Carp Fishing Essentials
Carp fishing is a popular activity that requires a few essential items to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience. Here are the top five carp fishing essentials:
- Rod and reel: A good quality rod and reel are essential for casting and reeling in carp. Look for a rod with a fast action and a reel with a smooth drag system.
- Bait: Carp are attracted to a variety of baits, including boilies, pellets, and groundbait. Experiment with different baits to see what works best in your fishing location.
- Hooks: Carp have tough mouths, so it’s important to use strong, sharp hooks. Consider using hooks with a wide gape and a barb to ensure that the hook stays secure in the fish’s mouth.
- Line: A strong, durable line is essential for landing carp. A braided line is a popular choice because it is thin, strong, and has a high sensitivity, making it easier to detect bites.
- Landing net: A large, sturdy landing net is essential for safely landing and releasing carp. Look for a net with a soft, rubberized mesh to protect the fish’s scales and skin.
In addition to these essentials, it’s also a good idea to bring along a variety of other tools and equipment, such as a bait bucket, a weigh sling, and an unhooking mat. By being prepared with these essentials, you’ll be ready for a successful day of carp fishing.
The Complete Carp Day & Night Fishing Checklist – Infographic
Before We Start…..
Before we go through the list of things you will need when you go carp fishing at night, let me start by saying that the link below contains the number one item you need for every session. Click the link.
NOTE: Throughout this page, I have linked to my favourite bits of kit. The words underlined are the links, so click on the links to see the prices of my favourite kit. Amazon state that I am not allowed to display prices, so please click the links and the buttons to see the latest price.
Basic Day Equipment
In this article, I list out all of the items you will need to be prepared for all occasions at the bank.
I go through the items you will need for day fishing, and the items you will need for night fishing.
I have also listed items that are nice to have if you have spare money and things that just make your life a lot more easier and comfortable.
If I have missed anything on the list that you think I should have included, please put it in the comment section below.
Carp Fishing Equipment for Day Fishing – Checklist
- Carp Fishing Bait
- Bank Sticks and Buzz Bars
- Bite Alarms
- Bite Indicators
- Carp Care Kit
- Carp Rods
- Carp Reels
- Catapult and Throwing Stick
- End Tackle
- First Aid Kit
- Fishing License
- Landing Net & Pole, inc Pole Float
- Lead Weights
- Rod Pod
- Rucksack or Carryall
- Towel for Drying Hands
- Unhooking Mat
- Weight Sling
Additional Equipment for Day Fishing – Checklist
These items aren’t necessary but will help when fishing.
- Bait Tubs
- Day Shelter
- Deeper Pro Plus
- Camera & Batteries
- Camping Chair
- Kettle / Gas Stove / Burner
- Marker Float
- Marker Rod & Reel
- Mosquito Spray
- Rig Wallet
- Rod Holdall
- Spod Rod & Reel
- Spomb or Spod
- Tackle Boxes
- Tea & Coffee
- Waterproof Clothing
Carp Fishing Equipment List
Carp Fishing Bait – You aren’t going to catch without it.
Bank Sticks and Buzz Bars – Your rods need to be secure at all times.
Bite Alarms – Make life a lot easier when fishing.
Bite Indicators – These help you to see the line being moved.
Carp Care Kit – Helps to heal any wounds the fish may have.
Carp Rods – Clearly a must-have.
Carp Reels – And another must-have. Either bait runner or big pit reels.
Catapult and Throwing Stick – You need to be able to put the bait where your rig is.
End Tackle – Good end tackle, but it doesn’t need to be complicated.
First Aid Kit – Just in case you hook yourself.
Fishing License – Needed before casting out.
Forceps – Helps when greedy fish swallows your hook.
Landing Net & Pole, inc Pole Float – A must-have.
Lead Weights – A few different types depending on the lake bed.
Rod Pod – Helps to keep your rods neat.
Rucksack Or Carryall – Korum and Daiwa have the best bags.
