Top tips for night fishing for carp!
What do I need for carp night fishing?
1.Bite Alarms & Bobbins
When it comes to night fishing for carp, there are quite a few more things which you need to consider the main reason being that you are going to be sleeping the night whilst you are fishing. When it comes to the fishing set up, if you don’t already have bite alarms, you are going to need one bite alarm for each rod, to make a sound to register when you have a bite. without bite alarms, whilst you are asleep you would have no idea that you could have a carp on. Apart from that, not much needs to change on the set up side of things, some people will put isotopes in the bobbins to make them visible in the night.
2.Bed Chair, Sleeping Bag, Bivvy or Brolly
On the comfort side of things you are going to need something to sleep on and something to sleep under. A bedchair is going to be required to sleep on, with that you will need a sleeping bag and potentially a sleeping bag cover if you plan on fishing in the colder months. A bivvy or a brolly is going to be required to sleep under to keep you dry and warm, a brolly can certainly be used in the warmer months with an open front, they are quick to set up and easy to pack down. A bivvy may be required if you are night fishing in colder conditions or stormy conditions where a brolly may struggle.
A head torch is going to be required, if you have a bite at night you need to be able to see what you are doing, you do not want a hand held torch. You want a head torch which will sit on your head and light up the area you are looking at that, some anglers will also use a bivvy light to light up the inside of their bivvy. Most of the large angling companies produce head torches and bivvy lights, I will list a some these at the end of this blog.
4.Stove & Cooking equipment
When it comes to food you may want to cook on the bank, so a good stove, gas for the stove, pots, pans, kettle, water and crockery will be required to cook a meal on the bank and any breakfast you may want in the morning. Most anglers will opt for a cup of tea or coffee on the bank, so a kettle, water, milk and the obvious coffee and tea will also be needed.
5.Wrap Sticks & general preparation for nightfall
You need to be prepared for when darkness falls, so you need to know where everything is. You should have an unhooking mat and a net in a position you can easily navigate to should you catch a carp. If you catch you will also need to re-cast your rod back to the position in which you just caught from. An easy way to ensure you are fishing the same spot is to sort this out in day light. A good way to do this is to first line up your spot with something on the horizon which will be easy to distinguish against the sky at night, sometimes tree’s or an overhead pylon could be something which you can also see against the skyline at night and measure against, in line with it, to the left of the right of it. Also note your position which you are standing in when you cast, this will also dictate whether you hit the correct spot or not. To make sure you are fishing the correct distance inline with the spot you are casting to you can ‘wrap’ the distance. If you have found the spot and lined it up with something you can fish to at night, you can put the line in the line clip on your spool. You need to put two wrap sticks or bank sticks on the bank, one rod length apart (12ft) also locate these somewhere easy for you to access at night. With your line in the clip you can put your lead & rig at one end and wrap your line around the two wrap sticks until you hit the clip. If you hit the clip on the 25th wrap, this would be the equivalent of fishing 100 yards. Once you know how many wraps you are fishing, if you catch at night you can wrap the rod back up again, stand in position, line up with your marker on the horizon and get the rod back on the spot.
6.Preparation for Darkness.
One of the key things to remember for night fishing is preparation is going to make your life a lot easier, if you have pre-tied rigs, pre-tied PVA bags if you are using them, located your unhooking mat, scales and sling in a safe place and got your camera settings set up for the night. This will make the process of catching a carp and getting the rod back out a lot easier.
What time is best to fish for carp?
The best time to fish for carp is when they are feeding, this is going to give you the best chance of getting a bite. It’s like the old age saying of 1 hour in the right spot is better than 10 hours in the wrong spot. You could go to a new lake, go to the first swim you see and cast your rods out. The carp could be on the end of a wind down the other side of the lake and you could sit there all day without a bite. But if you were down the other end where those carp are held up, you are more likely to have a rod in position for when they decide to switch on and feed. The different times of year will also dictate when the carp will decide to feed, how long they feed for and what they are feeding on. In the colder months for example you may be in with more of a chance of getting a bite in the day due to the sun being up and the water warming up throughout the day. Where as in the warmer months, the carp may have been basking in the sun all day, once the water temperature drops in the evening you may be in chance of a night bite.
On some lakes you might find that dawn and dusk can be good times to see carp showing themselves, so always keep a look out at those times. Carp can often give themselves away by doing this, you can capitalise on this and if you are not on the carp you can attempt to move onto them if you haven’t had any indication of a bite in your area. This will increase your chances of getting a bite, on some waters anglers can be so in tune with the lake that they know what areas of the lake they are likely to get bites from at what time. So anglers can actually assume they are going to get a bite at 6am for a few weeks of the year because the carp have started feeding at that time, the anglers can start to paint a picture of the carps feeding habits, and where they are going to feed at what time in certain climatic conditions. This proves that the best time to be fishing for carp is when they are feeding and the best place to fish for them is where they are going to be feeding.
