Many anglers think that to successfully target big carp you need to spend lots of time on the bank. This could not be further from the truth. Some of the most successful anglers I know are the ones with the least “spare” time, however I personally think they are simply experts in making the most of the time they have. I consider myself to be in a very fortunate position simply because I work shifts, so it’s a definite “must” to try do these sessions during the midweek time to avoid the weekend rush and landing up with a pressurised swim.
Before I had this privilege I also had to rush off to my venue and settle for a fairly poor swim, so soon I began to get fed up with weekend angling and its predicaments I found myself in. However I was still fishing regularly, but it felt like I was no closer than any other anglers on the lake to landing my trophy fish, and my chances could be improved greatly if I had some time to fish the venue during midweek. A plan was soon made to fish overnight sessions between my shifts to get much needed time put in on the bank. It really paid off and my catch rate shot through the roof, before banking my target fish relatively quickly. Since then I have used overnighters to my advantage on a few campaigns and have found them to add extra value, providing the time is used wisely.
The first thing to consider would be the practicality of your chosen venue. Many of the waters I target involve a trip of about 200 km, some up to 450km, so an overnighter is definitely out of the question. For me a venue up to an hour away is what I would consider as practical. Not only is the travelling time an issue but, with the rising fuel costs, it can become a costly project. One of the main advantages for this style of fishing would be being able to spread your time throughout the week. Work it as three 12-hour sessions per week in comparison with the usual 48-hour session over a weekend, which enables you to plan your sessions around the weather forecasts and moon phases, which I can guarantee will improve and lead to a much higher catch rate. Fishing on every new and full-moon phase will easily make you catch your target fish quicker than anticipated simply because bigger fish are renowned for tripping up on certain moon phases.
Just be careful, these sessions can also work against you. Bite times will always vary throughout the different seasons. A simple example: between 10am and 3pm you won’t be able to take advantage. There was a venue I was targeting earlier this year and I put everything in trying to get to the fish, but nothing was happening. After doubting a number of things I figured that I was missing bite time, every morning winding the rods in just as the carp are about to get their heads down to feed. This is one of the disadvantages that are unavoidable at certain times of the year, but could be turned into an advantage if bite times occur through the hours of darkness. Spending a few nights at your targeted venue will help you find the carp’s locations much easier. With this you will be in touch with the water more frequently than the usual weekend anglers, giving you another advantage of choosing your future swims and sessions easier. I like to sit up late and sometimes straight through to watch and listen for signs of fish giving away their locations, even if does mean that I’ll be tired for work the following day. Always remember that keeping your bait going into your targeted venue will be a massive help. I always introduce a fairly large amount when I do leave for work, ensuring the fish will be there looking for food on the next trip. Just make sure you don’t interfere with other anglers while pre-baiting. Before getting my lines in I’ll scatter a few freebies on my spots and after getting my presentation down there I’ll use a few washed out baits for these sessions.
Scaling down your kit is also a must. This ensures that you remain mobile at all times if you had to move onto fish in another spot. It also means it’s less to pack up and carry away, this will also give you more fishing time in the early mornings. Depending on the time of year you could find yourself turning up in the hours of darkness. Sometimes you might even end up packing away in the dark. Trust me this can be soul destroying, especially when visiting the low stock venues that I do prefer to fish. Not being able to see the water during day light is a real disadvantage, and this is where some effort will be needed, and getting to know the water and features, perhaps over the weekend could really pay off. This will make choosing your swim so much easier, even when setting up in the dark.
Yes, overnight sessions can be very draining and do take and need a lot of effort; however when your target fish rolls into the net, the next day’s work will be the most enjoyable ever, and all the hard work a distant memory! Against the odds of limited time you’ve achieved the target you set yourself. That’s the reason it can be seen as the most rewarding form of carp fishing.