Grass carp are a type of fish that is quite abundant and widespread throughout the world, including the United States. It is believed that the fish are native to Asia, and it is still there that the majority of these specimens can be found; they are frequently used as weed control in aquaculture due to their voracious appetite for vegetation.
Various methods are used to catch grass carp, and bowfishing grass carp is a possibility if the technique is permitted in the area where it is being practiced. The following guide is devoted to grass carp fishing techniques that can be used anywhere and at any time when you’re in the mood to catch some grass carp.
These fish are delicious whether baked, fried, or steamed, so you have a variety of options when it comes to preparing them. You will become much more proficient at bringing home as many of this species as possible if you follow the advice provided in the following section on how to catch grass carp fish:
Essential tips for catching grass carp
When fishing for this type of fish, there are a number of considerations that must be taken into consideration. While the species is plentiful and you will return home with a large amount of fish ready to cook, this does not imply that you will always have an easy time catching fish. Better yet, the more you know about the proper techniques for catching this particular fish species, the better off you will be.
Rod length and action
One of the first things you need to learn to be a proficient grass carp catcher is to choose the right type of rod. For this species, a 7-foot rod is an ideal choice. A medium size model with heavy action is the most indicated, as grass carp are known to be able to put up quite a fight.
Do not make a mistake to downplay what these fish can do. When a carp bites, the pressure on the line will be real. That means that you should also match the rod with a 20-pound line. This way, you can be sure that you will manage to take the fish out of the water, without the risk to break the line.
It is equally important to know what sort of hooks to use for grass carp. This species can struggle a lot, once hooked, which means that there is a possibility of accidents. Treble hooks are a definite no-no, as a result, because they can cause serious bruises on the carp’s delicate mouth.
Your choice should be circle hooks. These hooks will not risk hurting the carp, and you will not have to struggle with the hook to take it out. For nice looking prey that you can snap a few pictures of, consider your choice of hooks before any fishing trip.
Choice of bait
Grass carp are famous for being able to munch through important amounts of vegetation, which is why they were introduced for weed control in aquaculture. Tested and tried methods employed by other anglers show that these fish can be quite in love with a type of bait you might not have thought about.
These fish appreciate cherry tomatoes more than anything else in the world. This simple information means one thing: that you will be able to catch a lot of grass carp if you use this type of bait. Take one small cherry tomato, cut it in half, and hook it. It is highly recommended to use smaller tomatoes, as much as possible, as the fish might just take a bite and then run, as soon as the hook is detected.
Choice of chum
Making the grass carp flock to the area where you want to cast your line is not exactly an easy task if you don’t know what to do. That brings up to one of the most important grass carp fishing tips you have to learn: your choice of chum.
Spreading a chum mixture over the water will make the grass carp come to where you want to fish. Make a blend of fresh grass and corn; throw it in the water a few hours before you start fishing. Let it soak in the water and spread its fragrance that will begin to draw in the grass carp. The fish will feed for a little while and become more confident, while you get ready to cast your line.
Grass carp may not be the brightest fish in the pool, but they are not that easy to catch, either. That is why there is a certain baiting technique you must learn. You will have to make sure that the water surface is not disturbed as you cast the line and let the hook sink.
Your bait should be sunk with the hook. You can also let it go a bit loose on the water surface. At least half of it should be inside the water, to attract the fish. This way, you can make sure that the fish will be drawn to the bait to have a bite.
While fishing, keep the line as tight as possible. Grass carp can be quite delicate while feeding on the bait, so you might not be able to tell whether the fish started to bite or not. A tight line will show immediately that the bait is being attacked. If you still see no signs, it is recommended to put the finger on the line to register even the most delicate vibrations.
Do this from time to time to check on the fish. Let the carp engage in feeding for a while, as you make sure to turn fast as soon as the rod tip is lifted. The hook will then go through the carp’s mouth, and you can pull it out of the water.
As mentioned before, you must bear in mind that grass carp are powerful fish, and they tend to struggle once caught. Here is a technique on how to fish for grass carp that will help you. Make sure to loosen up the drag, as soon as the fish bite.
Work the line in fast, to avoid letting the fish too much time to start fighting. Otherwise, you will have to chase and tire the fish, which will put extra exertion on your hands, as well.
