Choosing a rod doesn’t need to be a difficult situation. This process can become effortless with some knowledge of what makes a good carp fishing rod. When choosing a rod, it’s good to know what each type of rod is and what it is most commonly used for, so ill give an explanation of the main types you will come across. What kind of fishing you want to start with will depend on what kind of rod you choose, so make sure you have a good think and even do some more research. Or if you wanted, why not just buy them all?
Standard carp fishing rods come in varying lengths and test curves that will depend on how far you are planning to cast, personal preference, and the size of fish you are planning to target. As carp are mainly bottom feeders, some sorts of feeder are usually tied to the end of a carp rod. Standard carp rods do not have any primary indicating method, so these are generally used in partnership with bite alarms (but that’s a whole story).
Carp rods will most likely come in two or three sections. Three sections can be beneficial for storing rods or fitting them easily into small cars but choosing a rod based on how many sections it has is mainly personal preference.
Most carp rods will be between 10 ft to 13 ft. The longer rods provide the extra length to rocket your bait too far margins or far features on the water, but if you are planning to be fishing the closer swims, a 10ft rod will be more than enough to precisely cast your bait into that golden spot.
I usually opt for a rod 12 ft. This suits me perfectly as it allows me to cast far enough when needed (I am never one for lobbing the feeder miles into the horizon), but it allows me to cast with enough precision at closer distances. With the correct action rating, this rod length will provide excellent control over the hard to get fish darting into the weeds.
12 ft rods are also ideal for landing fish quickly yourself, as most carp nets are approximately 6ft long, so playing the fish into the net becomes almost effortless.
The quiver tip is my personal favourite. “Quiver tip” refers to the end section of the rod, which will be extremely fine and bend a lot. This means when your bait is resting on that prime spot at the bottom of the lake, for every fish that touches your line or hook bait, the tip of your rod will bend and move so you’ll know the fish are in the area. But don’t get too hasty and strike at every millimetre your rod tip moves, or you’ll be left extremely disappointed with no fish on the end.
If you are looking to sit back and relax without constantly looking at your rod tip for bites, then maybe the quiver tip rod is not for you as it takes constant monitoring, so no bites are missed.
Once your rod is cast in, set your rod down in your rod rest at a 90-degree angle to where your bait landed; now reel in slowly until there is tension in your line and your tip bends slightly. This will ensure that every movement of your line will be indicated by that quiver tip bending and moving. Keep your rod tip as close to the water as possible, reducing the effects of wind vibration.
When choosing a quiver tip rod, what length of the rod and what “test curve” will all depend on where you are planning to fish and how far out you are looking to cast, but we’ll get into this further into the post.
Quiver tips will usually come with 2-3 tips and different test curves, basically how flexible the rod tip will be. An extremely flexible rod tip will give the best bite indication as it will bend at the slightest movement of your line. The weather can affect what tip you choose on the day. For example, if it is windy, you’ll want to opt for the stiffer rod tip to avoid the wind blowing your tip around, or every gust of wind might be mistaken for a bite.
A float rod is usually a lighter style of rod that can be held in your hand for those long days of fishing. Float rods are designed to be lighter than other carp fishing rods; usually, they will not need to be placed in a rod rest as your eyes will be fixed on that florescent tip of the float sticking out of the water. Once again, float fishing rods come in different lengths, test curves and sections.
When fishing a float rod, you are most likely not casting far so shorter rods are usually opted for. When float fishing, most people will be fishing the margins, edges of reed beds or close to lilly pads, as this is where carp can be found hanging out.
The most common way to float fish for carp is with a waggler float. Some anglers will prefer to leave enough line so the hook will sit on the lake bed. If this is the case, the area around your float should be constantly fed with two or free “freebies” that will gather around your hook and bring in the hungry curious carp.
Another way people opt for is to fish the top few feet of the water, looking for the roaming carp. When this is the case, I’d advise not to attach any split shots to your line, so your hook sinks at the same speed as your freebies for the most natural presentation. When the float makes a splash on the water, roaming carp will come in looking for anything edible that has entered the water.
Suppose this is your chosen method of fishing refrain from leaving your hook bait suspended for too long as this will look completely unnatural and deter the carp from biting. To avoid this, often recast or reel your line in slightly, so the bait is pulled to the surface and then allowed to sink slowly again.
To catch fish with a waggler float set up, I’d advise using a lighter line so the carp won’t notice anything abnormal with the bait as they consider gulping it down.
Spod fishing rods are not usually made to catch fish (a fishing rod made to not catch fish, strange, right?). Yes, it might seem to be defeating the point, but using a spod rod can definitely lead to catching more fish. Spod fishing rods are made to cast out a heavy spod which will drop handfuls of baits over swims you are planning to fish.
Spod rods will be heavily built with strong rod actions and higher test curves so it can effortlessly cast the heavy spod to areas where you struggle to throw or catapult bait to.
A strong line will need to be used on the reel attached to this rod to cope with the heavy object being launched through the air to avoid snapping and losing a valuable spod and all the bait inside.
