Beginners guide to UK carp strains

The Rise of UK Carp

Carp fishing in recent years has taken the fishing world by storm and is fast becoming the most dominant and targeted species within the UK. The quick growth and large weights reached by some species combined with the fierce and strong willed battle when hooked by anglers, makes it easy to see why this area of fishing is receiving such attension.

The gain of interest in fishing for carp in the UK has allowed the development of many clubs and fisheries now providing lakes/waters with high stock numbers of a variety of large carp types.

Carp (Cyprinus Carpio) were originally introduced into Britain approximately 500 years ago by Monks in Monasteries intended as a food source. I is generally accepted that the original strain imported into Britain are now extremely rare to find because over the years the strain has become extensively diluted.


Different Types  


The Common Carp can be easily identified by small regular scales covering the whole of it body which grow accordingly to the size of the fish. The overall colours of the scales vary from dark golden through to grey/silver colour tones.

This strain of carp is not considered to be the most common type of Carp in the UK unlike its name may suggest.   

Common Carp


The Mirror Carp is identified by irregular placed large scales across the flank of its body. These individual scale are often much larger than an individual scale found on Common Carp. The colour of Mirror Carp is often dependent on the type of water in which it resides. Fish found in clearer water are usually much darker than Mirror Carp residing in mud/coloured water.  

This strain of carp is usually found to be rounder and fuller in shape when compared to other Carp types and is currently the strain which holds the world and British record for the largest weight.

Mirror Carp


Leather Carp have an overall shape similar to the Mirror Carp however a true a true Leather Carp must be completely devoid of all scale, providing the strain with a ‘leather’ like appearance across the body of the fish. However although the strain has a similar appearance to Mirror Carp it is in fact genetically different.

Leather Carp


Again this strain shows a strong resemblance with Mirror Carp, however with scales only found along the lateral line. These fish are often regarded as the most prized and stunning strain.

Linear Carp


The Grass Carp has a similar resemblance to the Common Carp in terms of regular scale size and pattern however with a slender streamlined body and an upturned mouth visibly different from other Carp strains.

Grass Carp

As previously mentioned one of the main attractions to this style of fishing, applying to soo many anglers is the large overall size and weight which these fish can grow to achieve with the world record  currently at 101lb 4oz.

World Record Carp 2012