Carp Fishing Swing Arms Feature

What is a Swing Arm or “Swinger” for Carp Fishing?

Another strange term that one whom is new to carp angling will most likely hear. When it was first recommended to me that I should add a “Swinger” to my carp fishing setup, I was perplexed and had no idea what one was or how to use it.

Carp Fishing Swing Arms Feature
Carp Fishing Setup with Swing Arms

Now that I’ve experienced the benefit of using Swing Arms on my carp fishing bite alarms I rarely venture out without them.

Swing Arms and Swingers for Carp Fishing Explained

A Swing Arm often referred to as a “Swinger” is an integral piece of carp fishing gear that attaches to bite alarms to increase bite indication. The Swing Arm applies pressure to the line so in the event of a drop back and the line goes slack the bite alarm will still sound.

Swing Arms are very similar to Bobbins for Carp Fishing as they provide the same function. Swing Arms are a little more accurate as they aren’t affected by crosswinds as much as bobbins are. Dealing with fewer false indications due to bad weather is always a bonus while out on the bank.


Anatomy of a Carp Fishing Swing Arm

Swing arms come in a variety of different shapes and forms. There are many different brands and manufacturers, quality and price can differ greatly between them. I’ve used both budget and high-end swing arms and can tell you the higher-end swing arms are worth the money. The parts outlined below that are used in construction can have a big impact on performance.


Swing Arm Head

The majority of Swing Arms come equipped with a clip-style head that attaches to your mainline. The materials used to make these clips can vary from brand to brand. The cheaper style NGT Swing arms below tend to fall off with the slightest movement whereas the more expensive Delkim Swing arms will stay put until you lift the rod.

Delkim Swing Arm Clip
Delkim Swing Arm Clip
NGT Swing Arm Clip 1
NGT Swing Arm Clip

Swing Arm Body

Swing Arm Body construction is another important factor that affects their performance. Once again we will compare NGT to Delkim Swing Arms. The NGT Version is light and doesn’t offer much indication whereas the Delkim Swing Arm is the perfect weight to provide ample indication in the event a fish swims back towards you.

Delkim Swing Arm Head
Delkim Swing Arm Body
NGT Swing Arm Head
NGT Swing Arm Body

The Arm

Both the construction and length of the arms on a swing arm can impact bite indication. You don’t want them to be too long or too short. I find the Delkims have just the right amount of length. The NGT Swing Arms are a little too long and cumbersome.

Delkim Swing Arm Arm
Delkim Swing Arm
NGT Swing Arm Arm
NGT Swing Arm

Swing Arm Connector

The majority of swing arms have the same style of connectors as bobbins. Some characteristics of swing arm connectors to look out for are; plastic, metal, quick connects, illuminated, hinged or fixed.

Delkim Swing Arm Connector
Delkim Swing Arm Connector
NGT Swing Arm Connector
NGT Swing Arm Connector

Why Should You Use Swing Arms for Carp Fishing?

There are a few different reasons and benefits to using swing arms in tandem with bite alarms.

Increased Bite Indication

With the added pressure on the line that carp fishing swing arms provide, bite indication will be greatly increased. If you watch closely you will note the slightest movement in your line. Without swing arms, line bumps and slight pickups would go undetected. Knowing those fish are in the area can give an angler the added advantage of staying put instead of moving or recasting and possibly missing out on fish that are presently feeding.

Prevent False Indication

When fishing in certain conditions such as slight wind or current. If your line is slack and pulled back and forth it can result in false indications. It can be quite frustrating having your alarms continuously beep. If you apply swing arms to your setup in these situations, they will hold your line taught and prevent those slightly frustrating false indications.

Drop Back Detection

Bite alarms are great if a fish picks up your rig, hooks itself and bolts off in the opposite direction. If a carp comes along and picks up your rig and swims back towards shore, there can be no indication whatsoever. This is another great reason to add swing arms to your setup. With swing arms, as soon as the fish comes towards you and your line goes slack, the arm will drop and immediately pull the line back across the alarm, notifying you immediately.

The Excitement Factor

One of my favourite sights as a carp angler is when the swing arm drops then seconds later slams up against the alarm as it screams off. That little drop back as the fish picks up your bait is a telltale sign that things are quickly about to get exciting!

When to Use Swing Arms for Carp Fishing?

