Knowing what to buy for your first fishing trip can be extremely confusing, this is especially due to the how well the carp equipment manufacturers market their tackle.

When it comes to carp fishing products, Europe has completely revolutionized the industry over the last ten years, and since the best products are being made in Europe, I am going to be making recommendations to their products in these articles.

If you are in the US, I’d recommend you still use these products as they are second to none.

If you have been watching the latest fishing DVD’s that are given away for free, yes, they have lots of tips, but the DVD’s are marketing tools to try and get you to buy rig components that aren’t always necessary, so keep that in mind.

Follow this guide to understand what equipment is needed, and what equipment is good to have if you have spare cash laying around.

Recommended reading: Best Carp Setup

Main Tackle

Fishing Rod

The fishing rods and fishing reels will be the most costly parts of your equipment when starting carp fishing, but be sure not to buy cheap else you will end up buying twice.

There are rods all over the internet that are less than $40, but I strongly advise against buying these, as tempting as it might seem, because they simply do not last long and are usually very heavy to use.

Typically, when carp fishing, you will see anglers fishing with up to 3 rods. But most anglers will purchase two rods and reels, then advance to three when they have the confidence and when the lakes allow (some lakes will let you fish 3 rods, but other lakes will limit it to 2 rods).

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Fishing Reel

You have a few different types of reels available to you when it comes to carp fishing. My advice is to buy a bait runner rather than a big pit because it takes out the complications when it comes to setting the clutch while you have a fish on your line.

Big pit reels are useful when you need to cast long distances, but can be a handful when you are learning how everything works.

With bait runners, you simply set the clutch for when the bait runner is on, and for when the bait runner is off, and then it’s as simple as just clicking the switch when you set the rod down. Then once you are reeling the fish in, the switch will click over to allow the line to feed off the reel under tension when the fish is trying to swim away, which will stop your hook from pulling out of the fish’s mouth.

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Fishing Line

When fishing for small carp, you won’t need a high breaking strain line. Somewhere between 8-10lb line will be suitable for the fish you are targeting.

I would avoid using braid, as a lot of lakes don’t like it being used as the main line.

Fluorocarbon is a good line to use but it has its complexities too, so starting off with a monofilament line such as the suggestions below should be what you buy when starting out.

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Bank Sticks or Rod Pod

Rod pods are great to use because you don’t have the hassle of trying to bang the bank sticks into the ground, but bank sticks are a lot cheaper for when you are starting out.

When you have decided that you want to continue with carp fishing, then I suggest that you buy both a rod pod and bank sticks.

Thinner bank sticks are easier to use but less stable, so there is a balance when it comes to purchasing them.

If you buy the thick ones (that are cheap) they can be difficult to get in the ground.

If you buy the thin ones (that are also cheap) they can be quiet unstable and more suited to float fishing.

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Fishing Net

Fishing nets are typically simple, but getting the wrong one for carp fishing could put the fish at risk, as the fins can get caught in a certain type of net.

You need a net with a fine mesh to make sure this doesn’t happen.

For starting out, a 36-inch net is more than enough in terms of size, but you will need a 42-inch net when you start targeting the larger carp when specimen fishing.

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Spreader Block

The more complex part of the net is the handle and spreader block.

A spreader block is typically plastic on the cheaper nets, the more expensive nets have metal spreader blocks.

Plastic spreader blocks can be quite difficult to put the net arms into, but they are very secure.

The metal spreader block is a lot nicer, but expect to pay more money.

Fishing Net Handle

You will find a few different versions of fishing net handles;

  • Fixed handle
  • Telescopic Handle
  • Screw Handle

The fixed handles are good as they are stiff and strong, but usually around 6-foot, so take up a lot of space in your car and might not fit in your boot.

Telescopic handles are very compact, so, great if you have a small car, but not as strong as the fixed handle.

The screw handle is the best of both worlds but slightly more expensive (but worth the money).

