The Best Carp Rods

Choosing the best carp rod is vital when choosing the right one for the fishing situation that you’ve got. No one rod can do everything on every single water, so there a range of rods available, all at different test curves. That’s the starting point when choosing a carp rod. We discuss all the different types that are available.

Test Curves – 2.5lb to 2.75lb

Choosing the right tool for the right job, as in most things his paramount to success rods up two and three quarters as a popular misconception that they’re lightweight rods there actually perfect for the job at hand if you are fishing small commercial waters or margin fishing they’re ideal.

The beauty of a 2.5lb rod or a 2.75lb rod is the playing action, obviously, it’s a lot softer, it’s not necessary to have that backbone for those massive casts. So when you do a hook a fish and you do get it close in and you are playing it but, they’re just so much nicer to use, the feel of them are lovely to play fish on, but you also feel a lot more confident when you get a fish near to the net.

When using a two and three quarter pound rod you can use leads from 1oz up to 3oz’s. If you were to put a 3oz lead on a 2.75lb test curve rod and give it a good cast, you’ll get ranges up to about 100m, so good all round rod, ideal for small PVA bags, and fishing and small waters.

Test Curves – 3.0lb to 3.25lb

Next we have rods in the 3lb to 3.25lb range, which are becoming a lot more popular over the recent years, mainly because of their versatility. With a 3.25lb rod you can practically cover all situations, and they are still forgiving enough to fish close in if needs be. But when you do feel that need to go out at range, with a 3lb or 3.25lb rod, you should be able to get ranges up to 140 yards with the right lead and the right line.

They will quite easily handle leads up to 4oz’s, and a 3.25lb test curve rod is actually my own personal choice of rods because of the sort of various waters I fish, I never know quite what I’m going to come up against when I turn up. I could be fishing at 10 yards, or if I see the fish at 120, 130 yards, that’s where I need to be. They are a good rod because they have got the extra bit of backbone if you do use larger PVA bags or method feeders with a little bit of casting weight, they are perfect for that.

You will find that as you go up in the test curves, that the rods nowadays generally start to become a little bit more faster on the taper, which is to say they’ve bend quite easily at the tip but then the main strength of the rod transfers further up the blank so you’ve got more of a beefy backbone for casting at distance and for playing big fish. If you are playing big fish in weedy situations, you are going to find a 3lb or 3.25lb rod will just give you that extra little bit of confidence of getting the fish in the net.

Test Curves – 3.5lb

Finally, we have an extreme distance rod, a 3.5lb test curve rod. These are the guys who really want to hit the horizon when casting. There’s no real limit for the casting ability of these rods, it’s more down to your own abilities.

They can quite easily handle leads in excess of 4, 5oz’s, maybe even 6oz’s in the right situation when using it with as a shock leader. If you need to get there, a 3.5lb test curve rod in the right hands is going to get you there. The other thing with long ranges rods, that’s exactly what they are for, they are designed for casting long ranges, so you do compromise a little bit of your fish playing, not ability, but the feel of playing the fish is a bit of an art into itself, so if you’re going to use one of these at close range, hook and hold, it’s not really the tool for the job, but they will get you out there and if you use them correctly you will get the fish back in.

Of course, any purchase is going to be governed by your budget. The advice I would give is, spend what you can afford, don’t stretch yourself, because you might live to regret it one day. But equally, if you can stretch to buy the next rod up in that price range and then it’s worth having a look.

The beauty these days is that you can actually get a lot of carp rod for not a lot of money. You can spend anything from £50 up to £300 to £400 for a carp rod today. Yes, there’s going to be a difference in performance, yes it’s going to be a difference in balance, in terms of weight, in terms of the quality of the carbon you get, so ultimately I guess you do get what you pay for, but thankfully you get a little bit more these days by sometimes playing a little bit less. You don’t have to go out and spend £300 to get performance.

Fittings on a rod is another thing, you could end up with a rod with Fuji reel seats, Fuji guides throughout the rod, the top end stuff, but you’re going to pay top any money for that.

The Best Feeder Rods

Making sure you’ve got the right rod on the day can literally make a session a pleasure or if you’ve got the incorrect kit it can make it a real difficult day. So, giving a little bit of thought to what equipment you buy, and suiting it the equipment to the job you’ve got to do, is absolutely essential in my opinion.

So what things do you need to think about?

Power and Sensitivity

The first thing you need to think about is the power of the rod. This is determined by the species that you were looking to target with the rod, and the kind of water that you fish.

