If you’re new to carp angling and have been looking to stock up on the essential tackles such as a new rod, reel and other end tackle required, then there is much to choose from.
Over the years, many types of rods have been developed specialised to specific fishing scenarios to aid in catching the species and size of fish you intend to catch.
Tackle stores can become extremely confusing to beginner anglers, with rod types, weighting and actions presenting a challenge for finding the rod that best suits your fishing style.
One of the rods you will find commonplace in tackle stores is the “match rod”.
Some anglers will swear by using a match rod for catching carp, but it comes down to the size of fish you’re targeting, the weight of rigs you are planning to use, and the distance you’ll be fishing.
In this post, I’m going to focus on the specifications of a match rod so you can make an informed decision before purchasing a match rod for carp angling.
So, can you catch carp on a match rod?
What is a Match?
Before getting into the discussion on match rods, I’ll give you an insight into what match angling is in the coarse fishing world.
Match fishing is usually day competitions organised at commercial carp waters where anglers will attempt to catch the heaviest “bag” of fish of all species throughout a specified time.
Anglers will arrive early at the venue, where the organiser will draw anglers a “peg” where they will fish for the duration of the match.
Pegs are the areas of a venue that are set up around the venue.
So, if you draw peg 2, you will fish that peg and that area of the venue for the duration of the match while trying to catch the heaviest weight of overall fish caught.
Typically, these matches will come with specified rules that dictate what baits and methods can and cannot be used and sometimes what tackle is allowed and what is not.
What peg you are assigned, what the conditions throughout the day are like and what species of fish swim in the match venue will dictate what fishing approaches you must take to give yourself the best chance of getting the most fish in the net.
One piece of tackle that has been specifically developed for this type of match fishing is the match rod.
Can You Catch Carp on a Match Rod?
Match fishing at coarse fishing venues is extremely popular.
Typically these match venues in the UK will stock various types of carp, bream, roach, rudd, tench, gudgeon, tench and a few other coarse species.
So, if you’re fishing with a match rod, then yes, there can be a high chance that you will be catching carp on a match rod.
In a match fishing scenario, the venue will typically not have a large stock of monster carp, so even though match rods are suitable for catching small to sometimes medium-sized carp, they will typically not be used by specimen carp anglers or anglers looking to target the larger fish.
Since match rods are developed for catching mainly the smaller coarse species, they are usually light and have less power behind them than specifically manufactured rods for large carp.
Let’s look at some of the specifications of a match rod compared to carp fishing rods.
Match Rod Specifications
Match rods are generally developed with light action and low test curves.
Action refers to how the rod bends under load, and match rods will usually be forgiving and bend easily along almost the full length of the rod when put under strain.
This light action is perfect for being forgiving to small coarse fish species and will also do the job of handling smaller carp up to around 5 lbs.
Specialised carp rods will have stiffer action, which lets you put down some power and control larger fish without overpowering your rod.
These light action match rods are also more suited to fishing floats or other light rigs and are not manufactured with large heavy bottom rigs in mind, such as the PVA bag or method feeder rig.
If you tie a large PVA or method rig onto a light match rod, you will have trouble putting enough power into your cast and casting to a reasonable distance.
So a match rod can do the job if you are looking to catch small carp on light rigs such as a float rig.
But, I’d you’re looking to fish heavy bottom carp rigs such as the PVA or method rig, then a heavier specialised carp rod is what you should be looking for.
Match rods can be suitable for catching small to medium-sized carp but are mainly used in match fishing scenarios where anglers target all species of a venue, mainly small coarse fish such as the roach and rudd.
Due to this, if you’re looking to target larger carp primarily with heavier bottom rigs, then a conventional carp rod will be able to handle the carp far better.
These rods will give you enough power through the cast to cast heavier rigs and also enough power to control hard-fighting fish to give yourself a better chance of getting the fish in the net.