Scales – Don’t buy luggage scales, use Daiwa or Reuben Heaton.
Tea Towel / Hand Towel – To dry your hands after a catch.
Unhooking Mats – Small mat for single figures, large for specimen carp.
Weigh Sling And Or Sack – To transport and weigh fish safely.
Extra Day Equipment
Bait Tubs – Useful for mixing bait and wetting unhooking mats.
Day Shelter – To keep you out of the sun and the rain.
Deeper Pro Plus – Quick and simple method of finding depths.
Camera And Batteries – To capture memories.
Camping Chair – Choose a chair that is lightweight and folds down.
FishSpy – Find clear spots on the lake with ease.
Knife – Survival knives are always handy and useful.
Marker Float – Marker floats are important for watercraft and accuracy.
Marker Rod And Reel – Make sure you can cast these as far as your carp rods.
Medicine – Paracetamol and upset tummy tablets are a good start.
Mosquito Spray – Don’t let them ruin your fishing session.
Rig Wallet – Keep your rigs safe instead of loose in your tackle box.
Rod Holdall – Keep your rods from getting damaged.
Spod Rod And Reel – Make sure you can cast these as far as your carp rods.
Spomb Or Spod – Buy both if you can afford them, in different sizes too.
Tackle Boxes – These are a must-have to keep your end tackle together.
Tea And Coffee – The perfect way to keep warm on cold nights.
Waterproofs – There’s nothing worse than having to wear wet clothes to bed.
Carp Night Fishing Checklist – Infographic
Carp Fishing Equipment List for Night Fishing
This is additional carp fishing gear you will need when night fishing
- Bed Chair
- Bin Bags
- Bivvy or Brolly
- Clothes to Change into
- Flask & Cups
- Frying Pan & Pots
- Head Lamp
- Lighting for Bivvy
- Lighting for Rod area
- Sleeping Bag
Nice to Have Items
These items are good to have with you if you have spare cash
- Baby Wipes
- Bivvy Table
- Bottled Water
- Carp Barrow
- Cooker or Burner
- DAB Radio
- Pop Up Shower Tent
- Portable Shower
- Portable Toilet
- Toilet Roll
- USB Solar Panel
- Warm Clothes, such as Hoodies and Gloves
- Wash Bag
Night Fishing Essentials Equipment List
What do you need for night fishing?
Bed Chair – You need one that is lightweight and folds, but also comfortable.
Bin Bags – Always take your rubbish with you.
Bivvy Or Brolly – Somewhere to keep out of the bad weather and to sleep.
Clothes – Spare clothes are useful to feel fresh.
Flask And Cups – Necessary for keeping warm in the cold weather.
Food And Drink – Packaged food if you don’t have a portable refrigerator.
Frying Pan And Pots – Only if you plan to cook, you’ll need cleaning stuff too.
Kettle – For tea, cleaning but also good for shrinkwrap.
Lighting For Bivvy – Magnetic lights or hanging lights, ideally USB.
Lighting For Rods – Lighting on a stand, ideally with a motion sensor.
Pillow – Fleece lined are normally the most comfortable.
Sleeping Bag – Buy a 5-season sleeping bag, nothing less.
Torch And Head Lamp – Ideally USB, and with a red torch option.
Nice To Have
Baby Wipes – To keep clean and to clean wounds.
Bivvy Table – Handy when tying rigs.
Bottled Water – For drinking, tea, and for showering.
Carp Barrow – Handy if you have a lot of gear, and so you can stay mobile.
Cooker Or Burner – Nice to have to stay warm.
Cutlery – Needed if you are doing any cooking.
Dab Radio – Nice to have, but keep the volume down.
Pop Up Shower Tent – Useful when you need privacy for showering and toilets.
Portable Shower – Now very cheap and useful for keeping fresh in the hot months.
Portable Toilet – Much nicer than most of the public toilets that everyone else uses.
Powerpack – For charging USB devices.
Toilet Roll – Just in case there is none, or if you have your own loo.
