Everything You Need to Know About Pop-Ups for Carp Fishing in 2024

Let’s start with some basics regarding pop-ups for carp fishing. Pop-ups are essentially smaller-scale boilies, which tend to rise above the lakebed to hook bait. Moreover, they’re made out of the same thing as boilies; milk proteins, semolina, corn, eggs, and fish meals.

Pop-Ups for Carp Fishing

Types of Pop-Ups

Just like boilies, carp anglers decided not to limit themselves to only one type of pop-up. Instead, there are four main varieties. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages, which are primarily dependent on the level of buoyancy that you need, and the materials you have to create the pop-ups.

Air Ball Pop-Ups

An airball is the basic one. It’s made out of an airball mix with all that your heart desires. This bottom bait is mostly spongy, yet, they differ in buoyancy according to the materials that went into the paste. For instance, more corn and fishmeal will make the hook bait heavier.

Barrel Pop-Ups

As their name indicates, barrel pop-ups have a significant advantage in interrupting the course of unsuspecting carp, which is their barrel design.

Thanks to that, they stand up amongst weeds, detritus, and other baits lying around. Once your target carp passes a barrel-shaped pop-up, it engulfs it in its mouth. Then it’s challenging to spit it out, which makes hooking bait much easier.

Cork Ball Pop-Ups

Now it’s time for cork ball pop-ups, our most buoyant type of pop-ups. They consist of a cork ball surrounded by a thin layer of paste. This paste can either be bought from the tackle shop, or you can make it yourself, which is relatively easy.

You only need to fixate on your paste of choice, spread it around the cork ball, and then drop it in boiling water for around 30 seconds. Be careful while pulling them out, and then let them air dry until they solidify entirely.

If you want, you can further boost your pop-ups using certain olfactory oils, but we’ll talk about that later on.

Cork Dust Pop-Ups

What you’re doing here is instead of using a whole cork ball, you use little pieces of cork that are mixed into the paste, creating the pop-ups. So, it’s not just a thin layer; here, we have the paste with the cork fragments embedded inside of it, which makes it our second most buoyant pop-up.

Factors That Affect the Efficacy of Your Pop-Ups

Factors That Affect the Efficacy of Your Pop-Ups

As you can see, pop-ups are notorious for their universality. Many anglers decide to manufacture them one way, while other anglers choose different materials and types of pop-ups. So, the question is, why would carp suck certain pop-ups and steer clear from the others?

Some say there’s no rhyme or reason to feeding fish, but we prefer to experience different pop-ups to better understand how to catch carp, and this is the fruit of our long-standing history with this non-nuisance fish.


That’s the star of the show when it comes to pop-ups. If you get buoyancy right, you’ll be using pop-ups the way they’re supposed to be used, and several factors affect the buoyancy of pop-ups, starting with the raw materials that were made used to create it all the way to the drift and weather.

Hook Size and Lead Match

The hook and the lead are the two items attached to the pop-up itself, which means that their size and construction are detrimental to how your bottom bait will act.

Therefore, you have to carefully check and match the whole range of hook varieties and lead varieties available. Many carp anglers will use a bigger hook since this fish can get incredibly large–over 88 lbs.

Nonetheless, an unnecessarily large hook can easily bring your pop-ups down to the lake ground. It can also get entangled with the plant matter and weed lying under it.



Now, this is our counter situation. What if, while making your pop-ups, you focus too much on having them become as buoyant as possible, so now they’re rising way far up the water column?

You’re thinking correctly–you need to start counterbalancing. Nonetheless, you need to test the balance and buoyancy of your pop-up on the waterfront that you’re going to fish in first. The water conditions make for a mountain of difference regarding how these bottom baits will act.

That’s in addition to the pressure of the current and the wind drift, which won’t be simulated perfectly in a tank or a swimming pool.

Lake Depth

The longer the length of your water column is, the more pressure it’ll put on your pop-up, affecting how it’s drifting and moving. Moreover, it’ll also absorb water faster than it should; hence, sinking faster.

So, if you’re fishing in a deep lake, think again before reducing the buoyancy of your hook bait by using the split shot. You want neutral buoyancy, but you also want it to last, as on any given day, a carp fishing session can last way above a few hours.


We absolutely can’t forget how the colour of your pop-ups affects the efficiency of these bottom baits. We all know that the colour palette of lakes extends between browns, greens, and blues, which makes everything look similar to our precious carp.

You might say that fish mostly have poor eyesight, but that isn’t the case for carp, as they actually see with both their eyes and have a very wide range of sight. Anyway, when carp spot something floating and its colour is white, pink, red, yellow, or similar, they’d undoubtedly be intrigued by it.

Next, they’ll try their hardest to feed on it as it’s different from all the free offerings, plants, weeds, and detritus they’re used to, and that’s when you hook bait.

What Are Glugged Hook Baits and How Does a Glugged Hook Bait Work?

What Are Glugged Hook Baits

What if you want to take these single hook baits to the next level? What you need to do is look for a tub of olfactory oil that you’ll find waiting for you in the tackle shop. This can be hemp seed oil or any other oil with a strong odour.

Use a small amount to coat your pop-ups thoroughly, and after they’ve dried, send them into the swim. The oil dissipating into the lake will act as an extra attraction to the fish; hence, increasing your confidence when you cast.

Advantages of Pop-Ups Rigs for Carp Fishing

Pop-up baits can be used with a bunch of rigs for carp fishing; a simple hair rig, a chod rig, a Ronnie rig, a multi-rig, and many more to hook bait during a swim. With that said, let’s move on to even more of the advantages of these single hook baits.


This hook bait has four different presentations, and the pop-up paste can be made out of many different materials. Whenever you hear anglers talking about these bottom baits, you’ll find that each one of them has a diverse mix and lo and behold, they all work. It just depends on what you showing fish tend to prefer.



Pop-up baits aren’t the type of bottom bait to go to waste. When you cast your chod rig, Ronnie rig, or multi-rig, and then retrieve it, sadly without carp in tow, you’ll be able to use it again. Unless the carp feeding fish takes them in, pop-ups don’t get tangled or ruined by debris.

Easy Casting and Retrieval

Another thing that makes these bottom baits famous is that they don’t get entangled with the weeds, plants, and free offerings resting at the bottom of the water. Since they’re floating, you won’t find yourself trying to relieve your hook and rig from unending debris and weed, even if you didn’t get a bite.

Blind Fishing

Last but certainly not least, if you don’t have a fish finder, you’re still scouting the area around you for fish movement, and you haven’t seen a lot of showing fish, a pop-up will help you understand the vicinity much better.

Even in the winter cold water, carp still bite, so if you cast this bottom bait and wait a few hours, you’ll understand how carp feed here and how to search for them.

You can take a look at our review of the deeper pro plus here if you’re looking for a great fish finder.

wrap up


At the end of the day, pop-up baits will remain a smaller, more polished version of boilies for carp. Besides, almost every angler who has fished for carp will swear by this bait for its flexibility, durability, and overall efficiency. This will be a wrap! Now, we’d like to know what trivia you’ve compiled from your history with carp pop-ups in the comments.

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