Carp fishing is one of the most popular angling disciplines – and it’s no surprise to see why. The thrill of catching a monster carp, especially one that hasn’t been seen for a number of years, is unparalleled and anglers from around the globe flock to the nation’s best respected carp waters in order to try their hand at this sport. Although you can carp fish with a pole, carp fishing with a rod and reel is the overwhelmingly more popular option. Not only does a carp fishing rod setup allow you to cast out three (or even four) carp rigs into one swim but, by hooking you gear up to bite indicators and bite alarms, you can fish throughout the night whilst resting in your bivvy. Whether you prefer a quick overnighter or you enjoy longer session carp fishing, without a top quality rod you might as well pack up and go home. This is why we, here at Angling Direct, have worked hard to ensure that you have a cornucopia of top end rods to choose from. As with our entire tackle range, these are priced so that anglers of all budgets and abilities can enjoy the best that the sport can offer. You’ll find rods for as little as £30 in our carp rod range, as well as rods hitting the £600 mark for the extraordinarily dedicated anglers amongst us. However, with most rods middling around in the £50 to £250 region, how do you decide which is the perfect for your needs? Using this quick guide can help you refine your search and pick out your dream carp fishing setup.
First things first, you want to consider the length of your rod. More often than not, the carp rods you’ll see on our site will be 12ft in length. This is generally accepted as the prime length for carp fishing, as it offers you a mix of casting ability and fish playing potential – allowing you to tackle any swim with complete confidence. It also perfectly complements most landing nets, which tend to have handles of approximately 6ft. If you’re fishing on a variety of venues, with standard water heights and snag zones, then a 12ft rod will be ideal for your needs. However, we do also stock longer 13ft rods, which have been growing in popularity over the years. 13ft rods are ideal for tackling the largest carp waters, both here and over on the continent. This is because they offer the benefit of long distance casting, which is an area of the sport which has been growing in popularity over the last decade. Longer rods are also preferred when water levels are high, when fishing with a zig rig, or when you’re casting over an especially snaggy spot.
One feature which tends to differentiate 12ft carp rods from 13ft carp rods is the size of their butt rings. As a general rule of thumb, 12ft rods will be fitted with 40mm butt rings, whereas 13ft rods will be fitted with 50mm rings. This is because the larger the butt ring is, the less friction a line with experience as it comes directly off the reel and the longer the cast is that you can achieve. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule and, thanks to the growing popularity of distance fishing, more and more 12ft rods are being fitted with 50mm butt guides. You will also find the odd 13ft rod fitted with 40mm rings, too. When you’re investing in a rod with a 50mm guide, chances are you’ll want to consider the size of your rod sleeve, quiver, or holdall. Some luggage, particularly if you’ve owned it for a number of years, won’t be kitted out for the larger butt rings.
Both 12ft and 13ft rods, whether they are fitted with 40mm or 50mm butt rings, will be available in a range of test curve options. Test curve refers to the weight required in order to bend the rod tip at a 90-degree angle to the butt and you’ll generally find carp rods offer test curves between 2.75lbs and 3.5lbs. However, this isn’t to say that you won’t be able to find carp rods with test curves outside of these parameters. The test curve that you look for will be determined by the kinds of waters that you fish and the size of the carp that you’re targeting. If you’re fishing fast flowing waters, with a heavy rig, or for large carp, then you’ll want to go for a rod with a heavier test curve. However, if you’re fishing still waters, with lighter terminal tackle, or for smaller carp then a rod with a lower test curve will be better suited to your needs.
Through all of this, it is worth considering the action that the rod can offer. There are lost of different rod actions available, from fast action rods to through action rods, and the exact definition of each action will change depending on the rod supplier. As a general rule of thumb, a good action to go for is a parabolic action. This is sometimes referred to as a progressive action and it offers a mix of fast and through action. Parabolic action rods are preferred due to their ability to offer the sought-after combination of responsive tip action and a powerful butt section. The action of the rod will be determined by a combination of the test curve and the materials at use in the rod blank. The rod blank is the main body of the rod, before any reel seats, guides, or other additions are included. As a general rule of thumb, most top end rods will offer a high modulus carbon fibre blank. Modulus is a stiffness rating, so if carbon fibre has a high modulus rating then it means it is a stiff rod that can perform well under pressure. The methods used to achieve the highest performing rod differ between manufacturers and techniques include super heating the blank and putting the blank under extreme pressure in the production process. All of these different methods are to ensure that the rod can hold its own under high-rotational pressure (or torque) – which is essential when you’re looking to achieve highly accurate distance casts, as well as when you’re retrieving a hard fighting fish that is attempting to kite into snags. Rods on the cheaper end of the spectrum will often use a carbon composite, rather than pure carbon fibre, in order to achieve the desired action.
