Make no mistake about it, carp fishing can be very expensive.
It seems the price of all of our tackle is creeping up now, with even the smallest items such as carp hooks averaging around £5 per packet.
It all adds up.
And I’m sure we’ve all popped into the tackle shop for some end tackle items and left with our wallets over £100 lighter!
For some, it just isn’t sustainable, and makes doing the sport we love impossible.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Carp remain relatively simple creatures to catch. And by making sure we don’t get sucked in by the tackle brands and their marketing campaigns, we can keep carp angling costs down.
Add to that a few simple cost-saving hacks and you too can enjoy your fishing without it costing a bomb! Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to save some money carp fishing.
Join a local angling club
The humble angling club is a dying breed in the UK, or at least good ones are.
But here’s the thing; they are usually significantly cheaper than day ticket carp lakes over the course of the year.
Just paying to fish a day ticket is far too much money for some, with the average price in the UK around £30 per night.
Angling clubs on the other hand, are often annual memberships. More often than not you can fish as many times as you like across the year, and across multiple venues too. This quickly results in a much lower cost-per-session.
Take my local angling club Yeadon Tarn for example. It’s unlimited days and nights for just £145 per year. That’s a bargain!
Ditch the hook sharpener
Now, this isn’t likely to go down well with some anglers!
But I’m not a sharpener of hooks and never will be. Not because of the cost, but because I’ve seen too many of them go blunt and rust off a single cast. Nash’s Oli Davies sums it up perfectly here.
Most importantly though, when you sharpen hooks, you tend to go through them ten times as fast. You’re looking at a hook every other cast and certainly after every fish.
That cost can soon add up! In my opinion it’s simply not needed, and my rig will go back out if the hook is sticky sharp and shows no signs of damage.
Buy rig foam by the box load
When you take a look from the outside, spending lots of money on rig foam that dissolves in seconds sounds ridiculous.
And more often than not, it’s un-needed.
If you are someone who uses rig foam, consider buying it in bulk off ebay. It’s exactly the same stuff that Gardner and RidgeMonkey sell in much smaller quantities for the same price.
Save your rig components
It surprises me just how many people throw whole rigs away once they are done with.
Just by cutting up the rig and saving the smaller components, you can save yourself lots of money. Just because the hook is blunt or the braid is frayed, doesn’t mean that the metal wear can’t be reused on new rigs.
I always stash mine in a small container during a session then deconstruct them at home. This saves loads over the course of a season.
Use cheap baits to bulk out your mixes
We’ve touched on tackle a bit already, but it’s fair enough to say that carp bait is very expensive too.
Again, it doesn’t have to be. There are cheap carp baits that you can use to bulk out your spod mixes and free offerings.
A prime example is pigeon conditioner. A 20kg dry sack that costs around £25 will typically give you around 40kg of bait when it has been properly prepared.
Compare that to 40kg of boilies which will typically cost over £150 and there are serious savings to be had!
Do your research when buying carp tackle
So often we buy gear, only to realise it’s not fit for purposes and end up reselling at a loss.
A simple way to ensure you don’t buy the wrong gear is to do plenty of research. Try and avoid just walking into the tackle shop and spending money on the spot.
Take time to read real reviews on carp blogs and Facebook groups. You’ll save loads of money doing this over the course of a season!
Shop around for budget tackle
Over the last few years some excellent budget tackle brands have popped up.
And whilst the saying buy cheap buy twice stands for many parts of carp fishing, for some parts it doesn’t.
Take terminal tackle like swivels and beads for example. Many brands manufacture these in the same factories, yet prices vary wildly.
Bank Tackle are one brand that I’ve personally tried for these type of items and I’ve been very impressed.
Elsewhere, I’ve used some items from Saber such as bank sticks and luggage and been equally as impressed.
Remember, it’s the rig out in the lake that counts!
Use condensed milk in your spod mix
Adding carp liquid attractants to spod mixes and seems to be the done thing these days.
Sure, it might catch you more fish, but it’ll empty your bank account if you use the tackle shop brands.
Head to the supermarket and get your hands on some condensed milk instead. Carp love this stuff, it’s clouds up the water really well and only costs about £1 per can.
Head to Tesco for your hemp oil
This is a great little hack going around on the Facebook Carp Groups.
For those who like to use hemp oil, you can stock up on the stuff in Tesco.
It’s a couple of quid cheaper than the tackle shop brands but exactly the same product.
If you have to use boilies, buy in bulk
If you really wanted to save money carp fishing, you’d forget boilies altogether.
However, I understand that most anglers want at least a few handfuls in their spod mix. Additionally, there are day ticket venues that insist on using boilies only.
If that’s the case, it’s better to buy them up front in bulk rather than by the kilo. By making use of carp bait bundles, you can save around £5 per kilo which quickly adds up.
Most carp bait companies have bulk boilie deals on so just shop around for the ones that suit you.
About the writer
I’m Rob, Carp Squad’s main contributor. I’ve been carp fishing on and off for 15 years, but the bug is well and truly back at the moment. Hopefully the articles I write on here help you put more carp on the bank.