Many anglers prefer night fishing for carp since it’s much calmer, and there’s a bit more challenge to it. So, if you follow the tips we’ll provide in this post, carp fishing at night (anywhere from Horseshoe Lake and Gloucestershire to Redmire Pool, Hertfordshire) will be a piece of cake.
How to Take Your Carp Night Fishing Trip to the Next Level
The first piece of advice we’re going to give you is to scout your area. Try to figure out the nooks and crannies where carp might hide in as the water temperatures drop, and focus your night sessions around these sites to ensure fishing success.
Remember: Carp is a pretty invasive fish species, and you’ll find them in many venues, so your local lake most probably has carp; you just need to know where they’re hiding.
Bait Preparation for Night Carp Fishing
Our focal point for your night fishing success is the bait–how you lay it, where you lay it, and what free offerings you decide to present to the big carp to entice them. Also, let’s not forget that night fishing for carp will depend on the concept of ledgering (ground fishing).
Rigs are our number one choice for carp fishing, as they tick all the boxes. You can attach a lead to them, any type of bait you prefer, and the rig varieties that most anglers seeking carp use either stay on the waterfront floor or just slightly above it, which is optimal for carp fishing.
You can actually use the daylight hours to prepare your set-up, place your head torch near you, set up your bite alarms for imminent bite indication, and pre-tie your rigs.
Also, since carp is an omnivorous fish, these fish eat a lot. With that being so, ground fishing is their preferred mode of feeding. It offers them almost everything they might need–plant matter, residues, and the bait you’re presenting. These are our favourite ones:
- Hair Rig
- Chod Rig
- Helicopter Rig
- Pop Up Rig
Undoubtedly, our next preferred technique to snag carp in the dark night will have to be using a PVA bag. A PVA bag will allow for the presence of free bait, giving you a much wider spectrum to work with rather than your grounded rig.
One last fishing technique, which can be one of the best methods if you’re an avid angler and you have enough experience with it, is the catapult.
The catapult allows you to focus on a specific target and create just enough disturbance to attract the carp to a particular spot without scaring them away. Carp is a pretty finicky fish. Consequently, there are different techniques for seizing them in the darkness.
Bait Quantity and Varieties
As we’ve mentioned before, many factors go into carp’s feeding habits at night. For instance, the water temperatures, availability of food, and the season we’re in for the moment.
Yet, one thing you must keep in mind during your night fishing session is that you’re not feeding the fish; you’re baiting them. Don’t bulk up your bait too much in the hopes of getting a bite but then not getting another.
The key here is to stick to the normal quantities and not overdo it. You can catch fish by using baits preferable to the carp that have strong smells capable of spreading in the waters as much as possible.
You can also glug your bait with olfactory oils to boost its scent to cut through the dark night. The baits we’re going to list right now are the ones that we’ve found to be most effective when carp fishing during the dark night:
Capture the Shot!
We’ll happily say that you’ve found your way through the different tactics and captured your trophy carp. Whether you wish to keep it or release it into the water, that depends on your preference and, more importantly, the laws of the waterfront you’re fishing in.
Either way, you’d want to capture this proud bite. So many anglers feel that their night fishing for carp adventure was for nought as they didn’t catch a proper photo.
Primarily, you need a reflective backdrop that you can set against a tree or a bush, anything that’ll create the right set-up. Just make sure you’re standing in the middle so that it captures the flash coming from your phone or camera.
If the light isn’t distributed throughout the photo, it’ll turn out to be a real nightmare. One part of it will be detailed and sharp, while the other one is blurry and dark in the absence of the sun.
Fully Charged Phone or Camera
Weirdly enough, many fishers forget to charge some of their digital equipment such as phones, cameras, power banks, and anything that doesn’t operate with disposable batteries.
There’s no denying the importance of preparation if you want to smooth sailing for your fishing in the dark adventure. That includes a lot of points you need to check off your list, as you don’t want to have a fish to hook your bait while you’re searching for your landing net or light.
Let’s start with the basics, your favourite sturdy rod. We’d advise you to use no more than two rods on your waterfront, simply because carp has excellent eyesight and a great olfactory system.
Furthermore, it’s an intelligent species, so it can easily relate a certain bait to getting caught before. As a result, you’ll find it can be very cautious, so you don’t want to cause too much disturbance.
Since carp can be a pretty huge fish, you should go for stronger rods of moderate length. We believe you can take a swim around the 10-feet rods as they’ll do great for catching this fish in the darkness.
