Guide to Using PVA for Carp Fishing

PVA for Carp Fishing is essential for any dedicated carp angler. It has many uses, from adding attraction around your hook bait to preventing tangles when casting. There are many different PVA Products and tactics to use when targeting carp, and we will cover them in this in-depth guide to using PVA for Carp Fishing.

What is PVA for Carp Fishing?

PVA stands for Poly Vinyl Alcohol; it is a product that easily dissolves once introduced to water. It can be made in various forms through advanced manufacturing, such as PVA Mesh, PVA Bags, PVA String, PVA Tape and many more. All of these products are extremely useful when using PVA for Carp Fishing.

What are the Different Types of PVA for Carp Fishing?

We are lucky to have so many different PVA Products available to us as carp anglers, but it can all be quite confusing when first getting into the sport. Which product does what, and which should we buy first? Let’s begin by outlining the different forms of PVA and their uses.

Types of PVA Products

PVA Mesh

PVA Mesh for Carp Fishing

My preferred method of using PVA is in its mesh form. PVA Mesh comes in various sizes depending on how much bait you wish to attach to your hook. Once underwater and dissolved, it leaves the perfect pile of attraction for a quick bite.

PVA Nuggets

If you wish to present a rig with a single hook bait PVA Nuggets are very effective at creating an anti-tangle rig. Slip the PVA nugget onto your hook point and cast it out to prevent the hook from catching. The PVA nugget will then dissolve and leave your rig presented perfectly.

PVA Tape

PVA Tape for Carp Fishing

PVA Tape can be used in two ways. Once slightly wetted, it can be used to wrap and seal PVA Bags, or another popular tactic is to feed it through boilies and create a stringer leaving an excellent free offering of bait. PVA Tape tends to dissolve faster than PVA String making it more effective for stringers.

PVA Bags

PVA Solid Bags for Carp Fishing

One of the most common types of PVA is in its bag form. PVA Bags can be premade with rigs and bait inside. A quick change after each cast, PVA Bags can be one of the quickest and most efficient ways to get quick bites.

PVA Zip Ties

Yes, you read that correctly, PVA Zip Ties from Aptus Tackle. I’ve recently come across this type of PVA product, which makes things on the bank much easier than PVA String or Tape. Zip-tie PVA Bags shut or other PVA products to your rigs and hooks to create tangle-free effective presentations.

PVA String

PVA String for Carp Fishing

PVA String can tie PVA Bags closed or be threaded through boilies for free offerings. It can also be used with zig rigs. Zig rigs can be difficult to cast if you’re using them in deep water. Loop the zig line and tie it with some PVA string; once it dissolves, the zig will rise to the pre-tied depth.

As you can see, there are many different types of PVA Products on the market. Which to use is up to you and the conditions you face in your angling. I recommend looking for a full PVA Set if you’re considering testing it out. This way, you can get hands-on experience with every product and decide which to use before repurchasing.

For more information on which PVA to purchase, check out our article where we rank the Best PVA for Carp Fishing or browse the PVA Products Section at Carpkit.

Why Should you Use PVA for Carp Fishing?

Let’s explain why using the different PVA products is beneficial when targeting carp specifically. As mentioned above, it helps prevent tangles and adds bait to precise areas.

Bait for PVA Mesh

Anti-Tangle Properties

When using PVA Bags and PVA Mesh, your hook point is usually covered by the bait, so it is less prone to tangling when casting or descending through the water column.

Fishing in Rivers

River Carp Fishing

If you’re targeting big rivers with fast currents, PVA can significantly help get your additional free offerings to the bottom where your hook bait lands. Pack baits often fall off while descending through river currents. PVA Mesh and Bags will hold the bait until it hits the bottom and slowly dissolves.

Added Attraction

PVA Bags allows anglers to inject added flavours and glugs directly into their bait of choice. The liquid will stay inside the bag until it dissolves below the surface. When the liquid slowly escapes and floats to the surface, it will add a column of attraction.

Baiting Accuracy

PVA Mesh, Bags and String are great ways to deposit free bait piles directly where you’re fishing. Sometimes carp become accustomed to sucking up large bait piles at a time. This is where PVA shines.

Quick Session Success

Nathan Cutler

A PVA Bag of free offerings in early spring can be the difference between success and a blank. In the past, I’ve found casting single hook baits and hoping a passing fish spots them can be tricky. The added attraction of liquids and stick mixes in PVA Bags increases the odds of a bite.

Better than Pack Bait

If you’ve used pack bait before, you know things can quickly get messy. With PVA Mesh and Bags, anglers normally use dry ingredients that don’t create as much mess and don’t spoil as quickly as standard pack baits.

Although anglers can still catch many fish without using PVA, I’ve found it beneficial to always have some on hand during every session. The added confidence of knowing my bait is presented properly on almost every cast when using PVA Mesh is enough reason to use it.

How to Use PVA for Carp Fishing?

There are countless ways to use PVA for Carp Fishing. As we mentioned, creating anti-tangle rigs with added PVA Products is one of its main advantages. The video below covers the basics of improving your rigs with PVA to dramatically increase your catch rate.

Video Detailing the Benefits of PVA Nuggets and PVA Mesh for Carp Fishing

If you’ve just heard about PVA Mesh or PVA Bags and thinking of giving it a try but are still a bit confused about how it all works, we will cover the basics.

How to Tie a PVA Mesh Stick

The perfect amount of bait to both attract curious fish and also prevent your rig from tangling when casting. Try both large and small PVA Sticks until you discover what works best in the waters you’re fishing.