The handle of the rod is another factor which is worth considering. Traditionally, cork has been used in rod handle manufacture and it is the favoured material of the classic carp angler. Cork does have some benefits over modern alternatives, including its heat retention (for comfort when cold weather angling) and its grip in wet conditions. However, as with all materials, it does have its drawbacks. Some anglers will find that that cork wears and crumbs more quickly than modern synthetic alternatives. Cork is also difficult to clean, so it will show the dirt early on. If you’re an angler who likes to look smart on the bank, cork might offer you the bespoke look you’re after for its first couple of uses but you may find yourself annoyed at the grime it picks up. The second most popular material used in carp rod handles is EVA. This is a plastic composite material which is favoured for its lightweight. It can also be precision manipulated, ensuring that you can enjoy an ergonomic hold on your rod. Like cork, it offers good grip in all weather conditions, however, it is also significantly longer lasting that cork. This means it will last much longer before it begins to show signs of wear – as well as being easily cleaned to preserve the spotless appearance of your tackle. Your rod handle will be finished with a butt cap, which is usually manufactured from stainless steel and engraved with the brand logo. This is designed to protect the blank from damage, as well as to look good!
The final features of your carp rod are known as furnishings. These include your line guides and your reel seat. We’ve already spoken a little about the butt guide on your rod, which is the largest guide that sits closest to the reel on your rod. However, your rod is fitted with guides along its length – approximately one guide per foot of rod. These guides get smaller the further up the rod they go, usually finishing at around the 14mm mark. The way these guides are attached to your blank will differ rod on rod, with some rods offering double or triple leg guides. Your line guides provide a pathway for your fishing line to run along during your cast and retrieve. You’ll find that some rods will offer low-friction or low-abrasion guides. These are designed to accommodate all line types, including monofilament line and braided line. As the name suggests, your reel seat is designed to hold you carp reel in position on your rod. With carp rods, this will most commonly be in the DPS style, although you will find some variation across the board. If the manufacturer is not designing and producing your line guides and reel seat themselves, you’ll probably find that they use Fuji. Fuji is one of the most popular line guide and reel seat manufacturers and they are famous for their high quality of production.
Bonus features that you might find on your carp rods include line clips, for securing your line in place (especially when fishing with a bite indicator setup); hook keeper rings, for keeping your terminal tackle secured against your rod whilst in transit; and isotope slots, for inserting isotopes into the tip section of your rod during low light level angling. All of these can be purchased to fit onto your rod if need be, so these accessories need not determine your rod choice.
As a final note, it is worth remembering that most carp anglers will fish with two, three, or four rods in their setup – with three rods being the most popular choice. This is to allow anglers to target a range of features and distances in one swim, giving the greatest chance of a huge take. This is important to take into consideration when you’re budgeting for your carp rod setup, as you’ll have to multiply your requirements by three. However, it is also worth remembering that Angling Direct offers interest free finance on any order over £300. With fixed monthly repayments, our Direct Credit scheme ensures you’ll be able to enjoy the best of your new tackle without the stress, so your budget need not hold you back from enjoying your tackle.
When it comes to high performance carp fishing rods, Harrison rods and Century rods dominate the upper end of the price bracket. Some brands will produce rods across the price spectrum, including the likes of Daiwa, Shimano, and Fox. Shakespeare rods are loved by beginners and budget anglers alike, as are Wychwood rods.
When you’re looking for carp rods, you might also want to consider a spod or marker rod. Often used as companion rods for a traditional three rod setup, these rods have been designed with specific uses in mind. Spod rods have a higher test curve than traditional carp rods as they are designed to cast out heavy weighted spods. A spod is a rocket or torpedo shaped container that holds boilies or groundbait. These burst open upon impact with the water, releasing your freebie carp bait directly over your rods. As they are able to be quickly filled, cast, and reeled in, they are a really effective way of getting huge quantities of bait out to a feature, quickly and accurately. To accommodate your heavier tackle, spod rods can have test curves up to 5lbs, ensuring that they won’t falter under the pressure of casting heavy baits over long distances. Similarly, marker rods often have a stronger test curve than traditional carp rods and you will find that some rods are listed as both spod and marker rods. The purpose of a marker rod is to find features and position a float near them, giving you somewhere to aim when you’re casting into open water. This ensures your casting accuracy over long periods of time, so you can target the water with precision. Most brands who design main carp rods will also design rods for spodding and marking.
If you would like more information on any aspect of your carp rod, whether that is general information or information about a specific rod, please contact out Customer Services team. You can find all their contact information on their dedicated page. All advice is completely without obligation and, as avid anglers themselves, they will be able to assist with all areas of your order with us today.