The best supermarket carp baits are luncheon meat, bread, sweetcorn, bread and cheese. Check out our list of over thirty baits available in local supermarkets.
Carp bait does not need to be expensive. There are lots of very effective, cheap carp baits available in your supermarket. You probably already have some in your cupboard at home.
I have used many of these baits myself over the years. Some of them have been recommended to me over the years and I have not had the opportunity to try them, and others have been found by online research.
Take a look in your cupboard, most things that you can hook can be used as bait – some are better than others but it’s always worth experimenting, Anyway, let’s start with the surprising supermarket baits
Carp Luncheon Meat and Spam
Luncheon meat or spam is a staple in many angler’s bait bags, it is so versatile and can be used to catch many different species. Carp absolutely love it and it’s always worth taking a tin with you. Unopened tInned meat usually has a long shelf life so if you do not use it, it will save for next time.
You may need to try a few different options as not all meat stays on the hook. I always prefer Princes Luncheon Meat. Remember you could add colouring or flavouring to it to mix things up.
Carp absolutely love sweetcorn. Naturally bright yellow and with sweetness oozing out and crunchy to eat, sweetcorn is great for both attracting fish to your swim and as a hook bait. Sweetcorn is a favourite amongst anglers as it has a long shelf life and is a great option to have.
Throw a handful of sweetcorn into your swim, the sweetness spreads through the water, and the carp and tench will come looking and will hoover it up in no time.
Don’t just throw away the juices from the tin, add them to a groundbait. If you are not using groundbait, simply pour the juice into water and the carp will come looking.
Dog Biscuits for Surface Fishing
Dog biscuits are great for catching carp on the surface. Especially in the summer when the carp are on the surface basking in the sun. As long as they float you can use any, however, I favour Pedigree Chum mixers.
You can colour and flavour them, but I have always had the most success using them as they are. Dog biscuits are very tough, so you can either soak them in water for 20-30 minutes or drill them.
Bread is very versitile for carp fishing
Bread can be fished on the surface or at various depths. You can use older stale bread or a brand new fresh bread from the counter. For carp fishing,
I prefer fishing with bread on the surface using a nice fresh loaf with a tough crust to help the bread stay on the hook when casting.
Carp love Sausage
Like all the other meats listed on this page, sausage is no different. Carp love sausages and they’re usually shaped in a way for you to slice the sausage into a nice big chunk if you are going for a larger carp.
Whenever I have fished with sausage meat I have always used smaller pieces which has always worked well for me – experiment and see what works best for you.
Catch Carp on Cheese
Fishing with cheese can be very productive. Particularly when legered but can also be used for float fishing or freelining. As well as hard cheese, you can also use soft cheese to create a mould with some liquidised bread or add to a groundbait. Cheese is very versatile and is also very good for chub, bream and roach.
Tinned Dog Food – not just for dogs
Tinned dog food chunks are dynamite for carp. The soft chewy meaty chunks are perfect for your hook bait or hair rig. I prefer to hair rig mine as I feel it gives a better presentation. Dog food comes in various flavours and most of which works very well. You can often get very good deals on tinned dog food so look out for special offers.
Tinned Cat Food
Very similar to dog food, cat food is also an excellent bait for carp. Cat food tends to have a distinctive ‘cat food smell’ which I really cannot stand. The good news however is that carp love it.
In my experience, I have found cat food to be a little softer than dog food, and as such recommend that you hair rig cat food rather than hooking it directly.
Pepperami – the perfect hook bait
Pepperami’s are pretty much the perfect carp bait. Meaty, spicy, and oily and perfect size for the hook. Simply cut off a piece of the Pepperami and you can either hook it or hair rig it. Either way, it’s so tough it will stay on for hours – even after a bite. Though it is recommended you change it every so often or after a bite.
I have not tried beef jerky but it has been recommended to me on several occasions. Beef jerky is very salty and carp love salty food and meat. Like the Pepperami it’s tough so you can cast with some confidence knowing it will stay on your hook.
