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Let's Go Carp Fishing


Fishing rod: medium action rods 6' long are preferred. The longer the rod, the easier it will be to land a big fish.

Reel: spinning or spin casting reels with a good drag and capable of holding 120 yards of 12 pound test line are most popular.

Hooks: size 2 to 6 are best.

Line: 8-12 lb test. Use stronger line in weedy waters for better control of the carp.

Bobbers: in most cases they are a bad idea. When they are used, a pencil bobber is the best choice. Avoid using large round bobbers since carp tend to drop a bait at the slightest resistance.

Sinkers: small split shot, slip sinkers, and egg sinkers are most commonly used. When using a lot of weight, use a slip or egg sinker so the carp will not feel resistance when it takes the bait.

Strike indicator: cut a small slit in a piece of styrofoam and attach it to your line between the reel and the first guide. Leave the reel open so a fish can take free line out. When the styrofoam piece hits the first guide, it will pop off indicating a strike. If you tie a piece of line between the rod holder and the piece of styrofoam, you won't litter.

Bait: commercial products, canned corn, worms, and bread dough are good baits. The following recipe is for home made bread dough:

1-2-3 doughball

Ingredients: 1 cup sugar, 2 cups white flour, and 3 cups cornmeal. Mix the ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly add water and mix to the desired consistency. If the dough needs stiffening, add more flour and cornmeal. To thin it, add more water. Flatten the ball, wrap it in a cloth bag, and place it in boiling water for 20 minutes. Cool the dough, then put it in a plastic bag and refrigerate. To add other fillers, blend them in before cooking. For scents, knead them in after cooking, once the mixture cools enough to handle.


Three ways of mounting hooks and sinkers on carp-fishing lines.
Three ways of mounting hooks and sinkers on carp-fishing lines.

A carp rod double mounted in the English style.
A carp rod double mounted in the English style. Note the simple bite indicator consisting of a piece of styrofoam slit to accept the line.

Set up your hooks and sinkers in one of the methods shown above. Bait your hook with one of the selected baits and cast out your line. Leave the bail of the reel open and place your rod in a double mounted set up as shown on the facing page. If the rod tip is lower than the reel, the carp will fee less resistance. Attach the strike indicator as shown and wait for the action to begin!

Remember to leave your reel bail open. Carp take long runs. If the bail is closed, a carp might pull your rod into the water before you can get to it.

Cooking Carp

Carp are extremely good to eat; in fact, they are considered a delicacy in many countries throughout the world. One of the problems with carp, however, are the two rows of small floating bones above and below the lateral line. Breaking the floating bones by either scoring the fillet or grinding it up is important to make your meal an enjoyable one.

Carp fillet showing locations of the small floating bones that lie in the fillet.
Location of the small floating bones the lie in the muscle above and below the lateral line.

Carp Recipes

Breaded Carp For A Fish Fry

  • Carp fillets
  • flour
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • lemon wedges
  • tartar sauce

Place carp fillets in a paper bag containing all purpose flour. Shake well to coat the fish. Dip fillets in a mixture of 1 tablespoon milk and 1 egg. Place floured, egged fish into a pan containing seasoned bread crumbs. Pat crumbs onto the fish with the heel of your hand. Pan or deep-fry at 375°F. Serve with lemon wedges or tartar sauce.

Chinese Broiled Carp

Make sure you remove the red muscle and scales from the fillets.

  • 2 lbs. prepared fillets
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. catsup
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper 1 clove garlic, minced

Place fish in a single layer in a pan and combine all remaining ingredients and pour over the fillets. Marinate for 2 hours. Drain and save the marinade for basting. Broil fish 4 inches from heat until done, basting with reserved marinade to brown both sides of the fillets.

Carp and Contaminants

Due to the long life span, feeding habits, and fat content of carp, they are more likely to take up and accumulate environmental contaminants than other species. This is of particular concern in urban and suburban areas. As a precaution, the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) recommends that an individual not eat more than one meal (1/2 lb.) of fish per week from any freshwater in the State of New York. On certain waters, DEC investigations have detected elevated contaminant levels, resulting in more restrictive advisories. For details, refer to the NYS DOH Fish Consumption Advisories website (leaves DEC website)

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