As an angler you can put the odds in your favour, you can locate the carp to figure where they are feeding, introduce bait into likely swims and see if carp have been feeding on it etc. This way you can increase your chances of fishing for carp at the best time.
Companies which provide items for night fishing for carp:
A good quality bite alarm is essential for night fishing, a receiver may also be helpful. If it was windy and you couldn’t hear your bite alarms over the wind, a receiver can sit inside your bivvy and mimic the alarms outside. A good quality alarm with numerous settings which have stood the test of time are Delkim alarms, there are also numerous other great bite alarms produced by companies such as Fox, Steve Neville, Nash Sirens and many others which are worth looking at. Links to these companies can be seen below:
Steve Neville: http://www.centuryneville.co.uk/
Bobbins which are clipped onto the line to assist with bite indication, these can have isotopes inserted into them to make them more visible at night. Most of the companies who provide the bobbins will also provide isotopes which can be inserted into them for night visibility. Companies like Nash, Fox, ESP, Korda all supply isotopes for bobbins. Links to these companies can be seen below:
if you are going to be spending a lot of time on the bank night fishing, a good quality bedchair is essential to sleep on. You don’t want to be laid up with a bad back every time you go home after a night fishing session. A 3 legged bedchair is usually plenty good enough to provide enough support, they also now come with 4 legged support. But you can choose to go for something relatively comfortable and lightweight for a good price. Some companies which you can check out for bedchairs are, Nash, Trakker, Fox, JRC & Avid just to name a few. Links to these companies can be seen below:
A good quality sleeping bag is essential for staying warm when night fishing, this is certainly something worth paying a bit more money for. You don’t want a cheap sleeping bag which isn’t cut out for winter conditions if you are fishing in the cold months of the year. A four season sleeping bad which is made to cope with all conditions is a good place to start, some companies which provide some good sleeping bags are: Trakker, Gardner, Nash, Avid, its worth noting that some bed chairs actually come with sleeping bags built into them (Sleeper systems).Links to the above companies can be seen below:
If you are doing quick over night spring and summer sessions, a brolly can be a great choice. They are quick to set up and quick to take down. If you are fishing in stormy and colder conditions, a bivvy with a twin skin might be a better option, they usually have a more durable structure but may take a little longer to set up and take down. Companies which provide some good options for both of these are: Trakker, JRC, Nash, Fox, Aqua, Avid, there are also numerous other companies which make great brolly and bivvy systems. Links to the companies can be seen below:
You need to be able to see at night when fishing, if you catch a carp and you are using your phone torch for a light you are going to have a nightmare. Having a powerful torch which sits on your head is ideal, this will point wherever your head goes, this will make you fishing a lot easier at night. You can get some great head torches from companies such as Ridgemonkey, Fox, Trakker & Petzl to name a few of the main ones. Links to the companies can be seen below:
When fishing on the bank overnight, you may want a warm drink or a warm meal, in order to do this you will require something to cook or heat the liquids up with. You will require gas for fuel, a good stove system, pots, pans a kettle and any other little bits you may require to cook with. Gas can be purchased from camping stores and usually your local fishing store. When it comes to stoves and cooking equipment some companies which may be worth looking at for these would be Trakker, Ridgemonkey, Primus, Coleman & Fox. Links to the companies can be seen below:
if you catch at night, you want to put your rig back out on the same spot you caught from, so casting to the same spot at night is essential. This can be achieved by clipping your spot up and using wrap sticks 12ft apart to figure how many wraps you are fishing to. Once you have caught, you can wrap your rod up to the correct amount of raps, put the line in the line clip on the spool and cast back out to the same spot. Some of the companies which you can buy wrap sticks from are Korda, Cygnet, Fox, ESP & Gardner tackle. Links to the companies can be seen below:
Gardner Tackle: https://gardnertackle.co.uk/product/wrappers-measuring-sticks/
9.Everything else which you would usually take on a day session
It goes without saying that you should take all of the light kit which you would take ordinarily on a day session which is essential to go fishing with. when you go night fishing, you need to consider being able to sleep comfortably, being able to navigate in darkness & having the option to cook a warm meal or a warm drink.
About The Author
CEO & Co-Founder
Being out on the bank and catching a fish is just a bonus for me, what I really love about angling is it provides us with the ability to be at one with nature and appreciate what most do not get to see. I discovered my passion for angling at the age of 9 and it has never left me, carp fishing has always been the core of my angling but I will never turn down the opportunity to target other species and enjoy what our waters have to offer.