Swing Arms can be used in many different situations and are almost always beneficial to the setup. They provide the most benefit when paired with bite alarms for carp fishing.

DELKIM TXI PRODCUT
Delkim Bite Alarm and Delkim Swing Arm

When Fishing at Distance

If you’re targeting areas farther away, swing arms will help detect minute movements in your line. The farther away you are, the more slack your line will be, this will greatly decrease indications from your bite alarm. Watching your swing arms will tell you much more about what is going on between your rod tip and the hook bait.

In Areas with Floating Weed

Come late summer and fall, large weed beds can become dislodged and begin to float across vast expanses of water. These weed beds can become entangled in your line and slowly move your entire rig and hook bait setup far from where you actually placed it. Most alarms come with sensitivity settings that prevent indication from very slight movement of your line. A swing arm will quickly pull up tight to the alarm and stay there to indicate when this is happening so you can adjust your tactics accordingly.

When Fishing on Rivers with Current

When fishing without swing arms on rivers where the current gently ebbs and flows, your line can quickly become slack and slight indications on your alarm can be affected. When swing arms are used in these situations they will hold pressure on the line and prevent it from constantly moving back and forth.

When Fishing Near Snags or Large Weed Beds

Swing arms are great for providing that all-important first indication that there is something going on at the end of your line. When fishing near snags or weed beds it can sometimes be too late by the time your alarm sounds. The vigilant angler will be rewarded with more fish when paying close attention to the movement of their swing arms and be ready to strike and guide hooked fish away from these hazards.


How to Use Swing Arms for Carp Fishing?

Swing Arms are fairly straightforward to set up. They attach to your rod pod or bankstick setup just below your bite alarm. This will prevent them from falling in the mud or water in the event of a take. There are some tips to set up your swing arms for optimal indication which we will touch on quickly here.

Setting Your Swing Arms for Optimal Indication

I see many newcomers to carp fishing adjust their setup so their swing arms are too high or too low. This will decrease the amount of indication they will give. If it’s too high it will decrease take indication, also if they’re set too low it will decrease drop back indication. You will want to set your swing arms so they hang about half to one-third of the way down your bite alarm. This will give them ample room to move both up and down.

Adjust the Swing Arm Weight if Possible

Depending on the conditions you’re faced with it can be beneficial to use swing arms with adjustable weights. You can fine-tune the weight to prevent false indications from environmental variables such as heavy wind and current yet still be sensitive enough to detect dropbacks and liners. There are many different brands and styles of swing arms on the market, some of my favourites have additional weights that can be added to fine-tune their performance.

Use the Line Clip on Your Carp Fishing Rod

The line clip on your carp fishing rod is a great tool to get your swing arms set in the optimal spot. If the angle of your line from the butt ring to your reel is too steep, the swing arms will simply drop down and be less effective. If you simply pull your line up from your reel and set it in the line clip on your carp fishing rod, the line will travel from the line clip to the butt ring in a straight line. This will allow the swing arms to clip onto the line without dropping down too low.

Adjust the Tension of the Swing Arm Clips Properly

If your Swing Arms have a tension adjustment for the clips on the head where they attach and hang on your line, be sure to set it properly. You don’t want them too loose or they may fall off the line with the slightest of movement, but you also don’t want them so tight that it’s hard to unhook them in the event of a take. There is a fine point right in between that you should aim for.

As you can see there are many fine points to bite indication. All can be beneficial but are not always necessary. It will take time to learn the ins and outs as you test out different swing arms and decide which suit your angling style best.


Are Swing Arms Necessary for Carp Fishing?

Although swing arms are not 100% necessary for carp fishing. You can see as outlined above that they are definitely beneficial. I fished for years without them and still had a lot of success on the bank. Now that I’ve used swing arms and can see their many benefits I find it hard to fish without them.

If you’re on the fence about whether they’re the right choice for your angling setup I strongly recommend trying a cheaper set, once you see the benefits for yourself I’m sure you will upgrade to better swing arms in no time.

Swing Arms Square
Carp Fishing Swing Arms

FEATURED Article

Beginners Guide to Bite Alarms

If you’re interested in bite indication, check out this article where we go over carp fishing bite alarms in detail.

DELKIM TXI PRODCUT
Carp Fishing Bite Alarms

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