One of the first baits any angler that is new to carp angling will use is corn. Cheap, easy and readily available. This article will go over the ins and outs of using corn as the ultimate carp fishing bait.
Is Corn the Best Carp Fishing Bait?
Yes, I use corn as bait on every carp fishing session. Even when I fish with boilies as hook baits, I will still use corn as chum to bait for carp. Boilies can be a very useful carp bait, but when paired with corn they are a great combo that almost always guarantees a carp in the net.
Most articles mainly cover only one or two aspects of corn as carp fishing bait. I have spent a ton of time researching, using and documenting proven tips and tactics for using this versatile bait for over 20 years while carp fishing.
That is why below, you will find not just one but 4 Ultimate Guides to using different types of corn as carp fishing bait.
Guide to Using Canned Sweetcorn as Carp Fishing Bait
The best way for beginners to start targeting carp is by using sweetcorn. Sweetcorn is the easiest choice due to its simplicity. It can be purchased at the local grocery store if it isn’t in your cupboard already. It also requires no preparation; it can be used straight out of the tin as is. Just plain sweetcorn can be used as chum and also double as
Advantages of Using Sweetcorn as Carp Bait
Canned sweetcorn is cheap at any local grocery store. More so if it is on sale. I usually stock up on entire cases of it when there is a good sale.
Easy to Use
All you need is a can opener and baiting needle, and you’re ready to catch carp. I’d say out of any carp bait on the market I’ve seen the most success with sweetcorn. Great for baiting an area or as a hook bait.
Most people already have a few cans of sweetcorn in their cupboard, if not, it’s only a quick stop off at the grocery store before fishing.
Great if Used on its Own
You don’t need any added flavours or colours to entice carp to feed on corn, although there are some advantages to adding certain ingredients to boost sweetcorn, it is still quite effective by itself.
Straight out of the can it contains a high amount of sugar and salt. These are two main ingredients that attract a lot of carp.
Great if Used with Other Baits
Corn is the perfect filler for specific spod mixes, particle baits and pack baits. It adds a level of attractiveness to any mix that carp love. Highly visual, easy for fish to find and holds attractants well.
Brands of Sweetcorn Carp Fishing Bait
All the sweetcorn that I use for carp fishing comes from the grocery store and is all the same. It may be labelled differently by Green Giant, Del Monte, No Name, Compliments, etc. but once out of the can it all looks the same.
On the other hand, you can buy specialty sweetcorn from carp fishing companies for a premium price. Is it the same as the grocery store stuff? No way, it is much better hence the bigger price tag. You will quickly notice the difference when you open your first can of corn specifically made for carp fishing. The kernels are much bigger, almost twice the size or greater. A lot of the specialty cans and bags of sweetcorn come
Some of my favourite brands of carp fishing canned sweetcorn are:
Demon Baits Carp Corn
Flavours – Maple, Sweet Pineapple, Scopex Toffee, Tutti Frutti, Mussel and Orange Mussel.
Dynamite Baits Carp Corn
Canned Sweet Corn, only larger. You will notice the premium kernels straight away upon opening the can.
Bait-Tech Super Sweetcorn
Made from Grade A sweetcorn, bigger kernels and available in a range of very effective colours and flavours.
Guide to Using Frozen Corn as Carp Fishing Bait
Frozen corn is used in the same way as canned corn. It is slightly less effective because it isn’t marinating in a can for long periods, this can be remedied with a little preparation beforehand. Frozen corn is about the same price as canned corn and varies in a few ways.
Advantages of Using Frozen Corn as Carp Bait
Doubles as an Ice Box Cooler
If you’re on a longer duration session that requires camping on the bank, frozen corn can have two significant advantages over canned corn. It will save you the pain of lugging a bunch of cans around and can double as a giant freezer pack for your cooler.
Stays on the Hook
If you’re fishing for carp with corn threaded straight onto your hook, frozen corn will be the better option. The frozen kernels will be quite a bit more durable than canned corn.
Frozen corn that comes in bags from the grocery store will be quite a bit easier to store, transport and pack away when on the bank.
Guide to Using Feed Corn as Carp Fishing Bait
Once you’ve caught a few carp on either canned corn or frozen corn, you will most likely be hooked and want to expand your use of the bait. At this point, it is better to switch to feed corn. Feed corn is more cost-effective and much easier to bait up multiple locations with more substantial amounts of bait.
