Ramblings of a Carp Angler – Resting A Swim

Does resting a swim increase your catch rate? On certain waters and situations I believe that it does.

Now, what do I mean by resting a swim? Basically, it means removing all lines out of a swim for some considerable time to allow the carp to gain confidence in feeding on a baited area. I have used this tactic on what I would class as runs waters and also on some quite difficult waters, which have brought me some considerable success on numerous occasions.

Carp Fishing at Alder Lake

One of my 101 carp caught from Alder Lake by fishing days only

If I am considering ‘the resting a swim approach’, I first of all need to find out what the general feeding patterns are of carp on the lake that I am fishing. Obviously this type of fishing would only be used on a long session, of say 5 days or more. It may take 2 days to establish what the main feeding times are, either day or night. I have come across a lot of lakes in France that will not fish during the day, but as soon as the sun goes down they start to feed and carry on until first light.

Other lakes, such as Alder Lake, this produced carp for me all day, but as soon as the sun went down, it went quiet until first light. After 2 days, I had assessed the feeding pattern so Jim Kelly and myself drew all our rods in overnight, recasting at first light. By the end of the weeks session we had caught 161 carp between us, in some very hot conditions with high pressure being dominant. It all depends on what time of the year you are fishing and the water depths, and obviously the size of the lake.  Fish do move around visiting certain swims at certain times of the day and through water craft you can generally follow their movement and feeding habits.

So why try and rest a swim?

Fishing days only

Sometimes, I have found that I am catching enough fish during the day to justify pulling the rods in overnight so that I can get a good nights sleep.

First light the next day, and I am fully refreshed and I can focus on a full days fishing, hopefully with my full wits about me. The other thing is, I can have a drink in the evening without endangering fish through me being tipsy. If your fellow angler is of the same mind it makes it a good social week.

Carp Fishing Tips Blog

“At first light we would be back on the lake again.”

For a few years, Pat Gillett and I visited France on a couple of  occasions each year, booking lakes with accommodation. We would have a late evening meal and draw in our rods. A few drinks then it was heads down for the night.

At first light we would be back on the lake again. The runs almost came immediately and we caught as many, if not more carp, than anglers on previous week’s had caught fishing 24 hours a day.

So what do you need to do to ensure a good week’s fishing?

Just prior to wrapping up for the evening, I would heavily bait my baited area with both particle, pellet and boilies. With the lines out of the water you would be surprised how easily the carp will feed on your bait. They begin to feel safe and keep returning for more food. When you cast out the next day, lightly bait up and then it is light baiting all day after every occurrence on a rod, then again heavy baiting as you draw them in for the night. It does work and I feel that I do increase my catch rate and also draw in the bigger specimens.

Carp Fishing Blog

Yet another Margot carp caught at night after resting the swim in the day

Night feeding carp

On some waters you will find that the carp only feed at night. On this type of water  the roles are reversed. I will fish until around 10.00am then draw in the rods until the evening. As soon as I draw in the rods, out goes my bait and it is probably topped up around midday. No lines are put out until the evening when I would make a light baiting. Again during the evening a light baiting after every occurrence. This type of fishing can be quite tiring as you are active during normal sleeping hours. I often take one or two rods during the day and go stalking in the shallower areas, well away from my swim. Again this method allows the carp to come and visit and feed freely on a baited area, without any danger of being spooked by lines and rigs.

I am not saying that I rest my swim on every session, but I do seem to know when it is needed. The last time that I visited Margot, I rested my swim during the day and fished nights only, still catching more carp than those fishing 24 hours a day. During the day I left my swim and went stalking in the shallows, picking off fish that I would not normally have got the opportunity to catch. On this occasion it was a good decision, but it is not a guaranteed method.

Why not give it a try! It certainly makes the week a more relaxing one.

Paul Cooper




5 thoughts on “Ramblings of a Carp Angler – Resting A Swim

  1. Shaun Harrison says:

    Great Blog Paul and a method kept on the quiet list by many. If you have the willpower to do this it is one of the best things you can do – get the lines out of the way and give them a free feed.

    For those of you who can’t bare to wind in then keep an area baited well away from your lines and keep your eye on it. When the fish get on it let them and don’t be tempted to cast. One good safe meal and being left to sit around without the disturbance of leads and lines and they will definitely be back visiting with even more confidence. The longer you can do this the bigger the hit of fish you should have.

    All it is really is pre-baiting a swim – training the carp that it is totally safe.

  2. Pat Gillett says:

    Good read Paul and something i whole heartedly agree with. This is definately a case where sometimes ‘less is more”. ie less hours the lines are in the water can often mean more carp. Has you say for years we never fished at night on our french trips and our catch rates never suffered and in fact were probably improved.

    This is something i have used on my last couple of trips. Once the feeding / quiet times were established, i would draw my rods in during the quiet times and rest the swim until a couple of hours before the feeding time was due to start. Then rods and bait would be put back out leaving plenty of time for the swim to settle down again before the feeding time started.

  3. Ron Key says:

    its a tactic I’ve used with some success on shallow clear waters where lines are so obvious in daylight. I’ve watched and while the lines were out the carp never ventured into the area. Bait your spots, cast to them, clip up your fishing rods then wind them in during the day. At times the carp reappear in minutes. Like Paul I leave the swim and go stalking returning in the evening to recast to the clip. Often the action starts quickly with a fish feeding confidently and there are carp in the net before bedtime.

  4. Paul Cooper says:

    It certainly is yet another tip out of the bag. Some may try it but possibly will not persevere with it.. Once I have made the decision to try this method, I generally stick it out and get the results.
    The only problem that you can get is on a really spooky water where the fish tend to move to other parts of the lake after a couple of occurrences on the rods. Pat and I found this on a 25 care lake a few years ago and I think that we ended up moving around 5 times on a 7 day session. It worked for both of us as we had carp most days, and biggies. We baited up lightly during the day following a move, and only fished at night, but obviously on a different swim each time. Again it is being able to read the water and knowing what is happening beneath the water surface, in other words “water craft”.

  5. Duncan de Gruchy says:

    Nice post Paul and a tactic I use a lot, and vary according to the time of year. I generally go to France in April, May, July and October. On my trips in the early season, when the nights can be very cold, I rarely fish nights and therefore “rest” the swim when the carp are at their least active.

    In the summer, it would generally be the other way round and I will fish nights and rest the swim during the day. However, if I’ve had a good catch during the day then I wont bother to fish the night and therefore I am fresh for the next days session and I find that I fish better that way rather than just 24/7.

    I believe this adds to my total catch rate rather than decreasing it and has the added bonus of an evening social 🙂

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