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On Carp Fishing in Sweden

02/01/2021 - Tactics & Edges

Sweden has had carp for a long time, but the first semi-serious attempts to specimen fish for it were taken in the late 70s. Back then, there was a handful of pioneers who, inspired by the English carp fishing scene, set out to catch the first Swedish carp. 

Rikard Bengtsson, one of the early pioneers of Swedish carp fishing, with an old common from 1987. (image: Fredrik Stjärnkvist)

Since those first catches, a lot has happened and the Swedish carp scene, albeit being a rather small, can today be called nothing else but highly advanced and dedicated. But as fishing in Sweden mostly equals predators, the carp anglers remain a somewhat mysterious and underground bunch with motives, methods, baits, and target fish that are either completely foreign to, or looked upon with skepticism and disbelief by the conventional angler. We like it that way though, that’s for sure! For the Swedes love their nature and silence, and we carp anglers are no exception! We enjoy the fact that we can have an entire lake to ourselves. No crowded banks, no overfished venues, and plenty of strong, well-shaped fish that no one else gives a damn about. Nonetheless, we do have a few somewhat crowded lakes, at least by Swedish standards. Of the hundreds of Swedish carp lakes, a majority is located in the South of the country, which also happens to be the region of the country that is most densely populated by carp fishermen. A crowded Swedish carp lake means something like 10 bivvies at once, so it’s definitely another standard we got over here. Yet still, a few of the anglers present would complain about their swims being occupied by someone else…even though there’d be plenty of other spots available. It’s the Swedish mentality. 2 (3) All in all, I can count to 500 die-hard carp anglers, and another 1000 specimen anglers and occasional carp anglers, which brings the country’s entire scene to 1500 lads. But those few anglers can make a lot of noise, and it’s a really tight group of fishermen and friends. They all pretty much know one another and they network all the time, now more than ever, with the help of social media and mobile internet access. So what about fishing methods and average weights of our Swedish carp? Well, I can say that Sweden follows the English ways even today. We mostly ledger for carp with 2-3 rods, bite alarms, rod pods, and bivvies. The 1500 anglers go through several tons of boilies each year, and additionally, we prebait with corn, pellets, hemp seeds, groundbait, tiger nuts, and anything else we can get our hands on, as the Swedish fishing sector, and especially the carp fishing one, is rather limited. 

Birger Holmqvist, one of Sweden’s most skilled and successful carp anglers, with a fat common

And the carp eat away! Due to the warming climate, our winters become shorter and shorter, which seems to suit the carp quite well. While a 20 pounder was a really big fish
15-20 years ago, a 30 pounder is now not an uncommon sight on many of our lakes. And 40+ pounders become more numerous with every year.
The shortened winters also allow us to fish for carp longer, sometimes even all-yearround, at least in the Southern parts.
This has ultimately led to some pretty big carp, which is something that not many people associate with Scandinavia. The current national record is a fish of 71lb 5oz, but that record is bound to be broken in the near future, if you ask me!
In conclusion, if you spend your holidays in Sweden in the future, make sure to bring a carp rod or two, as there might be a venue with really big Swedish carp nearby!

Tight lines
Max Loesche