Best Carp Fishing Reels And Rods - Ultimate Guide

Written by Joshua in Fishing
Image Credits: Pexels.com

Understanding your equipment with carp fishing is crucial. Especially when it comes to carp fishing reels and carp fishing rods. Where do we even find the best carp fishing reels? We will cover that, don’t worry.

It’s important to know which fishing reels and rods work best and will ultimately improve your success when angling for carp. So, what is the best reels and rods for carp fishing? Can we put together any carp fishing combo deals that cover both needs in one set up?

I will cover all of that, but more importantly, I want to include some of the basics of what to look for in a rod, reel or a combo package deal. It’s just a few essential steps to cover to make sure you are using the best possible gear and ultimately don’t have to spend money replacing defective equipment or end up losing fish due to not covering some of the fundamentals

Not All Carp Fishing Reels And Rods Are The Same

Not all carp fishing reels are created equal when it comes to carp fishing. You must pick the fishing reel that makes the most sense for you based on your unique fishing needs.

Some reels are going to be excellent for retrieving your line quickly or casting very long distances. Some carp reels will do great with stalking. Others will do great with medium distance carp fishing. It all just depends on your angling needs and what kind of budget you are allocating for your angling success.

Don’t worry. We will cover everything in depth and detail the best carp fishing reels and rods you can consider for building up your fishing gear arsenal and being ready to attack for this upcoming fishing season.

Choosing a Reel to Effectively Fish For Carp

Let’s first cover the basic terminology and parts to a fishing reel or a free spool or fixed spool fishing reel. The first thing you need to remember is that you will want the capability to use the free spool mode.

This is the mode in which you use a switch or lever that allows the fishing line to be taken off the reel while the bail arm is closed or in the locked position.

If you don’t have this mode on your fishing reel, you run the chance of the rod being pulled straight into the water. It won’t take that large of a carp to get it out of your sight and skipping the water before it’s slow sink of death to the water bottom.

With the handle is turned, the free spool mode is released, and the spool begins acting like any ordinary reel. Shimano was the first to enter the industry along with Bait Runner for these free spooling reels, but since inception, many other manufacturers have followed suit and began providing budget-friendly options for fishing reels.

This is probably either ranked #1 or # 2 for total popularity among anglers as a top fishing reel.

No complaints here from myself with spinning reels and I own more spinning reels than any other form of a fishing reel. They are easy to use, leave you open to many options, and allow you to fish for several kinds of fish without needing a completely different fishing reel/rod combo on every fishing trip.

What Are The Parts to a Fishing Reel?

I know some of this seems elementary especially if you’re an experienced angler, but I figured if you have a ton of experience, you probably don’t need my recommendations anyway. This is for those who need a bit of additional information and knowledge to understand the reel and what’s needed to effectively fish for carp.

The Main Parts of a Fishing Reel Include the Following. (Free Spool Fishing Real Parts)

  • Pick up Or Bail
  • Reel Foot
  • Support Arm
  • Free Spool Lever
  • Tension Adjustment
  • Handle
  • Anti-Reverse Switch
  • Spool
  • Clutch Adjustment

The 8 Kinds of Fishing Reels

You have a total of 8 different fishing reels that can be used depending on what kind of angling you are doing.

Baitcasting Reels

Within the baitcasting reel family, you have two subcategories that you can place them within.

Round Baitcasting Reel

The Round baitcasting reel will be more ideal for casting as far as possible. They can hold more fishing line. This is also key and ideal for carp fishing.

We will touch more on this later.

The Low Profile Baitcasting Reel

This version of the baitcasting reel is mainly favored due to its ability to reduce line tangles and twist. It’s also lightweight and durable. This would also be a good pick for carp fishing.

Fly Fishing Reels

Considering fly fishing for carp is an awesome challenge and growing in popularity, it seemed fitting to mention the fly fishing reel. Fly fishing reels are typically geared and categorized by fish. For example, you may use a completely different reel for salmon than you would use for carp fishing or even trout fly fishing.

