What Do Carp Eat

what do carp eat

If you are into carp fishing and want to have a good catch, read this post about “What do carp eat”. Let’s get started!

What you need to know about Carp

What Are Carp?

Carp are oily freshwater fish species from the family of Cyprinidae. This very large group of fish is native to Asia and Europe. A big carp’s body weight usually reaches over 100 lbs. Many anglers claimed that carp are very picky when it comes to bait, making them hard to catch. In line with that, we have listed various carp baits you can refer to. Continue reading!

What are the nutrients found in Carp?

Aside from being huge in size, this omnivorous fish when cooked also contains nutritional value such as Vitamin C,Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Zinc, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Thiamin, and other nutrients. This is also one of the edges carp have with other fish species. Carp angling is quite challenging and many are looking forward to getting an answer to what do carp eat. And now, the wait will be over as the best carp baits will be revealed.

What Do Carp Eat

Carp are accustomed with appendages protruding from the mouth area called barbules that help in detecting their food sources or baits such algae, worms, crustaceans, insects, and aquatic vegetation. On the barbules are taste buds that allow carp to taste both fake and live bait. Beneath the head of the carp are pectoral and pelvic fins that help them balance, steer, or control the depth of the water. They also have a set of very strong teeth located at the back of their throat, called pharyngeal teeth.

Aside from these natural baits, most anglers also used artificial lures like artificial corn or sweet corn, and other homemade mash-ups that have dough-like texture and offensive smell.

If you are pretty much excited to catch big carp in your next fishing adventure, below are a variety of bait carp eat in their natural habitat.

A. Natural Carp Bait

Carp species usually find their food from their territory itself. They eat both bottom-living animals and aquatic plants. From aquatic worms, salmon eggs and other fish eggs, benthic worms and other night crawlers, down to algae and other plant matter. You can surely catch carp using either of these natural foods. Here they are:

Water Plants

One of the natural food sources included in carp’s diverse diet are water plants. Carp usually eat plants in between bigger meals. Their main targets are fallen stems and small seeds as these are easy to catch and digest. In addition, carp eat algae, a non-flowering aquatic plant.

Insects and Larvae

Observing carp in their natural habitat, they’ll most likely stay close at the surface of the water looking for food. Basically, they pick off water borne insects like mosquito and midge larvae or insect larvae. If you are one of the many enthusiast carp anglers, add these natural baits. Catching carp wouldn’t be that hard with these baits carp love to eat. Carp still use their teeth to eat these small insects, just like eating mussels and crayfish shells.

Tiny Crustaceans

Planktonic crustaceans like small crayfish, freshwater shrimp, and a variety of amphipods are one of the nutritious foods included in carp’s diet. Small carp only eat tiny crustaceans since large crustaceans are hard to catch.

Smaller Fish

Small fish are definitely a perfect bait for big carp. Whether it’s alive or dead fish, these opportunistic feeders would not hesitate to eat these poor fish and even fish eggs which is a threat to other genus living in the same environment. If you are looking forward to getting a good catch, use this natural bait.

While taking a hold of these baits isn’t always easy, there are other alternatives that still guarantee a good and productive carp fishing. Below are the homemade carp baits common carp eat. Let’s take a quick look at this list…

B. Homemade or Artificial Carp Baits

If you are new to carp fishing, you might want to know that carp feed at the bottom of the water. They’ll usually spend most of their time sifting and silting through mud looking for some food.


Corn is the most common bait anglers use when catching carp. Carp love corn, from the corn’s texture to its natural taste.  Most anglers use sweetcorn because they are alluring to carp. Sweet Corn is rich in amino that stimulates feeding. Both fake flavored soft plastic corn and the real sweet corn are indeed among the best baits such a large variety of carp love to eat.

Tiger Nuts

Tiger Nuts are actually tubers such as sweet potatoes, commonly known as “earth almonds”. This bait is one of the most irresistible baits in carp fishing.  When using these nuts in carp feeding, it is recommended to boil them and then ferment to achieve its slimy texture. This process will also discharge the Tiger nuts’s sugar that carp can’t resist to feed.

When baiting carp using tiger nuts, make sure to only use a very small quantity to avoid over feeding. Hence, large quantities of tiger nuts are not good for carp’s health.


Just like any other baits, pellets come in different varieties and flavors. They are high in oil content which makes them attractive to carp. Most of the pellets also come in meaty flavors, making them irresistible to carp’s taste organ. However, pellets absorb water swiftly  resulting in them to fall off from the hook.

But if you are a carp angler who knows how to use pellets as carp bait, you’ll definitely have an enjoyable carp fishing.


Boilies are versatile hookbaits known to effectively catch carp. They also come in different colors, sizes, and flavors. When using boilies as your carp bait, you must consider factors like size of the fish you want to catch, water’s transparency, season of the year, and the water’s angling pressure. Unlike other baits, boilies stay on  hair rigs longer and don’t easily  break  up in the water.

Carp feed heavily during spring, summer, and autumn, so it is recommended to use these boilies during these seasons. Boiles are packed with tasty ingredients such as fish meal but you can also make your own bait ingredient. Some of these are linseed oil, eggs, amino acids, blood meal, soy, chickpea flour, and dye to attract the carp fish. Using these ingredients should catch carp productively.

Live Bait

Live bait such as maggots and earthworms are popular bait during winter. Like boilies, live bait are also versatile carp bait. Carp feed maggots as they wriggle and spread naturally at the bottom making the carp swim longer to catch the food. Thus, a perfect time to target carp. Worms are also natural food in the water which other species and carp eat.

If none of these bait is available at the moment, you can check your fridge for some chicken livers. Carp smells the chicken liver bait because of its strong odor. As mentioned above, carp are easily drawn by the color and odor of the bait.

Wrap Up

Carp fish are actually not picky-eaters at all. You just need to simply understand the feeding characteristics of carp, the water temperature where common carp actively feed, and the best baits to use in carp fishing.

I hope that this article about “What do carp eat” helps you in your fishing carp journey. If you have friends or co-anglers who might need this information, feel free to share this post. Thank you for reading and happy fishing!

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