There are many methods and tactics that you can use to target carp, but the most common methods are those that target feeding carp on the bottom.
Carp are bottom feeders and spend large portions of their time feeding on the bottom so targeting them here can prove effective if the conditions are right.
These methods present baits on the bottom and will usually incorporate some sort of method for casting handfuls of free baits into your swim with your hook bait presented within or nearby.
These free baits are used to hopefully attract hungry fish into your swim and get them feeding in the hope that they also pick up your hook bait.
In this post, I’ll cover some of the bottom fishing methods for carp and how you can give it a go yourself.
So, how to fish for carp on the bottom?
How To Fish for Carp on the Bottom?
These methods for targeting carp on the bottom have been developed over the years by expert carp anglers with the carps feeding behaviour in mind.
Carp are classed as bottom feeders and will spend large portions of their time feeding here (thought to be around 40-50% of their time).
They have downturned mouths and highly sensitive taste buds in their mouths and two protruding barbells that hang down from either side of their mouths.
These tastebuds allow the carp to cruise the bottom and taste potential food sources resting on the bottom.
They also have highly adapted olfactory systems, which means they can “smell” dissolved substances in the water, such as amino acids, flavourings or oils given off by natural food sources and also anglers baits.
This allows the fish to track down your piles of bait on the bottom and draw them into the swim, where they will most likely happily feed on the food.
The most common methods that are used for fishing for carp on the bottom are:
- Feeder Fishing
- PVA Bag Fishing
- Simple Lead Set-Up
Feeder fishing is a great method for fishing commercial waters with large stocks of carp and other coarse fish.
It allows you to accurately bait up swims with baits such as groundbait and micropellets to far areas that are outwith of throwing range.
Feeders come in various types, such as open-ended, method, cage and even maggot feeders.
They are all generally the same concept but allow you to cast different baits effectively and fish them at different depths.
Open-ended feeders are most used for deeper waters where you don’t want your bait to start breaking away from the feeder until it has sunk to the bottom.
Cage feeders and most commonly used for ground baits in shallow waters, with the mesh-like structure allowing plenty of water into your bait as it sinks so your bait will be released quickly.
Method feeders allow you to mould ground baits or micropellets around your method feeder and are good for presenting your bait amongst the baiting mixture.
Feeder fishing can be great at attracting fish into your swim to get them feeding comfortably on the small piles of free baits before hopefully coming across your hook bait tied attached to your rig.
PVA Bag Fishing
PVA bag fishing is another great method for catching carp on the bottom and allows you to cast free bait along with your hook bait and rig.
This works in the same way as feeder fishing because it allows you to present your hook bait near a mound of prebait that will hopefully help draw fishing into the swim.
PVA bags will start to dissolve when they hit the water and drop your bait beside your rig.
This method of fishing is slightly different than method feeder fishing as it allows you to cast baits that you wouldn’t normally be able to mould around or into any type of feeder.
Anglers will generally use baits such as chopped boilies, dry pellets, dry sweetcorn or really any other dry carp bait that you want to use.
One downside of the PVA bag method is the fact that you can’t use any wet or even moist baits as this will start to dissolve the PVA bag before you’e even made a cast.
Simple Lead Set-Up
Sometimes, fishing a simple lead set-up with a single hook bait may be all you need in some situations to put carp in the net.
This can be an extremely simple method for fishing for carp on the bottom and doesn’t require you to buy a lot of carp bait t use as pre-bait.
in my opinion, hair rigs are a must when fishing for carp and not only when targeting them on the bottom.
Hair rigs were first invented and trialled in the 1980’s by Kevin Maddocks and Len Middleton.
They were experimenting and trying to find better ways of presenting hook baits in the water that would also allow the hook to move more freely for a better hook hold if a fish decided to pick up your bait.
The hair rig (as seen in the picture above), provides a method for connecting all sorts of baits to your rig, no matter what rig you’re using.
When the bait is pierced directly onto a hook, the bait will react less naturally in the water, will have a metallic taste that the carp could decide to avoid and also results in poorer hook holds and missed bites as large portions of the hook are covered.
The hair rig removes all these negatives and should be a must for fishing for carp on the bottom.
Pre-Baiting for Bottom Feeding Carp
Another great method for catching carp on the bottom, and one that is used by many experienced carp anglers, is pre-baiting.
Feeder fishing and PVA bag fishing mentioned above will allow you to bait your swim as you’re fishing but it still may take a while for carp to come into your swim if you’ve not already found and cast to them.
Pre-baiting is essentially constantly adding free bait to a chosen swim over the days or weeks before you’re fishing so the carp will become accustomed to finding free bait in your chosen swim before you actually cast a rig there.
Of course, this isn’t possible on commercial venues as they are extremely busy and there’s a small chance you’ll actually get to fish the swim you’ve baited when you arrive.
This method is more suited to remote or very quiet waters with lower carp stocks.
As carp are bottom feeders, fishing for carp on the bottom is one of the most popular methods of carp fishing.
The rigs above are the most common methods for fishing for carp on the bottom, and if you want to become an experienced carp angler, then you should take the time to learn these methods.