They are highly durable reels and don’t need much replacement or maintenance to keep going for years of use.

Centerpin Reels

These aren’t used nearly as common anymore as they used to be. They work off a free drag and free line set up. The angler uses his thumbs to control the fishing line or the fish during the take.

Trolling Reels

This reel is primarily used for deep sea fishing. It’s commonly used to target big game fish. It comes with the ability to equip large amounts of fishing line and can endure heavy combat for fighting the saltwater fish that many anglers prefer. This is an area, I haven’t gotten into very heavy yet, but I will keep you posted.

Surf Fishing Reels

Surf fishing reels are essentially the exact same thing as the spinning reel but they are designed to stand up against the beating it takes from saltwater, UV penetration and sand from the shores from where anglers choose to surf fish.

Off Shore Reels

These reels can come in two forms. Baitcasting or spinning reels. They are very durable but can often get pricey. You are however paying for what you get. They are incredible reels and can even withstand the saltwater and the battle against very large game fish.

What do The Numbers on Fishing Reels Mean?

Now we get into the more complex part of a fishing reel. The numbers you see on fishing reels are indicating the gear ratio. Simply put, take a gear ratio of 5.3:1.

This indicates that the reel rotates 5 times per turn. The larger this number or ratio, the faster and more line you can retrieve in a hurry. This can be advantageous for carp fishing in some situations depending on how advanced you are along the carp angling journey.

What Does Drag on a Fishing Reel Mean?

Your drag is nothing more than a mechanism built inside of the reel that allows the fish to either pull hard or fight without snapping the fishing line. It works by using friction plates inside of the reel. It exists to prevent you from losing your line to “snap” due to the extreme pull some fish can create depending on the size of the fish.

What is Quick Drag-On reels?

Fishing reels that have quick drag features allow you to pick a level of free spool while still maintaining control of the drag and quickly swapping back to the chosen level with one turn of the reel. Nice feature to have for sure.

Okay, we have covered enough of the basics for you to have a good baseline on the types of fishing reels and the applications they can be used for. Now let’s dive into how to apply that knowledge toward picking the best fishing reel for carp fishing.

Carp Fishing Reels

For effective carp fishing, the best choice for a fishing reel is going to come down to one option.

The free spool or bait runner reel is going to be the best reel you can choose for carp fishing. It’s going to be durable, versatile and meet your needs for casting, power, and flexibility. Sure, you will need the correct reel/rod combo to get it done , but we will cover rods shortly toward the end of the blog post.

Now that we have narrowed down the kind of reel to use for carp fishing. It’s time to take it one step deeper and look at the brand of fishing reel we want to use and the price point we want to stay at to get the job done.

  • Other Factors to Choose The Best Reel
  • Durability
  • Fishing Line Capacity
  • Consumer Reviews
  • Pricing and Budget

For the sake of not flooding you with too many options and to keep things simple, I’m going to narrow most selections down to the top 2 or 3 reels I recommend for carp fishing reels. Of course, more fishing reels will get the job done with carp fishing but I have found simple is always better. The fewer options we have, the more of a wise choice we typically make.

Trust me, I won’t steer you down a path where the 2-3 options we cover in the respected categories will fail you or leave you not landing your first carp or biggest carp of 2019.

Word of Wisdom– I say it in many blog post and I’ll say it again here. If you have the money to spend, get a better carp fishing reel and rod. It’s perhaps the most essential piece of fishing gear you have and it’s not worth buying reels over and over again due to problems.

Getting one good, long last fishing reel will ultimately serve you much better in the end.

My Favorite 2 Brands of Fishing Reels for Carp Fishing

Let’s discuss the brands and a bit behind the manufactures for each brand.

Shimano Fishing Reels

Shimano Fishing reels are manufactured in Japan. Shimano Inc. specializes in fishing tackle, rowing equipment, and cycling equipment.

They offer a huge variety of fishing reels, rods and fishing line along with other various fishing equipment. They have been a leader in the industry for fishing reels for a long time and produce quality, reliable fishing reels.

