Beginners guide to Carp Rods

When it comes to Carp rods, especially for the beginner looking to buy their first rod,  you really are spoilt for choice and it’s best to be prepared before you part with your hard earned cash.

Carp Rods come in a multitude of lengths, test curves and prices, all of which have their uses under certain circumstances. As a beginner not something you necessarily need to worry about just yet.

However, there is plenty to consider when buying your first carp rods.

Carp Rod Test Curve (TC)

When casting a rod, the aim is to use the weight of your rig and lead to compress the rod to its full bend, then use the whipping motion of the rod straightening back out to generate the speed needed to send your end tackle the required distance.

Test curve is the weight needed to compress said rod. So, a 4.5lb test curve rod will take more weight to bend fully than say a 2.5lb test curve, but generate more speed when it springs back, and hopefully more distance.

So, the higher the test curve, the stiffer the rod. However, the bend in the rod also acts as a cushion when the hard fighting carp connected to the end of your line makes a dash for freedom. The lower the test curve, the more cushion you get when playing a fish into the net.

As a beginner, this is a compromise that you need to make, and why most would recommend those just dipping their toe into carp angling should choose a  lower tc rod, getting the right balance between casting power and fish playing forgiveness.

The ideal TC for someone starting out would be around the 2.75lb range and pretty much all rod ranges come with a model in that TC.

In the right hands and with plenty of practise these rods are more than capable of casting a lead or PVA bag decent distances, but come with the added bonus that they are forgiving enough that the beginner can take their time playing that well-earned fish into the net for the all important trophy shot.

Carp Rod Length

The typical length of a carp rod is 12ft, but there is also a market for smaller 9/10ft “stalking” rods, and the longer 13ft casting rods.

Now, we have learnt that in order to cast, you need to generate speed. Physics tell us that the longer the distance an object travels, the more speed it can generate. So, the longer the rod, the bigger the arc it creates through the casting motion, thus more speed, and hopefully, more distance.

There is no denying that casting a 13ft rod, properly, will get you casting further. But, this extra length, for once, comes with disadvantages. Firstly, they are generally more expensive, but practically, they are harder to manage. You have to be more mindful of your surroundings when casting.

They require bigger luggage, and are more difficult to get in the car. It also requires more skill when trying to net the fish as you have the get the rod higher and extend the net out further, which is difficult when fishing alone.

Smaller rods. Now we can assume that these will not cast a well as their bigger brothers, but are great for smaller waters where casting is not such an issue. They are easier to manage too, lighter, and you’re able to fit into smaller or overgrown swims. But these can also have a down side. Being shorter, they can sometimes make it difficult when playing fish in the margins.

Often carp tend to fight harder closer in, darting left and right along the edge of the pond. If there are trees or vegetation its harder to keep the line clear of obstacles that could damage the line. And netting the fish can also be tricky if you’re using long rigs as you need to get the rod higher to create the angle to get the fish into the net.

So, the compromise for the beginner would be a 12ft rod.

These can cover all situations, be it margin fishing or out at distance, are the popular size so come with a great choice of luggage and would offer enough versatility to see you through all of your up coming fishing adventures.

Carp Rod Prices

Rods vary in price from budget to budget busting. Given you’re just starting out and have lots of lovely tackle to buy, you’ll probably not want to blow all your dosh on the top of the range £400 rod. But, many an angler, ourselves included, will the repeat old adage, buy cheap, buy twice.

We’ve all been there, brought the cheapest rod we can get our hands on, caught a couple of carp, fallen head over heels in love with the sport and been back down the tackle shop a month later to buy new rods.

All the large tackle companies do entry-level rods around the £40-£50 mark, and with technology and competition increasing all the time, its possible to get some excellent quality kit in that price range; Rods that, if looked after, will last you as long as you want them to.

Butt rings

Guess we need to cover that now really. The butt ring is the first ring on the rod after the reel. These typically come 40mm in size, but recently the larger 50mm rings have become popular. The reasoning behind a large butt ring is that there is less chance of the line rubbing the ring on the cast, thus reducing friction and increasing distance. Most rods for the beginner will come with a 40mm butt ring, and for those just starting thats perfect. Bigger butt rings=more chance of snapping them when squashing them back into your rod holdall.

Take your time in getting the rod that is right for you. Ask any seasoned angler, and they’ll all look back with fond memories of their first ever rods, and the fish they caught on them!

Need some reels to go with your new rods?