Can carp see fishing line - Close up of carp rods with fishing line on reels

Carp are known to be hard to catch, which provides a challenge to new and experienced anglers. This is partly why carp are fast becoming extremely popular to target as a sport fish.

Many specialised tactics and approaches to targeting carp are tailored to the carp’s behaviour as they swim in the water below you.

To become an experienced angler, you need to gain a lot of knowledge in areas such as carp behaviour, carp tackle, watercraft, fishing approaches and even the anatomy of the fish.

Fishing line is, of course, an essential part of carp fishing and selecting a suitable variation is something you will need to think about.

As we know that carp are usually “spooky” fish and will investigate baits before picking them up and feeding on them, you want to attempt to make the bait and rig look as natural as possible.

One question that seems to pop up often is if carp can see the fishing line and how this impacts their behaviour around your rig and bait.

So, can carp see fishing line?

Let’s find out.

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  • How do Carp See?

    Can carp see fishing line - Carps Eye

    Before I discuss if carp can see your fishing line or not, I’ll take a bit of time to explain how carp see and how good their vision is under the water.

    Carp have decent eyesight and coloured vision from two eyes above and behind their large, downturned mouth used for bottom feeding.

    Their eyes are used for spotting predators in their infantile stage, avoiding anglers, and locating food throughout their life span. Their eyesight is not their most effective sense for finding food.

    When the water is murky or silty, light penetration from the surface is highly reduced, and the fish will have difficulty seeing long distances underwater with their eyes.

    Water in lakes and fishing venues generally becomes murky after high levels of rainfall as lots of silt and mud are washed into the water from the surrounding area.

    Carp also sift through the silt and mud on the bottom of the water, looking for food which causes the silt and mud to agitate up into the water, making it cloudy and reducing their vision.

    On the other hand, on bright sunny days or in clear water, the carp will have no issues locating food and swimming comfortably as they can see better due to increased light levels at deeper depths.

    If the carp swim in deep water, their eyesight is reduced the further they swim due to high levels of light not penetrating to the bottom.

    Carp have colour vision and can distinguish between certain colours under the water depending on light levels, which means what colour of line you choose has an impact on if the fish can see it clearly or not.

    Can Carp See Fishing Line?

    Yes, carp can see your fishing line under the water, but how well they can spot it depends on a few factors that you should consider when selecting the type and colour of the line.

    If the carp moves into a swim and spots your fishing line, it may spook the fish from the swim and greatly lower your chances of catching anything.

    It can be common to see fish swimming by your line in the margins, and it can be clear that they acknowledge it’s there.

    They may speed up and swim away from the line or turn around altogether and swim the other way.

    You can expect this behaviour to happen in the margins and at the bottom of the venue where your rig is laying.

    How to Avoid Carp Seeing Your Line?

    Wipe Debris

    A factor that influences whether the carp can see your line is whether it is covered by debris.

    Carp venues are typically quite “turbid”, with sediment suspended in the water. As your line rests in the water, it can pick up some of this sediment, making it far easier to see when it’s under the water.

    If you want to limit the chances of this happening, you can wipe your line as you retrieve it after every few casts.

    Select The Right Line

    When it comes to carp fishing and fishing in general, there are usually three types of lines that you can use. These are:

    • Monofilament
    • Braided
    • Fluorocarbon

    Each has there own benefits, and some have lower visibility than others in the water, so this is something you should keep in mind when selecting a line.

    Monofilament is cheap but has a large diameter-to-strength ratio. This means the heavier the breaking strain, the thicker the diameter of the line you will need.

    As you can imagine, larger diameters lines are easier for the carp to spot under the water.

    If you’re planning surface fishing for carp or other species, then monofilament may be the best choice. As it generally comes with larger diameters, it is generally more buoyant than braid and fluorocarbon.

    Braided lines are lines made from woven fibres. These lines are known for their non stretch characteristics, low line memory, strength, and abrasion resistance properties.

    These lines are great for feeling leads down to the bottom or for fighting fish in heavy weeds, but unfortunately, they are not known for their low visibility in the water.

    If you’re fishing the bottom, then braid can still become inconspicuous if you can ensure it is fished flat on the bottom and choose a colour to blend in with the bottom.

    Now Fluorocarbon provides the least visibility in the water. It has a similar diameter-to-strength ratio as monofilament but due to its light refraction, an increased diameter doesn’t mean it is more visible in the water.

    Although many anglers swear that fluorocarbon is completely invisible under the water, this is not the case. If it is fished flat on the bottom, it will be as close to invisible as possible between the three line types.

    However, if you’re fishing it off the bottom, it can be more visible than monofilament as light passes into and down the line.

    Least Visible Colour

    Can carp see fishing lines - Coloured Carp Fishing Lines on spools

    When selecting a line that is least visible to carp, you need to consider the type of line and the colour.

    So what colours are thought to be the least visible to the carp you’re trying to catch, and in what conditions?

    A good way to think about selecting a line colour that is the least visible on a venue is to match it to the water you’re fishing.

    Typically, lakes that hold carp will not be gin clear and can often be brown.

    For these situations, it can pay to fish with a dark green or brown coloured line. As long as the line rests flat on the bottom, there’s a low chance that the carp will get spooked by your line in your swim.

    That’s All 

    Carp can see your fishing line in the water, and if you’re worried about spooking fish away from your swim, you should consider what fishing line to use.

    Fluorocarbon is thought to be the least visible in the water, but if it picks up dirt or sits off the bottom, then the carp can see the line, and it may put them off feeding in your swim.

    Monofilament and braid should also be not very visible as long as you can ensure your line is resting on the bottom.

    One thing to remember is trying to match the line colour to the water you’re fishing in.

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