Admittedly when I used bacon it was from my sausage, egg, and bacon sandwich at the cafe on the lake complex, but it worked all the same. Similar to beef jerky, bacon is very salty and is great for attracting carp.
Chorizo is a spicy, oily, and salty meat and very tough so it stays on the hook very well. My local supermarket sells cubed chorizo and this is the ideal size for commercial carp fisheries and requires no preparation before hooking.
For meatballs, stick with tinned meatballs rather than the more expensive uncooked variety from the meat counter – I would recommend hair rigging a meatball as they can be quite delicate and do not stay on the hook very well. You may lose them on the cast, so I use them down the margins. The gravy that comes with the tin is great for adding to a groundbait.
Liver has been recommended to me by many anglers and also came up regularly in my research, lots of people speak very highly of it for catching carp.
I have used baits with liver extract and liver flavour such as boilies and pellets and know these work, so I can see no reason why liver would not work for you.
Marshmallows For Surface Fishing
Marshmallows are one of the best surface carp baits money can buy, and a nice treat for you too. Mainly used as a surface bait, they can also be used as a ‘pop up’ bait when ledgering,
Marshmallows come in various shapes and sizes. They are usually coloured white and pink, though you can colour them and flavour them yourself to make them more appealing.
The great thing about marshmallows is they stay afloat for a very long time as they are filled with air. They also weigh a fair amount, allowing you to freeline them and being able to cast a fair distance.
If you do not want your marshmallow to float, put them in water and squeeze all the air out of them and allow them to take in the water. Now you have a versatile sinking bait too.
Surprisingly, carp like tinned macaroni cheese. Soft pasta smothered in cheese which was ideal for hooking and hair rigging. Be careful on the cast though as the hook may pull through on a vigorous cast. Mac and Cheese can also be added to a groundbait or liquidised bread.
Peas and Chickpeas
As they are mainly used as a particle bait in groundbait or spod mix, many anglers don’t think to use them as hook bait. Tinned peas and chickpeas are a great substitute for sweetcorn when you need to change up your tactics.
Beans and lentils
Similar to peas, beans are an excellent bait for carp and are often overlooked. Kidney beans, lima beans, blackeyed beans are all wonderful carp baits. As well as a hook bait you can also use them as a particle bait in a groundbait or spod mix. They’re great for fish as they’re full of nutrients too.
The same goes for lentils, they a great, cheap addition to any groundbait and spod mix.
Tiger nuts are very common amongst anglers and carp go crazy for them. Tiger nuts however can be expensive.
You can use all type of nuts – peanuts, walnuts, almonds and cashews to name just a few are all great for hook baits and carp love them.
Trail mix is also a great option for your particle ground bait.
Potatoes – an “old fashioned” carp bait
Cooked or boiled potatoes have been used as bait for over a hundred years, though not many anglers tend to use them these days. This gives you the edge over everyone else as we know carp love them, but they rarely get used.
Potatoes are ideal for ledgering. If you are going to float fish, consider using a small piece or use a bread punch (try various sizes).
The cheapest option is to cook the potatoes yourself. You could however buy small tinned potatoes. Also consider a salty mash for a very cloudy and interesting groundbait.
Cooked chicken or beef leftovers from your dinner can be a great option. As it’s leftover from your lunch, you have already paid for it and it may end up in the bin anyway, so take it with you if you’re going fishing the following day.
Another great example is leftover pizza. Bread, cheese, pepperoni, ham and pineapple are all baits that carp love.
Bird Seed Mix as a Particle Bait
Bird seed is a great, cheap additive to a groundbait and spod mix and is surprisingly very complex. Hundreds of very small seeds will keep the fish in your swim for a long time as they hoover up the contents of the lakebed.
Crucially, bird seed is very light. Some seeds will go straight to the bottom with the lump of groundbait and will stay on the lake bed while some seeds will slowly rise to the surface. Some seeds will land on the surface and slowly sink, while some seeds will just float around at varying depths and will move with the current.
