple to the downright strange, tinned potatoes, marshmallows and beans to name just a few. Carp fishing remains to be the most popular discipline of angling, and with that in mind, anglers are always looking for to get the edge on their fellow anglers.
In this article, we’re going to list our top 5 carp baits of all time, how to use them and why they make the list. However, just because these are heralded as the best five carp baits of all time, it doesn’t mean other baits aren’t absolutely clinical in certain waters, so learn and experiment with different baits, it may just catch you the big one.
That’s right, we’re cheating straight away. Technically, particle mixes are made up of several pulses, seeds and nuts, often amongst spices and flavourings. Now, particle mixes are usually made from a base mix of hempseed, which on its own is an incredible carp bait, but in amongst a multitude of other goodies makes it all the more tempting. Particle mixes are generally spodded or boated out to a spot, but some PVA friendly mixes (contain no water) can be used in PVA bags. If you’re fishing tight to the margins, you can also spoon particle in easily, but there is no right or wrong way to bait up with particle. It’s such a good bait because it gets the fish grubbing around on the bottom, gorging on the small and generally safe particle when unbeknownst to them, you’re hookbait is lying in wait. Particle is cheap, versatile and carp absolutely love it, making it one of the best carp baits of all time.
Pellets are a good allrounder bait for any non-predatory fish in most waters. Like particle, they’re cheap, easy to use and versatile, making up spod mixes, PVA bags or fed by spoon. There are also a great number of pellet variations from salmon, halibut, trout and bait companies make all manner of flavoured injected pellets. The oil content of a pellet is generally what makes the pellet better or worse than another, as carp can taste the different flavour profiles in the water. Pellet is incredibly useful for laying down both large beds of bait to attract fish into your swim or compact to a small pile around your hookbait when trying to tempt a blank-saving carp in the remaining hours of the session. Carp struggle to resist the easiness that pellets represent and the majority of fisheries feed their carp on their own pellets, meaning they see pellet as far less of a threat than many other baits.
There are literally thousands of boilies to choose from on the market, from 4mm match boilies to 24mm+ for mammoth carp and catfish, and a whole host of different flavours and colours. The science that has been injected into boilie making over the past decade or so has been truly astounding and, as a result, the quality of bait continues to improve all the time. Boilies are literally a boiled paste ball made up of eggs, a dry base mix, colourants and flavourings, and the carp love them. There are even differences in texture, with shelf-life baits tending to be tougher than frozen boilies, and some boilies have eggshell, rock salt and many other components added to them to make them more enticing to passing carp. There are also pop-up boilies that float but are mainly used to be suspended above a silty or weedy bottom, to keep the hookbait free for a feeding carp. As a general rule of thumb, fishmeal-based boilies are better suited to late spring, summer and early autumn, with sweetmeal better during the colder months. It’s easy to get bogged down with the massive selection on offer with boilies, but with a little research of the water you’re planning to fish, you shouldn’t find it too hard to determine a good option from the massive range.
We touched on maize earlier in the particle section, but maize on its own is a terrific carp catcher. These golden nuggets provide a great visual attractor and the brine inside a tin shop-bought sweetcorn has enough salt and sugar attractors to keep the carp coming all day. Some incredibly large fish have been caught on a few hair-rigged pieces of corn, and it’s a very inexpensive way to fish. You can, of course, add corn to your spod, boat and PVA mixes, you can blend it to be used in a dry mix and you can use it whole on any water in the country. You may attract some nuisance fish by fishing with corn, Bream, Roach and many other fish love corn too, however, if you use imitation corn on a hair-rig, you should be able to keep these nuisance fish at bay. This will also help if there are crayfish attacking your hookbaits in certain waters!
When every other bait in circulation has failed, maggots will catch you a fish. Carp and all other fish are almost hardwired to eat maggots, they are simply irresistible to freshwater fish. Maggots can be used dead or alive, they can be spruced up with flavourings or spices, they can be hooked, hair rigged or clipped up to any rig and they can be used in any mix from spod to PVA. If I could only fish with one bait for the rest of my life, it would be maggots, just get ready to work your way through silvers and bream to get to the big carp that will eventually bully them out of the swim!
Do you agree with this list? Have we missed off your favourite bait? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to check out the website!