Towel – For frying off after a shower.
USB Solar Panel – To charge the powerpacks and USB devices.
Warm Clothes – For when the temperature drops.
Wash Bag – To keep your overnight gear together, plus your toothbrush.
Don’t forget spares just in case.
Spare Net Handle
Spare Set Clothes
Carp Fishing Equipment List – The In-depth Version
The above items are just a quick list of items you will need when carp fishing, below are the items I recommend that you buy.
1. Carp Fishing Bait
Types of Bait – Boilies, sweetcorn, bread, prepared particles, pellets, micro pellets.
I love fishing with boilies as my main bait as they are very easy to use, simple to attach to your rig, and they are very durable so you don’t have to keep checking if your bait is still on your hook.
2. Bank Sticks, Buzz Bars & Rod Pods
Bank sticks are a lot more versatile than rod pods as you can aim your rods in different directions in your swim
Buzz bars allow you to put multiple rods on single bank sticks
Rod pods give you fewer options but are a lot more stable than bank sticks. They are a great option when the ground is too hard for bank sticks.
3. Bite Alarms
Bite Alarms make your life easier when carp fishing.
You will need one alarm per rod.
The remote is not necessary, but I prefer using one because I can turn the alarms down, and set the remote to vibrate. When the alarms are set like this, it keeps sound to a minimum by the lake, but I still get alerted to any movement on my line.
I use Delkim alarms, as I have for years, and unlikely to change to a different brand anytime soon.
I use a different colour for each rod and set each rod to a different tone.
During the night, if an alarm triggers, the light is bright enough to light up the whole bivvy with the colour of the alarm, so I know straight away which rod to grab when I get a bite.
4. Bite Indicators
Bite Indicators – These specific bite indicators (despite copying other manufacturers’ designs) are very good as they will let you know very quickly what the fish are doing with your rig.
As these specific bite indicators are rigid, you won’t get false readings when it is windy (well, false readings will be reduced).
The sensitivity of the bite indicators can be adjusted and they can also be lengthened.
These should be set up to allow you to detect fish moving away from you, as well as towards you.
Bite indicators are also available with lights installed. The light is activated when the alarms are triggered, making it very easy to see which rod needs your attention.
The lights are also available in different colours to match the different coloured lights on your alarms.
5. Carp Care Kits
Carp Care Kits are crucial when you are carp fishing. It is imperative that we protect the fish for future generations.
DO NOT fish without a carp care kit.
6. Carp Fishing Rod
Carp fishing rods can be quite confusing due to the vast selection available.
It’s advisable to specifically buy a carp rod for carp fishing to get the best experience.
Dependent on your particular style of fishing, whether it be feeder fishing, stalking, margin fishing or long-distance casting, choosing a rod to suit your fishing will make the experience a lot more satisfying and enjoyable.
If you enjoy feeder fishing, use this link to read more about the rods.
But, if you are more of an all-rounder, we have added some links below to the rods we recommend.
If you are surface fishing, you might want a lighter setup.
7. Catapult or Throwing Sticks
If you are a long-distance caster and enjoy targeting the fish that hold up where most anglers are unable to cast, a throwing stick is a must-have item.
I once made a video where I was fishing a lake that held all of the carp in the middle of the lake, and if your rod couldn’t reach the fish, you would be going home without catching anything.
If I had a throwing stick and a stronger rod, the outcome would have been very different. But, suffice it to say, I now carry a throwing stick with me for every session.
I have a long and a short throwing stick which means I can reach the fish no matter where they are. Obviously, the long throwing sticks are able to reach carp at a distance, but the short throwing sticks are equally as useful for getting a lot of bait scattered near an island that may be 30 yards away, for example.
I never go fishing without a catapult – it is a must-have item.
8. End Tackle
I could write a whole article about end tackle, but that isn’t what this particular article is for, so I will keep it short and highlight the main end tackle you should have.
Below is a complete end tackle kit that will cover most rig requirements for a really good price.