Not only will the fish hoover up the seed and groundbait on the lake bed, but the slowly sinking and rising seeds will also create a lot of competition and commotion in your swim. As the seeds get taken by the current they will draw fish to your swim.
It is important to make sure your groundbait is not too dry and not too wet to ensure the seeds react differently. This may take a little practice. Slowly add water to make sure you reach the right consistency and always have some spare groundbait to add to the mixture should you make it too wet.
Look for a bird seed mix that has lots of different small seeds.
Fresh Fruit and Tinned Fruit
You may have noticed lots of carp baits are flavoured and coloured to look like various fruits. The obvious reason for this, carp love fruit – the sweeter the better,
Fruit is a natural food source for fish in the wild. Fruit trees and bushes grow near lakes, ponds and rivers. Have a look at what sources of natural fruit are at your favourite venue then the next time you go, take some with you. Common natural fruits are raspberries, blackberries and apples.
You will have noticed lots of carp baits are strawberry flavoured, and for good reason. Carp love strawberries. Also consider fruits such as Banana, orange, mango, pineapple, cherries, and pretty much any other fruit you can think of.
Grapes and berries are the perfect size for your hook bait and will be ready to hook without any preparation. Other fruits may require preparation before fishing, such as pineapple and mango.
A tin of fruit cocktail is perfect for hook bait. Small cubes or chunks of fruit are the perfect size. As well as the actual fruit, you can use the fruity, sweet syrup from the tin to mix your groundbait instead of water.
Dried fruit such as dates and currents are good alternatives to your standard expensive carp bait pushed by the big bait manufacturers. As we mentioned earlier, nuts are also very good baits for carp – consider a cheap bag of fruit and nut – these are great for hook bait and also give you lots of alternatives for free bait to throw into your swim.
Surprisingly jelly can be a very flexible bait and can be made of multiple flavours. You can buy jelly cubes from the supermarket ready to make. You can use the cubes themselves as your hook bait, or you can make the jelly and add whatever you want to it as your unique groundbait.
Jelly groundbait can have whatever you like it in, for example, pellets, hemp, mealworm, maggots, sweetcorn, peas and fruit. Throw lumps of your jelly groundbait into your swim – as the fish eat away at the jelly the rest of the contents are released creating a cocktail of baits for the fish in your swim to compete over.
Similar to fruit, vegetables are natural food sources for fish. Cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, celery, etc all grow near lakes, ponds, and rivers, and as such fish survive on natural food sources when there are limited other food sources.
There are better alternatives to using vegetables for carp, but if money is tight then you can absolutely catch carp with vegetables. Consider adding different flavours and colourings to make them stand out.
Prawns, shrimp and mussels
You will often see lots of fishy flavoured pellets, boilies and groundbaits – that’s because fish flavoured baits are great for carp.
Prawns, shrimp, mussels are excellent carp baits, in particular, mussels have been very successful for me in the past. I have had days where I was the only angler catching on the lake as I was using mussels and prawns. Sometimes fish just need some variety and the strong flavours these emit are really good at attracting carp who go crazy for them.
Surprisingly crisps can be excellent carp baits, but it all really depends on how you use them. They can be excellent floating baits to catch carp on the surface. Hair rigged crisps such as Watsits and Cheesy Puffs can be excellent floating baits.
If you are fishing on the bottom, blend up some strongly flavoured crisps and add them to your groundbait. Or you could make your own groundbait by combining breadcrumb and crisps for a cheap alternative.
Cereal for Carp on the Surface
Certain types of cereal can be excellent floating baits. Cheerios, Honey Loops, Shreddies and Wheetos (chocolate hoops) are perfect for the hair rig as they have holes in the middle so they are already prepared and ready to cast. Kellogg’s Krave are also good for hair rigs as they have a soft centre.
Most “puff” type cereals will air inside them are suitable for a floating bait – usually the bigger the better.
