Carp angling isn’t as popular in North America as in other parts of the world so I often get asked quite a few questions about my gear when I set up on the bank. One of the questions I get asked the most is Why do you use such a long fishing rod and is it necessary?
Why are Carp Fishing Rods So Long?
Yes, I believe it is necessary to use a long carp fishing rod for many reasons. The main reason is that longer carp fishing rods are more efficient at landing big fish quickly and safely. The added strength and power gives greater control of the fish to aid in steering them away from weed beds and other possible hazards.
When many anglers, including myself, decide to try to catch one of these big fish it is mainly due to the fact that they’ve seen them close to the surface while targeting other popular North American species such as bass, pike or musky. I learned the hard way that trying to catch a carp on a 6-foot bass fishing rod was not a good idea. Your other gear such as reel, line and hook will be left to absorb the fight and you will most likely lose the fish.
There are many other factors to consider about using a longer fishing rod to target carp which will be covered in greater detail below.
Strength – Long Carp Fishing Rods Have Greater Fighting Power
When targeting large fish such as carp you need to equip yourself with the right tools. One of the most important pieces of kit is a long carp fishing rod. The longer rod will have more fighting power to absorb the strong lunges and runs these big fish will take.
The power of the rod will tire the fish out quicker, shortening the fight thus allowing you to successfully guide more fish into your net. Aside from landing more fish the strength of a long carp fishing rod will ease the strain on your other gear such as your hook, line and reel.
Quite a few carp anglers, including myself, like to use braided line for carp fishing. One downside to the braided line is that it has practically zero elasticity. When you’re using a line with no stretch it is important that you have a long rod that can absorb most of the fight.
Control – Long Carp Fishing Rods Can Control Big Fish Much Easier
Aside from using a long carp fishing rod to tire fish quicker, it is more important to be able to control the fish easier as well.
As a catch and release angler, fish health and safety is a top priority. Targetting carp in their natural environment can be a tricky task. These big fish intimately know every nook and cranny of their surroundings. If there is a weed bed, snag, boulder, tree branch or old tire, these fish will surely know of its precise location. You can bet as soon as they’re hooked, these are the first places they will head.
As stated above one of the main advantages of using a long carp fishing rod is for greater control while fighting the fish. The longer rod will give anglers the added torque needed to steer big fish away from known hazards.
This past spring while competing in the Canada Carp Cup, our designated peg had a massive weed bed off to our left. The first few fish that we hooked headed straight for it. After a few lengthy battles, we adjusted our position slightly to enable us to gently guide the rest of our catches around the weed bed with our longer rods.
Every angler should hone their skills at identifying hazards and adjust their setup and tactics to ensure the fish they are after are landed quickly and safely.
Distance – Long Carp Rods Can Cast Farther
The majority of anglers that target carp do so from the bank. Having a longer carp rod can greatly maximize the distance at which one can reach. Most long carp rods have what is called a quick or fast taper. This allows the rod to recover quickly while casting allowing anglers to reach further distances with ease.
On waters that see significant fishing pressure, it can be quite advantageous for anglers to cast far distances. Fish that become accustomed to being caught in the margins or near-shore will tend to feel more comfortable feeding at distances that the majority of anglers can’t reach. The angler that can place bait at these distances with a long rod will surely have more success.
The majority of my angling is done from a boat so I have the luxury of using smaller 10-foot rods. (Which is still long when considering fishing rods in general). I do still have a set of 13-foot rods though for certain occasions. When participating in competitive carp angling tournaments I always use the bigger rods. During tournaments, you’re designated a certain peg or location to fish from. It would be a shame to see fish in the swim but out of casting range.
Weight – Long Carp Fishing Rods Can Cast Heavier Loads
Among anglers all over the world, carp anglers usually end up casting the most weight. Whether you’re using Pack Bait, PVA Bags, Spodding or Spombing you will definitely need a long rod to do the heavy work of placing it accurately.
Carp anglers are lucky to have special spod and marker rods for such purposes. These rods are just as long as regular carp fishing rods but have much higher test curves. This allows for a stiffer rod that can reach greater distances with heavier loads. I always thought spod and marker rods were a gimmick created by big tackle companies to make more money, that is until I used one. I noticed immediately the strain it saved on my arms. These rods are strong enough to absorb the weight of many casts yet still sensitive enough at the tip to feel every bump on the bottom while scouting about with a marker lead.
How Long is a Normal Carp Fishing Rod?
The majority of carp fishing rods are made from carbon fibre blanks of 10 feet to 13 feet in length. Although there are more compact rods in the 6-foot to 9-foot range, these smaller rods are made for stalking and work in the margins close to shore.
A 10-foot 3.00 lb Test Curve Carp Fishing Rod is a good all-around rod that suits almost any situation a carp angler will face. They are the perfect rod for beginners to the sport.
If you’re looking to buy a carp fishing rod yourself, be sure to check out our post on What to Look for in a Carp Fishing Rod.
I personally use two different sets of rods for different conditions, as I stated earlier in this article. 13-foot 3.5 pound test curve rods for distance fishing and 10-foot 3-pound test curve rods for days I’m fishing from my boat or near shore.
Disadvantages of Long Carp Fishing Rods.
Although long carp fishing rods can help in many situations they can also hinder your efforts in others.
In Thick Brush
Sometimes when the fish won’t come to you, you will have to go to them. You may find them in hard-to-access areas which can prove to be quite tricky to cast to successfully. Trees, power lines, shrubs and brush can be a nightmare to deal with when using a long rod.
Storage and Transportation
Either in the car or at home, 13-foot carp fishing rods even when broken down in half can be quite tricky to store. When I’m fishing from my SUV or Truck I have no issue but if I need to take the car (with child seats in the back) it is an absolute nightmare to get the big rods in and out without damaging them.
Too Much Power
If it’s your first time using a long carp fishing rod, you will most likely find out the hard way that you can’t put too much pressure on a carp’s soft mouth. I for one had many hook pulls on the first few runs that I had on my 13-foot rods, it can be quite a frustrating learning experience.
Fishing From a Boat
Some days when the weather conditions are right, I can get my boat out for a carp fishing session. Fishing from a boat has its advantages but if all you use are 13-foot rods it can be a little tricky to maneuver. My boat is 15 feet long so the rods are almost as long as the boat itself! That is the main reason I purchased a second set of 10-foot rods.
As you can see, long carp fishing rods can be a burden in certain situations. That’s why it is best to have multiple sets of rods to adjust to the conditions you’re facing.
If you’re in the market for new carp fishing rods be sure to check out our Recommended Carp Fishing Rods.