Simple Homemade Carp Bait

by Jen Jefferson

Carp are freshwater fish that can be found in lakes and rivers all over the United States. Not considered particularly tasty, anglers who fish for carp enjoy the challenge they present, since they're often large fish that, once hooked, put up a fight. To experience the thrill of having a carp on your reel, you need the right bait. Luckily, there are a number of simple recipes that you can use to prepare your own bait at home.


Carp are attracted to the sugary vanilla scent of marshmallows. Plain marshmallows cut into little pieces, however, aren't as effective without a strong-odored ingredient such as garlic or peanut butter smeared on them. Though marshmallows are a tried and true way to bait carp, they melt in water, so it's recommended that you check on your bait every 20 minutes to make sure it's still there.


Little balls of dough spiked with sugar and boiled licorice root also make a highly effective bait. If after casting a single hook bait the pungent smell hasn't dispersed into the water enough to lure carp closer, try scattering scented dough balls in the water around your boat. As long as you keep your licorice bait in an airtight container it will retain its moisture.

Grated Cheese

Cottons balls dipped in a cheese sauce give off an intense smell that carp will navigate toward. The cotton balls should be fully saturated with the sauce, then left to dry on a plate or tray. When the cotton balls have a dry, hard texture to them they are ready. Some cheeses that you can use include Parmesan, brie and cheddar.


Cold cuts such as salami, spiced ham and liverwurst are common carp bait used by many anglers. The meat can be sliced or cubed and hung on your hook. It can also be suspended above your hook, rather than threaded on it, enabling the carp to swallow the bait a little before the hook affixes to its mouth.


  • "Popular Mechanics"; These Special Baits Are Sure to Tempt Carp; R.A. Jenkins; August 1949
  • "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fishing Basics"; Mike Toth; 2004

About the Author

Jen Jefferson has been a writer and researcher since 2001. Her work has appeared in "Business Insights" and other publications. Jefferson has a Bachelor of Arts in English from The New School and a certificate in French from the International Language School in Montreal.

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