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Bite Alarms

The best bite alarms you can buy in my opinion are the Delkim brand bite alarms, but if you are starting out as a beginner, it is likely that these will be out of your price range.

If you can afford the Delkim alarms from the start and you think you will be carrying on with carp fishing, I would highly recommend them as they will last you a lifetime.

If you are looking to not spend as much money, the budget Nash bite alarms are highly recommended.

I used to use the Fox warrior alarms, but this was many moons ago and technology has moved on since then.

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Bobbins

I really like using the Korda Stow bobbins because they are clipped to the actual line, so when the fish is playing with your rig, when the line moves, your bobbin moves too.

The standard bobbins clip around your line, so you might not notice the movement as much as you would them the stow bobbins.

The other good feature of the stow bobbin is the ability to add weight to them when it is windy.

You can also buy longer chains for them if you have tall bite alarms.

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Unhooking Mat

Small unhooking mats are around 90 x 48cm in size. These are perfectly suitable for carp under 10lbs.

Medium sized mats are around 115cm x 70cm. The medium sized mat is good for when you start specimen fishing, although not hugely necessary when you are targeting smaller fish as they are quite a handful to carry around.

Fishing cradles are also great products as they fold away into neat packages, but are more expensive.

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Fishing Chair

You may be tempted to just use your camping chairs when fishing, which is fine when starting out, but there are some very subtle differences between fishing chairs and camping chairs that make a big difference when using them.

The first difference is the weight. Fishing chairs are much lighter and easier to handle. This is because you will be picking them up and moving around the lake during your fishing sessions. Whereas, when you are camping, once you are set up, you typically won’t need to move your camping gear.

Fishing chairs fold up smaller than camping chairs, making it easier to fit them in your car.

But, the main feature of a few of the chairs on the market is that they will clip onto your tackle bag, making them really useful when stalking and moving around the lake with minimal equipment.

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End Tackle

When it comes to end tackle, there are hundreds of options to choose from.

If you are using ready-made rigs, you won’t need to buy hooklinks, rig components or hooks, but you will need leads swivels and boilie stops.

Here is a basic list of the things you will need, but when you start using more advanced methods, the list will be endless.

  • Safezone Leader or Rig Tubing
  • Quikclips
  • Size 10 Carp Hooks
  • Hook link
  • Lead Clips
  • 1.5oz Lead
  • Swivels
  • Ready-Tied Hair Rigs
  • Boilie Stoppers

Other Equipment

Other fishing equipment that you must have when starting carp fishing is as the list below.

You must have each of these items before you start fishing.

Fishing License

If you are in the UK – click here to purchase a license.

Unless you are fishing a lake owned privately by you or a friend, you will need a license, else you could be faced with a huge fine.

Bait

Boilies are the best bait to start with as fish easily recognize them as a good food source.

Although pellet, nuts and food particles like sweetcorn and maize are a good bait to use when starting out.

Scissors

I won’t use any scissors other than the Korda Razor scissors as they are simply the best.

I have tried other scissors on the market and the go blunt very quickly, whereas, the Razor scissor last a lot longer and aren’t very expensive.

Forceps

You must have forceps to hand when fishing, to remove the hook from the carps mouth.

A pair of 8-inch forceps are good for carp and they shouldn’t need replacing for a long time.

Carp Care Kit

Carp care kits are used to prevent infection of fish. They should be used on hook holes when you remove your hook, and they should also be used on the fish’s body where they have been injured, such as a lifted scale.

They are very easy to use and help towards the safety of the fish.

5 Ltr Bucket

Buckets are just handy to have. They can also be used to mix up groundbait, but also to wet unhooking mats before putting fish on them, and for wetting your hands before handling fish.

Handy If You Can Afford It

Deeper pro plus – portable fish finder and depth sonar.

FishSpy – underwater marker float camera

Bait boat – fish getting the bait and your rigs to tricky places and tight to islands without risking getting snagged.

Day shelter – to keep you and your equipment out of the rain.