STARTING a fully fledged carp fishing career can be a daunting prospect, but if you intend to try your luck at banking some real whoppers then you’ll need the right equipment for the job.

With such an overwhelming amount of dedicated carping gear on the market, Angler’s Mail is well aware it can be a bit of a head scratcher to know where to begin when choosing items of gear suitable for the job.

Most leading tackle giants offer economical, mid-priced and flagship equipment to suit everyone’s pocket.

Kitting yourself out with the cheapest stuff available can be a false economy, as sub-standard tackle certainly isn’t built to last and can soon let you down – often at the critical moment.

Andy Browne, the Angler’s Mail magazine contributor and tackle dealer, explains more…

“I’ve seen carpers using £20 free-spool reels which disintegrate as soon as a lively carp ploughs off, and the same can be said for ridiculously cheap rods.

Luggage and shelters also need to do the job too, without falling apart or letting in the rain.

My advice would be to start off with your typical middle range tackle from a reputable maker, and upgrade gradually when the carp fishing bug gets a very firm hold of you.

So what sort of price should you be expecting to pay for a decent, entire carping outfit, ready to tackle the country’s most popular and largest freshwater fish?

I’ve chosen the Mission X range of carp tackle from Daiwa which is perfectly adequate and great quality for the money.

I reckon a figure between £800 to £1,000 is enough cash to comfortably get you going with all of the essential gear to start carp fishing.

It sounds like a lot of money to lay out, but don’t forget, just two top end carp rods and reels can easily set you back the same sort of figure!”

Here’s Andy Browne’s carp gear guide to get a serious starter kit together…

1 – Starting a career in carp fishing does involve a fair old pile of gear, but it’s all essential stuff. You can’t beat the advice of your local tackle shop owner as these guys know all about fishing tackle and offer invaluable information as well as good waters for you to begin your carping exploits. Recommended at Avon Angling is Daiwa’s Mission X range of good quality gear and they pretty much supply every item needed.


2 – Rod pods are essential for stony swims or banks baked hard by the sun. Bank sticks are usually the norm, but you’ll find them useless in hard ground. This quality high grade aluminium pod is a steal at £39.99 and coupled with a pair of decent alarms and bobbins offers a sound set- up. Don’t be tempted by mega cheap alarms from obscure makers. These alarms often give up the ghost as soon as it rains.


3 – You don’t need to spend £400 for a pair of carp rods. These Mission X rods retail at a penny shy of £80 and they’re great quality with a slick and stylish finish. I suggest a test curve of 2.5 lb as a good all-rounder rod.  Reels with a free-spool facility are the favoured option. These Daiwa Bite n Run free-spool reels are smooth operators with a history of reliability and are well worth the price tag of £79.99.


4 – Here’s the business end of your carping outfit, terminal tackle. There’s absolutely no point in having all the gear but very little in the way of end gear. Don’t scrimp on critical items such as hooks, swivels and hook link material – buy the very best, and have a decent supply with you. Store all your terminal tackle in a decent tackle box and you won’t misplace essential items. Quality terminal tackle isn’t cheap. I’ve estimated a figure of around £80 is enough to fill a box with enough bits to cover most carping situations.


5 – Tying standard carp rigs is easy to master, but to start you off and give some peace of mind, you could invest in a few packets of ready-tied rigs. Good quality ready-tied rigs from ESP and Korda use only the best materials available, with different designs to suit all situations. It’s also worth picking up one of Korda’s free instructional DVDs which are widely available at most Korda stockists. These are quality productions, offering all manner of invaluable information for both experienced and novice carp anglers alike.


6 – Baitwise, you can’t go wrong with boilies and pellets – carp simply love ‘em and there’s an almost infinite array of weird and bizarre flavours to choose from and they all catch fish. Boilies usually come in 1 kilo bags, costing between £7 to £10 in either shelf-life or frozen options. Both score well, but remember that preservative free frozen boilies need to be popped back into the deep freeze to stop them spoiling. Don’t forget a decent catapult for loose feeding – you’ll struggle to throw baits more than a few yards!


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Be sure to read Angler’s Mail magazine every Tuesday for the best carp fishing tackle, bait and tactical advice.