How To Catch Carp Successfully: 13 Tips & Tricks for Success

In Australia, carp still carries a negative connotation – and for good reason. The Common Carp – Cyprinus carpio hailing from Central Asia is one of the most widely circulated freshwater fish in the world, having been introduced to numerous nations. In Europe, carp are a wildly popular fish for anglers and have been heavily farmed in countries across the continent, Asia and the Middle East.

Unfortunately, they place an enormously weighty burden on Australian river systems, actively leading to the destruction of our beloved waterways. Their broad existence indicates no signs of diminishing with each female possessing up to one million eggs; the destruction they cause on local wildlife is extreme and seemingly irreparable.

To fully incorporate carp into our country’s diets, we must first tackle the negative associations with eating them. Carp fishing is an ideal solution to this issue; it provides a way to capture and consume carp while utilising their full potential.

In this article, we will discuss 13 tips and tricks to successfully catch carp that can help us make the most out of them. From learning cool facts about these fish, to finding the best places in Sydney for land-based carp fishing, we have everything you need right here. So grab a rod and some bait – let’s go catching carps together!

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How To Catch Carp – Tip #1

Carp Cool Facts

Scientific Name (Common Carp – Cyprinus carpio)

Carp is a common name for various species of freshwater fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae. The scientific name for common carp is Cyprinus carpio.


Carp may be mistaken for goldfish at first glance but can easily be identified with a few distinct features. They have two barbels (whiskers) attached to the corners of their mouth and small eyes, thick lips, and a single dorsal fin lined with jagged spines. Additionally, they are covered in large scales that give them an olive green to bronze or silvery hue on top; however, when viewed from below they appear much paler.

Carp can reach immense sizes, with overseas sightings of fish as monumental as 1.2 meters and 60 kg in weight! Down here in Australia, we’ve seen carp up to ten kilograms pulled from the water yet more commonly catch between 4-5kg specimens.


Carp are found in a wide range of freshwater habitats, including rivers, lakes, and ponds. They prefer slow-moving or standing water with plenty of vegetation and cover. Carp are able to tolerate a wide range of water conditions, including low oxygen levels and high turbidity.


Carp are native to Asia and Europe but have been introduced to many other parts of the world, including Australia. In Australia, carp are found in a variety of freshwater habitats, including rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Carp are considered an invasive species in Australia and are actively managed to reduce their impact on native fish populations.

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Carp are omnivorous and will eat almost anything they come across. Their diet includes insects, crustaceans, small fish, and plant matter. They are known for their bottom-feeding behavior, often rooting through sediment and debris to find food. Carp have a unique ability to detect and locate food using their sense of smell, which is highly developed.

Carp’s ability to adapt to their environment can wreak havoc on native species. Through suction-feeding, they disturb the mud that contains invertebrates and create turbidity which blocks light from entering the water. As photosynthesis becomes restricted due to this disturbance, aquatic vegetation dies off, threatening creatures who depend on it for survival.

Globally, carp are infamous for their connection to blue-green algal blooms that can inflict significant harm on native fish and vegetation. Carp also present a risk as they can transmit parasites, constituting bacterial, fungal and viral infections in certain countries. Fortunately, Australia’s outbreaks of such diseases have fortunately remained minimal.

How To Catch Carp – Tip #2

Carp Legal Size & Catch Limit in NSW

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Carp fishing regulations in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), are managed by the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Size Limit

European carp are not limited by size limits, and they must be immediately killed upon capture due to their Noxious Species status.

2. Catch Limit

The maximum catch limit for Carp fishing in NSW is unlimited, meaning there is no restriction on the number of Carp you can catch. However, Carp are an invasive species and should be disposed of appropriately to prevent their spread to other waterways. The NSW Department of Primary Industries encourages Carp to be caught and removed from the waterway.

It is important to note that fishing regulations and restrictions can change over time, so it’s always a good idea to check with the relevant authorities for the most up-to-date information. Refer to the NSW Department of Primary Industries website for more information.

How To Catch Carp – Tip #3

What’s the Eating Quality of Carp? 

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Carp are often considered a nuisance species and are not typically targeted for their eating quality. However, Carp can be eaten and are considered a delicacy in some cultures. Here’s what you need to know about the eating quality of Carp:

1. Preparing Carp for Cooking

How To Catch Carp - Preparation

To ensure the best taste and quality of Carp, it’s important to handle the fish properly from the moment it’s caught. Freshly caught Carp should be put on ice immediately to bring down its body temperature and prevent the histamine levels from rising, which can cause a muddy taste. When preparing Carp for cooking, it’s also important to remove the scales, gut the fish, and remove the head and tail. Rinse the Carp with water and pat it dry with a paper towel.

