Carp Fishing At Night: A Complete Guide

Overnight fishing can be tricky as you have to stay alert and be well prepared in order to have a successful session. For the most part, overnight carp fishing is identical to carp fishing during the day and the vast majority of the conventional tips & tactics apply. However, you do have to make small adjustments and consider the behavioral changes of the fish as it starts to get dark.

Observation Is Crucial When Carp Fishing In The Dark

Our top tip before starting any fishing session is to watch carefully and try to find any tell-tale signs of fish before you set up camp. A lot of anglers rush to the nearest swim to the car park, set up their gear, and pray for a bite, which we don’t think is a particularly good strategy!

Whenever we arrive at a lake regardless of whether we’re fishing for 2 hours or 24 hours, we’ll always take a quick lap around the lake and look for splashes or ripples on the surface, or movement near lily pads and reeds. However, spotting fish can be tricky, especially on large specimen waters so you really have to keep your eyes peeled. To help with spotting fish, use polarised sunglasses. This is particularly important if you’re fishing throughout the night as once it gets dark, it will be nigh-on impossible to get any good visual pointers of where the fish may be.

Its also good practice to get an understanding of the lake’s features, for instance: whether it has an island, if there are areas for fish to hide like overgrown reeds or fallen trees, the general depth, and a rough idea of how the surface is underneath the water. All of this information is incredibly valuable if you’re going to be fishing for long periods of time which is why it’s absolutely worthwhile.

How To Prepare For A Night Fishing Session

We found that the most time-consuming job for us when we’re fishing is setting up on the bank. It takes at least an hour to get the bivvy up, the rods and reels set up, and the bite-alarms set, and then on top of that, you’ll have to tie rigs, PVA bags, and prepare the bait.

This is why setting up what you can at home is such a big-time saver. Anything like rigs, PVA bags, or even bait you can prepare at home which will allow you to get fishing that much quicker which will hopefully increase your chances of getting a bite.

Bring Multiple People When Night Fishing

Fishing is considered by many to be quite a solitary hobby and normally we’d agree but when you’re fishing overnight or even for days, having a friend will really help keep your head straight and stop you from going mad!

However, the company isn’t the only reason to bring a mate when fishing. It’s actually very practical to have another person with you. For instance, if you nod off at some point, you’ve got someone to watch the rods, and you can also get things done much quicker if you work as a team. Fishing at night is a long game and you have to be strategic and plan ahead which is much easier to do with a friend.

You’ll also find that trying to net a carp with one hand in the middle of the night while you’re groggy and still rubbing your eyes is pretty tough! Having someone there to help during catch makes life a whole lot easier.

Baiting Up During The Dark

We’ve always been firm believers in baiting a little often. A mistake lots of new anglers make is putting far too much bait into their swim which not only drains their pockets but also reduces their chance of getting a bite. However, when fishing during the dark, you’ll want to bait up a little more heavily that you typically would in preparation for the night. This is because throughout the night it is almost impossible to bait up your swim accurately.

With baiting, you have to be fairly accurate. If you put too much in, the fish will be feeding on lots of bait and will therefore have a lower chance of picking up your hook bait, however, if you don’t put enough bait into your swim then it may go unnoticed. A reasonable amount is a couple of spods over your rigs when you first cast out and a top-up after every bite. Regardless of which method you use, the last thing you want is for the fish to get full, you can always add more bait into the swim but you can’t take it out.

Another small tip for carp fishing day or night is to not use small pellets or sweetcorn on lakes that have lots of nuisance fish otherwise they will be like a plague and keep taking your hook-bait.

Why You Need Bivvys When Overnight Fishing

For those of you who are new to carp fishing, you may be wondering what on earth is a bivvy. Well, essentially its a small tent for one or two people that can easily be erected quickly and efficiently on the bank. If you’re going to be fishing overnight, a good bivvy is essential to protect you from the elements.

However, we have to mention that they are not cheap and usually cost a couple of hundred pounds but they are purpose-built for carp fishing. Theoretically, you can use any old small tent but they won’t have the resistance or durability of a high-quality bivvy which is completely fine during the warmer months but when its cold or raining, you really need something strong and substantial. The Fox R series is an excellent bivvy for a reasonable price, it comes with a heavy-duty groundsheet and plenty of other features to keep you comfortable on the bank (Check price on Amazon).

Creature Comforts For Overnight Fishing

If you’re going to be spending a few days or even just a single night on the bank, there are some luxuries from home worth bringing to the bank. We all know to bring the obvious stuff like our phones and a change of clothes but there are some things that aren’t that obvious but make a massive contribution to the fishing experience:


We found that the head-torches are the only reasonable source of light to use when you get a bite in the middle of the night. You could technically use just a regular torch or even a smartphone but they are quite difficult to use in a rush while a carp tear line of the reel. This is why recommend using a head torch, they are simple, robust, and most importantly keep your hands free which is actually quite important when playing a fish! Most people who are into the outdoors will have head torches but if not, the Kingtop Headtorch (Check current price on Amazon) is an excellent head torch for camping, fishing, and general outdoor activity.

Battery Banks

Nearly everyone has a smartphone these days and many anglers take even more tech to the bank to help pass the time which is why it may be worth investing in a battery bank. We’ve had that horrible feeling of running out of juice on our phones and trying to find a charger when we’re outside. Fortunately, a simple battery bank solves this issue, they hold a massive amount of power that can re-charge your phone, tablet, or even laptop several times.


We think that being comfortable is incredibly important when fishing for long periods of time. If you’re cold, wet, and miserable, then what is the point of even fishing? This is why having a nice portable stove on which you can cook a hot meal or make a cup of tea will really help make fishing much smoother and relaxing.


Every time we take someone with us on a fishing session, their immediate reaction after the catch is the slime and the smell! We anglers have eventually become accustomed to the strong odor that emanates from fish slime (cough, cough… bream) but folks who don’t fish will definitely be bemused after their first catch.

Of course, there’s no reason to be excessive. After all, fishing is an outdoor activity so you will get dirty at some point or another but taking some wet wipes and deodorant isn’t a bad idea.


Everyone wants a photo of their catch which is another reason why bringing a friend along is a good idea. But in terms of cameras, it really isn’t that complicated, you can use fancy DSLRs or mirror-less cameras but for most people, this is overkill and incredibly expensive equipment to take to the bank. For the most part, we use an iPhone for most of our photos as it takes crisp photos in nearly every lighting situation consistently.

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