There are many different methods and setups which work for carp fishing. Depending on the weather conditions and time of year certain fishing methods work better than others.
Below we have listed some of the tried and tested methods as well as the times and conditions they will work best.
Float fishing is one of the most productive methods for catching carp, although due to the baits used the majority of fish caught tend to be smaller in size. To float fish you will need to plummet the depth of water you are fishing and set your float so that your bait is positioned just over depth. When the bait is settled on the bottom the float indicator must be showing the correct amount above the surface of the water. When a fish bites the float indicator will disappear underneath the water, and that's the time to strike!
Fishing for carp using a float is a popular method all year round. The amount and weight of carp you catch depends on the bait you use, although due to float fishing setups a large amount of smaller carp are caught. Popular baits for float fishing are maggots, casters, sweetcorn, worms, and luncheon meat.
Surface fishing is one of the most effective methods for catching carp. It can be done using either a surface controller float, or freelining your bait on the surface. Using a float controller allows you to cast much futher distances, whilst freelining is much more discrete and harder for the carp to spot.
Surface fishing works best in hot or warm weather, when the carp are cruising and feeding just below the water. Perfect baits for surface fishing include bread crust and dog biscuits. Depending on the bait used these can either be hooked directly onto the hook, or superglued to the shank of the hook.
The majority of carp caught on the surface tend to be much bigger than those caught using submerged baits. A good trick is to try and fish on the edge of lily pads and other such cover, as carp will be sitting in these shaded locations on hot sunny days.
Ledgering is a great method to use for catching carp whatever the weather. As the name suggests, ledgering involves fishing on the bottom of the lake/river using a ledger or weight. This weight is set a fixed distance away from your bait and can be either sliding or bolted (sliding is the preferable method as if your line breaks the fish can be free of the weight). If you want to go ledgering you will need a quiver tip or some form of bite indicator on your rod, so that you know when fish bite.
The bait you use depends on the size of carp you are trying to catch. If you are going for larger carp, baits such as bollies, pellets, large lumps of meat, and dog biscuits are best. Smaller carp can be caught on baits such as maggots, casters, small cubes of meat, and sweetcorn.
There are many different carp rigs available which all have their own advantages and disadvantages. The most widely used carp rig is the Hair Rig. This rig normally uses braided line (of varying lengths) running from a loop or swivel down to a large hook. From the hook a small loop is formed down the back of the shank onto which bait is attached and fastened with a rig stop.
Hair rigs are particularly good at hooking carp due to the position of the hook next to the bait. The longer the rig, the less obvious it is to the fish and the more chance you have of something taking your bait! Hair rigs can be used to catch carp with a variety of different methods such as ledgering or surface fishing.