Carp are very strong and smart fish and it is not always easy catching them. With the right gear though, you can improve your chances of hooking up significantly. In order to help you find the most suitable equipment, I wrote this buyer’s guide for the best carp fishing gear.
In order to be able to play and land big carp, you will need solid 2.5-3 lb rods with a heavy action. You will also need big and strong reels, which should have a baitrunner function. Furthermore, high quality 15-18 lb test mainline, 2-3 oz carp leads, braided hooklinks, and strong, wide gape size 4-6 hooks are required to catch monster carp.
Some carp fishing gear can be extremely expensive, but that’s not the type of gear you will find in this guide! Over the years, I have learned that you can find virtually any high-end quality gear for very decent and affordable prices. And that’s exactly the types of products I am recommending here!
Best Carp Rods
For carp up to 15 lb, a rod with a 2.5 test curve will totally suffice. But, as many lakes hold much bigger fish than that, I am usually recommending rods with a 2.75-3 lb test curve.
Such rods, while being slightly stiffer, have enough backbone and strength to allow you to control and steer a big carp, while still having enough bend to them.
This bend gives them enough flexibility to smoothly buffer a wildly fighting carp. It also lets you feel any movement or shake so that you can really feel your way through the entire fight.
Casting heavy leads about 60 to 80 yards out is also fully possible with a 2.75-3 lb carp rod. All in all, it makes total sense that this kind of test curve is referred to as an all-rounder, isn’t it!
I like recommending gear that fits all types of budgets, that way, anyone can afford qualitative and long-lasting carp gear! So, here are two of my favourite carp rod recommendations.
Daiwa Black Widow Carp
I currently fish with three Daiwa Black Widow carp rods, and they are amazing rods to catch carp with! They are 12′ in length and have a test curve of 3 lb.
For being a budget rod, the Black Widow has amazing quality and elegance to it. I have bought my rods in 2015 and so far, I haven’t had a single scratch on them, let alone broken parts. They really last, if you treat them well.
Furthermore, this rod has a wonderful handle that is covered with black shrink tube, which allows you to have a fully secure grip on your rod at all times.
With a mere 355g, it’s also extremely lightweight, which nonetheless does not impact the rods’ enormous power reserves. I really love fishing with them!
Wychwood Extremis FC Carp Rod
Wychwood is known to produce the most beautiful of rods, and the Extremis FC is no exception! If you are willing to spend a little more money on your carp gear, or perhaps want to upgrade your existing rod set, this is the way to go! They have a length of 12′ and a 3 lb test curve.
The Extremis FC series includes a super lightweight carbon fibre blank and a modernized casting action that allows to cast out heavyweights, while at the same time being an incredibly flexible and smooth rod in the fight.
The fact that these rods come with full slim cork handles makes them even more of a beautiful classic carp rod. You virtually cannot get more rod for your money!
Best Carp Reels
Personally, I prefer fishing with larger baitrunner reels over big pit reels with front drag systems. Baitrunners are simply easier to navigate and handle when you’re hooked up. Once that rear drag is disengaged, it’s go time, no further adjustment needed!
The models I am recommending cost around £70 and £90, which can seem like a lot of money for a fishing reel. But keep in mind that these reels have to do most of the work when fighting a big angry carp!
That’s why it is very crucial that you buy rather heavy artillery right from the start. Cheap reels with poor quality will not last long when it comes to carp fishing, which is why you will end up spending more money on frequently buying new reels! So, here are two of my favourite baitrunner reels for carp.
Shimano Baitrunner ST 10000 RB
I am a huge fan of Shimano reels. I have used both the 10000 (carp) series and the 4000 (other coarse fish) series for many years now, and I simply love the Shimano Baitrunners!
The 10000 series has a gear ratio of 4.6:1 and a line capacity of 300 yards for 15lb mainline. It is a great reel for both short and long-distance carp fishing.
These are classic and high-quality reels that you can get for a very decent price! They will bring you joy for many years and do not need much maintenance. This is mainly thanks to its one shielded stainless steel ball-bearing, which still doesn’t prevent this reel from running super smoothly.
Daiwa Black Widow BR 5500A
This is another fantastic baitrunner reel that perfectly fits the Daiwa Black Widow Rod series. I have two Daiwa Black Widow BR5500A reels for my pike set up, and occasionally also use them on my carp rods.
This is a very strong and powerful reel that has 4 ball bearings and a gear ratio of 4.6:1. This makes it perfect for casting out a little more frequently. It runs extraordinarily smooth and has a super sensitive drag system.
Daiwa also stuffs their gear with great features, and one very smart such, when it comes to this reel, is its airbail feature, which allows for loose and slack line to be reeled in without any tangling. Daiwa also ensures a lifetime bail spring; top quality through and through!