Purchasing a baiting spoon or spomb is a must when introducing large amounts of bait to certain areas.
By far the most cost-effective way to target carp is with feed corn. It can be purchased in bulk at any local feed store. It does take a little more work to prepare it for use as carp bait, but it will save you a lot of money if you fish multiple times a week.
How to Prepare Feed Corn for Use as Carp Fishing Bait
I purchase my feed corn in 10 kg bags at my local feed store. I then split the bag into 5-gallon pails. I only prep the amount of corn I will be using for one-week periods. I find if I keep it prepped in the buckets for any longer than a week it will spoil and begin to grow mould.
Step by Step Guide to Preparing Feed Corn for Carp Fishing:
- Fill a 5-gallon bucket about 3/4 of the way with dry feed corn. The corn will expand and grow in size once it is soaked and boiled. Once prepared this amount should fill a 5-gallon pail.
- Rinse the corn in a strainer to remove all the dust and cob particles from the feed corn.
- I soak the corn in the pail for 12 hours before boiling. This will make the cooking process much quicker.
- I have a large pot that I heat outside on my barbecue. (It keeps my wife much happier than boiling on the stove inside for many hours at a time.)
- It usually takes around 45 minutes for the corn to cook to the proper softness. (You can add sugar or salt to the pot to enhance the flavour of the corn.)
- You should be able to squish the corn kernels between your thumb and forefinger when they’ve reached the desired consistency.
- Drain the water, pour the corn into your 5-gallon pail and add any desired flavouring.
- Two of my go-to flavours are Strawberry Jello or Molasses. I can buy both quite cheaply, strawberry jello from the dollar store and molasses from the same feed store as the corn.
- If I’m using the bait straight away, I will keep it as is but if it is sitting for more than 12 hours, I will add water until the level of the water is just above the level of the corn.
- Once prepared, feed corn makes a great spod mix on its own or in tandem with other particle baits.
Why Prepare Feed Corn if You’re Using it as Carp Bait?
The feed corn kernels, when bought from a feed store are pre-dried, so they do not spoil. This causes them to be quite hard. Preparing the grains by boiling them will cause the corn to expand and be safer for carp to consume. Carp will be able to digest the kernels easier and gain more nutrients from them.
Advantages of Using Feed Corn as Carp Fishing Bait
Feed Corn is Cheap
Feed Corn is by far the most cost-effective corn for use as carp fishing bait.
Easier to Stock Up
When using canned or frozen corn you may have to go to the grocery store before each session to ensure you have enough bait. Once I made the switch to feed corn, I noticed I always had some in my garage. I only go to the feed store once or twice per season whereas before I was visiting the grocery store weekly.
Once boiled and prepared, feed corn kernels are double the size or larger than sweetcorn or frozen corn. This makes them more noticeable and better for use as hook baits.
More Efficient for Larger Baiting Campaigns
If you plan on baiting multiple locations on a daily or weekly basis, feed corn is by far the better option. It is much easier to transport 20 L pails of feed corn rather than flats of canned corn.
Guide to Using Imitation Corn as Carp Fishing Bait
Imitation or fake corn should be in the kit of any reputable carp angler. It can be used in almost any situation and in combination with any other type of bait to improve your carp angling success.
Size of Imitation Corn – Size can be an essential factor. You don’t want it to be so small that nuisance fish such as perch and bluegill will pick away at it. Also, in certain situations, it needs to be the right size to provide the proper amount of buoyancy if used to pop up a hook bait.
Colour of Imitation Corn – The colour of bait can also be a make or break factor in any location. I find some colours outperform others depending on the conditions you’re faced with. The main factor in choosing the colour of imitation corn that I use is water clarity. In very murky waters I tend to use Yellow, but in crystal clear waters I find the carp gravitate towards the colours of pink and white more often. Imitation corn can be purchased in a myriad of colours, but the most popular that I’ve seen are yellow, white, pink and orange.
Weight of Imitation Corn – Another critical factor to take into consideration when choosing imitation corn is its weight. Imitation corn can come in three forms; sinking, neutrally buoyant and floating. I prefer floating imitation corn as I use it to pop-up other baits that would usually lay on the bottom among my pack bait.
Flavour of Imitation Corn – Some of the fake corn on the market comes with a certain flavour, the most popular that I’ve seen is a sweet flavoured version. Imitation corn is also made of a porous plastic material that easily absorbs goos and custom flavours. It is always wise to soak your imitation corn in the same attractants as your pack baits and particle baits for ultimate effectiveness.
