Carp fishing is an extremely popular sport across the world, especially in the UK and across Europe.
Millions of anglers take to the banks regularly with many new beginner anglers taking up the sport every year.
Plenty of specially designed carp rods, fishing tackle, baits and accessories in tackle stores have been developed over the years to aid new and experienced carp anglers.
There’s a common misconception that carp angling is a really expensive hobby that can cost you a lot of money just to get started and put your first fish in the net.
Generally speaking, though, you can catch carp with little investment depending on what style and size of carp you’re looking to catch but of course, like most other hobbies, the top-of-the-range tackle and equipment can be expensive, but this is definitely not required.
Let’s do a quick price breakdown of what some of the essential tackle and equipment will cost you to get started in carp fishing.
So, is carp fishing expensive?
Is Carp Fishing Expensive?
In my opinion, carp fishing is not expensive if you don’t want it to be, and you can definitely put carp in the net on a budget if money is tight.
However, what I class as expensive and what others class as expensive may be slightly different, so I’ll provide a breakdown of the costs of some basic carp fishing tackle so you yourself can make the decision if carp fishing is an expensive hobby or not.
I’m going to detail the very baseline that you’ll need for a few carp fishing approaches, so bear in mind that these could be a lot more expensive if you choose to go for the higher-end tackle
First of all, depending on what style of fishing you’re planning to take up and what size of carp you’re planning to target will impact how much a beginner setup can cost.
For example, stalking carp, which involves travelling light and moving around the venue looking for fish feeding on the surface, is one of the cheapest carp fishing methods, in my opinion.
The only downside here is that this type of carp fishing is a very weather and season-dependent style of carp angling and the carp need to be swimming and feeding on the surface for this fishing approach to work at all.
For this style of fishing, all you need is a light rod, a small reel loaded with lightish line, a hook tied to the end of your mainline and a loaf of bread or a packet of floating dog biscuits.
On the other hand, if you intend to target specimen carp (huge fish) through the night over a long period, then you’re going to need a lot of heavy tackle, set-ups for targeting the fish in various scenarios, a lot of bait for pre-baiting and baiting swims, camping equipment, landing matt, a cradle and also a large net then this can get expensive and become well over around £800 for some reasonable gear.
Let’s look at some basic carp fishing tactics and roughly how much these setups could cost you. I’ll focus on mid-low range prices that will be more than adequate for you getting started in carp fishing.
With all styles of carp angling, you need to be sure that you’re protecting the fish once they are on the bank, so no matter what style of carp fishing you plan, these items are going to be essential; let’s take a look at how much they can cost.
Generally speaking, there are two items that you’re going to need to keep the carp protected once they are on the banks at a minimum, these are a large carp safe landing net, a large landing mat and then a cradle if you plan on weighing the fish you catch safely.
These don’t need to be too expensive, and you can pick them up for around:
- Landing Net: £20-30
- Landing Matt: £15-30
Surface fishing in my opinion, is probably the cheapest method for targeting carp, but unfortunately, this is not something you’ll be able to do every fishing session.
Surface fishing, as you’d imagine, involves targeting carp on the surface with floating baits and is generally done at close range as you’ll not have enough weight in the rig for casting distance.
Carp will spend most of their time feeding at depths, but in some conditions can see the carp happily feed on the surface.
These times will usually be between spring to autumn when the carp come to the surface on warm sunny days to bask in the warmer top layers of water and may be interested in feeding on some floating baits.
Although this method is cheap, keep in mind that you will need perfect weather conditions for it to be possible.
So, roughly how much will it cost to give surface fishing a go?
Surface fishing is generally done with a light 10-weight float rod, usually with a light test curve of around 2lbs.
The reel doesn’t need to be fancy, and anything on the smaller, light end should do the job.
The only other thing you’re going to need mainline to spool onto your reel is a small hook and a floating bait such as a loaf of bread.
