Seeing fish jumping when you’re fishing at a river or a lake is an exciting experience as it usually means that the fish are there and feeding.
However, sometimes the fish will jump out of the water but will not be interested in feeding or biting your bait. This happens very often with many fish species, especially carp.
So, why are carp jumping but not biting? The main reason why carp are jumping but not biting is that they’re spawning. During their spawning season, carp tend to stay close to the surface but they won’t be interested in feeding at all. Another reason carp are not biting is that you’re using the wrong kind of lures or baits.
Keep reading to learn more about why carp fish jump out of the water and what to do when they’re not biting your bait.
Reasons Why Carp Jump Out of the Water
There are two main reasons why carp jump out of the water.
- The first reason is to clean their gills from debris and parasites.
- When carp feed at the bottom of a river or a lake, they consume some harmful particles along with their food. These particles tend to get stuck in the carp’s gills, so jumping out of the water can help clear them out.
- The second reason is to stabilize their swim bladders to allow them to swim comfortably at different depths.
- When carp fish move from deep water to shallow water, their bladders will swell which can be very uncomfortable. So, jumping out of the water will help force the air out of their bladder through their esophagus to stabilize it. This will allow them to change depths when they re-enter the water.
Why Are Carp Not Biting?
There are many reasons you can see carp jumping out of the water but still not biting on your baits or lures.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons why carp won’t bite:
- It could be that you aren’t using the right kind of baits or lures – When carp are jumping, it usually means that they’re feeding. If you don’t use baits or lures that imitate what they like to eat, then the carp won’t bite
- It could be that you aren’t presenting your bait correctly – Carps jump when they’re near the surface of the water. If you present your bait too deep, then the carp won’t bite.
- It could be that carp fish can see the hook or they can smell human scent – If carps are aware of your presence, they will become wry and they won’t bite.
- It could be that the carps are spawning – Carps are never interested in feeding or biting during the spawning season. They will move to shallow waters and the male carp will start jumping as they become restless. It’s also believed that the female carps will start jumping and thrashing to loosen their eggs.
All You Need to Know About Carp Spawning
Carp’s behavior changes significantly when they start their spawning period.
They will move to shallow waters and they won’t be interested in feeding at all as tend to put all their energy into the spawning process
These changes can make it very challenging to fish for carp. So, let’s break down everything need to know about the carp spawning season to make targeting them easier.
When Do Carps Spawn?
Carp usually start spawning in early spring, during April, as the water gets warmer.
However, the start of the carp’s spawning season mostly depends on the weather and water conditions. That is because the development of carp eggs and sperm is greatly affected by the water temperature, availability of food, and the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water
The ideal temperature for carps to spawn usually ranges between 13 and 24 degrees. Carp also like to spawn when water levels are rising.
How to Tell If Carp Are Spawning?
It’s very easy to tell that Carp are spawning as there will be significant changes to their physiology as well as their behavior.
Male carp will grow some white bumps called tubercles over their heads and gill plates while female carp’s ovipositors will grow larger and swollen.
Some of the male carp will follow one female carp. As the female carps get closer to the day on which her eggs are released, the male carps will become very aggressive and restless.
Spawning carp will also stop feeding and they will move to shallow waters and weedy areas.
That is because these areas are the most suitable for laying eggs as they contain aquatic vegetation and rock formations that are ideal as shelves for the fertilized eggs.
Can You Catch Carp During Their Spawning Period?
Catching Carp during the spawning season can be difficult as they won’t be interested in feeding or biting any bait you have to offer.
You can try to present the kind of baits and lures that might usually attract them but won’t bite.
It’s usually recommended that the anglers respect the carp’s nature and allow them to spawn until they’re ready to start feeding normally again.
Once they’re down with spawning, they will go on a post-spawn feeding spree to replenish their energy, and it will be much easier for anglers to catch them.
Before we go ahead, I know that you definitely have heard it, so please go ahead and check out this post on do carp really die after spawning here.
What to Do When Carp Are Not Biting Your Bait?
As long as the carps are not spawning, it will be much easier to catch them. Try these 5 solutions to get carp to bite your bait:
Try to stay ahead of the fish
Sometimes carp will be moving and jumping in a certain direction.
You need to make sure you’re casting your bait or lure ahead of the fish and in the right direction so that they can see it.
Make sure you’re using the right lure
You need to choose lures that are designed to imitate what carp naturally eat. It’s recommended to go for topwater lures and soft plastics when targeting carps.
You also need to choose a suitable lure size. If the lure is too big for the carp’s mouth, it will not be able to bite. It’s recommended to choose the lure’s size depending on the size of the carp you’re targeting.
Match your lure color to the water conditions
Carp have an excellent vision which allows them to see the lure and even distinguish its color.
When selecting the color of the lure, you need to consider the water conditions. It’s recommended to use bright colors in clear waters and on sunny days, while it’s best to use darker colored lures in murkier waters and on overcast days.
Make sure carps are not aware of your presence
Carp fish can be easily spooked, especially if they are feeding near the surface.
You need to try not to make a lot of noise and avoid any sudden movements.
You also need to keep your distance far enough to avoid spooking them, but close enough to be able to cast your bait or lure effectively.
Make sure you’re using the right bait
Carp are omnivorous species and their diet is very diverse. They will eat planktons, insects, larvae, aquatic worms, and crustaceans. They will also eat algae, tender plant stems, and river weeds.
Due to this diverse diet, it’s very easy for anglers to choose a suitable bait that will get carps to bite.
The best kind of bait to use for carp is boilies which is a paste made out of different ingredients such as protein, flour, and eggs. It can be purchased from tackle stores but sometimes anglers like to prepare it at home.
The are other kinds of natural baits that you can use to catch carp such as fruits like strawberry, mango, or grapes. That is because carp like the flavor of natural unprocessed sugar.
You can also use pantry items like corn and hot dog as well as pet foods and power bait because they have extremely strong scents and flavors that carp will find attractive.
You can also use Coffee, which I’ve had some surprising success with in the past. You can check my guide to catching Carp with Coffee here.
Is It Hard to Catch Fish That Are Jumping?
Fish that are jumping can very hard to catch. That is because they will much more cautious when they are feeding near the surface of the water. They will usually take more time to investigate any lures or baits you offer before they bite on it.
How Long Does the Carp Spawning Period Last?
The carp spawning season can last a few days or it can go on and off for 1-2 weeks. It usually varies depending on the changes in the water temperature. The ideal temperature for carp to spawn is 18 degrees Celsius. If the water temperature remains consistent, the spawning period will last longer.
Where to Target Carp?
You can target carp near the shoreline and close areas with structures such as overhanging tree branches, weed edges, or logs. They tend to prefer shallow areas of the water. They also prefer warm waters with high levels of oxygen.
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