2. Taste & Texture

The taste and texture of Carp can vary depending on the age, size, and diet of the fish. Generally, Carp have a mild, sweet flavour and firm, white flesh. However, Carp can sometimes have a muddy or earthy flavor, which can be reduced by proper preparation techniques.

3. Cooking Carp

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Carp can be cooked in a variety of ways, including baking, frying, grilling, and smoking. To reduce the muddy flavor, some people prefer to soak Carp in salt water or vinegar for a few hours before cooking.

How To Catch Carp – Tip #4

How To Catch Land-Based Carp 

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Carp fishing in Australia is underrated, and many anglers don’t realize just how much fun it can be. Here’s a quick guide on the best practices for catching land-based Carp in Australia:

1. Location

Carp can be found in many freshwater habitats, including rivers, lakes, and ponds. Look for areas with slow-moving water, such as backwaters or areas near the shore. Carp tend to congregate in areas with cover, such as weeds or fallen trees, so keep an eye out for these features.

2. Equipment

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For optimal success when catching Carp from the land, equip yourself with a 7-foot fishing rod that falls between 3 -5 kilos or 4-6 kilos. Then select a 3000 or 4000-size reel, accompanied by an 8-12 pound line for maximum distance casting. Don’t forget additional tools, such as bite alarms which will let you know when your bait has been taken! As for hooks, size 4 to 6 hooks work well for Carp, and you can use a variety of baits, including bread, corn, or worms.

3. Techniques

One popular technique for catching Carp is float fishing. This involves attaching a small float to your line and suspending your bait at a set depth. Another technique is ledgering, which involves using a weight to keep your bait on the bottom. You can also try surface fishing, using bread or dog biscuits to lure Carp to the surface.

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4. Tips

  • Carp have a keen sense of smell, so it’s important to handle your bait with care and avoid using strong scents on your hands.
  • When fishing with bread, it’s a good idea to mash it up and create a dough ball around your hook, rather than using a whole slice.
  • Be patient when waiting for a Carp to take the bait. It may take some time for them to find it and start feeding.
  • When you do get a bite, set the hook firmly and be prepared for a strong fight. Carp are known for their powerful runs and can put up a good fight.
  • Stay alert for the carp that jump or crash out of the water, particularly in certain lakes. During warmer months, you may see them near shorelines where the temperature is more agreeable.

How To Catch Carp – Tip #5

Where Are Carp Commonly Found?

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Carp are a highly adaptable species, able to survive in varying temperature ranges from a chilly 2°C all the way up to an almost unbearable 40°C. This extraordinary hardiness makes them less vulnerable than other native species when their habitat is disturbed. Generally, they prefer aquatic habitats with slow-moving rivers or lakes and soft vegetated sediment, as this provides the ideal conditions for carp at around 15–32°C.

Carp have the incredible ability to survive in waters that are of a poor quality and contain low oxygen levels, as well as being tolerant at salt concentrations up to 14 parts per thousand. Although carp may be seen occasionally in higher altitude areas or streams with clear water, they tend to flock towards marshy regions or slow-moving backwaters during their first year of life; juvenile carp generally reside close by aquatic plants while flourishing there.

Best Fishing Spots Sydney NSW |

To increase your chances of catching carp, you need to find the right location. One of the key things to look for is structure. Carp are attracted to areas that provide cover, such as weed beds, overhanging trees, and submerged timber. These structures offer protection and shade, and they are perfect spots for carp to feed and rest.

In terms of specific locations, some of the best places to find carp include rivers, lakes, and ponds. When fishing in rivers, look for areas with slow-moving water, such as eddies and backwaters. In lakes and ponds, focus on areas where there is a lot of aquatic vegetation, as this is where carp feed.

Overall, finding the right spot is crucial when it comes to catching carp. By looking for structure, the right depth, and the right type of water, you can increase your chances of landing a big carp.

How To Catch Carp – Tip #6

Best Carp Fishing Spots in Sydney, NSW

Centennial Park in Sydney, NSW

Centennial Park

Centennial Park is a great spot for carp fishing. The lush vegetation and slow-moving water make it an ideal habitat for carp. There are plenty of overhanging trees and submerged timber to provide cover and a good range of depths that make it easy to target the fish. It’s also a great spot for beginners, as it has a lot of open area to cast your line without worrying about snagging on submerged objects.

