A Short Guide To Get You Started

If you’re looking to get into ‘full-on’ carp fishing, or even to overhaul your current carp fishing tackle, then you’ll be aware that it isn’t the cheapest thing that you’ll ever do! Buying even half-decent gear mounts up, especially when you’re buying three of each of many of the items, such as bite alarms, rods and reels.

It’s easy to imagine that some people could be put off before they even begin. That’s why it’s worth considering buying a complete carp fishing outfit from somebody else.

What Is A Complete Carp Fishing Outfit?
You tell me! In all seriousness, the term can mean different things to different people, but I’d consider an outfit complete if it contained all the main items needed to fish an overnight session, such as a bivvy, bedchairs, rods, reels, alarms and rod support. Many complete outfits for sale include everything else, such as terminal tackle, cooking equipment, unhooking mats, sleeping bags, scales, etc.

Who Sells Complete Carp Fishing Outfits?
If you’re after brand new gear, it’s possible that your local tackle dealer will sort out a very reasonable discount if you’re spending big bucks with them. It doesn’t harm to ask! However, most complete carp outfits for sale on the internet are of the second hand variety, but don’t let that put you off. The savings can be huge.

There are generally two reasons why people sell complete outfits;

1. They have decided to give up carp fishing. Once they’ve achieved their targets, many anglers move on to other species. Also, session carp fishing can often put a strain on relationships at home, so some decide that it’s not worth losing a partner over. Another reason may be that they simply need the money. There are even some people who give up angling all-together, but they’re obviously mad!

2. They are upgrading their carp fishing tackle. Many carp anglers have to have things ‘just right’, so buying one rod at a time is not the done thing. They have to do it in one go.

Whatever the reason, the result is that there are often great bargains to be had.

Why Do People Sell Complete Outfits, Rather Than Selling Them Piece By Piece?
Selling a carp outfit piece by piece takes time. Not only that, the seller may end up dealing with umpteen people, some of whom are bound to be ‘awkward customers’. By selling the lot to one person, this process is made a lot easier.

It also means that they get their cash all at once. Often, before people sell-up, they have already decided what to spend the money on. Having it in one lump sum means that they can rush out the minute you drive off with your car loaded up with their old gear!

Why Should I Buy A Complete Carp Outfit?
The main reason for buying a complete set-up is that, as long as you buy wisely, you should save a small fortune. Also, if you’re new to the sport, you may be overwhelmed with articles and adverts telling you what you ‘must’ have. Buying a ‘working’ outfit should mean that you have everything you need and are able to grab some bait and get straight onto the bank.

There’s another type of person who buys complete carp outfits that I haven’t mentioned yet….dealers! Some people make a good living out of buying the right outfits, breaking them down and then selling them piece by piece.

What Should I Look For When Buying A Complete Carp Fishing Outfit?
There are a number of things to look for when buying a complete set-up. I won’t go into them in massive detail, as they are fairly self-explanatory;

Quality – by this, I mean the quality of the goods involved if they were new. The carp market is awash with cheap tackle, some of which is not necessarily that good, so I’d be looking for names such as Shimano, Trakker, JRC, Nash, Fox, Delkim and the like. If it’s unbranded, or a brand I hadn’t heard of, I’m afraid that I wouldn’t touch it.

Condition – I know of some carp anglers who sweep their bivvies out with a dustpan and brush whilst fishing. I know of others who don’t use their groundsheet because it will get muddy! Apart from me, just about every carp angler in the world is meticulous about the condition of their tackle. But don’t take that as a given – take a good look at the photos (if buying online), or the goods themselves if you’re answering a local advert. Chances are, the better the gear looks, the better it has been looked after. You can never be 100% sure, but somebody who wipes his gear down after use and generally keeps it all in good nick, is more likely to be the sort who slackens his reel clutches between sessions, dries out his bivvy at home if it was packed away damp, etc. These things do make a difference. If you’re unsure about anything, ask the seller. If they don’t reply, or you don’t like their reply, then buy from someone else!

Price – obviously, you want to get your gear at a good price, but it’s easy to get carried away, especially if you’re bidding against others. Don’t rush in and buy the first outfit you see, as well as checking out the other factors, such as quality and condition, take a few minutes to tally up what the stuff would cost you new, or even what it would cost secondhand. Ebay is great for this, as the ‘Advanced Search’ features allow you to look for items that have previously been sold, so you’ll know the current market value in many cases. This may be a bit time-consuming, but if you’re spending hundreds of pounds, then it’s money well spent.

Location – it’s great, this internet lark – in effect, we’ve all become neighbours. So much so, we often forget about distance. A friend of mine recently bought a lovely dining room table from Ebay at a fantastic price. Thing is, she’s in Suffolk and this was in Scotland and ‘collection only’. All of a sudden, it wasn’t such a bargain! In effect, you have two choices – check the item location and make sure it’s within range for you to pick the good s up, or see if the seller can post the goods down and at what cost. Another benefit of local goods is that it may be possible to view the goods before you buy them. It’s not unreasonable to ask – the worst that can happen is the seller says “no”, but then I would be wondering why…

Seller’s History – obviously, you won’t know much about a seller if you’re buying from a classified advert, but sale sites such as Ebay tend to have a feedback system. It’s there for a reason, so use it! Take a look at the overall score and the number of transactions. If there are any neutral or negative entries, read them. Often, it’s a case of the buyer being awkward, but you won’t know unless you check. If, after viewing the feedback, you don’t feel 100% sure, then don’t buy it. There are plenty more fish in the sea (or lake!).

Payment Options – we all love receiving cash, and there’s every chance that the seller will want paying by cash. It’s a tricky one to give an opinion on, to be honest, but I’d personally feel a lot safer paying by PayPal or bank transfer. That way, you at least have some traceable record of the transaction. That said, I wouldn’t rule out buying something just because it was ‘cash only’ – PayPal take a percentage of the money from the seller, so he will be keen to avoid that with such a big sale.

General Advice
Only fools rush in….before you buy a complete carp outfit, think about what you want and what you need. Don’t buy one just because it looks good and/or cheap at first glance – buy one that matches your needs. Do as much research as you can. If time permits, use Ebay’s ‘Watch This Item’ facility to see how much similar outfits go for (that’s particularly handy, as you can watch items outside your travelling distance, too). It’s a bit like carp fishing; a bit of thought and time spent on preparation will reap dividends in the end.

If I’ve done this right, you’ll find a selection of complete carp outfits for sale on Ebay right now below this article. Click on a few and see what’s available today. Who knows? You may even stumble across a last minute bargain that somebody else has missed!

Good luck and tight lines,


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