All you need to know about Carp Fishing!

Carp (Cyprinus Carpio) Fishing is one of the most relaxing forms of Freshwater Fishing. It is a matter of baiting up, getting your bait into the water and waiting patiently for a fish to swallow the bait and run off wildly.

 Sometimes one can wait rather long for a take. Patience is definitely needed for this form of fishing. Having said this, one can also target Carp on lures and fly.

This does require quite a lot of activity and skill, much the same as Bass fishing.


Carp fishing using bait allows plenty of time to be social, have a barbeque, take in the beauty of the great outdoors and wildlife, etc.

Carp have very soft mouths so, when bringing in a Carp it is very important to play the fish gently.

Either bite alarms or bite indicators are used to indicate a bite. For bite alarms, the fishing rod is placed horizontally on specially designed stands where the line runs through a sensor that triggers an alarm when the fish runs. Alarms are especially useful at night.

A very colorful bite indicator can be attached to the line as an alternative to help indicate a run and these indicators are used mostly in daylight hours.TMC 4 X BITE ALARMS, RECIEVER AND SWINGERS

These can be very difficult to see at night even with the aid of a light. Also, one would loosen the reel drag and set the ratchet, which will also make a sound when the fish has swallowed the bait and begins to move off.

There are various ways to get your bait into the preferred area for fishing.

  • Your bait can be cast out to the desired location, There are some limitations here though, most anglers cast an average distance of 100 to 120 meters using well-practiced casting techniques and casting is not always 100% accurate either. Casting is fine for Papgooi.


  • Another method is the use of a Radio controlled bait-boat, this is a very accurate method as the bait can be placed exactly where it is desired. One can attach a line counter to the fishing rod in order to see how far out the line is when dropped and to keep a record of where the fish may be feeding more actively and then drop the bait at that exact spot each time.
  • One can also use a Canoe or rowing boat in order to take lines out to possible feeding grounds.
  • A method often used is a small boat fitted with a trolling motor.
  • Also, if someone else is taking the bait out for you it is good to have some sort of communication with them in order to make everything run more smoothly.
Rods & Reels:

For Papgooi one would need to purchase a rod specially designed for Carp fishing and casting heavy baits to a considerable distance.


The make of rod is of personal preference & determined by the available budget.NGT DYNAMIC 9000 10BB CARP BAIT RUNNER

They all perform pretty much the same tasks, much like buying a motor vehicle-they all get you from point A to point B.

Remember the smaller the test curve the more intense the entire experience of fighting the fish will be, feeling every movement and head shake.

On the other hand, don’t forget to think about the distance that you wish to cast and the weight that you will be using.

Many anglers use different rods in different situations. It is good to have an assortment on hand.

Most commonly used is the 10-foot with a test curve of between 2.75 & 3lb.

This rod is used for most waters where you don’t need to cast extremely long distances & it will cast a bait of up to 3 Oz.

The 12-foot rod will get you a lot more distance. The test curve of between 2.75 & 3.5lb will cast a bait of up to 4 Oz.

The 13-foot rod is used for extreme distance casting and also designed for handling bigger fish. The test curve of between 3 & 3.75lb will cast a bait in excess of 4Oz.


Back in the day, we used Magnum and Night Hawk type reels for Carp fishing.

The Fixed spool reel, also known as a Spinning reel, has now become the most popular type of fishing reel for all types of fishing.

Any size up to 4000 is considered to be light tackle fishing at short distances for smaller fish such as Tilapia, Yellowfish, Bluegill, Bass, small carp, etc.

For general Carp fishing, a reel size of between 4000 and 6000 would be perfect.

A reel size of 6000 and more would be ideal for long-distance fishing for big Carp.

For trophy Carp or Specimen Carp fishing, most anglers will go for a 10000 and bigger.

A line for the reel is again a personal choice and also dependant on the size of the fish being targeted.

Many Carp anglers are now using a Fixed spool reel called a “Bait runner.”

These reels are fished with a super light, almost free spool setting, and the reel can be switched between drag on or off by means of a lever at the back of the reel.

Bite Indicators:


A bite indicator that is most commonly used is a very colorful cork with a slit in one side of it in 


which to slot your line so that the cork pulls the line down in an arc towards the ground.

Any upward movement or sudden jerk of the cork will indicate a bite. A hole can be drilled into the cork in which to place a glow-stick for night fishing.

Another popular one is the Tube bite indicator. This is a colored tube that clips onto your line and will act in the same manner as the cork indicator.

