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Lure Review

A sweet taste that carp can't resist, Uncle Josh Carp Bait

Date: 9/17/03
Tackle type: Lure/Bait
Manufacturer: Uncle Josh
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.80

Introduction: Carp certainly isn't the most popular fish that U.S. anglers pursue but anglers in the U.K. and Asia regard Carp fishing with the same gusto as stateside anglers feel about species like bass and trout. Still there are many U.S. anglers that are beginning to enjoy fishing for carp in local ponds and reservoirs, and for these dedicated anglers Uncle Josh produces a dough bait designed to entice even the shrewdest carp.


Uncle Josh Carp Bait Specifications

Colors and Flavors 7 combinations available
Type Dough Bait
Sizes 10oz. & 4oz.
Package Resealable Container
Shelf Life 2 Years
MSRP $2.80 (10oz.)


About Uncle Josh: Uncle Josh is among the oldest lure manufacturers, with production beginning in the 1920's. Started by Alan P. Jones an avid fisherman and owner of the Jones Dairy Farm. While fishing for bass Alan realized the potential of fishing with live frogs, but soon found that as frogs became more and more scarce he no longer was able to practice his favorite bass fishing techniques. It was then that Alan began searching for the perfect material in which to create realistic looking frog lures. Since he was already in the meat packing business he soon discovered that pork rind was just the thing. Today Uncle Josh's considerable lineup of products includes the pork frogs that made them famous, catfish and carp baits, pork worms sea rind baits, preserved baits, and now jigs!

A proven formula for nearly 40 years, Uncle Josh Carp Bait


U.S. Carp Facts: Carp as we know it was first introduced into the US from Germany by the United States Fish Commission in 1876. While they prefer warm streams, lakes, and ponds with an abundance of organic material they have been known to survive in a large variety of conditions. While highly regarded as a gamefish in Europe and Asia many in the U.S. consider the carp to be a pest as it's highly successful introduction has destroyed the habitat of many native gamefishes. Nevertheless fishing for carp is gaining popularity, and many U.S. anglers enjoy fishing for this less pressured species. Carp fishing is still considered difficult, as the fish are extremely intelligent and can prove tricky to catch, especially for the skilled bass angler...as the techniques are vastly different.  


By far the best smelling bait ever, the Uncle Josh formula consists of sweet corn, strawberry, corn syrup, and cheese


Impressions: Most baits that appeal to fish rarely appeal to humans in terms of aroma. Catfish baits for example are among the most foul smelling baits out there, and it often seems the worse the bait smells the more cats you land. In stark comparison Uncle Josh's carp bait actually looks enticing, smells great, and reminded me of gummy candy. While committed to properly testing the bait I still opted to not taste test this sweet smelling bait, I'd leave that for the carp. The bait is packaged in either 4oz or 10oz easily re-sealable containers. A big plus is the ability to not have to worry about this bait rotting, as the bait maintains a 2 year shelf life after opening. 

Field Tests: On a recent Bass fishing trip I had noticed that near a shallow arm of the lake medium sized carp were performing aerobatic maneuvers on both sides of the boat as we flipped jigs. Shore anglers on the side of the lake were fishing for these carp with an assortment of homemade baits including bread and corn in their raw forms, but nobody was having any success. Why didn't these traditional carp favorites work? Could it be that they had grown weary of the baits, or were these anglers presenting the lures in the wrong way? We decided to return to the same shallow arm and test the effectiveness of Uncle Josh's Carp Bait.


Carp fishing is a waiting game so bring your rod holder and stay low and quiet while carp mouth your bait

How to Use: Carp fishing in stark contrast to the very active tossing of lures associated with Bass fishing is a game of patience. Experienced carp anglers will use medium-heavy lines with heavy gear. I opted to run a 8'6" Steelhead rod with 10lb line, a medium setup. There are a lot of different methods for fishing for carp, but we found the best technique with Uncle Josh's Carp Bait was to use a #6 or #8 treble hook.