Again with most baits, you could add different colouring and flavourings to make them more attractive.
To mix up your ground bait, consider adding granola or a crumbled Weetabix. Perhaps even Nesquik powder.
You can pretty much catch fish with any bait you can think of. However, just a small change can really give you the edge. You will notice that lots of carp baits come in various colours.
Food coloring is very cheap and can have a massive impact on the presentation of your bait. Colours like red, orange and yellow work well for carp. Look for bright colours to make your bait stand out. Don’t colour all your bait though – make your hook bait stand out.
What Flavours Do Carp Like?
As well as colouring your bait to attract carp, you can also add lots of different flavours to your bait to give the edge.
As a general rule, carp love anything sweet, spicy, cheesy or fishy.
Here is a list of various flavourings you could add to your bait:-
- Chilli powder
- Curry powder or paste
- Fish oil
- Ground pepper
- Peanut butter
- Chocolate spread
Using groundbait is an excellent way of attracting carp, and fish in general to your swim.
The main elements of a good groundbait are:-
- Small particles
- Creates a cloud when it hits the water
- Lots of flavour
There are lots of for you to create your own groundbait from items in the supermarket or perhaps things you already have at home.
A good base for your groundbait is bread crumb. This creates a cloud when it hits the water and it’s a good binding element for your groundbait. Older, stale white bread is usually best for breadcrumb. You can buy breadcrumb from the supermarket or you can liquidise your own bread with a blender.
Another option for the base of your groundbait is to crush or blend dog biscuits or even some cheap supermarket own brand digestives.
Adding flavour to your groundbait is very important to attracting carp. Chilli, curry and garlic power are very powerful flavours for attracting carp.
Sweet options such as treacle or honey are really good too. Anything with a sticky consistency as very good for binding the groundbait together.
Blended fruit is always a good option, such as strawberry or banana.
When it comes to adding different particles, bird seed and nuts are great for this.
Sweetcorn is always a great carp bait. Adding some pieces to your groundbait ads some bright colour and is a option great for attracting fish.
Supermarket Spod Mix
Over time, spodding can become very expensive – but it doesn’t have to. You can make up a great spod mix from just supermarket ingredients, or add a few cheap baits to your existing spod mix.
There are so many ingredients you will probably already have in your cupboards at home that will be great options.
A good spod mix is often very sloppy and has a good mixture of particle baits for the carp to hoover up.
A good starting point is with some nuts and hemp – then you can pretty much do you want. Carp will eat most things – this is where you can get creative and try lots of different combinations.
Baked beans and peas are fantasic cheap options for your spod mix. Added to that a tin of sweetcorn and you have a great bait that will keep the carp interested for hours.
Tuna is a massivly underused bait. Add a few tins to your spod mix. Carp love the smell and oils from tuna. Make sure you include the brine in your mix.
Add to that some left over chicken curry or left over cooked rice and pasta. Blend up you left over sunday roast with some nice gravy – the list is endless.
Here are some of the best supermarket baits for your home made spod mix.
- Bird seed
- Blended or crushed fruit
- Tinned tuna, or any smelly oily fish
- Baked beans (and juice)
- Tins of dog or cat food
- Peanut butter
- Rice Pudding
The list is endless. Experiment with lots of smelly or sweet baits. Make sure you add lots of particle baits and something with a bit of crunch.
Of course you can include baits such as pellets and crushed boilies to the mix if you have any spare.
Carp bait does not need to be expensive and in reality all the carp bait you need you can buy from your local supermarket. Most Carp bait that you can buy from your tackle shops and specialists are all available in the supermarket – even specialist carp boilies.
You can find bait in pretty much every aisle of a supermarket – on your next shop lookout to see what there is. Alternitively you can take a look at what is on offer at your local supermarket and we have added some helpful links to popular UK supermarkets below.
You can also buy lots of great carp bait on Amazon, and look out in pet stores for great deals on dog food and bird seed.
Experiment with different foods and flavourings and you might be onto a winner.