At night one can unscrew the cap and insert a glow-stick into the tube. These are great to have in your tackle box and they are not at all expensive.

I have seen many anglers using some bait or a clothesline peg as a bite indicator.


The Battery operated electronic clip-on bite indicator, clips onto your fishing rod just above the reel, the line is then wound onto a wheel which will turn as the fish pulls on the line.

This turning of the wheel will cause an alarm to sound and a Led to light up indicating a bite.

A Swinger is also a bite indicator similar to the tube bite indicator, except this one is attached to an arm or weighted swinger that keeps tension on the line even if the fish bites towards you.

It is often used in conjunction with electronic alarms.

A WEIGHTED ADJUSTABLE SWINGERElectronic alarm type battery operated indicators have become very popular.4 PIECE CARP SWINGER BITE INDICATOR SET

One can use a cheap version which will light up and sound an alarm indicating a bite.

This indicator can be used for day and night fishing.

The indicator is attached to your rod holder and the line rests on a wheel that is sensitive to the slightest movement of the line.

A more expensive type of alarm with a receiver can be purchased at a price, but it is very useful as it can be taken into your sleeping quarters and when a fish activates an alarm on one of your rods, it will light up on the remote alerting you and indicating which rod has the bite before you even get outside.

Rod Stands & Rod Pods:

ADJUSTABLE ALUMINUM ROD STANDSRod stands are available in many forms and are made from various materials.

I am particularly fond of single rod stands as one can space the rods out as required, as opposed to the rod pods which have pre-set rod spacing and limitations.

The single stands are height adjustable and have a universal fitting for attaching Alarms, Swingers and rod guides.

The rod rests horizontally on these stands.



Rod pods are found in various types and brands. They are portable and can be disassembled to fit into a carry bag.

They are fully adjustable in length, width, height, and tilt up or down.CARP 3-ROD POD

They are designed to carry 2, 3 or 4 rods at any given time.

The most common and most practical in my opinion is the 2-rod pod.

Landing Nets, Mats, Scales & Weighslings:


These items are absolutely necessary for Carp fishing.

In order not to damage or traumatize the fish we use a landing net to pick the fish up out of the water.

We then place the fish on an unhooking mat so that it is not flapping around on the ground while we remove the hook.

It is also good practice to hold the fish over the mat when taking photos in case it is dropped.


The fish is placed into a weigh sling before being weighed so that the sling is hooked up to the scale and not the fish.


Many people use electronic scales.

They are extremely accurate using digital to the decimal, technology, that is if they are in perfect working order and the batteries are good.

The analog scale is preferred by the more serious fisherman as it can not give a bad reading as a result of poor batteries.

Papgooi Carp Angling:

Papgooi is the most commonly practiced form of Carp fishing today and it is quite basic and can be done by anyone without much effort or training.

Papgooi can be done in most rivers and dams at any time of the year and during the day and night. Night fishing for Carp has always produced more fish.

The winter months have been known to produce a lot of bigger fish although often one has to wait a lot longer for a bite.


Many anglers fish for Carp on casual outings, day trips, camping with friends and family, etc.

You will find plenty of time to photograph the environment and wildlife.

Papgooi is a very competitive sport with many competitions being held regularly.

An area of water will be allocated by a club or by the organization hosting the competition, this area is demarcated by means of numbered pegs.

Lots are drawn by the anglers who are taking part in the competition which will indicate the number at which each fisherman is to set up his equipment.

The competition can be fished by a single angler or a team on each peg.

There are a number of pre-defined rules that need to be followed in all competitions.

Points are awarded for each fish captured as well as the total bag weight of the fish caught.

I personally am not interested in this form of competition fishing as I believe that it inflicts a huge pressure on the fishable waters.

Also, I don’t believe that the points method is fair as the angler who bags 20 small fish, triumphs over the one who bags 3 or 4 big fish.

This point structure also encourages anglers to target smaller fish instead of trophy fish, “Quantity instead of Quality!”

Papgooi Tackle:

Swivels are used to create bait traces and you will have use of double and treble swivels for different traces.


Hooks are really a matter of personal choice, however, most anglers will use a size 2 to a size 8 hook with 4 and 6 being most common.3 x NGT DYNAMIC 4000 10BB CARP BAIT RUNNER

Hook sizes are also determined by their make so you will have to look carefully at the physical size when making a purchase. A size 2 in one brand may be a size 4 in another.


A special hook for Carp fishing known by us old-timers as the “Van Der Merwe hook” has a unique shape that is designed to keep bread and dough in place as opposed to the ordinary round hook that is used for floaties etc.