Other important information for grass carp fishing
Before, we talked about different techniques and essential equipment you should have when you go on a fishing trip that involves catching this particular fish species. However, these are not the only things you have to know. If you want to be proficient at catching grass carp, there are a few other recommendations that will come in handy.
How to find the right location
Grass carp were introduced in aquaculture as a means for limiting the growth of weed, as they consider the natural vegetation occurring in lakes and ponds their staple food. The good news is that the chances are to find this species of fish almost anywhere.
The not so great news is that all these lakes and ponds where grass carp are abundant are most often in the private properties of farmers and other landowners. A good idea would be to address the problem in advance and ask for permission to fish for grass carp on their property. As this species is so widespread, some people will let you fish in their waters.
Bear in mind that you are up against a fighter
Grass carp might be vegetarian, but they are fighters by definition. They weigh enough to put up a struggle, and that means that you have to be properly armed for this fight. A strong tackle is the only thing that will help you. Consider getting a heavy action rod, as indicated before, and a strong line, to go with it.
A medium size spinning wheel with an open face should be part of the tackle you are going to use to catch grass carp. All in all, your tackle should be of the right size and strength to make sure that your prey will not get away from you.
Avoid noise at all costs
All anglers know very well that fish should not be disturbed, as a general rule. But grass carp, in particular, can be easy to scare away if you are not stealthy while approaching the body of water and casting your line.
These fish can easily get annoyed with noise and other types of disturbance, and they will quickly disappear into the underwater brush, making it impossible for you to catch any of them. When that happens, it can take a lot of time for them to resurface again.
Baiting the area
Grass carp will not just come when you want them to come. That means that you need to take some measures to ensure that you will not be casting your line without chances of success. A good method to do that is by baiting the area you will use for fishing.
Some anglers say that baiting an area can take only a few hours to begin attracting grass carp, while others say that you can count on this to work only if you leave it for at least a few days. You can bait the area with canned corn, a treat that this fish species seems to enjoy a lot.
Picking the right bait
It has already been stated that the best bait for these fish is something that is similar to what they would eat in their natural environment. They are quite enthusiastic about treats that they do not normally feed on, such as cherry tomatoes, but you may not always have this type of bait available to you to use. Take into account the herbivore diet that these fish prefer when selecting your bait, and you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of options.
Some fishermen swear by the combination of corn and dough, and it appears to work like a charm, especially after baiting the area with canned corn in the proper quantities. Choosing other delectable treats such as watermelon pieces, lime beans, green beans, and even grass will not put you in the wrong camp. While it is true that this carp species is not fond of animal-based treats, worms could serve the same purpose.
Following all the steps to the letter
Another important consideration is to make certain that you complete all of the steps necessary to catch grass carp without forgetting anything important. Let’s go over the process again to see how anglers should go about catching this type of delicious fish.
The first and most important step is to approach the water as quietly as possible while moving very slowly and without making any noise. You should already have the line with the bait in the hook ready to go when you start fishing. Please keep in mind that you must use the proper equipment, or else this powerful fish may end up escaping rather than being caught by a skilled angler.
A good idea would be to attach a small weight to the end of the line in order to keep the bait inside the water while fishing. The bait must be able to be detected by the fish, which may not be possible if it is not properly sunken beneath the surface of the water surface. However, avoid tying the bait too tightly to the rig because the grass carp will pull at it and, as soon as they feel any restriction, they will drop the bait and run away from you.
To avoid this from occurring, it is recommended that you allow the bait line to become slightly slack. – When the carp bite, they will have a little more freedom, and they will not be aware that something is wrong with their environment.
The hook should be set after you have stretched the line as far as you want it to go. Reel in the slack line and then slowly lower the hook into the water to catch the fish. Always keep in mind who you’re up against in this situation. Grass carp are a large, powerful fish with a lot of strength, which means you must be prepared to put up a good fight with them.
It goes without saying that the best course of action would be to avoid any such conflicts in the first place. In order to accomplish this, you should follow the recommendations made earlier in this article. A loose drag will allow you to reel in the line and catch the fish because it realizes that something happens. Don’t let your guard down; this carp species is known for being able to escape even seasoned anglers.
Charles Reynolds is an engineer from New York University with a passion for fishing. His earliest memories of fishing go back to the days spent on the lake with his grandfather who taught him the sport. Reynolds spends a large part of his holidays fishing with his son and passing on the skills to the little one.