Float fishing for carp is almost becoming a dying art. Carp fishing is probably the most popular fish, I guess now in the British Isles and a whole industry, a whole tackle industry, and bait industry have all been drawn up into carp fishing on almost a cult basis. You need great big rods, at 3.5lb test curve they got a cast to Hawaii and beyond, braided line, giant fixed spool reels, everything is just to catch that one big fish.

But, with the youngsters coming in to the sport today, they’re missing out on a lot of fun when float fishing, they can have some good sport with carp up at 10, 15, 20lb, and there are so many day ticket fisheries around nowadays, why not start small, have an appreciation for the size of the fish you are catching, rather than just jump in, get all the kit, sit there, get disillusioned with it and probably leave the sport.

So rather than big heavy duty long-distance tackle, we’re going to be fishing close range. So for this, we use an Avon quiver tip rod, which has just got an ordinary Avon tip and a quiver tip. It’s not a heavy rod, just 1.25lb test curve and it’s caught some really big fish for me.

Float Fishing Tackle for Carp Fishing

So, just your average rod and reel. The reel is a Shimano Aero, which is a sort of matchman’s reel. I use 5-6lb fishing line, any decent brand will do, then all you need is the end tackle, which is really simple. Some float stop beads, a float, some split shot, and a hook. Really cheap, simple equipment.

Once you have the rig set up, you cast it in to plumb the depth, then adjust the float and float stops until you have the right depth.

Best Float Fishing Bait for Carp

I don’t use any boilies whatsoever when float fishing for carp. I use bait from the local shop because it’s so cheap, it is for the budget conscious and easy to get hold of.

Sweetcorn, I think I paid about £1.50 for a great big bag full, but get them from a freezer center so they are cheaper than the tins. Hot dog segments, these are not like luncheon meat, if you smell these, they smell totally different, and obviously, not many people are using these, and I can assure you there are excellent for barbel and carp. A tin of these at the current prices are about 45p from a supermarket. The secret additive is natural wheat bran, which is £2 for a kilo, and it bulks out my ground bait, it’s very fine so it feeds off other smaller fish, then I put a few slices of bread with that, which will last a whole session

Take your slices of bread, put them in a bucket with some water in it and break the bread up until it goes mushy. Then add the bran to that as well, then as you start to mix it into the water, you will see that the bran will soak up the water and start to turn more solid, so it can be molded.

Then I mix some sweetcorn into that but saving some for hook baits. Stir it all in together and you will see that the sweetcorn adds some color which will draw in the fish.

After that is mixed in, I add some thinly sliced hotdog pieces, about 5mm in thickness.

Best Carp Float Setup

To bait up the swim, there is no need to chuck the bait out miles, no need for spods, and no need for bait boats, because we fish in the margins and only a couple of rod lengths out when float fishing.

We just get a handful of the bait and squeeze it together into a ball, the size of a golf ball and just gently drop them into the margin.

We’re gonna be fishing by the trees and rushes. What I like to do the first time on a session, is to get a good bit of bait in the water. Now, I know they say feed on the little more often, but you know that most day ticket waters would have been match fished for the last couple of days and the fish know what bait is. Most of the commercial carp fisheries get plenty of bait put in the water and the fish know when the dinner bell is ringing.

I put the bait into the margins in about a 2-ft circle as I want to keep it quite tight. Don’t forget I can be that accurate because I am using the float and I am fishing close in, so I can fish literally like a pole fisherman does right under my rod tip.

float fishing for carp

Best Hook Baits For Float Fishing

So, for hook baits. Get a slice of bread, and take out a double pinch size of it, fold it over and then you bury the hook on the shank, leaving the point showing. Just roll the bread around the hook and give it a pinch on the end, so it’s got the hook point protruding.

For the deadly hot dog, most average anglers will be push through the middle twist it as per luncheon meat, that’s fine except you can see all the hook shank, which is no good, you don’t want to see the shank sticking out as it will spook the fish. Instead, push it through the outside skin just slide the hotdog over the hook so you can no longer see it.

Normally, the hotdog will fly off on a cast, but because we are fishing so close to the bank, it doesn’t matter, and to be honest, there’s no fish in the world is going to refuse the hot dog because it doesn’t even look like it is attached to anything.

If you are fishing with another angler in a swim, you have the benefit of both trying different baits to each other and seeing what the fish like. You can then swap and change to get the fish interested in your hook bait. One angler can try sweetcorn, the other can try the hotdog.

When it comes to float fishing, once the fish find your baited spots, you will get fish coming in and being caught very quickly. So why would you want to sit for weeks waiting for one huge fish when you can have fun with simple float tactics.

You will have success like this on most commercial lakes where the average weight is low, but the quantity of fish is high. The reason for this is that most anglers these days will overcomplicate things because they’ve watched the latest marketing DVD, and not quite got something right, resulting in the fish being spooked off. But because this method is so underused on most waters these days, the fish haven’t seen it before and are less likely to be spooked. It is really simple, hook, rod, reel, float, light tackle, bait up little and often, and have a steady flow of fun throughout the day.



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 January 31, 2024 by Shane