There are various types of weights available.

The Ball and Barrel sinkers for general use. The mushroom sinker onto which one can mold your feed.

The weighted or unweighted spring into which one can mold your feed.




NOTE: When building traces, especially with sliding weights it is good practice to use beads to protect the knot.







  • Vaal-Trace

2 Double swivels in line. Top swivel connects to the mainline and has one hook line and another line with a second swivel attached.

Attached to the second swivel, is another hook line and a line connected to a fixed weight or spring.







  • Babyshoes-Trace

A double swivel connects to the mainline and has a 25cm piece of lineHAMMOCK WITH MOSQUITO NET connected to the other end.

On this piece of line is a free-running sinker or spring, this line is then connected to a treble swivel.

2 hook lines are then connected to the remaining ends of the treble swivel.







  • Rietvlei-Trace

A double swivel connects to the mainline and has a 30cm piece of line connected to the other end.

On this piece of line is a free-running double swivel attached to a hook line and also a free-running sinker or spring separated by beads, this line is then connected to another double swivel to which another short hook line is attached.


There are a number of baits that can be used to capture Carp.


Earthworms, Shrimps, Flying ants, and Maggots are excellent for targeting Carp.


Puthu pap, Bread and Dough baits are good old-school baits still used by many anglers today.

These baits are custom made and flavored.



Hard and soft floaties, Marshmallows and CornBAOFENG UV-9R PLUS 15W 128CH TWO WAY RADIO are readily available in tackle shops or online.

There are plain and many different flavors and colors available.

One or more can be used on the hook at any given time as per your choice.


Dips, Muti’s, and Sprays


These are all additives used to flavor, color and enhance the bait.

They are generally applied by dipping the bait into them, or by dribbling or spraying some onto the mieliebomb or feed before casting.



It is not uncommon to use a number of different combinations of flavors on one application.

Some of my favorites are Pink sweets, Aniseed, Tjop-Tjop, Caramel, Vanilla, Banana, Honey, bun spice, Tutti-fruity, Chocolate, and fish-oil.


One can buy pre-mixed plain or flavored/colored mieliebomb feed, just add water to attain the desired texture and form a ball around your spring.

The old-school method has continued to prove itself best.

For this, you will need to cook up some Kaboom mielies until soft, let them cool and then run them through an old hand mixer.

This can be done at home prior to the fishing adventure, but for best results mince as needed while fishing.

There are some good feed recipes available, listing various ingredients that can be added when preparing your own feed.PVA WATER SOLUBLE CARP BAIT, WRAP BAG

As a modern alternative one can use a PVA. bag instead of a spring.

The bag is filled with the feed and tied shut and attached to the hook.

When it is in the water, the bag begins to dissolve and leaves an attractive display of bait around the hook.

The only problem with PVA. is that one cannot use liquid, flavor or color additives. PVA. friendly additives can be specially purchased for use in this case.

Specimen Carp Angling:


Specimen angling is similar to Papgooi in many aspects, except there are some key differences that set the two apart.

With Specimen angling, one would use heavier tackle as you are targeting bigger fish.

A 12 or 13-foot rod with a test curve of between 3 & 3.75lb would be preferable, paired with a 10000 or bigger “Big pit” or similar fixed spool reel.

Specially designed rigs are used for specimen angling.

Specimen angling is very much focused around proper fish handling and fish care as well as catch, photograph, and release.


A good size line or braid to use for specimen angling is from 20 to 30lb.SAKURA DAY NIGHT VISION RUBBERISED BINOCULAR

There is an ongoing debate regarding Monofilament lines and Braids.

Each has there pros and cons and both are better suited to certain situations.

Some anglers use one or the other or both. So, let us look at some of the pros and cons.


A fluorocarbon line does not cast very well at all and despite its invisibility, it does tend to discolor very quickly so bye-bye invisibility!

So, it is not recommended as the mainline by most anglers. It is mostly used as a shock leader connected to the mainline or braid.

