Carp busters….catch the biggest carp

Carp busters….catch the biggest carp

Most anglers don’t like the idea of catching carp when they are targeting other fish…but most anglers do like catching carp…if they’re really, really big.


The good and bad thing about carp is they’re everywhere. You can catch them in country rivers, lakes and dams as well as suburban rivers and creeks…

…but since they’re everywhere …and a problem…I like to do my bit to remove them….and I really, really like removing the biggest ones!


My sons and I have spent many pleasant hours fishing for carp in country Victoria as well as local suburban waters.


 The exciting thing is that you have a good chance of hooking a big carp in any of these places. I traveled to Yarrawonga, in Northern Victoria to fish for cod in the Murray river….and caught an 11kg carp there. By contrast, my son drove 15 minutes from our house to the Yarra river and  caught a 12 kg carp in the suburbs…big carp are everywhere!


Ive got to admit that I’m pretty competitive – I like to win bragging rites when I fish with my sons, or anyone for that matter….and targeting big carp will get me this!


It doesnt take much to fish for trophy carp, and since most people can do it close to home its worth investing a bit of time….’cos no matter what, you show a photo of a big carp, anything over 6kg, to most people – they’re impressed. – size counts!


If you want to get the big fish you gotta think like a big fish!


Yes, that’s right… but it’s not too hard.


Big fish like big baits, but these big fish are also very experienced so they are wiser than the dumb young ones. If a bait or rig looks suspicious they probably won’t touch it – bait presentation becomes real important.


You need to bait up your hook and drop it in the shallows so you can check how “real” it looks. Put some bait next to it to compare how different they are. You need to convince the fish your bait is SAFE to eat!


You’ll also need strong gear to get them away from snags and onto the bank.  Good, strong line will help and I like to use mono when there’s plenty of snags about – it’s a lot more robust than braid.


The gear I use depends on where I fish. If I’m amongst the trees with no room I often use a 2.1m graphite rod rated for 7 to 12 kg line. If I have plenty of room, I use quivertip rods up to 3.6m long so I can cast good distances…and sometimes distance counts. I fish a few spots where you have to cast 30 to 40 metres to get into the deeper water where the fish hide during the day…a long rod makes casting this distance a whole lot easier…and speaking of distance – I’m really talking about finding out where the fish are most likely to hang out.

Carp of all sizes have a few favorite places but the big fish usually push the smaller fish away. In lakes and dams carp like specific areas. It can be near weed beds, gravel patches or structure and sometimes these are not close to shore.

Spots where there is likely to be food, comfort and shelter are the things to look for.

If you’re hunting the big fish, I’ve found that type of bait is more important than size of bait …but you don’t want to go too small.

I’ve caught big fish on small baits but there’s no doubt that it was the right bait and not the size that did the trick….

…So I present baits on hooks from size 8 up to size 2. I haven’t had to go bigger than this to hook the big ones.


Bait for big carp is one if the ‘secrets’ to success!


Depending on the water you fish in the attractiveness of your bait can depend on colour, smell or movement ….or all 3. Since carp are usually caught in water that has higher silt content visible baits are less important…but scent and movement become more important.


I’ve had most success on big carp using worms, corn kernels and bread but I’ve also caught them on a range of other baits like cheese, maggots, doughbaits and chicken….years ago I saw a guy hook a huge carp at Southbank, in the middle of Melbourne Central Business district. He used pilchard and was fishing for Mulloway….and he got a carp!!!


My ‘GO TO’ baits for carp are usually the same – scrub worms, tiger worms and corn kernels, to start.


I’ve heard people say fish don’t like tiger worms but I’ve had just as much success on these as on scrub worms. The important thing is to make sure you have plenty of action on your hook.


A nice lively scrub worm or 5 to 6 tiger worms will do the trick. You’ll probably do better with a smaller hook for the tigers – size 8 is about right.


The scrubs can take a bigger hook and I’ve sometimes put 2 big worms on a size 2 hook.


Corn kernels are also great. They’re sweet….kinda like candy for carp! I always have a tin of corn for my fishing and, at times, it’ll out-fish everything. Put as many kernels on a hook as you can fit….big carp like lots to eat.


Bread is another good bait. A fresh sliced loaf from the supermarket, the cheapest you can get, is the way to go. Just take out a slice, pull a piece out of the middle of the slice and roll it into a ball. It sort of turns into a dough….and easily moulds onto the hook. For a bit of added punch, you can put a drop of vanilla essence, aniseed essence or strawberry essence on it – carp seen to like the sweeter flavours.


You also want to use berley. This makes a huge difference.


I use berley cages on my rigs and these go a long way towards attracting those big fish….

…and make sure you put some of your bait in your berley so the fish look for your hook bait.


So after  saying all this – how do you locate the big fish?


Well, as I said before, look for areas that provide food, comfort and shelter .Areas of slow moving water in rivers, deep water, areas next to overhanging plants, areas near structure like logs, branches bridge pylons etc

Most of these can be found just by looking at the water.


Another thing that most people don’t do is walk along the bank of a river or lake and look for fish activity. The number of times you can see fish moving in the water or holding position near a snag is amazing…its just part of research.


The last thing to consider is time of day.


I have caught big fish at all times of the day but big carp are especially active at night. In Europe, carp specialists often camp overnight to give themselves the best chance of a big fish….and they often get the big fish at night.


If an overnight camp is not your thing then try fishing at first light, or fish afternoon into early darkness. This can produce the most fish….including real big ones.


Catching big carp can be a real buzz. Hooking and playing a 7kg, 10kg or even bigger, fish that gets your drag groaning and puts some real weight on your arms, is pretty exciting.


You can go to your local water and hook into some seriously big fish without traveling the country to find them….

…now that’s fishing!!






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