Salt Pan Creek Reserve – 5 Washington Ave, Riverwood NSW 2210

Salt Pan Creek Reserve

Salt Pan Creek Reserve is located in Riverwood, and there have been some reports of carp by caught there in the past. The creek is quite shallow, but there are deeper sections with plenty of submerged timber and vegetation. This spot is ideal for those looking to catch carp in deeper waters and also provides access to the Georges River.

Georges River – Between Liverpool and Bankstown

The Georges River is a great spot for carp fishing. It has a good mix of shallow, slow-moving sections and deeper pools that are home to large carp. There are plenty of structures that provide cover and protection, making it a prime spot for carp. It’s also easy to access from both Liverpool and Bankstown. You can cast a line from Heron Park (118 Riverside Rd, Chipping Norton NSW 2170) or Howard Park (Howard St, Lansvale NSW 2166)

Parramatta River

The Parramatta River is a great spot for carp fishing. It’s easy to access from both Parramatta and Ryde, and there are plenty of structures such as weed beds and submerged timber to provide cover for carp. There is also a good range of depths that make it easy to target the fish.

You can cast a line from Parramatta Park (Pitt St &, Macquarie St, Parramatta NSW 2150) , David Frater Reserve, or Stewart St Reserve (Stewart St, Parramatta NSW 2150). There have been multiple reports of carp caught in this area.

Nepean River

Weir Reserve

The Nepean River, located in western Sydney, is a great carp fishing spot due to its vast stretches of clear water, deep channels, and extensive weed beds. These conditions provide an ideal habitat for carp to thrive, making it a popular spot for anglers to target them.

The river is also home to a variety of other fish species, including bass, catfish, and bream, which can make for an exciting and varied fishing experience. The river is accessible from a number of different locations, with plenty of public access points available for anglers to set up and fish from the bank. You can cast a line at Weir Reserve (5 Bruce Neale Dr, Penrith NSW 2750), River Road Reserve (River Rd, Emu Plains NSW 2750) or Tench Reserve (Jamisontown NSW 2750)

How To Catch Carp – Tip #7

What’s The Best Season To Catch Carp?

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  • Spring and Autumn are considered the best seasons to catch Carp in Australia.
  • During Spring, Carp are more active and feed more frequently as they prepare for spawning.
  • During Autumn, Carp start to feed more in preparation for the upcoming winter months.

Time of Day:

  • Early morning and late afternoon/early evening are the best times to catch Carp in Australia.
  • Carp tend to be more active during these times and will move around more to find food.


  • In areas where Carp are found in tidal rivers or estuaries, the best time to catch them is during the incoming or outgoing tide.
  • During the incoming tide, Carp will move up into the shallows to feed.
  • During the outgoing tide, Carp will move out with the tide and can often be caught in deeper channels or holes.

How To Catch Carp – Tip #9

What’s The Best Rod To Catch Carp?

How To Catch Carp - Shimano Sojourn

Rod Length:

The ideal rod length for Carp fishing is around 7-8 feet, as it provides good casting distance and accuracy while still being maneuverable in tight spaces.

Rod Action and Power:

A medium action rod with a moderate power rating is recommended for Carp fishing. This will allow for good sensitivity and control while still having enough power to handle large Carp.

Rod Rating:

Look for a rod with a line rating of 3-5kg or 4-6kg, depending on the size of Carp you are targeting. This will ensure that your rod is strong enough to handle the weight and fight of the fish.

DAIWA 2021 Legalis Tele Allround, Telescopic Fishing Rod - Best Telescopic Fishing Rod

Recommended Rods for Carp:

There are various rods available in the market, and our top picks for Carp fishing include:

How To Catch Carp – Tip #10

What’s The Best Reel To Catch Carp?

How To Catch Carp - DAIWA 20 Emblem 45 SCW

Reel size:

When it comes to selecting the right reel size for Carp fishing, a 3000 or 4000 size reel is generally suitable for most Carp fishing situations. Smaller reels may struggle with the size and strength of Carp, while larger reels may be unnecessary and add weight to your setup.

Gear ratio:

The gear ratio of your reel is an important consideration when targeting Carp. A high gear ratio (above 6:1) allows for faster retrieval speeds, which can be useful when Carp are actively feeding and moving around. However, a lower gear ratio (around 5:1) can provide more power for fighting larger Carp.

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Drag system:

A quality drag system is crucial for successfully landing Carp. Look for reels with a smooth and strong drag system that can handle the power and runs of Carp. A sealed drag system is also preferable to prevent water, sand or dirt from entering the drag.