Anglers can use treble hooks and cover points for small fish or the entire hook if pursuing larger carp


If you choose to fish for small carp it is possible to make small beads of bait and place them on each point. If you choose to fish for large carp go with a larger sized hook and conceal the hook completely under a ball of Carp Bait. Uncle Josh's Carp Bait is pliable and sticky but has a nice consistency similar to play dough. The bait is actually thick and heavy enough to act as a weight but we recommend adding an additional weight about 20 inches above the hook. This will allow you to cast farther and hold the bait in a target area regardless of current.


After 20 minutes in the water the Carp Bait has only begun to break down, notice the outer layer has dissolved leaving more of the solid ingredients exposed

At first I was skeptical on how well the bait would stay on the hook during the cast but my doubts soon disappeared after multiple cast tests. One of the key benefits of Uncle Josh's Carp Bait is the ability to really hang on your hook. The carp Bait stays on your hook much better than corn or bread alone, even after being submerged for over 20 minutes. Uncle Josh's Carp Bait dissolves into water at an amazingly slow rate. While the outer layer seems to dissipate quickly the main bait ball will stay on your hook for long periods.

Once cast the baits sinks to the bottom of the target area and your waiting begins. It is important to stay quiet and low as we discovered even the smallest carp spook quite easily. Carp will only feed if they feel comfortable, so it often takes time for the fish to approach your bait. During our test I put a indicator on my rod and twice it went off and I overzealously tried to set the hook, the result was losing both fish. Unlike bass Carp won't slam a bait, instead they approach with caution and will actually mouth a bait several times before swallowing. This is why it is so important to cover your hook points, if the carp senses any danger the fish will discharge the bait instantly.


Uncle Josh's sweet formula proved effective for carp of all size as well as other shallow water bottom feeders

During our first tests we landed a number of small and medium sized carp, and actually witnessed a huge carp jump right out of the water in front of us. While the larger fish teased us we were not able to incite a hookup. Carp are smart fish, and the larger fish are much older and wiser. We did discover that by balling up Uncle Josh's Carp Bait and throwing it into the region that our hooked bait was in we could inspire larger fish to bite. When larger carp take the hook watch out! These fish are not only surprisingly strong, they also fight rather violently, surging both towards and away from you. The best thing to do is maintain pressure on the fish and slowly wear him down and bring him close enough to net. In total of 2 days fishing we were able to land 8 carp and actually 1 portly shad!

Uncle Josh's Carp Bait works very well for carp and can actually be fished with multiple methods on the bottom or with a bobber. Another interesting advantage of the bait is the ability to act as a solid base. If you are a experienced angler and favor corn, for example, you can easily mash additional sweet corn into the Uncle Josh's Carp Bait dough. The result is a carp bait that is customized to your requirements.



Uncle Josh Carp Bait (?/10)

Construction/Quality A very good product that has been in production for over 3 decades. The formula is the fundamentally the same but new flavors help keep the bait exciting 9
Performance Uncle Josh Carp Bait tackles the sweet tooth of carp effectively and can be used as a starter base for anglers that want to customize. The bait performed well in our tests, especially cast tests where the bait easily outperforms traditional baits 9
Price This bait is a great deal! It's plain cheap and a 10oz container goes a long way. We fished for two days and used less than 2oz. 9.5
Features Not Applicable for this product N/A
Design (Ergonomics) Designed to be easy to use, the bait has an excellent consistency that is easy to apply on hooks and stays on even after being submerged. The re-sealable container works well and keeps the bait fresh. 8.5
Application This species specific bait can be used in deep or shallow water applications 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Bait performs well L May be hard to find in your local tackle shop
J Easy to apply  
J Long lasting, and stays on your hook well  
J Anglers can actually add in extra ingredients to this effective base  

Conclusion: Carp fishing may seem like a mystery for many U.S. anglers but this old world gamefish need not be neglected when a bait as effective as Uncle John Carp Bait is available to U.S. anglers. Though there are many baits and techniques to employ for these deep bodied fish, few are as effective and easy to use as the proven Uncle Josh formula. Many U.S. anglers frown upon carp residing in bass lakes, but anyone can quickly learn how to appreciate these hard fighting fish the very first time they hook up. One of the best things about carp fishing is the relatively low pressure these fish receive from the majority of anglers, and in the areas that anglers actively pursue these fish you will observe that fish that normally shy away from traditional baits simply can't resist the sweet taste of Uncle Josh.









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