- Space Beads
- 2M Rig Tubing
- Stopper Extender
- Pear Shape Sinker Weights
- Anti-tangle Sleeve
- Rig Rubber Sleeve
- Carp Hook Sleeve
- Safety Lead Clips
- Tail Rubber
- Stops Bead
- Carp Hook Sleeve
- Quick Change Swivel
- Screw Peg with Ring Swivel
- Link Swivel Quick Change
- Rolling Swivels
On a serious note…
If you are a Korda or Nash fanatic and were expecting to see the main brand kit on my end tackle list, I am also the main brand user and use lots of Korda, Nask and Korum end tackle. But, I also have a kit similar to the one above (although the above kit is better than mine). I always have it with me, because you never know when you might run out, and having a complete kit in a box like the above, has saved quite a few sessions for me on many occasions. What I have actually done, is use the components out of my kit, and as I run out, I replace them with main-brand equivalents.
Although, the problem I have with kits from main brands, is that the main brand kit is ten times the price of the components in the kit above. And, when you are using bait stoppers, why would you pay ten times as much for a piece of plastic that is no different from the cheaper version, I still use the cheaper equivalents for bait stoppers and hook sleeves.
Don’t get me wrong, I never use the hooks from the kit above, they get replaced with main brand hooks straight away (I use Korum hooks which are much sharper than Korda and Nash, and are half the price). But I have never seen the logic in spending ten times as much for a piece of plastic, just because the company spends more money on company branding each year.
Don’t waste your money on branded pieces of plastic.
9. First Aid
Having a first aid kit with you isn’t only useful for you, but also for fellow anglers fishing nearby. Having a kit like this is a must-have when fishing.
Using sharp hooks and scissors whilst fishing, and combining that with a lack of clean water can lead to nasty infections.
Being able to clean cuts and cover them up will allow you to continue fishing, rather than a painful infection leading to a hospital visit.
Don’t forget to grab some Nurofen for aches and pains, and Immodium for sudden stomach aches.
10. Fishing license
You need a rod fishing licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel with a rod and line in:
- England (except the River Tweed)
- the Border Esk region of Scotland
You must always carry your rod fishing licence when you’re fishing or you could be prosecuted.
You can be fined up to £2,500 for fishing without a rod fishing licence.
Children under 13 do not need a licence.
Licences for children aged between 13 and 16 are free. You’ll still need to get a junior licence.
You also need:
- permission from the landowner to fish on private land
- an additional licence to fish in locks or weirs on the River Thames
You must follow national and local rules (byelaws) when freshwater fishing with a rod and line in England and Wales. There may be additional rules on private land.
11. Carp Fishing Nets
A 42″ Carp fishing net is a must-have when specimen fishing.
If you are fishing for smaller carp, a 36″ net will suffice.
It’s always worth having a spare net and handle in the back of the car. I have had nets snap of many occasions, as well as handles being stepped on and snapped. Either a net or handle breaking will likely end your session if you don’t have a spare.
Forceps are another must-have tool for every single carp fishing trip. Your first job after catching a fish is to remove the hook and cause minimal damage to the mouth of the fish.
A good, sturdy set of forceps will make this job quick and easy for you.
13. Lead Weights
You should have a range of leads with you to suit different distances and lake bed variations.
Lead sizes should vary from 1oz-2oz for short-distance fishing. Up to 5oz for long-distance casting.
Having different shapes will allow you to adapt your fishing according to the lake bed. If you are fishing a slope, you will want a flat lead so it doesn’t roll. If you are fishing at range, you will need a long streamlined lead to penetrate the air like a rocket.
Having different colours and finishes will allow you to match the lake bed, which will also help you to camouflage the lead minimizing the chance of spooking fish when they are near your rig.
9 Night Fishing Tips
Pressured day ticket lakes that are heavily fished day in, and day out, can switch on at night. Some lakes completely switch off during the day and only feed at night, so getting on the bank to do overnight sessions can score you some good fish.
