Night Fishing for Carp - Carp set up beside lake at night

Night fishing for carp can be stellar in the right conditions and add a whole new dynamic to carp fishing. Fishing in the dark presents new challenges and allows the use of different tactics. And let’s be honest, fishing under the stars is pretty cool.

Will Carp Feed more at Night?

In certain conditions carp will feed at night like they do in the daylight hours, with peak periods being the obvious times like before sunrise or just after sunset, but at times carp can also have great feeding windows in the dead of night and might even be predictable at certain times like at the precise time of moon overhead.

If it occurs at night, other periods like moonrise and moonset can also be the cause of incredibly feeding windows, and of course these periods also occur during daylight hours and times vary by an hour every day.

At the time of writing moonrise occurs at 3:09 A.M. and I would bet that there would be a feeding window at this time. Tomorrow morning the moonrise time will change to 4:29 A.M.

Keep in mind that these moonrise and moonset feeding windows can be just as powerful during the day, and you might get a flurry of fishing action at one in the afternoon on a sunny day when fishing would otherwise be slow.

I have personally caught more fish than I can count within 5 minutes of moonrise and moonset, sometimes it’s precisely to the minute, but these feeding windows can last for as long as 30 minutes before and after the event.

Some anglers believe that the moon phase can also have an influence on your catch rate. But is that only a myth? Take a read to find out.

Best Season For Night Fishing Carp

Carp fishing at night is best done from spring to autumn. As water temperatures drop in the winter fish tend to feed far less than they do in the warm water periods of the year where their metabolism is much higher.

That’s not to say that carp won’t feed at night in winter, but they it’s definitely going to be a challenge. Your best bet for being consistently successful at night will most certainly be the warm water periods.

Where to Fish

Fishing in the same swims and areas that work during the day can produce fish during the night. But in many cases after dark, carp can move and travel through areas they might not frequent midday.

So be sure to try out your day spots, but better yet, scout out new areas and listen and watch after dark for any sign of fish activity. You might discover new swims or areas that hold fish consistently after dark and you should focus your efforts there.

In rivers and canals most of the time you can simply fish the same areas as narrow waterways essentially work like a highway for fish, while they might hold and frequent areas due to water depth, or other reasons, at night you might just find these fish are cruising up and down the waterway under the security the darkness offers.

Preparation for Night Fishing is Key

Night Fishing for Carp - Sunset on a winter fishing trip with angler and fishing rods

Be sure that you have everything you need to last the night. A bivvy or tent with a heater if needed, food, drink, and lighting. Fishing at night can be very different due to lack of visibility and you need to take precautions and be prepared. Headlamps and multiple sources of light are imperative. This will aid in situations like tying your lines, making rigs and one of the most important reasons, effectively landing hooked fish.

Having everything sorted and organized is also important. PVA bags should be prepped and ready before dark, rigs tied, and other things should be done before dark to ensure you can fish as effectively as possible.

Safety should also be a consideration, telling family or friends where you intend on fishing is a good idea. Likewise, it might be a good idea to bring an extra pair of clothes. Fishing on a bank at dark could lead to you tripping over a tree root or rock and you might go for a swim. This would be enough to dissuade most anglers and send them home, but if you have spare clothes in your car and a tent with a heater, you could easily last the night.

Speaking of falling in the water, fishing with a buddy and a first aid kit is also a wise move. Casting accidents aren’t uncommon at night and hooking yourself while alone in the dark or falling in the water and ruining your cell phone can be much more difficult after dark.

Baiting

Before a night fishing session many anglers often over bait swims leading to night time. This is a mistake, and all those free offerings may be detrimental to fish actually feeding after dark, already having their fill.

I recommend using small amounts of bait via spodding and spombing, but my baiting method of choice is a combination of PVA bags and spodding. It’s also a great idea to bait up after each catch. Spodding the swim a few times in the area you are going to place your hook bait and use a PVA bag to ensure that your hook is around actual bait.

Casting accurately at night can be a challenge due to not being able to see your bait as well as being difficult to judge distance. We know we can get the free offerings and our baits fairly close, but running a PVA bag ensures that there’s something around your hook.

20 mm boilies are a great choice for baiting as well as hook bait. Larger bait like boilies will discourage small undesirable or nuisance fishing from eating your bait and hooked baits. This means you may have to fumble around to re-bait in the dark while trying to keep things as simple as possible. You should also have multiple leaders baited and ready to fish in the event you need to bait up or lose a rig.

Landing Fish

Make sure to pick out a spot on the bank that will be easiest to land a fish in the darkness. Move any debris or things that could potentially cause issues when landing fish. Keeping your mat, net, and other essential fish landing equipment on the bank near your chosen landing zone is a great idea, making everything readily available with the time comes to safely and effectively land your fish.

A bucket filled with water is also a great thing to keep in your landing area to easily wet your landing mat, making the fish’s quick stay on shore easy on the fish, and allowing you to do it quickly.

Essential Equipment

We mentioned some equipment earlier but I wanted to give a list of the essentials in a separate section, some of this “essential” equipment might not really be that essential to some anglers, but to me it’s the difference between fishing for a few hours and calling it quits to lasting until sunrise.

  • Bed chair
  • Sleeping bag
  • Quality bivvy
  • Heater if it’s going to be cool at night
  •  Raingear if you need it
  •  Spare clothes
  •  Multiple light sources
  •  Food and water
  • Fully charged phone
  • Bring a Buddy

For some anglers bringing a friend can help them last the night. Some anglers simply get bored or lonely at night if they don’t have anyone to talk to.

I have been guilty of this at times myself. So if you’re a social creature like me persuade a buddy to come with! This is easy if he’s an obsessed angler like yourself, and if not, bribe him with a few beers to change his mind.

Why Bother?

Fishing at night will give you a plethora of information on a body of water in regards to fish movement and activity, and an obvious reason is your rods will be in the water for a much longer time, and more time with a bait in the water means more opportunities to catch fish.

The feeling and experience after dark is different than during daylight hours and I actually feel more connected to the environment that surrounds me after dark, allowing me to appreciate the lake and nature in a different way. Making some tea or cooking on a camp stove is also just plain fun and really sets the scene, allowing you to just soak that peace and quiet right in.

And last but not least, the fishing can be incredibly rewarding.

That’s All!

Night fishing for carp is a different experience that all carp anglers should at least try once. I can assure you that many of you won’t regret it.

This article will get you started and make you aware of some of the most important considerations when it comes to night fishing.

This biggest thing is to be prepared and just get out and fish, once you get a feel for fishing after dark you can dive deeper into the other caveats like the conditions and how they relate to catching fish at certain times of the night and year.

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