How To Catch Grass Carp 620 350 BassGrab

How To Catch Grass Carp

Grass carp tend to get a mixed response from anglers. Some go on specific grass carp trips and others haven’t even given them the time of day. As for BassGrab, grass carp tend to remind us of a redfish they way they tail through the grass during a flood, how much they bend your rod, and their scales do tend to have a golden red color.

What You Need to Know to Catch Grass Carp

Gear for Grass Carp

Medium-Heavy Fishing Rod – To fight these freshwater fish you need to think big. Grass carp can easily be up to 30 lbs with the record in the country at 70 lbs. A 7-foot rod is recommended. Think the same type of rod you would use for inshore fishing.

Small Hook – Even though grass carp can be huge, they are also a skittish fish that will throw your bait if they feel your hook. A small circle hook (4 -1/0) is your best bet. This will let you release it safely as well.

Reel – You will need a reel that can hold at least 200 yards of line. Try to go as small as you can in order to keep these skittish fish at bay. Besides, you will loosen the drag and have a fun fight with your carp when you hook one.

Landing Net – As we’ve said, these fish can get massive, and you don’t want to have a 30 lb grass carp at the shore only to see it spit the fishing hook at the last second. Take a net, save your sanity.

Bait for Grass Carp

Unlike largemouth or spotted bass, grass carp are vegetarians and are known for clearing ponds and lakes of vegetation. We’ve heard of anglers using lettuce or even grass clipping as bait. But here are some baits that will definitely work:

  • Sweet Corn – Put two or three on your small hook to cover it up.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Cut these in halves or quarters – again to cover your hook.
  • Watermelon – These should be about the size of, you guessed it, a small hook.
  • Earth Worms – These worms can actually be normal-sized, but again try to keep the hook covered.
  • Dough Balls – Do we even need to say it? Make sure it covers your hook.
  • Man-Made Bait – Use their instructions. (Cover the hook)

Fishing Techniques for Grass Carp

While grass carp can be easy to spot in the sun, see below, it doesn’t mean they are easy to catch. Unless you’re into bow fishing. However, if you’re using a rod and reel, patience, silence, and chumming will put you in the best spot to catch a grass carp.


Whatever you decide to use for bait, use this to chum as well. Our favorite bait to use is sweet corn since it is cheap and doesn’t smell like garbage. Throw out a can or half a can of corn to the area you are going to fish for at least 4 days before fishing there. The carp will congregate in that area and be ready for your corn when you come back.

When you come back to fish, be prepared to wait and be quiet. Set up your rod holders and set a fishing alarm so you can relax while the big monsters find your bait.


If the lake or pond you are fishing in is clear enough, you can stalk your fish. This is our preferred method as it a lot of fun and very rewarding to see a carp take your bait. This is the best way to catch them on a fly rod as well.

Sometimes they even have their fins out of the water like a redfish and they are swimming in the flooded grass. They’ll also hang out on top of the water when they aren’t feeding.

However, it will still benefit you to chum the area or pond you are fishing with your bait to give the carp an appetite for whatever you choose. Use just enough weight to be able to cast it about 6 feet in front of the carp and make them come to it. Some people like to use a little bobber as well so they can tell when they carp has taken a bite, too.

Where to Catch Grass Carp

Grass carp are actually native to eastern Asia. They were brought to the United States to help control weed growth in lakes and ponds. They immediately began to thrive and have even become a nuisance species. In the United States, they can be found in every state except Alaska, Maine, Montana, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Grass carp prefer a shallow freshwater habitat, like lakes, ponds, and even retention ponds. In the United States, most grass carp are infertile and purely stocked in lakes and ponds to control weed growth.

Add Grass Carp to Your List

If you’ve made it all the way down here, you probably want to catch a grass carp. But if for some reason you haven’t added it to your fishing list. Do it. Catching grass carp will test all of your fishing skills and give you something to brag about to your friends. Then go learn how to catch all these other fish.


    Wesley Anderson

    Wesley lives in Georgia and has spent the last 30 years hiking, camping, and fishing. Wesley has been in the fishing online industry since 2011 and loves sharing his knowledge of fishing products and fishing techniques. In order to give readers hands on knowledge, we've put hundreds on products to the test.

    All stories by: Wesley Anderson
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