Line Guides and Rod Rings
Line guides and rod rings are another factor that will influence the feel and overall quality of your rod, and you should know what you are looking for. Having correct rod ring placement will affect the bending and action of your rod. The size and spacing of the rod rings will also affect the casting distance of your rod.
In 12ft rods, the ring closest to the rod handle (butt ring) will usually be 40mm and 50 mm in 13 ft rods. The larger 50 mm in 13ft rods helps add distance to a cast as less friction is put on the line so it can spool out effortlessly.
Ultra-light rods will be fitted with smaller rod rings as these rods will be aimed at the smaller carp. So vice versa, rods made to target massive fish will be fitted with stronger rod rings which will be taking the brunt of the force from the carp.
Lighter action rods that will bend more under stress will be fitted with more rod rings to ensure the line is retrieved effectively through the bent angle without coming into contact with the rod blank.
Rod rings are also spaced away from the rod blank to ensure your line doesn’t come into contact with the rod blank, as any contact during your cast can cause friction slowing down your bait and potentially falling short of your prime baited area.
You should be looking for rods with guides that are marked as “low-friction” and “low abrasion” so your line is fed through effortlessly so you can get the most out of your cast.
There are 3 main types of rod action which is basically how much of your will bend under pressure from a fighting fish which will influence how you play the fish. The three main types are;
- Fast Action
- Middle to tip action
- Through action
Fast action rods will bend the least usually with only the last section bends to 90 degrees with the rest staying completely rigid. Fast action rods are excellent at casting bait to large distances as power is created with the rigid section off the rod rocketing your line off your spool. The rod tip will bend effectively to take the initial force of setting the hook and the rigid sections of the rod will allow you to retrieve line quickly and keep control over the carp playing hard to get. If you are not an experienced carp angler and fishing smaller bodies of water I’d definitely advise not to opt for a fast action rod as they are aimed at the more experienced angler.
Middle to tip rods perform exactly as you would expect. They bend from the tip to around the middle of your rod. Middle to tip actions rods will not be as effective for casting huge distances with heavy weights but they will be more than adequate for mid range fishing. Middle to tip action rods are the most common rod type used and I’d recommend starting with one of these as it will provide everything you need for basic to intermediate carp fishing. These rods provide the best of both as they will still provide the power to cast fair distances but will also provide enough bend in your rod when fighting fish at close range which will result in a decreased chance of pulling the hook from the carps mouth.
Through action rods will bend all the way to the rod handle. These rods are usually used at close distances when casting light set-ups. Through actions rods are not stiff enough to provide adequate power for casting far distances but they will make fighting fish in close a lot of fun as every change of direction or pull is felt right through to the rod handle. Unless you are specifically planning to be fishing in close range then id avoid through action rods and aim for a middle to tip rod.
Most fishing rods will come with rod handles made from cork or duplon (a type of foam).
Cork was typically used in all traditional rod handles but can still be found on a lot of high end rods today. Even though the majority of rods today will not come with cork handles cork still has many benefits. Cork maintains residual heat which means if you are brave enough to carp fish through the cold winters’ day the cork handle will feel warmer than other materials. One thing I will add though is that cork floats extremely well so if disaster strikes and your rod ends up in the water then it will still float well so it’ll make the job of retrieving it slightly easier (trust me I’ve done it before).
Cork handles are said to be up to three times more sensitive than other handles so if you are looking to feel every knock and twitch from the fighting carp then cork could be the one for you.
I feel that cork looks like it belongs on the end of a rod but it is probably not the most practical material nowadays. Cork handles can crack easily and will become brittle over time which can result in a pretty ugly rod if they are not looked after. Cork will also pick up dirt and grime quickly and be an absolute pain to clean so if your not willing to put the effort in after fishing sessions to keep your rod looking brand new then I’d probably avoid cork handles.
Duplon handles are a type of foam that will commonly be found on the handles of carp fishing rods. Handles made from duplon should last a lot longer than cork handles and still look stylish. They will also be quite a bit cheaper so can take a few pounds off the over all rod cost.
These handles are a lot easier to clean so your rod can keep that shiny look for a lot longer which can be seen as a major benefit.
Duplon handles will usually come in different shapes as it can be manipulated in manufacture easily so they will fit your hand more comfortably than cork.
Of course there will be more materials than this available on the market but these will be two you come across often. What type of rod handle you opt for will mainly be down to personal preference but hopefully this information will help a little.
Now get fishing!
Now that you have some understanding of what you should be looking for in a carp rod you should get fishing. To summaries if you are new to carp fishing I’d recommend buying a rod that;
- Is 12ft long
- Is rated middle to tip action
- Is either a quiver tip rod or standard carp rod
- Has any type of handle (this won’t matter too much)
As you can see buying a rod doesn’t need to be hard and I’m sure now you can find one in no time for under £100 that will bring you endless fun on the water. If you have any questions or anything you think should be added to this post please feel free to leave a comment.