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A Guide to Carp Fishing Rods

A Guide to Carp Fishing Rods

Fishing for carp requires a significantly different variety of gear than is found when fishing for most other freshwater fish. This primarily stems from the different methods employed to successfully attract, hook, fight and land a carp. This guide outlines the basic types of carp fishing rods and additional gear that one should have when fishing for carp.

Types of Carp Fishing Rods

There are four main types of carp fishing rods: through action, medium action, fast action and specialist. Each is specifically suited for a different type of fishing scenario.

Through Action

The through action rod, also known as a slow taper or parabolic rod, is the softest of the four main rod types. It is used for carp fishing close to shore since the softness allows great control over the nearby fish. It is not suited for controlling fish much further from shore nor for casting great lengths, due once again to its softness.

Medium Action

The medium action rod, also known as the medium taper road, is the most common type of all carp fishing rods. It has good action while trying to land a fish and still provides control at most distances. It’s capable of casting normal distances with medium sized leads.

Fast Action

The fast action rod, also known as the fast taper rod, is used for casting heavier leads a long distance and controlling fish that take the bait immediately. It is not as ideal for close range fish since the stiffness of the rod prevents the angler from adequately feeling the fish.


The specialist rod type is for anglers who don’t have access to a boat, or where conditions prohibit the use of a boat. Until recently, this type of rod was not possible to craft, but recent technological breakthroughs in rod materials has allowed the specialist rod type to develop. This rod can be 13 feet long and cast tackle up to 150 yards out, allowing anglers access to fish that they would otherwise need a boat to reach.

How Carp Fishing Rods Are Rated

Rods are typically rated using the “test curve” method. The “test curve” is basically the amount of weight that causes a rod to bend at a 90 degree angle. If 3 pounds caused a rod tip to bend into an ‘L’ shape, then that rod would be given a 3lb test curve rating. Additionally, a new method of rating rods is starting to be used which rates based on the maximum cast-able weight that rod can support.


The typical reel used for carp fishing is a spin cast reel with fully adjustable drag capabilities. If the fishing scenario you’re looking at involves longer distances and casting, look for a larger reel with more line capacity to account for the distance.

Shock and Snag Leaders

A shock leader is used with heavier rod types when casting a heavy weight a great distance. It reduces the shock on the line during the initial cast so that the fishing tackle isn’t lost. The average strength of a typical shock leader is 35 to 40 pounds.

Snag leaders are used in waters where there is a lot of debris, weeds, fresh water mussles or other obstacles which could hang up the line. Depending on the situation, sometimes a shock leader can also double as a snag leader to both handle the initial cast as well as prevent the line from snapping or being cut on obstacles.

Rod Supports

Due to the fact that the bait used for carp is of a pungent nature, it’s often necessary to leave the bait in the water for long durations, and have multiple rods going at the same time. In order to handle this situation, the angler can employ rod supports to hold each rod and prevent it from being pulled into the water when a carp takes the bait.

Bite Alarms

A bite alarm is a wireless system where sensors are placed on each rod and then a wireless signal is sent to a radio held by the angler when a bite is detected on a rod. This allows the angler to place rods at different distances from each other and monitor all of them at the same time.

Landing Nets

Carp can grow to be extremely large, so it is often the case that a net is required to help land the fish. Typical carp landing nets are triangle shaped, made of solid nylon or other material, large enough to accommodate a sizable fish and have a long handle to reach the fish as it’s nearing shore.

The sport of carp fishing requires dedication and an assortment of gear to participate in it, but the rewards of a sizable carp are definitely worth the investment. Good luck on your next fishing trip!