So if you are targeting big fish on a weedy venue, or you are you fishing the feeder up to an island for medium sized fish, but you need to drag them out of things like snags, you want a power feeder rod, and there are a lot of models on the market made just for that.

If you fishing more for the mixed fisheries where you can catch carp, tench, crucians or all the species like that, then you want a more all round feeder rod, and there are lots of choices on the market to cater for that as well.

Rod Lengths

Now, the second point to think about is the length of the rod, and this comes down to how far you wanted to cast. Do you want to cast a feeder to the horizon, 100,110,120 yards, you want a longer feeder rod at around 13-14 foot. Whereas, if you are fishing a more intimate venue or if you are a match angler who’s looking to cast of too islands on a commercial type fishery, a shorter rod will not only give you more accuracy, but also when you are playing fish, when you come to the netting stage, you will get them in a lot quicker, as a fish come close to the bank, it’ll be so much easier to net.

Guides and Tips

Another consideration is the size of the eyes of the rod that you want to use. Generally speaking, if you are wanting to cast the feeder into the horizon as previously mentioned, and you buying a rod for distance casting, you find that it has bigger eyes anyway. It’s always worth making sure if you are buying it for this purpose, that the size of the eyes are suitably large to accommodate thick lines so you can cast the distance that you want to.
Finally, most feeder rods are supplied with quiver tips. These range in size from half an ounce, for very light fishing on still waters when you are trying to detect delicate bites from species like skimmers or crucians to really big heavy tips that can go up to 5 ounces in size when you are casting big weights on fast flowing waters and you’ve got strong lines to hold.

So the size of the tip it is a very important consideration. Most rods that you buy are supplied with a variety of tips again is always worth making sure that the size of the tip that comes with the rod that you wanted to use, is going to suit your style of fishing, and if they are not supplied with tips, you need to find out you can get them from the manufacturer. A lot of manufacturers only give you two or three tips with a rod, but if you look in the catalogue, you’ll probably find that they sell a full range of tips so you could actually order tips to specifically suit what you’re wanting to do.

What quiver tip to use?

That really comes down to the weight of feeders that you fishing with on the day, the two go hand-in-hand, and you should always remember that. But the lighter tips range in size from about half an ounce to about 1 and a ½ ounce and these should be used to pick up delicate bites on still waters when is little wind to create any sort of tow or movement, because they are really sensitive and you will pick up the smallest of bites, but on the downside of you use a tip too light, you find the tip bottoms out and you’ll not see any indications because all of the strain is taken up by the movement of the wind of the toe.

Moving up to a medium tip, these range in size for about an ounce and a half to about 3 ounces and these are used when you want slightly more distance in terms of casting, or fishing for slightly bigger fish, say if you’re fishing for carp, or if you’ve got slightly more wind or tow on a river, because they are more stiff, as your pickup strain of the feeder it’ll take more to bend them around. Again, the plus side of that if you’ve got adverse conditions, you’ll get a more delicate registration because it not be pulled down and maxed out as it would be if you were using the light tip.

The heaviest kind of tips are best used on fast flowing rivers for example, or when you are casting a long way with a bolt rig type set up like a method feeder, and these again need more effort or more pressure to bend around so they’re not going to be as sensitive but they are going to give you better play and power. If it’s windy or you’ve got adverse conditions, you’re better off using one of these because you’re going to get a proper bend on the tip.

How Do I Choose The Right Rod?

So I’ve explained roughly what makes up a feeder rod, and what you should use on a given day to suit the conditions, but how do you go about deciding what rod is best for you when it comes down to making that all important purchase?

Well as I explained, you need to suit the rod to the venues that you are looking at fish, and the nice thing with a feeder what is a lot of the systems available give you lots of different combinations. So, for example, if you pick up and medium-length feeder rod it will give you three different tips, you’ve got the potential to use it for casting a method feeder a long way to big fish, or a light tip will work well for smaller fish.

So it’s all about thinking how much you want to spend, thinking about what you want the rod to do, and if you are confused by any of it you can always just drop a comment below and I’ll do what I can to help.



I have made a lot of mistakes during my fishing sessions and don’t want you to make the same mistakes. I’ve learned the hard way over 20 years of fishing most weekends, testing, tweaking, and testing again and now want to help you excel with your carp fishing.

If you need any help, you can reach me at Fishing Again’s Facebook page

Last Updated on February 1, 2024 by Shane