  • Monofilament is excellent for casting and most recommended for use in rivers and at average casting distances.
  • It sinks very well.
  • It does not get pulled as easily in a current or wash.
  • It has good abrasion resistance.
  • It knots very easily and holds a knot very well.
  • It is generally well camouflaged or invisible
  • It is reasonably cheap.
  • It performs well in weeded areas.
  • Monofilament, due to its diameter takes up a lot of space on the spool.
  • It has about 10m of stretch for every 100m
  • It is not as durable as, braid.
  • Braid is excellent for long-distance, because of its thin diameter one can get a lot more onto the spool.GARMIN ETREX 10 GPS
  • At long distances, the braid is generally taken out by some mechanical means where casting is not required.
  • It has a high breaking strain for its diameter.
  • It has no stretch, thus putting you in direct contact with the fish and increasing bite detection.
  • Braid is more durable than other lines.
  • Braid is very visible.
  • It does not sink well at all.
  • Braid is no good for casting.
  • It tends to pick up a lot of weed and debris that are in the water.
  • It is expensive.
  • When using braid, a fish must be played gently so as not to pull the hook due to the direct non-stretch attachment.
  • Also, your drag must be set as light as possible for the same reason.
Specimen Carp Rigs:



The beginner Specimen Carp angler can purchase already made Rigs complete and ready for use.

It is, however, cheaper to build your own rigs especially if you plan to take this form of carping seriously.

It is, however, cheaper to build your own rigs especially if you plan to take this form of carping seriously.

Materials to Build a Rig:



It is, however, cheaper to build your own rigs especially if you plan to take this form of carping seriously.


  • You will need a roll of lead core braid as the key material for building your rigs.
  • It is fast sinking, strong and easy to splice. The lead core keeps your rig tight to the bottom.
  • You will also need a hook & power swivel and some heat shrink or plastic sleeve and some Braid or spiderwire in order to make your Hair.217 PIECES CARP ACCESSORIES KIT
  • You will need a Specimen lead, a no.8 power swivel and a specimen lead “safety release clip.”
  • You will need a Splicing needle to splice your lead core.






When targeting big Carp with specimen tackle we use Boilies and Tiger nuts as bait, either plain or flavored.

When using plain it is always good to cut off some of the outer, shell in order to release some of the natural flavor and scent.




You will have to purchase a Boilie or Bait needle with which to feed your bait onto the hair.

The bait is pierced and slid up the needle and then the hair is hooked near the end of the needle and the bait is pushed off the needle onto the hair.CARP BAIT NEEDLE & SPLICING TOOL SET

You will need a hair rig boilie spike to hold your bait in place on the hair.

It is sometimes useful to add some silicone attractant corn, maggots, tigernut, etc. to the hair with your bait.

SILICONE MAIZETigernuts are naturally grown nuts that have a coconut smell and the fish love it in its natural form.

We do, however, use scented tigernuts when the going gets tough or the fish just prefer something different.

Boilies are mixed combinations of fishmeals, milk proteins, bird foods, semolina, soy flour & eggs boiled to form hardish round baits.

There are many different recipes available and many anglers cook their own boilies.

Landing Nets, Mats, Scales & Weighslings:


These items are absolutely necessary for Carp fishing. In order not to damage or traumatize the fish we use a landing net to pick the fish up out of the water.

We then place the fish on an unhooking mat so that it is not flapping around on the ground while we remove the hook.


It is also good practice to hold the fish over the mat when taking photos in case it is dropped.


The fish is placed into a weigh sling before being weighed so that the sling is hooked up to the scale and not the fish.

Many people use electronic scales, they are extremely accurate using digital to the decimal technology, that is if they are in perfect working order and the

batteries are good.

The analog scale is preferred by the more serious fisherman as it can not give a bad reading as a result of poor batteries.


Connect your rig onto the line of your rod, you can pack some feed around your lead if you wish.

Your rig is best taken out on a boat or by some other means and dropped at the desired spot. Here we will also hand feed the drop-spot.

PVA. FEED BAGIf your only means of fishing is by casting, then the best thing to do in order to feed the spot is to fill a PVA bag with feed and attach it to your hook before casting to the spot.

The bag dissolves and leaves the feed spread nicely around the hook-bait.

Place your rod onto the stand, make sure your drag is loosened and your bite indicators are attached and working.

In specimen angling, there is no need to strike in order to set the hook.8 STRAND DYNEEMA PE CASTING BRAID 500M 10 TO 300Lb

It is the design of the rig and the weight of the lead that sets the hook.

Just pick up the rod, adjust the drag and fight the fish.

If you are using braid then it is best to clip a back lead onto your mainline to keep it pinned right on the ground beneath the rod tip.

Having said this, I even use back leads when fishing monofilament as I have found that when one is playing a fish, it often swims over or under or around another line, causing a big mess and a big waste of time having to bait up more than one rod.


“PLEASE remember to practice Catch & Release!” in order to preserve our fish stocks!


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All the best,

Shaun Doust

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