Carp use their senses to find food. Their sense of smell is one of their key features for finding minuscule amounts of scent in the water.
Anglers have used this to their advantage and have developed different formulas to attract carp.
We have done some research and testing to come up with the best carp attractants.
Best Carp Attractant
Amino acids are the number one attractant for carp. Several studies have been carried out that show carp are highly attracted to amino acids.
Amino acids can be found in food that you can use in your homemade attractant, or you can purchase commercial attractant with amino acids already added in. The amino acids stimulate feeding in carp similar to DMPT.
One scent I seem to always have success with as a carp attractant is a strawberry. There are different ways to add strawberry to your bait, but strawberry jello and strawberry milkshake powder are two surefire ways that work for me.
Carp love the smell of vanilla. Often you will find ground baits or liquid carp attractants sold in-store with vanilla flavor. I like to make homemade baits and attractants, and I regularly ad vanilla to these.
If making homemade attractant, try and use natural vanilla beans.
Carp are known to love unusual smells, and seeds of plants make up some of those unusual smells. Many people use things like cumin, dill, anise with great success.
For me, I find coriander to be the best in this category. Coriander seeds are quite strong, and you won’t need much of it to attract carp.
As with most fish, carp are attracted to grain. Things like barley and oats are great for bringing in big carp. You will often find that stocked carp are fed on a diet of grain. One way of using grain that works extremely well is to use it in a ground bait or pack bait mix. This will attract the carp to where you have something more desirable like boilies or worms.
I’ve had great success with anise oil, as have other anglers. Anise works well in groundbaits and packbaits, but for maximum effectiveness, I use it in boilies.
It can be homemade boilies or soak store-bought boilies in anise oil overnight. You can buy anise-flavored boilies in most fishing stores or online.
If you are adding your own anise as an attractant, be sure not to add too much, it has a potent scent, and if you use too much, it could become a deterrent. To give you an idea of how much to use, I add only a few drops of anise oil for a full can of sweetcorn.
If you can’t find anise oil or prefer to use a different form, anise seed works equally as well. In my experience and also for many others we find that anise outperforms vanilla as an attractant.
Peanut butter works well in a few different methods. You can use it to make peanut butter balls, similar to boiled, if using this method, it’s great mixed with corn.
Packbait – Peanut butter does well as a pack bait due to its consistency, I wouldn’t recommend using it on its own as it would break down too slowly, but it’s a great additive to most pack bait recipes.
Dip – I really like to use peanut butter as a boilie dip. I often find powders wash off long before reaching the bottom, or you have to dip them a day before. With peanut butter, you can dip it when you need it, and it will stay on, even at the bottom, and act as a powerful attractant.
Type of carp attractants
Carp attractants can come in many forms. Attractants are sold commercially in both liquid and powder form, or you can make homemade attractants.
Many carp attractants that you can buy in the store will have either natural or synthetic substances or a mixture of both.
Most homemade attractants are purely natural.
Liquid attractants are used in combination with other baits or groundbaits. I like to use a few drops of liquid attractants when mixing up groundbait. Liquid attractants are usually quite strong, so they don’t require much to work.
Powder attractants come in many forms; it could be commercial powder purchased from the store or homemade powder like a milkshake.
Powders usually need to be mixed with something more solid to prevent them from dispersing at the top as soon as they hit the water. You can mix them into dough balls to help get them to the bottom.
Alternatively, you can use powdered attractants to dip your hook and bait in, and this brings the carp right to your bait if it’s already in the area.
Groundbait can be made at home or bought in the store. It’s probably the most popular type of attractant for carp. Groundbait is used for chumming the water in the days or hours previous to fishing.
Groundbaits are made up of natural and synthetic flavors and ingredients.
Packbaits are often Homemade and are designed to be packed around the hook. They are made to slowly break away after reaching the bottom and attract carp to your hook.
Packbait needs to be made with constancy in mind, as they will have to stay on the hook when casting and only start breaking away when reading the bottom.
Homemade attractants range from many products you can purchase from the store and make into different baits and groundbaits. Things like grains, cereals, and flavors can all be used as homemade carp attractants.
How do carp attractants work?
Carp use two senses to locate food, scent, and sight. It’s these two senses that trigger a carp to feed. Carp are primarily bottom-feeding fish and are usually rummaging around the water bed looking for food.
However, if there is a scent they find attractive, they will quickly search for it. This is why attractants use smells that trigger carp to feed.
A carp’s nostrils are located just in front of its eyes. If you have ever caught a carp, you may have noticed these small flaps of skin.
These nostrils are extremely sensitive to chemicals in the water. This helps carp find food by sensing things such as amino acids released by insects.
It’s very important to point out that due to carps highly sensitive sense of smell, it’s very is to use too much attractant. Using too much attractant will have the opposite effect and will deter them from your swim.
Final Thoughts on Carp Attractant
Many things can be used as carp attractants. From our experience and speaking with fellow anglers, we’ve established the ones above to be the best carp attractants.
I find that amino acids work particularly well. I like to make homemade attractants that are high in amino acids.