5 Successful Carp Baits and How You Can Catch Carp

5 best carp baits to use
August 20, 2023

We're going to talk about carp baits today. I've done a lot of videos on different carp baits and how to make other carp baits. How to make boilies and pack baits and particle bait, and I have an entire playlist of all those videos.

Today is about my absolute favorite bait, so I will run down a list of my favorite carp bait and why I think they are the best.

Panko Jello Sweet Corn Pack Bait

carp panko jello sweetcorn back bait

Now, number one on my list of favorite baits is my panko jello sweet corn pack bait. One of the reasons I love this bait is that it's so easy to find. 

I've been fishing for carp all over the world, and in supermarkets, you can usually find breadcrumbs and gelatin dessert mix, and you can find sweet corn.

Now I like to use a jello brand, and I love to use the strawberry flavors of jello, but you can also use just about any flavor you want, whether it's cherry or peach.

But I find that the red flavors, the cherry, and strawberry tend to be my favorite, and if you are in a real pinch and can't find gelatin, you can use kool-aid or some flavored drink mix.

If you're in a place where you can't find breadcrumbs, just stick a loaf of bread into a blender, and it'll make an excellent mix of bread crumbs and that works just as well if it's fresh bread just use less moisture in the combination if it's dried bread that's pretty much panko.

To make the mix, it's super easy. You take the dry ingredients and mix them all, and then add the wet grains. I usually use sweet corn. I rinse off half of the water and apply it to the remainder of the ingredients, and you mix it until it's wet enough that a ball can be formed out of it.

The amount of panko and jello you use can influence how much corn juice you need to produce the correct consistency. Place a little bit at a time before it forms a nice, firm ball and then gives it a few minutes to set up correctly, and you're all sorted. This mixture will last anytime from a few days to a few weeks before turning bad, depending on whether you refrigerate it.

If corn is forbidden in your area, you can use garbanzo beans or chickpeas instead. You can use peas and seeds: snow peas, field peas, birdseed, and Canadian peas. Almost every grain is ideal and will work well. You can also substitute boilies for corn or sweetcorn if you would like. But corn works well. It's easy to find and cheap, so that's my go-to additive to my panko jello pack bait. 

The panko-packed pack bait is called pack baits because they are bundled and squeezed into a ball. You take the ball of bait, pound it into and around a lead, and then stick the hook into it, chuck it out, and it splits up and behaves like some ground bait. Your bait and hook will be in its lovely small pile of jello, bread, and corn.

It's a great way to catch fish and works excellent for carp and catfish. My most giant channel catfish at 23 pounds, was hooked on this bait. 

 I've caught hundreds and hundreds of carp worldwide on this, and it does work fabulously. It is nice because it's a packed bait; you don't have to worry about chumming your area every time you cast. Additionally, in some states, you're not allowed to throw ground bait or chum bait in your swim or water, but if you read the definition of ground bait, in some states, its definition is a bait that's not attached to your hook. Well, if you pack a ball of Chum around your hook, it's connected to the hook, and therefore you're not chumming. So pack bait can get around some laws in the state.

While doing this article, I've got three rods out fishing for carp, but I'm using my favorite panko jello sweet corn pack bait. But you know there are many multiple recipes you can use.

You could swap instant oatmeal for panko. you can use soy meal, use grits, and there are just a lot of options. If it's made of grain, it will probably work for carp. 

The Best Panko Jello Corn Recipe

Using Sweet Corn and Feed Corn as Carp Bait

the best carp bait sweet corn and feed corn

My Number two favorite carp baits must be corn, sweet corn, and feed corn. They're just great baits that all the people around the world use to catch carp. Many lies are spread about corn and myths, whether it harms fish or not, and I did a video debunking many of these myths and talking about some of the research behind them. 

One of the reasons I like corn so much is that it's easy to get a hold of. Sweet corn can be found in just about any grocery store. You can buy a can of it and put it in your tackle box and have it there until you're ready to use it, and it seems to work pretty well in many different circumstances.

Feed corn is so cheap. A 50-pound bag of dehydrated feed corn is about eight dollars in my area. When you boil it up, that makes about 200 pounds of carp bait for eight bucks. That's my kind of budget. I think feed corn is excellent, and I prefer feed corn more than sweet corn on most occasions. If you're in a place, you have many crappies, bluegill, trout, or little fish you don't want to catch. The kernels are more extensive and are harder for the little fish to swallow, so only the catfish and most carp tend to play and mess with feed corn. 