The visible fishing lines are a lot more difficult for the fish to see, and the noise from the banks quietens down, so the fish bask in the sun during the day and then turn on to feeding during the night when they feel safer.
Being woken by a screaming bite alarm can be very disorientating and takes a while to figure out where the noise is coming from. The pitch-black sky can also make it very difficult to see anything, so being organized and tidy is the key to successful night fishing.
You need to buy the right kit, have lights charged up, and head torches to hand, ready to hit the rods when the bite alarms start ringing.
If you are a heavy sleeper, night fishing may not be for you. But, if you are able to rest during the day, and sleep lightly at night, there isn’t much that beats catching fish with a full moon shining underneath the stars.
Being by the lake, watching the sunrise and the carp leaping out of the water is a difficult experience to beat.
But the enjoyment of night fishing comes from being able to adapt to working in the dark, sometimes pitch black, sometimes when it’s raining heavily.
I’ve had a few night sessions, during stormy weather, with me laying there wondering what I’d do if my bivvy blew into the lake. These sessions are hard work but can be very rewarding.
Here are some night fishing tips to help towards your success.
Keep Things Tidy
It can be very startling when you have fallen into a deep sleep and all of a sudden your bite alarm is screaming at you, full pace. All of a sudden, you are trying to get out of your sleeping bag, trying to get your shoes on, and trying to figure out which way is up! I have rushed out of my bivvy a few times now, rush towards the rods, and ended up running sideways because I couldn’t see the horizon and figure out where I was.
If you are rushing out of your bivvy towards your rod, you need to make sure you aren’t tripping over things in your way. If you have bags, food, or worse, rigs, hooks, and sharp stuff, you are going to either end up injured, or in the lake!
Before you go to bed, put your bags on the back of the bivvy. Put your rig components and sharp tools back in the tackle box and out of the way. Put your shoes in front of you so you can slip them on quickly. And, have your headlamp available and ready to grab on the way out.
Simple tasks are made a lot more difficult in the dark under torchlight. Get things organized before it gets dark.
Set Up Lighting Before Dark
You will always be better off having too much lighting than not enough.
There is nothing worse than trying to fumble your way around the swim whilst trying to use the torch on your phone. Having enough lighting will make night fishing not only safer but much easier.
There is a whole range of lighting available on Amazon Prime these days, most of which are now very affordable.
These lights can be charged via USB making it easier when you forget to buy batteries.
Having a head torch with a red bulb option is much better when playing fish, the fish will often spook off of bright white light, sending them charging away from you when they get near the net.
The great thing about lighting today is that most torches and head torches are LED bulbs, which are low energy and don’t need replacement bulbs. They are also a lot brighter these days.
Don’t forget to buy lighting for taking photos in the dark. Head torches aren’t enough to light you up when taking a photo.
This type of light is perfect and only needs to be on whilst taking the photo, look enough to not upset anyone else on the lake.
The one downside to having good lighting when on the bank is insects. So, having a good zapper such as this one is a must-have item.
Shelter For Night Fishing
Being comfortable during your overnight stay depends a lot on your accommodation.
It’s very easy to “make do” when you review the prices of bivvies, but choosing the right bivvy for the right price can be a challenge.
Brollies are fine for the summer, but you should buy a bivvy that will allow you to add extra wraps to keep you warm in the winter.
Groundsheets and air vents are also beneficial features when looking for a suitable shelter for night fishing.
The best bivvy for carp night fishing is the Tempest V2 by Trakker, but if your pockets aren’t that deep, here are some other good options;-
Be Set Up For Tea Or Coffee
Being able to keep warm is important for being comfortable in night sessions.
Having the ability to make a hot drink in the morning will change your life.
Compact stoves such as this one are very lightweight these days and don’t require huge gas canisters anymore, they are compact like this one. They are really easy to throw into your tackle bag so it’s always at your fingertips.
If you buy an all-in-one cutlery set such as this one, all you have to do is grab the bag on your way out of the door and you will always have fresh tea or coffee no matter where you are.
