How to catch Grass Carp

Grass carp, also known as the White Amur Carp, originates in the Amur river in Asia, where it eats fruit and foliage that falls into the water. In the urban ponds here in the United States they are stocked for cosmetic weed control, and they can grow beyond 45 inches and 50 lbs almost as big as fresh water trouts. Since these fish often eat aquatic weeds and algae, fishermen often disregard this fish as one that can not be caught with traditional lures and baits. Grass Carp are also quite wary and has excellent eyesight making it an additional challenge. However, learning how to catch these impressive and big fish will open the door to some great fishing in urban ponds where nothing else lives.

Requirements and location of ponds

The only real requirement as far as gear goes is a good drag. Line weight and rod strength doesn’t really matter, but a medium rod with 15 lb. test makes for a reasonably sporting challenge. In any case, a good, smooth drag is absolutely necessary for landing these powerful fish.

Below is a rich grass carp pond i found the other day, look how many there are.

Maximillian cabinet/Shutterstock.com

For location, look no further than your neighborhood pond. I’ve seen grass carp in ponds smaller than an acre in size. Take a quick walk around the pond and if there is grass, you should spot them fairly easily. In larger lakes they prefer calm, warm coves and backwaters where vegetation is fairly abundant. Even in small ponds these fish tend to congregate in the calmest and warmest areas. Once you find a good location, it’s time to mix up some bait.

Preparation and Technique

Keep in mind that grass carp actually prefer to eat fruit, not grass, so you don’t have to make a crazy green lure. I make my own dough-balls for grass carp fishing. Just mix 1 part strawberry jam with 2 parts flour. If you have kids, this can be fun to do because you pretty much just mix with your hands. Adjust the flour/jam mixture until you get a dough/paste-like mixture. And that’s it. Mold a little on a sz. 4 octopus hook and wade it out. You don’t even need a weight, this dough mixture heavy enough to cast effectively. Leave plenty of slack in the line and stay close by. Once a grassie finds the bait, he’ll take off and your rod might end up in the drink (I learned this lesson the hard way). If your state allows, chum the area with bits of doughbait or craisins. Other good baits include, in order of effectiveness, craisins, cut strawberries, raisins, corn, and cheap bread.

Ashley-Belle Burns/Shutterstock.com

This simple technique of letting a bait sit on the bottom will work year-round and is by far the most effective technique, but grass carp will eat other items that open the door for fly-fisherman and artificial-only guys. Grass carp are suckers for cottonwood seeds, especially in lakes where all of the aquatic weeds have been consumed. A big white dry fly does a good job of imitating these seeds on the water. Just place your fly in front of the path of a surface feeding carp and hang on. Also, early in the season when weeds haven’t begun to grow, grass carp will eat aquatic invertebrates like craw fish and nymphs and can be caught on a wide variety of jigs and flies.

So get out there and catch what is probably the biggest fish in the pond and maybe the biggest freshwater fish in the city!

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Martin Garagher
Martin Garagher
Martin was born in a fishing village near Baja peninsula. He knows the art of fishing since he was 6 years old. He is now an accomplished fisherman with many decorations in his belt. He currently works as a professional fishing trainer and an author in many international fishing magazines.

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