Turtles really love corn and will take it, and so if you're at a location that's stocked heavily with turtles, make sure you use a hair rig; otherwise, you will probably catch a lot of turtles instead of fish. Hair rigs are special rigs for catching carp, you put the bait on a bit of string, and it dangles off the shank instead of piercing the corn with the sharp point of the hook. You'll get a much better hook set with a hair rig. The fish have a more challenging time detecting the hook, which is crucial if you're fishing for shy carp and you won't hook bluegills and turtles, which is a big plus in my eyes.

I always like to use feed corn that I have boiled. The corn is then more comfortable for the fish to chew, making it more appealing. I believed the feed corn would expand in the water or the fish's belly. But after some research I did, which involved leaving feed corn to sit in water for multiple days, the corn never really swelled. To swell much at all, you have to boil it and introduce heat, so I so go ahead and use dried feed corn for ground bait and chumming if you want. But also, it's hard to get it on a hair rig if it's dried. I prefer to boil it for that. 

Sweet corn doesn't go off and starts fermenting very quickly once you take it out of a can, it drys out super fast once you have opened the can, and to keep it nice and plump, you must brine or preservative it. I like to use one of the corn brines. I think it's called the kokanee corn kill or dye. It works well in preserving your sweet corn. So if you want to use the sweet corn and not have it shrivel up, that's a great way to preserve it.

Imitation corn is also a great way to fish that I love using. So I'll use real corn as chum, but I'll have a piece of fake plastic corn on my hook, and that's nice because the fish can't steal it. You don't have to rebait your hook after each fish, and it's always just ready to go. So I can leave my gear in my garage with the fake plastic corn on it and then pull it out and fish with it whenever I'm ready to go fishing. 

One thing about boiling your feed corn is adding many things like molasses and sugar jello flavors. It helps catch a little more, I guess, but I've seen much of a difference. I know some people who do it religiously, but it's just something that's never really worked for me. One thing I must say, though, is that your corn will rot much faster. If the corn feed is boiled just plain, it will last for a month at least. If you add sugar-based additives, it'll ferment very quickly, and I find the carp prefer fresh corn over fermented corn. Also, feed corn is excellent catfish bait. I've caught a lot of catfish on feed corn.

Pigeon Feed

pigeon seed as a great carp fishing bait

Number three on my list of favorite carp baits has to be pigeon feed. I like the pigeon feed that doesn't have sunflower seeds in it. It's just tons of small little particles that the carp can sit there and pick out and eat, and there's a little bit of everything, so the carp have something they enjoy eating. 

One of the bad things about pigeon feed is that it doesn't usually have big bits in it, which you can put on your hook well. So I love to mix cooked feed corn with pigeon seed, use it for ground bait, and chum it out. The primary purpose for using pigeon feed versus feed corn is that the smaller particles take longer for the carp to find. So if you want to attract carp into your area and keep them looking around and hunting for food for a longer time, use some smaller particles like pigeon feed. 

Another advantage of pigeon feed is that you don't need to cook or heat it. Putting it in a container of cold water overnight, and that'll work great. You should soak it because if you throw dry pigeon feed into the water, a quarter of it won't sink and will float out of your swim, taking the fish with it. Soaking it adds weight to it and will sink much faster and hit bottom correctly.

What's the Best River Fishing Bait to Use


Bread bait river fishing

Number four on my list of favorite carp baits has to be bread. I've had some real fun catching carp on bread. Particularly when you're side casting or using flat baits on the surface, you want to attract carp to grab that bait off the top of the water. Places that people feed the ducks, like a pond in a park, are often perfect places to do it. But it seems like carp always love bread no matter where you go. 

The biggest downside to bread and why it is not higher on my list is that it falls off the hook quickly, and everything else likes to steal it. If you have bluegill, they'll strip the bread off. They're so quick, and the carp won't get a chance. And if you're anywhere near ducks, you should not be fishing bread on the surface. Otherwise, you're going to be catching yourself a lot of ducks, and that's not fun. 