I personally own more Shimano reels than any other brand. Never had an issue with any of my reels. I’m just like all of you and get restless and get to a point where I feel deserve a new fishing gear purchase from time to time.

Daiwa Fishing Reels

Daiwa was founded in 1958 and wanted to raise the bar and create the new standard for fishing reels. Daiwa continues to be an industry leader in making new technology changes and consistently producing some of the top fishing reels money can buy. You can’t go wrong with a quality Daiwa Reel.

Now let’s break down the Top Fishing Reels for Carp with Each Brand

Top Shimano Fishing Reels

Shimano UItegra Fresh Water C3000

As we covered before. You can’t go wrong with Shimano and this reel is no different. It features a beautiful balance between durability, strength and ease of use. The Shimano Ultegra 3000 is going to be able withstand the elements with its corrosion protection with its unique system known as Core Protect.

Positives

  • Rigid Body, Virtually No Twisting- Gears Remains Well Synced
  • X-Ship Technology- Creates Smooth Reeling and Casting
  • Long Accurate Casting Capabilities due to Aero Wrape 2 and AR-C Spool Platform
  • 1 Year US Warranty- 10 Year Australian Warranty
  • Core Protection- Corrosion Protection
  • Other Specifications
  • Family- Spinning Reel
  • Key Feature- Hagane Gear
  • Ball Bearings- 5
  • Roller Bearings-1
  • Max Drag- 7-24LBS
  • Retrieve Per Crank- 31-41 Inches
  • Salt Water Capable- Yes

Negatives

  • Above the 100.00 Dollar Price Point
  • Shimano Stradic Is Perhaps Slightly Better

Shimano Stradic C14 HG 2500

The Shimano Stradic is probably the best reel I’ve used personally. I may not be the best source, however, I’m a huge Shimano fan, so maybe my opinion is a little overbearing compared to an outsider looking in. That makes no difference with this review of the Shimano Stradic however.

The Shimano Stradic comes packed with all the new technology. The Stradic will also come stocked, and standard with the Hagane Cold Forged Gear Drive and X-ship for smooth casting and reeling. This reel is also capable of holding up on saltwater applications.

This reel will have no problems holding up the test of durability. I’ve had mine fully underwater, dropped and just downright beat up without having any issues or ever failing me.

No metal is present on this reel so you don’t have to be concerned with corrosion over time. Overall for the price, I’d say you can’t go wrong and this would be classified as my “best buy” fishing reel or the one every carp angler should begin with. You will have a few options when you do decide to purchase.

Key Features

  • Family- Spinning
  • Key Feature- X-Ship
  • Ball Bearings-6
  • Roller Bearings- 1
  • Max Drag- 20LBS
  • Retrieval Per Crank- 35 Inches

Negatives

  • Over 100.00- Well Worth it However

Top Daiwa Fishing Reels

The Daiwa Fishing Reels are all the carp angler could ask for. It features smooth, sleek Design and A Major Bargain Price for the Capabilities this Reel Provides.

Daiwa BG 2500

Specifications of Daiwa BG 2500

  • Weight- 9.3 OZ
  • Line Capacity- 190 Years- 10LB
  • Drag Capacity- 13.2 Lb
  • Ball Bearings- 6 +1
  • Gear Ratio- 5.6.1
  • Line Per Handle Turn- 33.2

Not As Proven as Shimano Reels

  • 10 Oz with Line Spooled
  • More Limited Warranty

What did I like about this really like about this reel?

The Daiwa BG2500 seems to be about 25% cheaper than many of the options for reliable reels you can purchase for carp fishing, but it performs like a champ. Even under stress this reel and drag perform smoothly and flawlessly.

It maintains durability through the weather conditions and can be used in virtually all situations for fishing with some limitation of course. Overall, this reel will give any Shimano or other high-end reels a run for its money.

All right so we have our reel picked out but we haven’t chosen a Rod tailored made for carp fishing yet. Let’s find us the best carp fishing rod money can buy.

Let’s dive into that.