Lastly, don’t forget the test curve of your rod, as you need to go a little bit higher with that due to the fight that carp is most likely to put up against you and your rod.
As for reels, you’ll want something strong with advanced options, yet not too complicated as you need to act quickly when you do get a bite. This leaves us with bait runners.
These reels mostly have double drag systems, extra-large spools that are braid-ready, and hardy gearing systems that’ll take the beating with pleasure and minimal wear and tear over time. Just make sure that you’re comfortable in the reel, and you’ll be ready for your swim with carp.
Bite alarms are one of the smaller tools that you can’t go without when fishing in the darkness, especially if you’re going to try and get some sleep to break the long periods of waiting. As a matter of fact, some of them come with remotes that you can put next to your head so that you don’t ever miss an indication.
Fishfinders give you a layout of the contours hidden from you. You’ll be able to map out the lake without the advantage of the warmer months and create a plan of action. Knowing that this spot has a bed of weeds that carp gravitate to will cut you significant distances.
Generally, we’d always advise you to get a landing net that’s on the bigger side, as carp can get pretty huge, and you can get a larger landing net for a good price. Don’t forget to check that the rod is robust and that you can swing it quickly to capture your trophy without it falling back to swim and feed in the lake.
Anglers use an unhooking mat to park their caught fish in a shallow spot for a while. If you’re still on the fence about keeping the fish or returning it to the lake before the first light, this is a great idea.
This is an essential factor that you have to include in your night fishing plan. Simply, try not to put yourself in impossible positions by combining times of lowered fish activity with fishing at night.
We’ll tell all anglers to steer clear from carp fishing during the early spring. Why? Because that’s the spawning season of this fish, and it’s near impossible to score carp during its spawning season as they aren’t biting, even if you have all of the baits and bite alarms in the world.
Late Spring and the Summer Months
Now, this is what we’re talking about. These warmer months are when carp is most active. They’re present near the water’s surface, near the ground where they feed almost all the time, and they like to bask in the sunlight, even if for a short period.
That doesn’t mean that this fish doesn’t bite at night. Actually, in some spots, their activity might even increase as the sun goes down thanks to the moderation of temperatures.
Fall is also another excellent choice for fishing carp in the dark, as they know that winter is coming, so they need to feed as much as they can to prepare for a life of coldness for a few months. This means that they’re ready to accept every bait during the day and during the night.
We just need to know their active times during the night. Some anglers relate those periods to the sunrise and the sunset, while other anglers relate them to the moonrise.
The bottom line is that you need to keep a diligent eye on your preferred fishing spot to figure out what works best for you during the night.
Next to the spawning season, winter is the next hardest time to catch carp. You’ll have to swing your rod several times before you catch carp in the dark of the winter.
Nevertheless, it’s not impossible, so don’t despair. Follow the tips and tricks in the article, and you’ll go home with more fish than what you had at the beginning of the night.
We’d like to end with some personal and mental preparation as anglers sometimes tend to forget about that. The set-up you create for your comfort is just as crucial as your fishing equipment, and the first thing we want to stress is having your first aid kit complete on you at all times.
Bivvy, Bed Chairs, Sleeping Bag
If you intend to spend long periods on the lakefront to catch carp, you have to be comfortable. So get yourself a good quality carp fishing sleeping bag, bivvy, tent, brolly system or bed chair–whatever works best for you–and situate it properly.
Setting up every rod that you have can be a bit chaotic, so rod pods are the answer to that. Invest in a good one to help you, not just with catching carp, but with fishing in general!
Light And Night Vision
You need to be able to see clearly at night for your own safety. Make sure that you have a head torch, LED lights, a bivvy light, and a powerful torch near your tent. If you don’t want to spook the fish, you can go for a night light with a softer been, such as green or red light.
Clothes and PFD
Even if you’re fishing in the hot weather, getting wet at night and staying wet is one of the most horrible things that can happen to any angler. So, make sure you’ve got some spare clothes, an extra pair of pants, shoes, socks. That has never hurt anyone!
Besides, if you’re fishing on the water, you have to be appropriately dressed and have your complete set of PFD before you attempt anything.
Food and Water
Your own fuel is essential; hot drinks if it’s cold, and cold drinks if it’s too warm. That’s in addition to the food packed with protein and good carbs to keep you energized.
Carp fishing at night depends on the circumstances of your lake. Scout and study before you cast and following our tips, you’ll be successful in your attempts. Stay tuned for more carp fishing content, and don’t forget to tell us about your special night carp fishing tricks in the comments.