Revered among European anglers, carp are coming on strong in North America. And why not? What’s not to like about the chance to catch mind-numbing numbers of 6- to 10-pound fish, plus a legitimate shot at trophies tipping the scale at 20, 30, even 50 pounds or more?
Plus, there’s the challenge. Small fish in stained waters can be easy marks. But most carp are harder to come by, especially for budding carp fans. Big fish can be especially wary, thanks to their longevity and amazing senses of hearing, taste, vision, and feel. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of choices in carp baits for effectively targeting carp of all proportions.
Carp eat a variety of foods. They favor insects, aquatic worms, crustaceans, and mollusks, but also consume algae and other plant matter. Due to this diverse diet, a variety of carp baits trip their triggers, from natural offerings to homemade doughbaits and mass-produced softbaits, dips, boilies, and such. Surface-feeding carp even hit small bits of dog biscuits.
To guide your carp quest, we’ve lined up a stellar array of easy-to-fish natural and commercial options that are perfect for most situations you’ll encounter this season.