Coarse Fishing

Common Carp

Our brief, plain speaking guide to carp for novices and angling Yodas alike.

Carp (Common or European) are a large and widespread freshwater fish of the Cyprinidae family, renowned for wide variety and sizes and a true favourite of coarse fishing. Although small carp can be mistaken for goldfish, they can be distinguished by having a pair of barbs/whiskers at each corner of their mouth. An even and regular pattern of thick large scales covers the whole body, small eyes, thick lips, and a forked tail complete the ensemble. Colour varies: in the wild it’s usually olive greenish-brown on the back, and yellowish to bronze or silvery on the belly. Koi or Japanese Carp have a rock’n’roll rainbow of colours, with various vivid combinations of white, black, red, yellow, blue, and orange. They can regularly tip the scales at over 40lb (and much more!), which is why they are such exciting prospect for coarse fishing fans, eager to get a great shot of them grappling with a three-footer.
Finding them
Carp are pretty rugged so found in rivers, lakes, ponds, and reservoirs throughout Europe and beyond, loving warmer and slow-moving or still waters but able to tolerate faster rivers if they have spots to hide from the flow and lots of food. Their ruggedness extends to handling quite well murkier waters low in oxygen and higher in pollutants – often better than native fish – and thus it’s common to associate carp with stagnant waters. In the wild they like to gather in small groups, often under hiding spots like tree overhangs, lily beds, weeds, or high remote banks.
Food and bait
Omnivores, (or, just plain greedy…) carp eat a wide range of foods. They are happy to snout around mud, silt, weeds, and worm beds, or snaffle snails, crayfish, insect larva, and virtually any other aquatic insect, creature, or invertebrate. They do like their food! As an opponent, in popular lakes and spots the older bigger carp will be accustomed to being a prized coarse fishing target, so likely to have developed a taste for angling baits such as boilies and maggots. It can make them pretty cagey too: the older ones – they can live to be well over 30– can become quite adept at relieving your line of its treats!
In the right conditions carp are prolific. They mature early – from one year old for males, two for females – and the females produce large numbers of sticky eggs (up to 1.5 million for a 6kg fish). To breed they migrate to and from breeding grounds during the breeding season, sometimes travelling hundreds of miles. Most eggs and larvae die before they reach adulthood, but in the right conditions lots make it.
Latest News
Anthony Joshua catches his first fish
World boxing champion showed off one of his new skills
Illegal Tamworth fisherman fined after 'threatening officers'
An illegal Tamworth angler who used 'threatening behaviour' after being challenged about his rod licence has been...
Carp delivery helps put Revesby reservoir on national fishing stage
Revesby Estate is building on its carp stocks by stocking several handpicked large carp, in its latest step to put it...
Elderly widower Ray Johnstone found a fishing buddy to replace a deceased friend
He posted on the online classifieds site seeking a fellow lonely angler to enjoy regular days out in waters around...
Russian Deep-Sea Fisherman's Discoveries Will Fuel Your Nightmares
Earth's most mysterious and creepiest creatures remain mostly untouched in the deep ocean