- Rod for Surface Fishing: £50
- Reel for Surface Fishing:£30-40
- Line: £5
Feeding fishing involves casting small plastic devices that hold carp fishing baits such as ground baits, micro pellets, maggots or any other carp you can get to hold in the feeder before it reaches the bottom of the water with your hook bait presented with the loose bait from the feeder
Once the feeder rig reaches the bottom of the mixture will start to break away and leave a small area of attractive carp bait to hopefully bring fish in from the surrounding area and get them feeding comfortably in the hope that they pick up your hook bait.
Feeder fishing is usually done using quiver tip rods that have very sensitive end tips that will register any line bites with tiny twitches of the quiver, and bites will result in the rod tip bending dramatically.
Feeder fishing is more expensive than surface fishing due to the extra tackle that is needed.
Generally speaking, you’ll be able to pick up a rod and reel for not much more expensive than a surface fishing set up but you’re going to need more expensive tackle and a fair amount of bait to get you started.
As well as your rod and reel, you’re going to need a rod pod or rod rest to put your rod on when you’re fishing, so it is still to register any bites on the rod tip.
For this style of fishing, you’re also not going to be moving around, so at a minimum, you’re going to be wanting to purchase a decent chair.
Like all styles of fishing, they can be done on a budget, or you can splash out on premium tackle, but I’ll draw up a rough estimate of the prices.
- Quiver Tip Rod: £70
- Reel: £40
- Line: £5
- Feeders: £3 a piece
- Rod Pod or Rod Holder: £15-£40
- Chair: £60
Float fishing for carp is done using float rods which are generally a little lighter than other carp rods are they are often designed to be held or longer periods of time.
Float fishing can be a fairly cheap method of carp fishing as a rod, reel, waggler float, line, and a hook bait is all you really need to put carp in the net successfully.
This style of fishing allows you to present hook baits up in the water or sometimes even on the bottom with the added indication of the float.
A well-set-up float rig can be great for bite indication, as any line bites or bites will result in your float dipping or completely dipping out of site as a fish pulls on your line.
- Float Rod:£50
- Reel: £40
- Line: £5
- Waggler Floats: £2-£5
- Bait: £5
Specimen Carp Fishing
In my opinion, specimen carp angling can be the most expensive type of carp angling and involves a lot of quality tackle and added equipment to give putting some specimen carp in the net a good go.
Specimen carp angling is used for anglers who enjoy targeting large “specimen” carp that swim in our waters.
These fish are usually far larger than any of the other fish swimming in the water, are distinct in some way and are generally known by the specimen carp community.
Due to these fish usually being a lot larger and heavier than the usual carp swimming in commercial fisheries, far heavier tackle, reels and lines are used to target them.
Also, a lot of bait can be needed depending on the style of fishing you’re planning to target them with, but generally, a good baiting approach is needed to hopefully get the fish feeding in your chosen swim.
With specimen carp fishing, the periods in which anglers fish is usually far longer than your usual day ticket waters and they may spend a few days fishing or even a full season fishing in the same venue to try and catch that one specimen fish.
Due to this, bivvys and camping equipment are usually required, which can quickly add up in price.
A large net, quality unhooking mat or cradle, weigh scales and even camera equipment to snap a good picture if you get the target fish in the net usually come hand in hand with specimen carp angling.
It’s challenging to put rough prices on the likes of camping and camera gear, but generally, the carp rod and reel prices can cost as much as:
- Specimen Carp Rod:£150-200
Carp fishing is thought to be an expensive sport to get started in, but really you can put some fish in the net without any fancy and expensive gear.
How much carp fishing can cost is a bit subjective and will depend on the style of fishing you want to target the fish with and what quality of tackle you’re planning to buy.
You can easily start by targeting smaller fish with lower quality fishing tackle with a low budget of under £120 if you don’t need a lot of the added extras such as chairs and rod pods.
Nn the other hand, carp fishing can become extremely expensive if you buy top quality gear, fishing for long periods and needing to buy camping gear and lots of expensive gear for baiting swims and fishing long sessions.
But carp fishing does not need to be expensive.