Best Carp Rods

The rod you choose when carp fishing is just as important as your reel selection. It needs to be a match made in heaven so to speak. If possible, of course.

The important thing to understand before even considering which rod to choose is how the rod works.

With all fishing rods, you have a test, curve action and a length to the rod.

As we spoke about in my ultimate guide to carp fishing, a test curve with a value from 2.5lb-4lb will be right in the sweet spot for what you’re looking for.

I’m a big fan of the middle ground and personal use a medium action rod at 12 or 13 feet.  It’s a versatile and well-balanced rod that won’t do you any harm and ultimately can catch you carp for years without issue.

Let’s dive into some other characteristics that you should consider when looking for the perfect carp fishing rod.

  • Rod Strength
  • Strong Reel Seats
  • Durable Rod Handles
  • Durable Rod Line Guides
  • Durable Baiting and Marker Rods
  • Ease of Use and Designed For Your Preferences

We already discussed that a medium action 12 or 13-foot rod will get the job done but would about the rod handle? What do we look for with this?

You will have two options with rod handles. Usually, Cork or EVA foam. This is 100% personal preference but I prefer the cork. For some reasons when Ice fishing it tends to hold the heat a bit better for my hands.

Carp Fishing Rod Line Guides- This is often skipped by carp anglers or not consider enough when making a decision. You want the line guides to be durable and good material. This impacts everything with carp fishing.

Having a good rod line guide can help,

  • Keep your fishing line lasting longer
  • Keep your Cast Smooth and Easy
  • Impact the rod sensitivity

Usually, the line guides will come in the following options.

  • Plastic
  • Fiberglass
  • Aluminum Oxide

I would go for the fiberglass out of three if I were you. It’s worth a couple extra dollars for a quality rod.

Ok, we have the basics covered. Now let’s look at the best options you have for carp fishing rods.

Keep in mind this is just the fishing rod I recommend because it’s been purely excellent.

St. Croix Avid Series Carp Rod

The rod packs some extreme value for the price. Yes, I know it’s a little steep but when your fishing for species such as carp, some of the cheap models are just not going to work. I am a fan of the Shimano fishing rods as well but I don’t think they hold a candle to this option.

Positives

  • Carp-Specific Actions
  • Graphite Construction
  • Built in IPC Technology
  • Fuji DPS Reel Seats
  • Gunsmoke Hoods
  • 15 Year Warranty

Negatives

  • Literally None Except Price Is Somewhat High

Do We Feel we know which Rod and Reel we are going to choose for our first Carp Fishing Trip?

As we have discussed in many blogs and articles I’ve put up for all of you, these are only recommendations and never feel any obligation to take them. If I recommend them, it’s only because they have faired so well for me at one point or currently impressing me with my carp fishing hobby.

In addition, I really put in the effort into learning the pros and cons of these items so I don’t steer anyone down the wrong path. If I’m not comfortable or haven’t read enough information, the recommendations won’t ever land on these pages for you to see.

If you do take a recommendation, I would love to hear from you and I’m sure the rest of the Gone Fishing Blog community would love to hear from you as well. Make sure to leave a comment below.

Till Next Time. Thanks for reading.

About Joshua
My name i Joshua, and i am one of the authors on BonFireBob - I especially like fishing and gear.

Related posts
Fishing
I was watching a nature documentary recently that featured both Beluga whales and Northern Pike, and it sparked my curiosity about the two species. So, I did some research of my own to make a connection between the two animals and find out if they have an
Fishing
When I was reading about the diets of pikeminnow on the internet recently after finding out that they eat other fish, I began to wonder how much they can really consume in just one day. So, I did some more digging to determine the average amounts of smolt
Fishing
The Arctic Grayling is a unique species of fish that is most commonly found in Arctic and Pacific drainages throughout the world. Commonly fished for sport, these aquatic creatures were introduced to new bodies of freshwater in the early 20th century for
Fishing
During my research of pikeminnow fishing, I started to wonder if people eat them and what they taste like. After discovering that these fish are, indeed, edible, I was curious to find out more details about the dish. So, I did some more research and put a