You can use fake bread to keep small fish from stealing the bread of your hook. Use something that imitates bread like a piece of white foam, and attach that to your hook. Use the real bread to bait up the area, cast out your artificial bait, and if bluegills hit it, it will not take it. 

When I'm fishing for bread, I'm usually side casting at the carp, being quiet and having stealth about me, and I like to free-line the bread, which means the is nothing on my line except the hook. Usually, clear fluorocarbon or a very clear subtle monofilament is my line of choice. I always try to choose the thinnest line possible so the carp don't get afraid and scared away. 

Sometimes casting can be a pain when using only bread, so dunking your bread in the water first and it will help you cast it out. It'll give it a little bit extra weight so that you can cast a little bit further. I'll tell you what, sight casting for carp on the surface is just fantastic. I love fishing bread on the surface, and it so exciting. Seeing the carp suck at your bait is so fun, and it's just amazing. 

Zig Rig

the best carp bait a zig rig

Number 5 on my list of favorite carp baits isn't technically a bait. It's a lure; it's a zig rig. Ok, zig rigs are a class of lures that are used to catch carp. Usually, they're just little bits of foam, but they're all buoyant. 

You take your fixed lead, and then you have some floating leader. Then you use a buoyant hook to let the lure float at the water's bottom. It can be a few inches to 20 inches off the bottom and is a way of fishing off the floor at whatever depth the carp are at. If the carp aren't eating on the bottom, you don't fish on the bottom; you fish at whatever depth they're eating and feeding on. 

These tiny little zig rigs tend to look like several different baits, like insects or snails, but the carp have them right in front of their noses. They just come up, meet them. You don't have any scent or bait; you don't even need to chum or put lots of ground bait out. 

Black foam can also be excellent, and the funny thing about this is it works in murky water, and it works in the dead of night. I have caught some great carp using black foam on a dark moonless night, and I wonder how the fish even see them, but it works well. One of the nice things is there's no chumming involved, and you don't have to worry about baiting up a spot, so if you want to try to find fish and move around a bunch, a zig rig is excellent.

Cast it and wait. If you don't get a bite, pick your rod up and cast it somewhere else. Why not, right. There's no Chum over there, so there's no commitment to that spot. Additionally, use a zig rig if you're in a place that doesn't allow Chum. 

When you're fishing in the middle of the day, often you'll see carp cruising around the surface, and they are just not interested in anything. That's when you use a zig rig. It's the perfect time to use one. 

For a zig rig to work correctly, it needs to be placed at the correct depth, and you can use things like a marker float. Check out this video if you don't know what a marker float is. But use the marker float to figure out your depth, tie the leader, and your zig rig will sit at the correct depth. 

well, those are my top five carp baits, but some honorable mentions didn't make a list:

Earthworms are a great one, carp love earthworms. The biggest reason I usually don't use earthworms, though, is everything loves earthworms, and you end up catching bullheads in catfish, bluegill, trout, and everything but carp because all the little stuff want to eat your earthworms first. But earthworms are fantastic if you're in a spot where you have just carp and not a lot of little fish. Especially if it's in the wild, like a river where they aren't used to being fished. It's an excellent natural bait. 

Boilies are also a classic carp bait over in the UK. Most fishermen are fishing for big carp using boilies here in the US. The carp aren't used to seeing boilies, and you have to train them that boilies are food. But if you have the money and the inclination and don't mind catching catfish, like me. Then, boy, these are great bait. 

There are also things like spam, chicken liver, pepperoni that are also decent carp baits over the UK. 

Floating dog biscuits are popular, but it's a brand of dog biscuits we don't have here in the US, and I've tried them here in the US, and they don't work particularly well. At least my experience. I'd instead use one of my top 5 baits. 

Tiger nuts are also popular worldwide, which have nothing to do with male Tigers btw (haha). They are a little grassy bulb that's common over in Europe and North Africa. Europe and the UK use them a lot. They are expensive in the US because they have to be imported here. They're very pricey, and there are just cheaper things that we can use instead here in the US. So that's why they merely get an honorable mention in my book. 

But at any rate, hopefully, you enjoy and get benefit out of this article. Hopefully, you'll get out and catch some more carp. If you want to learn more about carp, different carp fishing techniques and rigs, and all that, check here. We also send regular fishing tips and techniques if you subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Thanks, and I hope you catch plenty of fish.

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