The Fish Aren’t In Your Swim

If you choose the wrong swim, you could be in for a long wait. It’s really important that you spend some time at the beginning of the session looking for signs of fish before you set up your equipment. Weather makes a huge difference to where the fish will be in the lake. Angling pressure will also make a large difference.

The Rig Mechanics Aren’t Right

If your rig is too long, or the hook is not rotating properly, the fish will be able to spit out the hook before it catches hold of the lip. A lot of anglers start to over-complicate rigs because of what they have seen on the TV. Strip things back to basics and you’ll more than likely find the reason you aren’t catching.

The Rig Is Not Presented Correctly

It’s important that you are feeling the lead down when you cast out your rig to stop it from tangling. You can also use PVA nuggets to stop your hook from twisting. Or, other methods such as PVA bags to ensure your rig is presented properly. The other key to presented your rig properly is knowing what type of lake bed you are casting out to and making sure there are no snags in between you and where your rig is landing.

Abundance of Natural Foods

Fish will slow down on feeding on anglers bait when there is a sudden abundance of natural baits such as snails, tadpoles etc. They will take preference of natural bait over anglers bait, leaving you wondering what you are doing wrong.

Fish in The Layers

If the weather is sunny and warm, it’s likely the fish will be in the upper layers, so change your style of fishing to zig rigs or floater fishing. I’ve seen many stubborn anglers casting in bottom bait rigs, even though the fish can be seen on the top of the water, simply because they think zig rigs don’t work. But keep in mind that zig rigs also work during the colder months too, this is because the fish will find where it is warmest and stay there. Very often, zig rigs don’t work because the anglers are not adjusting the rig height to find the fish. Using an adjustable zig float such as this one will lake your life a lot easier when zig rig fishing. If you aren’t having any luck on the bottom baits, set up one of your rods with a zig rig and search for the fish by adjusting the zig rig until you get an indication that they are on that level. Another method is to use a tool like this to get an indication where the fish are sitting in the layers.

Too Much Bait In The Swim

Whether you decided to put a lot of bait into the swim, or, worse, the angler has put in a lot of bait into the swim before you. If this is the case, you may notice a lack of action in your swim. I mentioned in my last article about how fish shy away from large beds of bait. If it wasn’t you that put the bait into the water, it can be very difficult to figure out what is wrong. One tip to figure out how much bait is in front of you is to use one of these to take a look. If you see the angler that was in the swim before you, it’s always good to speak to them and see what bait they are using and how much they have put into the lake during the session.

Too Much Bank Noise

One of the first lessons anglers should learn is how to be quiet on the bank, especially when setting up your equipment. Being noisy on the bank is a sure fire way to push the fish out of your swim. You have to keep in mind that sound travels a very long way through the water, just like when you put your head under the water in the bath, you will likely hear the TV in the living room. Try not to bang bank sticks into the ground. If the ground is too hard, use a rod pod. If you like to listen to the radio on the bank, turn the volume down. If you like to socialise, pull up a chair, or pick swims next to each other rather than shout across to the other side of the lake. All of these little changes will make a huge difference.

Find the Sun

On hot days, you will find the fish sunbathing in the suntraps around the lake. Normally in areas sheltered by the wind and typically nearby safe areas such as overhanging branches. Using surface fishing methods to introduce bait into the area, could get you an extra bite. But you my find that the fish are more interested in sunbathing rather than feeding on very hot days.

Avoid Tangles

One major error that could cause you to blank session after session, are tangled rigs. It’s important that you learn how to cast by feeling the lead down. By doing this, the water friction will straighten out your rig and ensure it doesn’t get tangled. Another method of avoiding tangles on snaggy and weedy lakes, is to use PVA products to help you. PVA products such as PVA bags will stop your rig from getting snagged, and will leave a perfectly presented hook bait on the lake bed. PVA nuggets will also help as they will keep your rig straight whilst the nugget is on the hook, then when the nugget dissolves, it will release the hook and your rig will fall to the lakebed and straighten out on the way down. But, it’s important to use a semi-stiff or stiff hook link to make sure it pushes your hook away from your lead when it is released.

Make Sure You Aren’t Hooked Up On Snags

Snaggy areas such as weed beds or bull rushes can grab hold of your hook, masking the tip of the hook, which means that it will be virtually impossible for you to catch anything. To avoid this, again you could use PVA nuggets to protect your hook tip. But my favourite method to avoid this is to have a few test casts into the area you want to fish to see what is on the lake bed. Each time you cast out, check the end of your hook to see if there is any debris, or if any stones have blunted the hook. I like to have a cast around with a FishSpy, as explained here, so I know exactly what is on the bottom of the lake.


I have made a lot of mistakes during my fishing sessions and don’t want you to make the same mistakes. I’ve learned the hard way over 20 years of fishing most weekends, testing, tweaking, and testing again and now want to help you excel with your carp fishing.

If you need any help, you can reach me at Fishing Again’s Facebook page

Last Updated on February 10, 2024 by Shane