Spool capacity:

The spool capacity of your reel is another important factor to consider. Make sure your reel has enough line capacity to handle the potential long runs of Carp. A spool with at least 200 yards of 8-12 pound test line is recommended.

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Big Pit Reels

Big pit fishing reels are a type of fishing reel that have become increasingly popular among carp anglers in recent years. These reels are characterized by their larger spool capacity, allowing for the use of heavier fishing line, and their long casting distances. This makes them ideal for carp fishing, where long casts are often necessary to reach the fish.

The history of big pit reels can be traced back to the early days of surfcasting, where anglers began to use larger reels with longer spools to achieve greater casting distances. As carp fishing became more popular, anglers began to adopt these larger reels for carp fishing as well.

Today, big pit reels are a popular choice for carp anglers of all levels, from beginners to experienced anglers. These reels are designed to handle heavy fishing line and can cast large weights over long distances with ease. They are also equipped with features such as anti-twist line rollers and powerful drag systems, which make them well-suited to the demands of carp fishing.

Recommended reels for Carp fishing:

Some popular reels for Carp fishing include:

How To Catch Carp – Tip #11

What’s The Best Line To Catch Carp?

KastKing Superpower Braided Fishing Line 2 - Best Braided Fishing Line

When it comes to selecting the best fishing line for carp, there are a few factors to consider, such as the line’s strength, abrasion resistance, and sensitivity.

Line strength:

Carp are strong fish that can put up a good fight, so it’s important to choose a line with enough strength to handle their weight and power. A line with a test strength between 8-15 pounds is ideal for catching carp.

Abrasion Resistance- Best Braided Fishing Line

Abrasion resistance:

Carp are bottom feeders and are often found around rocks and other debris, so it’s important to choose a line that can withstand abrasion. A line with a high abrasion resistance rating, such as braided or fluorocarbon line, is recommended.


Carp are known for their finicky biting habits, so it’s important to choose a line with good sensitivity to feel even the slightest bite. A low stretch line, such as braided or fluorocarbon line, is best for detecting bites.

Monofilament Line

Monofilament line is a popular choice for Carp fishing because of its versatility and affordability. It is a single strand of nylon that can be used for a range of Carp fishing techniques.

Our recommended braid monofilament fishing line for carp include:

We’ve done extensive research on the most reliable and trustworthy brands in 2023. Check out our blog post “Best Mono Fishing Line for 2023: Our Top 12 Trusted Picks” to know more about it.

Fluorocarbon Line

Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon 3 - Best Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Fluorocarbon line is another popular choice for Carp fishing. It is virtually invisible underwater, making it ideal for clear water conditions. It is also very abrasion-resistant, making it a good choice for fishing in snaggy or weedy areas.

Our recommended braid fluorocarbon fishing line for carp include:

If you’re curious to know more about fluorocarbon braid line, check out our comprehensive blog post “Best Fluorocarbon Fishing Line: Top 12 Reviewed & Buyers Guide“. It’s filled with everything you need to make an informed decision.

Braid Line

HERCULES Super Cast 8 Strands Braid 2 - Best Braided Fishing Line

Braid line is a great choice for Carp fishing because of its high strength and sensitivity. It is made up of multiple strands of braided fibres that are fused together, which makes it strong enough to handle big Carp. It is also very thin and sensitive, which allows you to feel even the slightest bites.

When choosing a fishing line for Carp, consider the conditions you will be fishing in and the type of Carp fishing you will be doing to determine the best line for you.

SeaKnight W8 8 Strands Braided Lines - Best Braided Fishing Line

Our recommended braid fishing line for carp include:

We’ve done a comprehensive article on the best braid line. To read more about it, check out our blog post “Best Braided Fishing Line in 2023: Top 8 Reviewed & Buyer’s Guide”.

How To Catch Carp – Tip #12

What’s The Best Rig To Catch Carp?

When it comes to carp fishing, there are several rig types to choose from. The type of rig you choose will depend on the fishing situation and your personal preferences. The most common rig types for carp fishing include the running rig, the hair rig, and the float rig.

Running Rig:

Running Sinker Rig | Fishing Rigs |

The running rig is a versatile and popular rig for carp fishing. It allows the fish to take the bait without feeling the weight of the rig, which can help to increase your chances of a catch.

Hair Rig:

The hair rig is a popular choice for carp anglers. It involves tying the bait to a short length of line, which is then attached to the mainline using a small piece of silicone tubing. This allows the bait to move freely and can increase your chances of a hook-up.

