Carp fishing with prawns as a bait selection is often overlooked by many anglers. Let’s take a deeper look at prawns and how they could be a great bait choice for you to experiment with on the water.
Do Carp actually Eat Prawns?
Absolutely! Even if the variety of prawns or shrimp are simply frozen cocktail shrimp from the store and in no way native to the freshwater environs in which carp swim, they will still happily munch on them.
Carp are opportunistic bottom feeders and will eat pretty much anything that they find has nutritional value. And the carp bait industry has used fishmeal and prawn flavoured boilies for years and years.
Some absolute beastly carp have been caught in the U.K. on the simple prawn on a hook method, and this method has proven for some anglers to be an excellent bait for many species, not just carp.
How to Fish With Prawns
Carp fishing with prawns is actually a pretty simple affair, and it’s only as complicated as you choose to make it. You could easily fish prawns with a simple hook and some weights, without the need for fancy rigging.
There are a few things to remember when fishing prawns, though, and the first thing I would suggest is to use a larger hook due to a prawn being a larger bait.
The way you put the prawn on your hook also matters. Prawns are soft and can come off of the hook easily if not hooked correctly. If you have ever threaded on a curly tail grub, swimbait, or another type of plastic presentation onto a jig head, it’s the same concept with prawns. Simply thread the prawn from the thicker portion of the body, all the way up towards the eyelet.
If you don’t want to thread prawns directly onto the hook, you can also run a hair rig with a prawn.
Like many baits and rigging options in carp fishing, you can use your imagination, and a little rigging ingenuity can go a long way, allowing you to set up your prawn any way that you see fit.
You can also add additional flavour or even colouring to the prawns you intend to fish. Creating your own recipes can be devastating to fish as there is a good chance they haven’t seen, smelt, or tasted it before.
Why use Prawns?
Prawns are kind of a niche bait and not fished heavily by anglers. This means that on heavily pressure fishing waters, they can help stand out against the hordes of boilies that carp see in these lakes or ponds on a regular basis.
Anything that can help you stand out on these types of fisheries will surely get more attention and result in you catching more carp, and anything to help your bait stand out amongst the crowd and tastes delicious is always a winning tactic.
Pre-baiting is a good idea when using prawns, just as with any bait type, but there are a few things to keep in mind once again.
You can use free prawn offerings and throw some around your hook bait, but doing this sparingly is important for a few reasons.
One of these reasons and quite possibly the most important is to not let the carp in a specific body of water grow accustomed to seeing, feeding, or getting caught on prawns on a regular basis.
Many carp anglers don’t use prawns, or if they do, use them seldom. This can be a major advantage to your carp catching cause, allowing you to fish pressured bodies of water and use a bait that the carp don’t see often and are wise to when compared to other offerings like boilies.
You can use other free bait types like pellets or mixes as well. This helps with keeping the carp dumb on the prawn game, as mentioned above.
Fresh, Frozen, or Cooked?
You may have another question in regards to prawn preparation, and the answer again is pretty simple, and simple is good.
You can use plain old uncooked prawns straight from the freezer or deli cooler at your local grocery store, and as mentioned above, you can also whip up any concoction using prawns to enhance them.
If you want to cook them, you can do that too! There is no set-in-stone rule here, and experimentation is not only fun but can also allow you to stumble on to incredibly effective baits that work well.
Does other Seafood Work?
Sure does! Mussels can also be very effective at catching carp, and there are examples of mussels in many freshwater areas where carp live of varying species.
Carp can slurp up small mussels and use their teeth to grind down the shells to get to the soft center, and yes! Carp do have teeth, and we actually have an entire article dedicated to how and what carp feed, and you can find it right here.
Catfish anglers in the United States also catch carp accidentally on cut bait from shad and other species, so that might be worth experimenting with too, and grabbing some herring, anchovies, or other commonly found fish might just produce some interesting results.
What Other Fish can be Caught with Prawns?
You might find that prawns are excellent bait choices for other fish as well. With fish like perch, bream, chubs, eels, and even pike having zero issues chomping on a prawn if the conditions are right or the fish are in full-on feeding mode.
Prawns have become increasingly popular for perch, during the winter months in particular, with some absolute monster perch falling for them and providing for some great action-packed perch fishing days in the winter months.
Carp fishing for prawns might end up being a great tactic to try on your local waters when things get tough, especially if your local waters are heavily pressured. It’s easy to get caught up in the vast baiting options, sizes, and flavours available for carp, but prawns are a simple but effective way to catch fish.