Tie a PVA Stringer of Boilies

PVA Stringer

No time to tie up PVA Mesh Sticks or SOlid Bags? Often, a simple stringer of boilies or similar particles attached to your hook can add that extra enticement for weary fish.

How to Tie a PVA Solid Bag

Although a bit more difficult to use and tie than PVA Mesh, PVA Solid Bags offer a great tangle-free option as your rig and weight are inside the PVA Bag. Once it dissolves, it leaves a neat and tidy presentation.

Hook a PVA Foam Nugget

PVA Foam Nuggets

The easiest and quickest way to create a tangle-free rig is to attach a simple PVA Foam Nugget directly on the hook. Once it melts and floats to the surface, it also provides a target to aim at for baiting.

There are many great resources online to show How To Use PVA for Carp Fishing. Display precisely how to use it would make this article too long, so I will cover How to Tie the Perfect PVA Mesh Sticks and PVA Bags in future articles.

Tips and Tactics when Using PVA for Carp Fishing

Like myself, most anglers learn the specifics of using PVA Products through trial and error. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and found little tips to optimize things along the way.

Tips and Tricks for PVA for Carp Fishing

Add Oil or Glugs

If fishing in deep water or fast-flowing rivers, try soaking your PVA Bags or PVA Sticks in PVA Friendly liquids before casting. The oily coating will cause the PVA to remain intact until your bait has reached its destination.

Don’t Use Large Particles

Fine Particle PVA Mix

Large Particles such as boilies and tiger nuts can sometimes end up on your hook point or rig material if you use a stringer needle to feed your right through PVA Mesh Sticks. This happened before, and it cost me a big fish. After that incident, I stuck to smaller baits such as pellets, bread crumbs and stick mixes.

Add Salt

An easy tactic to use PVA products with wet baits, such as corn or chickpeas, is to stir some salt into the wet mixture beforehand. Salt water won’t break down PVA Materials. The PVA will dissolve only when exposed to fresh water and the saltwater coating is washed away.

Pop Holes in PVA Bags

I’ve done many tests in my aquarium at home, and simply popping a few holes in PVA Bags after they’re tied can improve them in two ways. They will break down much quicker when the fish are active and sink and land better on the bottom.

Watertight Container and Towel

PVA Storage

An essential but often overlooked detail is what to do with PVA Mesh when fishing on rainy days. I’ve found a watertight container and towel handy for drying off and quickly retying PVA Sticks between takes. Although PVA Mesh and Bags will break down with extended rain exposure, they will last for a quick cast.

Pre-Tie Your PVA Bags and Sticks

If at all possible, it is best to prepare your PVA Bags and Sticks before sessions. The Ridge Monkey Modular Bucket System works great for storing PVA Baits and Products. The PVA stays dry, and the buckets seal fairly tight to keep pellets and stick mix from spoiling too quickly.

These are just a few helpful tips to consider when using PVA for Carp Fishing. When you’re out on the bank, don’t hesitate to talk to other anglers, as we all have our own experiences and opinions, and the best way to learn is by sharing with others.

What is the Best Carp Fishing Bait to use with PVA Bags and PVA Mesh?

The best baits to use with PVA Mesh and PVA Bags for Carp Fishing are normally dry ingredients. They won’t accidentally dissolve the PVA and won’t make a mess of your rods and reels. Another added bonus is that dry ingredients won’t spoil or grow mould, so you can pre-tie a bunch of PVA Mesh Sticks or Bags, and they will be ready to go without spoiling for months.

Best Bait for PVA Bags and Mesh
Pre Tied PVA Mesh Sticks with Stick Mix

These baits work well and can be found at your local carp specialist shop. If you cannot pick up the carp-specific baits, bread is always a great option to add to your PVA Sticks and solid PVA Bags.


Cold Water Green Beast Pellets

One of my favourite PVA offerings is a quality carp fishing pellet. They will last forever without spoiling, slowly ooze attraction and are irresistible to carp. Check out our Guide to Using Pellets for Carp Fishing for more information.


Cold Water Green Beast Boosted Hookbaits

Boilies are always a great option and can be used with almost every PVA Product. A simple free offering of multiple boilies on PVA String in early spring can easily tempt a rare cold water bite.


Bread for Carp Fishing

No need for specialty carp baits if you’re new to carp angling or unable to purchase boilies, stick mix or pellets. Bread is one of the best baits for carp fishing and works great with PVA Mesh. Just be careful not to keep pre-tied bread sticks or bags for extended durations as they will begin to spoil after a few days.

Stick Mix

Cold Water Green Beast Bait

My second favourite bait for use with PVA Mesh specifically is a quality Carp Fishing Stick Mix. Stick Mixes come in various colours and flavours to match your fishing conditions. Check out our post on Using Stick Mix for Carp Fishing for more information.


Cold Water Green Beast DNA Liquid

The majority of Carp Fishing Liquids are oil-based and PVA Friendly. PVA Mesh Sticks can be soaked in oil to slow the breakdown of the material. Another popular tactic is to inject liquids directly into solid bags.

Mixed Particles

PVA Prepared Corn

I’ve had the most success mixing particles in PVA Bags and PVA Sticks. A simple mix of Pellets, Stick Mix and Boilies of the same flavour works great. Other particles, such as corn and chickpeas, can be used but need some preparation with either a salt mixture or lots of PVA Friendly Liquid to use them properly.

The types of bait listed above are my go-to bait for using with PVA Mesh and PVA Bags. For more information on the specifics, check out our Carp Fishing Bait Section, where we go over all baits in great detail. Other baits are cheaper such as corn, but it requires a bit of preparation to make it PVA Friendly. We will cover that below.