Experienced carp fishermen will have multiple sets of carp rods. The reason for this is to suit different carp fishing tactics. You might have noticed that carp rods vary in length, strength and action.
First, here are the reasons for the differences in carp rods:
Longer rods help you to cast further and more accurately. You will cast much better with a 12 or 13 foot carp rod in comparison to a 10 foot rod. With a longer rod you can also apply side strain more effectively during a fight.
The shorter rod can have its advantages in certain situations though. If you are fishing in a cramped swim, for example when you are stalking for carp, a long rod can foul the undergrowth or over hanging branches. In a situation where you are casting close in, or if the swim is cramped, a shorter rod makes sense. Some stalking rods for carp fishing are only 7 or 8 foot long.
Obviously if you are fishing for huge carp then you want a stronger rod than if you are fishing for small carp. The main reason for carp rods of different strengths however is related to casting weight. If you are using lead weights of 3 ounces or more, and if you are using PVA bags or sticks, then you need a stronger rod.
The strength of the rod needs to be in balance. It needs to be strong enough to punch out the kinds of rigs and carp baits that you will be using. It also needs to be strong enough to curtail a large carp who is making for an underwater snag. But it should be only just strong enough. You do not want to use “beach casters” because you will experience lost fish through hook pulls.
As a guideline, a test curve of 1.17 pounds to 2.25 pounds is good for small fish or close range fishing. A rod with a test curve of 2.5 to 3 pounds is a good all-rounder. Any rod over 3.25 pounds test curve is for heavy-duty casting and spodding.
There are generally 3 types of rod action
A carp rod with a parabolic action will bend from tip to butt and “hoop over” under pressure. This type of rod is unpopular nowadays. The idea behind a parabolic action is to be more forgiving and offer more flexibility during a fight. But most carp anglers find that it doesn’t have quite enough backbone for serious carp fishing
A rod with a tip action tends to be very popular. This is because a “tippy” carp rod will easily outcast other types of rod, by a long distance. Extra care must be taken to cushion the fishes lunges during close range. If you have pulled the fish in over 100 meters then this is easier, but if you fish close range with a tip action rod you need to be very careful.
A medium action, or through action carp rod is the “go to” choice for close to medium range. It will offer a good compromise between the forgiveness of a parabolic action, and the strength for a decent cast. A medium action is the most practical “fish playing” rod choice. It has the strength to keep the fish away from snags, but still offers plenty of shock absorption.
So, what types of rods should you have in your collection?
Most Carp fishermen build up their fishing gear over many years, but here is a typical order:
1) A set (2-4) of “all round” carp rods. 12 feet long, 2.5 pound test curve medium action. These rods are the most versatile, and you will be able to use them carefully in small waters, but still cast far enough for most situations on big lakes. They will also be strong enough to handle any carp.
2) Depending on the type of water you regularly fish, or intend to fish most often, you will get either:
A set of small water/ margin rods. They will be 11 or 12 foot long but only 1.75 – 2 pound test curve. These rods will be more suited to smaller fish, margin fishing, or ponds or canals where the carp might have softer mouths.
A set of big pit casting rods. 12 or 13 feet long and 3.25-3.75 test curve with a tip action. These rods will be able to cast huge distances, or decent distances with PVA bags attached.
Once you have the small water/ margin rods, or the big pit casting rods you will then be likely to be working towards buying the other set of carp rods. The idea will be to end up with 3 main sets of rods, to handle any situation.
Extra types of carp rods to add to your collection
Once you have your 3 sets, you will want to finish off with a stalking rod that might be 8 feet long with a 4 pound test curve and a through action.
You will want a spod rod that will be used just for spodding only. This might be 12 feet long and even a 5 pounds test curve to handle the punishment that you will give it.
A marker rod, similar to your all round rod or big pit rod, depending on the kind of water that you will be fishing.
A floater rod needs to be 10 to 20 feet depending on the distance needed and whether the bank is free of branches and so on. It needs to be light enough to fish close in, but with enough backbone to keep a carp hooked at close range from getting to the snags.