Brands of Imitation Corn – Many carp fishing manufacturers produce great quality imitation corn baits. Some of my favourites include:
- Korda – Pop-up Corn, Dumbell and Maize or Slow Sinking Corn, Dumbell and Maize.
- E – S – P – Buoyant Sweetcorn – Big Buoyant Sweetcorn and Double Corn.
- Avid Carp – Corn Stops, these act as both a buoyant pop-up and stopper for your hair rig when used to top other baits.
- FN – Pop-Up Corn and Pop-Up Maize.
Advantages of Using Imitation Corn as Carp Bait
- Durability – Imitation sweetcorn is a lot more durable than regular sweetcorn. It will stay on your hair rig no matter how many carp you catch. You can use the same kernel of imitation all season long as long as you infuse it with flavour before each session.
- It Floats – As stated before the main reason I use imitation sweetcorn is the fact that it floats and pops up your bait off the bottom making it more noticeable.
- It is Cheap – It is one of the cheapest store-bought baits on the market. Packs come with multiple kernels, one pack can last many seasons.
- Option to Use Larger Kernels – Imitation sweetcorn comes in various sizes. If you are experiencing issues with round gobies, perch, bluegill or pumpkin seed toying with your hook bait simply upgrade to larger size kernels. The larger kernels are also quite effective for popping up larger hook baits when targeting specimen carp
. QuicklyChange Your Tactics – When you have multiple colours of imitation sweetcorn at your disposal you can quickly change single baits to see what the carp prefer on any session.
How to Rig Corn as a Hook Bait for Carp Fishing
There are a couple of ways in which one can fish for carp with kernels of corn.
- Straight on Your Hook – If you’re like a lot of people I know, you can be out on the water targeting other species but start spotting huge carp all around you. You quickly decide to give up trying to catch bass or pike and give carp fishing a go, but what tactics should you use? In this situation, it will be easiest to place bait straight onto your hook. This method of rigging bait or corn can still work; it is just less effective.
- On a Hair Rig – If you’ve decided to catch carp and are preparing at home. It is best to research and tie up some simple hair rigs. A hair rig will allow you to place kernels of corn on a piece of line (hair) behind the hook. This will cause the carp to suck in the bait with your hook trailing behind. This tactic will allow for more effective takes and cause the carp to be hooked in the bottom lip the majority of the time.
- With a Pop-up – One trick I like to use is to combine a few kernels of sweetcorn with either a pop-up boilie or floating imitation corn. This trick will pop up the kernels slightly above the chum on the bottom. It will be more visible and accessible for incoming carp to grab before the other kernels. Always be sure to test your rig in shallow water to ensure the proper buoyancy is attained.
If you opt to use a hair rig for fishing with corn, you will also need to equip yourself with a set of baiting needles. Baiting needles are used to punch a small hole through particle baits, then pull the hair rig back through.
Tips and Tricks to Catch More Carp with Corn
There are many proven methods to increase your chances of catching carp with sweetcorn, a few of which I will outline below.
- Mix Corn with Jello Powder – One of my favourite tricks to boosting the effectiveness of canned sweetcorn is to add a packet of strawberry jello powder to the can. The Powder will add flavour, colour and a cloud of attractant to the water when used for chumming.
- Add Molasses to Boiled Feed Corn – Feed corn can be quite bland when offered as bait on its own. It doesn’t contain the same sugars and salt as sweet corn from a can. Adding molasses to a prepared bucket of feed corn can add an excellent attractant to the mix. Molasses is also good for the fish, especially in fall when carp are feeding heavily in preparation for winter. The gooey texture of molasses clings to the corn and slowly dissolves in the water adding a decent amount of flavour and scent to the water you’re fishing.
- Add Boiling Water to Corn – I use this trick with feed corn that I’ve already prepared the day before. As most anglers already have kettles on the bank, a quick method can be to add some boiled water to the corn to heat it before spodding it out. Carp can hone in on bait with scent and sight but one other often-overlooked factor is heat. Be careful not to heat it too much as very hot boiled corn can sometimes float, but if you heat it slightly once the mix is in the water, the flavour and heat will rise in the water column thus spreading the attractiveness further. This is one of my go-to cold weather tactics as it is even more effective with cooler water temperatures.
