When it comes to carp angling, one of the most important aspects of your fishing approach is to pinpoint where the fish are so you are targeting them in a productive swim.
To locate the fish, you can use various approaches, such as looking for fish jumping or moving on the surface, paying attention to the weather conditions and seasons and sometimes looking for feeding bubbles on the water.
By learning how to spot the types of bubbles that carp and other coarse fish species will make on the surface, you can give yourself a much better chance of catching them.
So, do carp make bubbles?
Do Carp Make Bubbles?
Yes, carp do make bubbles. As carp are bottom feeders, they spend a lot of their time on the bottom, sometimes sifting through silt and looking for anything edible.
When carp are feeding over silt, they will sort through substrate, looking for anything edible and, in the process, release air through each gill.
Sometimes, when the fish are rummaging deep in the silt looking for the likes of bloodworms, they may not be overly interested in a hook bait placed on top of the silt.
Also, if you are planning to fish over areas of deep silt, it can be a good idea to use a wafter or pop-up bait to try and ensure your bait does not get buried or covered in silt where it may go unnoticed.
Types of Bubbles
When watching the water for signs of carp feeding, there are certain types of bubbles that you may notice, and each can influence your fishing approach.
Not all bubbles that you spot on the water will indicate feeding carp or other species of fish. It is extremely common for pockets of gas to form naturally in the substrate at the bottom of water which, once released, will send bubbles to the surface.
As bacteria break down within the substrate causes, these natural pockets of gasses form that vary from oxygen, methane or even hydrogen sulphide.
This will depend on the type of substrate and the type of breakdown that is taking place.
Either way, it doesn’t matter and all pockets of gas can present similar bubbles on the surface when released naturally.
These bubbles are more common to be over organic areas such as the silt, but they can also be spotted over hard gravel substrates as well, so it doesn’t necessarily give an indication of the substrate the bubbles are seen over.
It can be difficult to differentiate between the release of trapped gas and the bubbles created by feeding carp to the untrained eye.
But with plenty of practice and watching the water, you should be able to have a good idea of what’s going on below the surface.
When it comes to bubbles created by feeding carp, there are telltale signs that you can look out for.
Bubbles created from feeding carp tend to be relatively large and are short-lived as they burst on the surface after breaking.
If the fish that is feeding is large, then you may notice two lines of bubbles emitted from each gill as they sort through the silt and substrate.
If you notice persistent bubbles that sometimes produce a thin foam, then this can also be a sign of feeding fish below.
These persistent small bubbles may also be paired with larger bubbles from time to time, as the natural gasses I mentioned before are released from the substrate when the carp hunt for food.
If the bubbles are from feeding carp, then they will tend to move as the carp searches the bottom for food.
Bubbles created from the release of natural gasses will generally be static and over one area.
Another reason that you may notice bubbles on the surface is when the carp releases air from it’s swim bladder to change depths in the water.
By expanding and deflating the fish can vary its depth in the water.
When the swim bladder expands, it increases it’s volume, displaces more water and increases the buoyancy of the carp so it can swim comfortably in the upper layers of the water.
On the other hand, when the swim bladder deflates, the buoyance of the carp will decrease, causing it to sink and displace less water.
This may indicate where the carp are in the water but won’t necessarily indicate any feeding habits, as they may be moving from different feeding areas of the venue.
Rolling in Silt
Sometimes, you may notice large areas of bubbles on the water and not the telltale small lines of bubbles from feeding fish.
It has been recorded that carp may roll or “scratch” in areas on the bottom, such as in silt or clay and during this time, they may release a lot of natural gasses trapped in the substrate.
Do Other Species of Fish Release Bubbles?
Yes, it is not only carp that will create bubbles in the water other species, such as Tench, Bream and Barbell in rivers will also release bubbles.
Tench bubbles usually create “pinprick” bubbles that often create a foam on the surface if a few fish feed in the same area.
Bream also create slightly larger bubbles than Tench bubbles but still not the size of large carp.
So, to answer the question. Yes, carp do make bubbles in the water.
When you arrive at the venue, plenty of thought should be put into watercraft, watching the water to try and identify areas that hold feeding carp.
Looking for bubbles can be a great approach if you struggle to see any carp activity on the surface.