Best Mainline for Carp Fishing
When it comes to carp line, there is really only one choice for me, and I feel perfectly confident in recommending this quality line!
The Daiwa Sensor is a super strong monofilament line with all the strength, and a little stretch, that you could ask for.
It also has a really nice brown colouration, which will nicely fit most types of water and blend right in. You really get a whole lot of line for your money, as a bulk spool of 900 yards sells for under £13!
I use a 15lb mainline, which is perfect for any carp up to 30lb. Anything above that, or venues that are extremely snaggy, would demand an 18lb mainline!
Best Bite Alarms for Carp
Bite alarms are extremely helpful gear when fishing with several rods and/or fishing at night. There are plenty of alternatives out there, with all kinds of features, that can cost you a lot of money. I have always been a fan of quality alarms that do not cost hundreds of pounds or dollars!
Nash Siren S5
My faithful bite alarms are the Nash Siren S5, which are brilliantly simple and high-quality bite alarms. These alarms only have a volume adjust, which also is the alarm’s on/off button. It’s a simple design that is basically all you need on the bank if you’re not in need of a receiver!
The Nash Siren S5 is the perfect budget bite alarm alternative. They also have a really great battery life; I have used mine for 5 years now, and pretty extensively at that, and the original batteries are still going strong!
TF Gear Magrunner Ignite
If you need to fish with a receiver, for example when fishing further away from your rods at night in your bivvy, or if you have a really heavy sleep, the TFG Magrunner Ignite alarm set is the right choice for you.
TF Gear stands for high-quality technology for a good price, and this set is proof of that, as it sells for a very decent price, considering you get 3 alarms and a receiver out of it! They are fully waterproof, have a great LED indication, super long battery life, and an enhanced receiver signal; so get ready for those long-distance runs!
Best Carp Rod Pod
When fishing with more than one rod, a solid rod pod is something I really recommend using. Of course, you could spread your rods on bank sticks, but these only work for certain grounds. Also, a rod pod ensures that you have all your rods in one and the same place, secured and easily accessible.
I have been using the TF Gear Combat Pod for some time now and I am really impressed by this rod pod!
First of all, it is very stable, while at the same time being ultra-light (which is nice when carrying all your gear to your swim). Second of all, it does not rust easily, which always was a problem with other pods that I’ve used.
Also, this rod pod has a height of 52cm (20”), which I personally find very comfortable, as you don’t have to bend all the way down to pick up your rods. The fact that its legs are fully adjustable and hence fit any time of uneven ground makes it even more of a great rod pod!
Best Carp Landing Net
A large landing net is essential for carp fishing! It ensures that you can safely land any fish, no matter how big it is. It also makes sure that the carp won’t be able to swim or jump out of the net, once you have landed it.
So, a 42” carp landing net is definitely the way to go. I prefer the NGT 42″ Dual Float Landing Net, which is a very neat landing net that has all the features needed for carp fishing:
- a soft mesh net material, which takes great care of your landed carp
- 2 net floats (one on each side), which makes it super easy to lift the net out of the water
- a strong, high quality 6′ handle that won’t bend or break
Essential Carp Tackle
If you want to bolt carp, you will have to go for leads of at least 2 oz. Most anglers will fish with weights around 3 oz, which ensures a secure bolt effect in most situations.
Both TFG and DNA sell great carp leads for a very good price.
For most carp rigs, you will need a safety clip for the lead, if you aren’t using inline leads, that is. Safety clips are the best way of attaching your lead to your rig and to ensure that the carp can get rid of it, should it end up in a snag and the line should break. In such cases, the lead will simply drop off the safety clip.
Fox and Korda both have high quality safety clip sets.
Carp Hooklink Material
I have always used the Korda Dark Matter and will continue to do so when fishing for carp. This braided and coated hooklink material is, by far, the best on the market.
It comes in 3 different strengths, 15, 20, and 30 lb, sinks well, is very strong, while remaining extremely flexible, and has a camo design that will match most lake beds. All in all, the perfect carp hooklink material!
When it comes to quality carp hooks, I also prefer using Korda! They make one of the strongest and most durable hooks on the market and I have fished with them for years. SO far, I have never lost a fish to a bent or broken hook.
I mostly use the Korda Wide Gape Micro Barbed carp hooks, in sizes 4-6. No matter if you fish the normal hair rig, a pop-up rig, the float, or the free line, these hooks fit all methods and setups!
Best Camping Gear for Fishing Trips
Carp fishing requires a lot of outdoor and camping equipment. If you want to get my best camping gear recommendations, with everything from tents and bivvies, to sleeping bags and camping stoves, head over to this section: