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The 5 Best Baits For Carp Fishing (And How To Use Them)

boilies make the best carp fishing bait

The Best Carp Baits Ever!

Carp eat a lot of different foods, but they don’t tend to eat what other fish eat. They have fairly unique diets.

To help you catch more carp, I’ve listed five of the baits that I believe are the best to use while carp fishing. They’ve proven to be effective for me, and I’m willing to bet that they’ll be effective for you.


boilies are a classic carp fishing bait

Boilies are hands-down the best bait to use for carp. They come from central Europe, and European fishermen have turned carp fishing into a well-developed art.

Boilies are essentially little balls that are made from cornmeal, finely-ground meat, and binders such as eggs or animal fat. There are countless recipes that are used to make boilies, and none of them outperform one another in the grand scheme of things. You just have to find a recipe that your local carp enjoy.

You can buy these prepackaged at a store, or you can make them yourself. I will warn you that making them is extremely messy, and it usually costs more than simply buying a bag of commercial boilies. You also run the risk of messing them up if you don’t bind them correctly, and that wastes a lot of money that you could use for hooks, fishing line, or bobbers.

To use boilies, you want to match them with circle hooks that match the size of the boilie you’re using. In general, a 10-0 hook is your best bet for larger boilies, and you can use a 4-0 hook for anything under 8-mm.

If you’re using a floating boilie, you want to run the hook through the boilie, and you want to let it float out away from the bank. When a carp sucks the boilie into its mouth, you just have to let it run away for the circle hook to snag it.

You also use J-hooks if you don’t have any circle hooks laying around. Use the same size ratio that you’d use for circle hooks.

Canned Corn

tips for fishing with corn

Canned corn is a popular bait for carp fishing. You can find it in nearly every grocery store, and it usually won’t cost you more than a dollar for an entire can. In terms of its efficiency, it’s probably the best bait for beginners to use. It’s not as good at attracting carp as boilies are, but it’s a lot cheaper.

When using canned corn for carp, there are a couple of different things you can do.

First, you can set it up the same way that you do a bluegill rig, and you can hope that the bluegill stay away from it. I don’t like this method, but it’s something that every fishermen should know how to do.

Second, you can string kernels of corn along a J-hook, and you can run a few kernels onto your line. don’t use any weight. The corn should float on top of the water.

Finally, you can add corn to peanut butter balls and other homemade baits. It’ll increase the effectiveness of your bait, and it’s a really cheap way to supplement your bait when you’re running low on other ingredients.

If you use any of those methods, you can throw some of your corn into the water to draw in carp. It’s cheap enough that you shouldn’t be too worried about chucking a whole can of corn into the water. Just check your local laws before doing so. It’s illegal in some places.

Peanut Butter Balls

peanut butter balls for carp fishing bait

Peanut butter balls are a lot like boilies, but they’re a lot cheaper to make. You just pack some peanut butter onto your hook, and you chuck it in the water. Peanut butter balls will usually sink to the bottom, but you can use a bobber to control the depth that you fish at. You don’t need to use any weights.

If you want to, you can make a very large peanut butter ball, and you can use several hooks to increase your chances of catching a carp when they nibble on your peanut butter ball. That’s illegal in some fishing spots, though.

If you want to make your peanut butter ball even more efficient, add some canned corn to it. Just press some kernels into the peanut butter, and you’re ready to go.


tomatoes used as carp fishing bait

Cherry tomatoes might sound like a weird bait to use on any fish, but carp love them, and they’re pretty cheap. They’re also extremely easy to use.

All you have to do is run a hook through a cherry tomato, and then you can throw it in, and allow it to sink to the bottom. I highly recommend poking a couple of small holes in the tomato’s skin, though. It’ll make it easy for the carp to find the tomato.


boy putting worm on hook

Worms are my least favorite form of bait for carp. Too many different fish like them, and that makes it very difficult to target carp. I personally believe that you’re more likely to catch bluegill, bass, and catfish on any worm rig that you set up for carp. You can use them effectively if you’re fishing in a body of water that is filled with the type of carp that you’re targeting, though.

If you choose to use worms, you should use them the same way that you’d use them for catfish. Any rig that makes them sink to the bottom will work.

You can also string them on a weightless hook, and then allow them to float around on top of the water, but I haven’t had much success doing that.

In general, worms are a good choice if you don’t have any of the other baits, and they’re definitely better than using artificial baits to catch carp, but they’re not very effective, and I recommend any of the other four baits that I listed more than I recommend worms.

Carp Fishing Tips

Carp fishing isn’t too difficult, and I have an entire guide on carp fishing on this site. I will list a few good tips here to help you out, though.

  • Feed the carp. If it’s legal for you to do so in your area, you should throw samples of your preferred bait into specific spots each day. That will train the carp to come to your favorite spots, and it’ll teach them to eat your preferred bait. This is illegal in some places, though. So, make sure to check out your local laws.
  • Use hooks that are appropriately sized for your bait. Carp can get hooked by a large variety of hooks. You want to use hooks that are the right size for your bait. Don’t pick your hooks based on the carp you’re targeting.
  • Rotate your baits. Don’t sit around using the same bait all day. If you don’t catch a carp within half an hour, switch your bait out for another one.

Final Thoughts

Carp eat a large variety of foods, but their diets are still pretty unique. The five baits that I listed here are known to work extremely well, and when they’re combined with the tips provided in my carp fishing guide, they’re guaranteed to increase the amount of carp that you catch.

Written by Don

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure.

I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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