Picking the Right Swim on a Carp Lake

When you arrive at your chosen carp lake, one of your first priorities is to choose your swim for the session. Particularly if you are fishing abroad, this may be the first time you have seen the lake. When picking a swim it’s essential to focus on some key factors, here’s our top three things to take in to consideration:

1. Locating the fish

Try and avoid picking a swim due to predetermined thoughts; finding the fish is essential because if they aren’t near then it is unlikely success will come your way.  

Start by walking the lake, looking for signs of fish, this may be fish jumping or cruising, bubbles being created by feeding fish, or coloured water from fish moving close to the bottom.  A pair of polarised glasses will allow you to complete this task efficiently.  Climbing trees or finding yourself an elevated position will assist with spotting the essential signs needed to get yourself in a suitable area.

In a larger lake like 42 acre Salles, it is important to look for signs of carp, they’ve got plenty of space to roam and you could find them in a completely different bay to the one you’d fancied fishing.

2. Weather

The weather can have a huge effect on the location and behaviour of carp.  Warmer weather tends to push the fish into shallow areas or higher in the water column and the angler should focus their efforts on these areas using appropriate tactics such as zig rig angling or simple fishing on shallow bars and plateaus.  

In the colder months fish will try and find the warmest part of the lake such as the surface layers of the water, sun kissed island margins or warm water inlets.  Having an idea about where the fish should be will help you to narrow your field of exploration when trying to locate your targets.

3. Angling Pressure

Fish respond almost instantly to angling pressure and just the crash of a rig hitting the water or bankside disturbance will push the fish into areas of the lake which present a sanctuary.  Try fishing away from the crowd or where fish tend to not get angled for.  

When fishing busy day ticket waters or foreign venues the angling pressure tends to be much higher due to the turnover of anglers.  Try fishing in the often neglected margins or to features in the middle of the lake where fish tend to group up.  Keep all bankside disturbances to a minimum as this will either push fish away from your swim or put them on edge.

For example, anglers often neglect the dam wall swims at french carp lake Boux, preferring to bivvy up all together on the wooded bank instead. However fishing from the dam wall allows good access to the area where the neighbouring cattle come down to drink – this stirs the water and provides a feeding ground that is favoured by the lake’s carp.

Angling is all about percentages, gaining the upper hand by tipping the balance in your favour is the key to success.  Location is essential to catching fish so next time you go away to France or simply pop down to your local day ticket remember to find them, apply the most appropriate method, get the right course fishing tackle and sit back and let the carp do their bit.

Whats more you can often do plenty of research before you arrive – utilise feedback reports from other anglers to see what has worked in the past (there are often 100’s for each venue on the Angling Lines website), use google maps to get a birds eye view of the lake and look at the weather reports for the time you are there.

Find more carp fishing articles here – Carp Fishing Tips


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