What Do Carp Eat?

Carp fishing is one of the best forms of fishing for anglers worldwide.

The size and agility of carp and their availability throughout the year make them popular fish. Like most forms of fishing, baits are important for catching carp. As such, understanding what carp eat is essential to having a successful outing fishing carp.

In this article, we will discuss what carp feed on and highlight the best carp baits for carp anglers.

what do carp eat
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What Does Carp Naturally Eat The Most?

There are many carp species in different areas of the world, and as such, they have a diverse diet.

Some of the different carp species include common carp, mirror carp, grass carp, leather carp, wild carp, and ghost carp. The common carp is an omnivorous fish that feeds on a wide variety of food, including crustaceans, aquatic vegetation, algae, worms, insects, and other fish species. Carp feed with two main organs: their pharyngeal teeth and two appendages around their mouth area called barbules.

Below is a closer look at what carp eat in the wild.


Carp enjoy feeding on small insects that float on the top of water bodies. Small insects, eggs, and insect larvae are all part of a carp’s diet. Their favorite insects include damselflies and dragonflies.

Aquatic Vegetation

Aquatic vegetation forms a core part of a carp’s diet. Carp target the small plants located near the water’s bottom. Plants serve as filler snacks before carp can get a big meal. They feed on the seeds, small stems, and the main part of water plants.


Crustaceans are more suited to the diet of large carp. Small carps also eat crustaceans but stick to the smaller ones, as they cannot handle the large ones. Crustaceans serve as a source of protein for carp.

Small Fish

Just like crustaceans, small fish are consumed by large carp. Carp is another important source of protein for carp. Their agility, size, and speed of large carp make it easy for them to catch smaller fish. Carp feed on both live and dead fish.


Carp love corn, as they are attracted to the scent, texture, and color. This is why corn is often used as bait for carp fishing.

What Flavors Do Carp Like The Best?

Flavors are essential when fishing for carp.

This is because they work as attractants prompting the carp to take your bait. As carp use their sense of smell when fishing, using the right flavor will help you to make a catch. There are two categories of flavors when it comes to carp fishing. These are sweet flavors and spicy flavors. Sweet flavors include vanilla, honey, cocoa, and fruit flavors like strawberry, banana, and pineapple. Spicy flavors include hemp, dill, garlic, and sunflower seeds.

The best flavor for carp fishing is determined by the season.

What Is The Best Bait For Carp?

Now that we have examined carp feeding habits and what they eat in the wild, we can discuss the best bait for carp.

Despite having a diverse diet, carp are picky eaters. This is why you need to be sure to lure them with the best baits.


Boilies are the most used baits for fishing carp. This is because they are versatile and contain important ingredients that attract carp. They also come in different sizes and colors, enabling you to choose the best fit for your fishing needs.

Boilies are super reliable, as they do not break in the water, ensuring that they stay intact on your hair rig for hours. It contains amino acid, which stimulates feeding in carp.

Boilies are best suited for fishing in spring, summer, and autumn seasons when carp feed heavily. Boilies can also be homemade, provided you have the right ingredients.

Best choice: Phecda Sport Fishing Bait Boilies


Corn is the favorite bait of carp, making it perfect for fishing them.

Today, many corn products, including flavored corn and fake plastic corn, are used to attract corn. Tinned sweetcorn is an excellent choice of carp bait. This is because they are visually attractive to carp and contain ingredients that carp cannot resist.

Just like boilies, corn is suited for use with hair rigs. Tinned sweetcorn with salt and sugar content is best for carp fishing.

Best choice: Tihebeyan Artificial Soft Corn

Tihebeyan 50Pcs Soft Fishing Lure Corn Artificial Fishing Floating Corn Soft Carp Bait Outdoor Flavor Artificial Baits Fish Beads Feeder
  • Perfect Fishing Accessory There are 50pcs in one bag, and it…
  • Safe Baits Safe, odorless and durable to use The size of the…
  • High Quality Material The lures are made of quality Plastic…

Tiger Nuts

Tiger nuts are another bait that is great for carp fishing.

One of the best qualities of tiger nuts is the natural attractants that they contain. These attractants include starch and natural sugars. Tiger nuts are perfect substitutes for corn and boilies, as they are harder and keep nuisance species like turtles and crayfish off.

Best choice: Demeras Tiger Nut Baits

Demeras Tiger Nut Baits Carp Fishing Soft Floating Artificial Pop Up Terminal Tackle Pellets 10 20 30 40 50pcs(30pcs)
  • Made of high quality plastic
  • Soft, floating, no flavor
  • Tiger nuts are mostly used for large size carp fishing


Ground bait is a mixture of carp bait ingredients that are ground to a fine texture.

The content of ground bait typically includes corn, mole poop, small fish, as well as flavors such as strawberry or sweet potatoes. Feeders can be used to cast out ground bait. They can also be rolled into balls.

Other ways to use ground bait include shooting it out with slingshots and using them with PVA bags.  

Are All Carp Vegetarian?

No, all carps are not vegetarian. Grass carp are the only vegetarian carp species, as they feed exclusively on aquatic vegetation. Other carp species are omnivorous, feeding on both plants and animals; the animals serve as their protein source.

Do Carps Eat Meat?

Yes, carps are omnivorous animals and, as such, eat meat as well as other fish species.


Carp is a fisherman’s delight and belongs to a class of fish species that every angler should catch once in their lifetime. You will have no trouble catching a carp with the right bait and technique. It is important to practice safety measures to avoid endangering the carp and other species. 

Daniel O’Neill
Fishing Expert
Daniel specializes in fly, predator, and saltwater angling. He has practiced angling from a young age, quickly developing his knowledge of fishing fundamentals. His angling journey began in Ireland, primarily targeting rainbow trout on a fly rod. His passion for angling grew extensively as he ventured into other forms of fishing. He primarily targets freshwater and saltwater destinations in Ireland and the UK. His favorite catch to date was a 7lb / 3.6KG thick-lipped mullet from the Northern Irish coast—a prized fish to target on a fly rod. He is now the owner of DON Angling, a business that intends to inform and educate anglers on the best techniques, methods, and etiquette available.
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