Float Rig:

Float rig |

The float rig is another popular rig for carp fishing. It involves attaching a float to the line above the bait, which allows you to present the bait at a specific depth. This can be especially effective when fishing in shallow water or when fishing close to the surface.

Each rig type has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that’s right for your fishing situation. Experiment with different rigs to see which one works best for you.

How To Catch Carp – Tip #13

What Are The Best Baits to Catch Carp?

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When it comes to catching carp, using the right bait can make all the difference. Natural baits have been a staple for carp anglers for decades, and for good reason. Carp are opportunistic feeders and will eat a variety of baits, both natural and artificial. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best natural baits to use when targeting carp. 

Berkley Gulp! Alive! Corn, Soft Bait 3


One of the most popular and effective baits for carp, canned or fresh corn can be used as a hookbait or as a chumming technique. It’s affordable, widely available, and can be used in a variety of fishing setups.


Another affordable option, bread can be used in a variety of ways to catch carp. It can be torn into small pieces and mixed with water to create a dough-like consistency that can be shaped around a hook, or it can be used as a floating bait.


Earthworms, red wigglers, and nightcrawlers are all effective options for carp fishing. They can be fished on a hook, or added to chumming mixtures.

Berkley Gulp! Alive! Corn, Soft Bait


Boilies are a more specialized and expensive option, but are effective at attracting carp due to their high nutrient content and scent. They come in a variety of flavours and sizes.


Some anglers swear by using meats like luncheon meat or hot dogs as carp bait. These baits are often used in conjunction with a hair rig setup.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of each bait can vary depending on the time of year and water conditions. Experimentation with different baits may be necessary to find what works best in your local fishing spot.

In the next heading, we’ll discuss the best lures for carp fishing.

How To Catch Carp – Tip #14

What Are The Best Lures To Catch Carp?

Carp can be caught on lures as well as bait, and in this section we will discuss the best lure types for catching them.

Soft Plastics:

Soft Plastic Lures |

Soft plastic lures, such as worms and grubs, can be effective for catching carp. These lures are typically rigged on a jighead or weighted hook and worked slowly along the bottom of the water. The slow and subtle movements of soft plastics can entice carp to strike, especially in clear water. Be sure to choose natural colours that mimic the look of real baitfish or invertebrates, and consider using scents or attractants to make your lure more appealing.

Hard Body Lures:

Hard Body Lures |

Hard body lures, such as crankbaits and jerkbaits, can also be used to catch carp. These lures are typically cast and retrieved through the water, imitating the movements of a swimming baitfish. Brightly coloured lures with a natural finish can be effective, especially in murky or stained water. It’s also important to choose a lure size and weight that matches the conditions you’re fishing in.


Panther Martin Best of The West Spinner Kit - Best Australian Salmon Lures

Spinnerbaits are another popular lure type for catching carp. These lures feature a spinning blade that creates vibration and flash in the water, attracting carp from a distance. The blade is typically attached to a skirt or trailer that mimics the look of a baitfish or insect. Spinnerbaits can be retrieved slowly or rapidly, and can be fished at various depths depending on the blade size and weight.

Our Recommended Lures for Carp:

Here are some of our top picks for lures to use when targeting carp:

Overall, the best lure for catching carp will depend on the specific conditions you’re fishing in, as well as the preferences of the fish in that particular waterway. Be sure to experiment with different lure types, sizes, and colours to see what works best for you.

How To Catch Carp – Final Thoughts


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In conclusion, carp fishing in Australia can be a fun and rewarding experience for anglers of all skill levels. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you can increase your chances of catching these hard-fighting fish. However, it’s important to remember that carp are considered a noxious species in Australia, and as responsible anglers, we can do our part to help control their populations by removing them from our waterways.

Whether you prefer natural baits or lures, there are many effective methods for catching carp. So grab your gear, head to a nearby river or lake, and give it a try! Who knows, you might just land the biggest fish of your life.

Meet The Author

William O’Reilly is an Australian land-based fishing enthusiast. He discovered his passion for fishing from the shore as a child, when his grandfather would take him out on the water and teach him the ropes.

He encourages others to try land-based fishing and believes it is a unique and sustainable way to connect with nature. He also advocates for responsible fishing practices and conservation. His passion for land-based fishing led him to pursue a career in writing about it, sharing his experiences, knowledge and thoughts about the sport, and inspiring others to appreciate and explore it.

William O’Reilly

Contributing Author

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