- Add Breadcrumbs to the Mix – You can make one of the most effective pack baits for carp by simply mixing corn, breadcrumbs and jello powder. This is an awesome tactic for targeting carp in fast-flowing water. If you make the mix a bit thicker with added breadcrumbs, your pack bait will cling to your weight until it lands where you’re fishing. This will allow for more accurate placement of freebie bait and prevent it from washing off downstream in the current.
How to Bait and Chum for Carp with Corn
There are multiple ways to chum for carp with corn. Be sure to check your local rules and regulations on baiting with corn or particles before introducing any to the environment. It is strictly prohibited by law in specific locations.
If you’re starting to target carp and don’t want to spend the money on baiting equipment, you can easily find a location close to shore where you can dump corn straight into the water out of the can. The easiest locations are usually marinas or harbours with break walls and steep drop-offs.
How much corn should you put out at a time? This can depend on certain factors in the location where you’re fishing.
- Amount of Corn – I usually stick to just putting 1/2 to a whole can of corn in when I first start fishing an area. It will provide the proper amount of bait to attract carp that are passing by. If there’s no action within an hour, it is easy to move and try other spots without wasting too much bait.
- Time of Year – In colder months carp are less active and tend not to eat as much. Try to use less bait during these times.
- Amount of Carp – The amount of bait you use can depend a lot on the amount of carp in the area you’re fishing. It is amazing how quickly a shoal of carp can move in and strip a baited run clean.
- Amount of Weed – In very weedy conditions you may have to put out more corn. Some of the kernels will sink into the weed and be less visible to passing carp. Adding more than one can, will increase the odds of carp seeing the bait and stopping to investigate.
If it is allowed in the areas you are targeting carp there are a few tools that will aid in the placement of bait.
Carp Fishing Baiting Tools for Use With Corn
A deep spoon used to throw corn by hand. These are very helpful when the locations you’re targeting are close to shore. One neat aspect of baiting spoons is that their threads match that of carp landing nets. Simply unscrew your net handle and add it to the spoon to reach further distances.
An effective method which will ensure a nice neat pile of corn around your hook bait even on powerful long-range casts. You will need to prepare the corn first for use with PVA or you will end up with quite the mess on your hands.
One of the cheapest ways of baiting with corn at long range is the spod. Spods are a torpedo-like cylinder that are filled from the open bottom. You attach them to your line and cast them to the desired location. Once they land, the tip floats upright and dumps the corn out the open end on the bottom.
Much the same as PVA Mesh, PAVA Bags ensure a neat pile of corn around your hook bait. The corn will have to be soaked in PVA-friendly liquid or glugs beforehand to prevent water from melting the bags prematurely.
My preferred method of baiting with corn at range. Spombs are shaped like a bomb, they split open via a button on the tip when they hit the water. Once filled and cast out to the desired location they open and deliver a nice dense pile of corn. Excellent for baiting up areas at long distances.
Common sense I know, but I don’t know how many times I’ve forgotten mine…I cringe every time I have to open a can of sweetcorn with my knife.
How to Prepare Corn for Use with PVA Bags and PVA Mesh.
I’ve often been asked if it is possible to use corn in conjunction with PVA Products. Yes, you need to prepare the corn first with a few simple steps.
Step by Step Method to Preparing Corn for Use with PVA Bags:
- Start by drying your corn. If using sweetcorn be sure to drain the liquid out of the can. Be it sweet corn or feed corn, start by placing the corn on a paper towel and allow most of the liquid to absorb out of the corn.
- Once the corn is somewhat dry, place it in a Ziploc bag or plastic tub.
- Add salt to the corn and let it sit for some time to allow the salt to absorb most of the water and soak into the corn.
- Another more effective method is to add PVA-friendly carp fishing liquid to the corn and let it soak in thoroughly. Most carp fishing flavour additives come in PVA-friendly mixes and are perfect for adding to corn.
- Most carp anglers prefer to tie their PVA bags before they head out for a session on the bank. This is ok for bag mixes that are dry. When using corn in PVA bags, it is best to wait until you’re on the bank and ready to use it before prepping them. Even with the salt trick and Liquid prep work, some water may still be present. The PVA will still break down, although at a much slower rate, allowing you to bait and cast without issue.
If you’re searching for more information on bait, be sure to check out Improved Carp Angling’s Guide to Carp Fishing Bait.