Learning how to bait carp for bowfishing can increase the action seen on the water. The carp will smell the bait and come running right into the trap. Let’s have a look at how you can bait carp into the area.
Before we begin, you should first check the state laws to make sure that using baits or baitfish isn’t illegal in your state for bowfishing. You want to acquaint yourself with the specific state laws and regulations. For example, in the state of Pennsylvania, the DNR can fine you $150 for the use of illegal baitfish like goldfish, koi and comets. Check your state regulations to make sure that you don’t violate any laws.
What Bait Do Carp Go After?
- Hemp Seed
- Dog Food
- Regular Boilies
- Homemade Dough baits
- Tiger Nuts
Many bait shops praise hemp seed as one of their best-selling baits because most freshwater fish can’t resist the tasty flavor. You have a number of reasons why hemp makes for one of the best baits. First, hemp seeds bear many resemblances to small freshwater snails that carp love. Second, hemp seed releases natural omega oils and amino acids that carp find alluring. Hemp also has the advantage of stimulating fish activity. This can put them into an active state where they might search for food. You might combine hemp seed in conjunction with tiger nuts. With two or three grains from hemp seed, you can attract the carp to the area.
Check out the link here to buy hemp seeds guaranteed to bring the carp in close.
- Especially good for chumming carp to the area
- The seeds are edible.
- Most freshwater fish can’t resist it!
- You can mix it with other baits like Tiger Nuts for greater attraction.
- Universally used bait.
- Requires some preparation for the maximum effect.
- Pungent odor during the cooking process. Be sure to open a window.
Related article: What is the Biggest Fish I Can Bowfish?
You can get dog food made from maize meal, bone meal and meat. One of the advantages of dog food is that the only thing stopping you from what you might add is your imagination. You can add hemp, tuna, bread crumbs or gravy powder.
- Works beautifully for those hunting for catfish and carp.
- You can add other baits to it for the maximum effect.
- Any brand works!
- Cost-effective for baiting carp to the area.
- Dog food will pollute the water.
- Only works for specific fish species like carp and catfish.
From all the boilies on the market, I’d advise that you seek out fishmeal-bait based boilies for the spring, summer and autumn. For the winter season, you may want to consider nodd oil. This fine fish oil can attract carp to the area for bowfishing. This type of bait gets its name from the process of boiling it to create a bait. The pop-up boilies may be advantageous in getting the carp to surface for the food so that you can get a good shot.
- You can choose floating boilies or sinking boilies.
- You can mix this with other baits for greater attraction.
- Can be bought from a large supplier or homemade.
- Huge variety of flavors available.
- Must freeze boilies without preservatives to prevent spoiling.
Carp love to eat pellets, and they have proven a tried-and-tested method of luring carp into your area for bowfishing. During the winter months, you may want a standard carp pellets because they are low in oil content. You will use a pellet wetter bag, fill up the case with water and drop it in. Normally, smaller pellets will be quicker to prepare. You will let it soak for about two minutes. Next, take them out and let them dry for five minutes. After this, they will be perfect for attracting carp.
- Good for winter bowfishing.
- Quick and easy to prepare.
- Spreads a heavy scent in the water.
- Different sizes available.
- I didn’t find this as effective as other baits like boilies or hemp seed.
- You have better choices available.
Related article: What is Special About Bowfishing Arrows?
The carp chase after tiger nuts because they taste crunchy and sweet. You have one essential fact with tiger nuts, and that is that you use each tiger nut as if they were a boilie. For example, like with boilies, you throw 20 to 30 tiger nuts into the water to attract the carp.
How do you prepare tiger nuts? First, you will want to pour them into a bucket. Next, you will fill the bucket with water and let the tiger nuts soak for a recommended time of 36 hours. This softens their hard peel. Next, you will add the tiger nuts to a boiler and let it boil for 45 minutes. You may want to add sugar to sweeten the bait and help the process of fermentation. Next, take them out of the water and allow them to cool off. After they have cooled off, you will add them into a bucket and add liquid betaine and a small amount of powdered betaine. This intensifies the flavor of sweetness. Finally, you scan the pile for some of the prime picks and squirt some talin liquid into the tiger nuts.
- Use relatively few to attract carp.
- This bait works with or without boilies.
- Effective choice all year round.
- You have a more natural bait choice compared to dog food.
- They have very little scent.
- The look of them is somewhat drab.
Perhaps one of the easiest baits that you can use to lure in the carp, you can simply crack open a can of sweet corn, and you will be ready to go bowfishing. Most bowfishers like to toss in a couple of kernels of corn or slingshot in a few pods. You have one disadvantage, however. Let’s say that you want to fish specifically for carp. Tossing some sweet corn into the water could attract small catfish or bluegills. If you will fish in an area with a lot of panfish, you may want to try feed corn instead. To use feed corn, however, you will need to boil it for several hours before you can use it for bait.
As with any of these baits, you should first check your local and state regulations. In Oregon, for example, you can’t use sweet corn for chumming the fish. That makes it unlawful to use this form of bait. This is because fish can’t digest corn well.
- Natural bait that won’t harm the environment.
- The fish go bananas for sweet corn, one of the best for carp.
- Bright colored to catch their attention.
- Easily accessible and available for a low price.
- Illegal to use corn for chumming in some states.
- Not digestible to fish and less responsible to chum with it.
When to Bait Carp
It’s important to know that not all circumstances will call for baiting carp. You have some occasions like crystal clear waters where you can see them more easily. Let’s take a muddy river as an example. You might toss some bait out as a way of luring the fish into shallower flats where they will show their backs. In muddy water, you’d struggle to see them otherwise.
How to Get a Good Shot from Baiting
Unless you have the fish sticking out of the water, you want to toss the bait over a rocky or sandy bottom. Muddy water (see how to bowfish in muddy water here!) can turn into your worst enemy as the carp stir up the mud and make it difficult for you to see them. As always, be careful of what you shoot at when you toss out bait. While you might get catfish to respond to floating food, some states don’t let you shoot them. For example, Texas has currently made it illegal to bowfish for catfish there, even though the legislature has been working to allow it again.
Bowfishing an Intelligent Fish
Some people look at carp as a dirty and undesirable fish because of how it scavenges the bottom of the riverbed for benthic worms, insects, crustaceans and crawfish. However, some fishermen have taken a liking to carp because of how it puts up a great fight when reeling it in. The thrill of bowfishing comes from shooting at the fish. Carp are not dumb fish, and they catch on to the strategies of bowfisherman quickly. This means that if you toss out some bait for them to eat, eventually, they will catch on that the bait equals death, and you will have a harder time luring them in. To get around this, you might take a few days’ break or use a different bait. For those who like a challenge, bowfishing for carp will offer them a fun game. Some call this bowfishing, but in fact, the sport carries many resemblances to small game hunting because of how you depend on tracking the fish with a bow and arrow.
If you’ve never been bowfishing for carp, this video on YouTube highlights the excitement of it all and what it feels like to arrow a carp and reel it in.
Hopefully, this shows you a little about the ways that you can go about baiting carp. If you enjoyed this article, you may want to know what to do with carp after you shot them. Check out this article that I wrote on what to do with dead carp. This article especially applies to those who don’t like the taste of carp. You can find many interesting things that you can do with it.