Tie Rigs In Advance
Tying rigs at 3 a.m. because a fish has snapped your hook link, whilst tired, is not fun. So spend so much time during the day tying rigs in advance. That way, you can just clip them onto your quick link and your rod is back out on the spot again in no time.
There is every chance of you losing the enthusiasm of tying rigs a 3-am, leading you to not bother putting the rod back on the spot. If you are fishing with two rods and don’t put one of them back, you have just halved your chance of catching.
Put the effort in upfront and save the hassle and effort of trying to tie them later.
Better still, have the PVA mesh bags or solid bags set up with your rigs and goo in them already, and then just clip them onto the lead clip ready to be cast out. This will minimize the time messing around on the bank, which means your rig is out of the water for less time too.
Using Glowsticks During Darkness
When the sun sets, it can be quite difficult to see your horizon marker to get your rig back on the right spot.
The best horizon markers such as a particular tree, are seen during the day and during the night, but, where this isn’t possible, you can ask a mate to walk around the lake to the other bank and put a glow stick on the bank opposite. This way, when the sunsets, you can just cast to the glow stick rather than trying to figure out which dip in the trees you are supposed to be casting to.
If you buy a set like these, you can use different colors for each of the spots. If you are very well organized and use Delkim bite alarms, you can match the color of the bite alarm to the color of the glow stick.
Precision is important with carp fishing, especially if you have put out lots of bait. You need to be sure that your rigs are landing on the baiting spot every time, or else you are just wasting money and giving the bait away for free.
Clip Up For Distance
Whether you are a carp angler who fishes during the day, or at night. You should be using your line clips every time you cast out.
Distance sticks on the bank will help you achieve the right distance every time. Remember to write down how many wraps it is at each spot.
Also, remember to take the line out of the line clip when you set the rods down, or else you might wake up to one less rod on your rod pod.
As stated above, if you aren’t using distance sticks and horizon markers, you have no guarantee of getting your rigs back on the baited spot, which will likely lead you to blank.
Prepare To Catch Fish
Make sure your unhooking mat is out of the way of your rods, but ready to be used when needed.
Ensure you have your bucket of lake water nearby to wet the mat and the fish. Also, make sure your other equipment is available so you don’t have to start pulling equipment out of your bag looking for the scales when you have a fish on the bank.
Whenever fish are out of the water, you need to work quickly so you can get the fish back into the water as quickly as possible. So, having your equipment ready will help you achieve this.
Many fishing rods have had the tips broken off due to anglers having to fumble around in the darkness trying to sort out a fish on the bank.
Glowing Bite Indication
If you have Delkim bite alarms, you should invest in Nitelite bite indicators, these can be seen from your bivvy, so when you hear the bite alarm bleep, you can watch the bite indicator moving around to see if you are getting a liner, or if it is a hooked fish on the end of your line.
If you can’t afford the Nitelite bite indicators or don’t have Delkim bite alarms, you can buy isotopes and attach them to your bite alarms.
Isotopes do not use any power and last for many years, saving you running for the rods at every bleep to see what is going on.
Do Carp Bite At Night
Carp typically take their guard down at night as the lines are a lot less visible, and anglers on the bank are a lot quieter once they get their heads down.
This is all dependent on the angling pressure and the patterns of the lake, but essentially some lakes really come to life at night.
Best Carp Bait For Night Fishing
Carp bait for night fishing shouldn’t be any different from day fishing, although ensuring there are lots of different attractants and scents in the area should be a priority.
Ideally, you will keep your swim topped up slow and steady, but obviously, this isn’t ideal through the night if you are trying to get 40 winks.
Instead, one tactic is to use the time before sunset to spod out a good bed of bait, ready for the carp to find it and start feeding.
This method will create a lot of attraction to your baited spots, where schools of fish will start feeding once the sun sets and their confidence grows.
The Best Carp Fishing Rod – Our Recommendations
1. Greys GT2
3. JRC Extreme
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