All The Gear You Need To Get Started Carp Fishing
Without Wasting Money
A lot of people getting into carp fishing don’t have a lot to spend on gear. Finding out what gear is really going to be worth the investment in the long term can get expensive. You can spend thousands on gear you may never use.
This is a great way to get started carp fishing on a budget and get lines in the water to find out gear really matters when you’re trying to land more carp.
BUDGET CARP FISHING ROD
The rod you choose really depends on your fishing style. You can leave your rods out and wait, or you may want to walk the edge and stalk.
A longer, more flexible rod will allow you to keep pressure on the hook than a shorter stiffer, ocean style rod.
More rods in the water means more chances at fish, so I prefer using a rod pod. I have 3 Ugly Stik Gx2 9’ Medium rods for this. They really flex over the half way point and even when they run straight at you, they just aren’t going to be able to spit it.
When I’m stalking the edges, I like to use the Ugly Stik 7’ Ultra-Light. This rod is great for everything from pan fish, to 35 lb carp. If you’re trying to cut down on weight, this is a great way to go.
You can get them here from Amazon, I also have a more in depth review of the rods here.
CARP REEL ON A BUDGET
A quality reel is worth it’s weight in gold over the long term when you’re carp fishing. If you’re going to spend more money in any department, this is where it really pays off. I’ve landed huge fish on a rod that was far too light because of a quality reel with plenty of line. I also lost the biggest fish I ever had on because of a reel with too low of a capacity.
I had some cheap reels I had acquired over the years when I first started fishing. They could barely fit 100 yards of braided line. I was fishing a dam with some corn and had a runner.
I tightened into the drag so hard I thought my 25lb braid was going to snap. Holding the line to try and slow it down more only resulted in some nice cuts. After taking my entire spool of braid the fish hit the knot on the reel and snapped the shank of the hook.
This is when I got the Yoshikawa Baitfeeder reels. They took over 250 yards of 50 lb braid and I haven’t had an issue since. They aren’t a Shimano, but I don’t fish for a living either. For my weekend excursions, they have done the job without fail for over 3 years.
They also cost 1/3 or less what the Shimano Baitrunner can be found for. This means you can outfit your entire rod pod and get on the water a lot sooner. Four years gives you plenty of time to save up for the last reel you’ll need.
If you have $500 to spend on reels to get started then it can only help, but I personally don’t have that into my entire kit. Yoshikawa reels can be found here for under $50. If you’re looking into something more like the Shimano Baitrunner, they can be found here for. for $180 to $250 depending on the model. I have a break-down of the Yoshikawa reel here.
GOOD FISHING LINE FOR A GREAT PRICE
There are so many options for line you can get dizzy. The general rule is, if you’re using bigger weights, plan on having 10 lbs of test for every oz of sinker weight.
I generally use Spectra 20-25lb braided line with 1 ½ oz egg sinkers in calmer water.
The thing is, there are only two main companies that produce braided line. Most others that you buy just take those two and coat them with their own master blend of herbs and spices.
You can buy the line from the manufacturer for much less before others get their hands on it. The Spectra can take a beating although it is not quite as smooth as coated lines.
1000 meters of the Spectra 20 lb braided line will run you less than $20 and fill all of your reels. This could cost over $100 from competitors.
GREAT ROD POD FOR WEEKEND CARP FISHING
Rod pods are another area that can make carp fishing very expensive very quickly. They can cost from $20 to well over $700 depending on what you really expect it to do.
The biggest thing to remember is that none of these products can make fish bite your line. The best rods and reels aren’t going to make more fish bite. Start off with the basics and find out what will actually help.
NGT has come up with a great solution for the weekend fishing master. For less than $40 you get a 3 rod pod, Bite alarms, as well as indicators.
Considering the rod pod is plastic with metal hardware, it’s certainly not designed for heavy use. If you plan on going out every week for the next few years this can be another area to spend a bit more money.
A good aluminum pod can last you a lot longer, but will be a bit harder on your wallet as well. I use this pod more than 10 times per year and I’m going into my 4th year with this pod.
If you’re on a really tight budget, you can set the rods on the ground, or even lean them on a log. This is another piece of gear that is more an accessory than anything.
RELIABLE BUDGET ALARMS
The alarms that come with the NGT pod work great for the price. They aren’t wireless, but they are loud enough to hear when you’re farther away than you should be.
I wired them together and hooked them up to a single 18650 battery. This allows them to be rechargeable with an easily found battery.
They feature variable tones as well as a jack for using illuminated bite indicators.
You can get by with just listening to your drag as long as you plan to stay by your rods. If you like to walk around the shore, a wireless setup might work very well for you.
A wireless alarm system allows you to take a nap in your bivvy or a trip to the car for more bait. You can turn down the volume on the alarm and turn it up on the transmitter. This is great for those late night fishing excursions.
WHAT SINKERS DO I NEED?
Picking the perfect sinker for carp fishing depends on the water speed and style of your fishing. If you’re stalking the banks, you might want some light split shot, or just some bread and a hook. Faster water will require a heavier lead. Many of the specialty leads offer studs for grip, or a hole to pack bait.
There are method feeders as well to help chum the waters. Oatmeal and some chili powder makes a great bait to get the carp in the area. This gives them something to look for without giving them something to fill up on.
DO I NEED TO USE EXPENSIVE BAITS?
There are so many baits on the market it can make you dizzy. There are plenty of ways to spend your money here. A lot of the products may actually even increase catches.
If you’re on a budget and just looking to get started, there isn’t much better than sweet corn from the grocery store. There will be a lot of empty rigs pulled in with this one though, so keep an eye on your lines.
A favorite bait of mine is maize. You can find it in bulk bags at any feed store. Less than $20 usually gets you around 50 lbs of the stuff. This generally lasts me a few years when sealed properly.
When you first take the maize out of the bag, it will be very hard. To make it edible and release the oils in the corn, you will have to boil it. Bring the water to a boil before adding the kernels, after the water is boiling add however much corn you plan on using.
WHY START WITH BUDGET GEAR?
When I started carp fishing I had been fishing for years and almost always hated it. When I was a kid we would use cornmeal and molasses and catch these HUGE fish, but years later with $7 lures being lost to the rocks I wasn’t catching anything like that.
I invested in about the cheapest gear physically possible. 3 Ugly Stik 9’ medium rods, a 7’ ultra-light, and a 6’ heavy for a spod rod. On sale, they cost me about as much as one expensive specialty rod. I bought 3 of the Yoshikawa reels for the 9’ rods for less than one Shimano. No they will never be what a Shimano is, but 4 years of weekend carp fishing later, I feel like they paid for themselves.
If you get all top dollar gear and only end up fishing for 6 months, when you sell it used you will lose more money than what this simple setup costs.