Carp fishing – I’m confused about Line, Leaders and Braid

Mike Burt wrote:

I’m a reasonably experienced angler but new to dedicated carping and very confused about lines, braid, shock leaders, hook lengths etc. I have all the tackle but am not sure what line to put on the reel. What I really need is a configuration of the type of lines from my reel to the hook. Sorry if this seems basic but any help would be appreciated.


Hi Mike,

A basic question? Yes…  but one that I’m sure many new comers to carping get wrong or don’t ask. Like many specialist branches it has evolved over the years and can be confusing…

First off I’d pay a trip to my local tackle shop and get the right gear. They will explain what you need and how to use it. Secondly search around the net and you’ll find lots of help on line.

Braid: This is an alternative to nylon as a main line on the reel. It has no stretch, so transmits the entire feel to the angler as well as more power and control while playing a fish. However, it also is far less forgiving than nylon when the fish is under the rods and hook pulls to less experienced anglers are common. In the wrong hands it can also be dangerous to the fish, hence it is banned on many waters. If you should cast into a tree or get snagged, it can often be impossible to pull for a break.

Nylon: This is the preferred main line of most carp anglers including myself. You’ll want to chose a good reliable brand such as Berkley Big Game, Nash Bullet or Diawa Sensor. I like 12lb or 15lb breaking strain depending on the place I’m fishing and the size of the carp expected.

Shock Leaders: As a beginner I’d say you’re unlikely to need these in the immediate future. A shock leader is a stronger piece of line usually around 25-50lb and made of braid to help take up the force of a cast when you are using fine main lines (10lb for example) in order to fish a longer range. It also requires a certain technique to make it worthwhile.

Hooklinks: This is the last piece with the hook attached, usually by a knotless knot. There are many hooklink materials on the market, but I prefer the coated braids such as Kryston Snakebite.

So to resume this is what I do;

Fill up your reel with 12-15lb nylon. Use some of the end tackle made by companies like Korda and Nash to get the most effective presentation and hooking system. Choose a good hooklink material and check out some of the books or website of simple but effective rigs. Et Voilà that’s the best way to set up your end tackle.

My advice is to keep things simple. Don’t go in for the over complicated rigs and set up that often only work in the imagination of the inventors. A standard hair rig with a safety clip will see you catch fish.



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