Fishing overnight on your favourite lake can be a great way of increasing your chances of catching some gorgeous fish as well as keeping you happy fishing for a longer period of time. Most lakes which are a bit slow during the day spark into life as soon as dusk hits so it can be essential. Over the course of my time in fishing I have done a lot of overnight sessions and wanted to share some wisdom I have gained through trial and error in the hope it might help you out.
See below for my tips when fishing overnight and what to avoid doing:
- A few days before your session get all your luggage inside your house, empty it all, tidy/organise what’s in there and then you can check if you’re running low on anything required.
- Even if you go for regular overnighters, preparation is key, my first top tip would be to create a list of all the gear that is absolutely essential to fishing overnight (rods, reels, bait & bivvy etc) and tick it off as you load it into the car.
- Lots of people load their car up the evening before going fishing and I’m one of them, but make sure anything you don’t load up the night before (Food, battery pack etc) you set an alarm for on your phone to remember about 15 minutes before you’re due to leave. The worst thing is being at the lake with no juice in your phone and no food.
- Start organised & stay organised – As I’ve said before and I may well repeat it again, staying organised is key. When you arrive at the venue don’t do anything by half, you’re building your base to lay siege on the lake so you want a strong foundation. All of your gear should be neatly organised and easy to get to and it should be kept that way. Have you ever tried to find a baiting needle on the grass at 3am with a head torch? I have.
- Preparation is also key – if you’re fishing with PVA stocking or bags ensure you have enough prepared to see you through the night before it gets dark. You can never have too many and after being woken up at 2am to land a cracking carp you don’t want to spend the next half an hour stumbling around in the dark getting your rod back out.
- Pre-night spotting – If you’re building up an area of bait and fishing to it, you want to know that you’re hitting that same spot at night. The best way to do this is to pick a large natural landmark that you’re sure you’ll be able to see at night and fish to that. If you want to be extra cautious you can also clip up so you know that you’re in the right place. If you do this make sure you remember to take the clip off as I’ve seen rods get dragged in at night and there’s nothing you can do about it.
- Enjoy it – Far too often I’ll be leaving to come home from fishing and feel like I haven’t truly appreciated what I’ve just done. Even when I blank I love fishing, I love the nerves, annoyance and constant self-questioning.
- Do not take anything you know you’re not going to use. I see it constantly, anglers who bring the kitchen sink even when they know it’s not needed just because “maybe” it will come in handy. Yeah well “maybe” you’ll get struck by lightning but you don’t plan for it. Take what you need and keep the gear to a minimum.
- Don’t lose faith after half an hour – You had a plan on how you were going to fish the venue and you should stick to it. It’s fair enough if by halfway through your session nothing’s happening and you fancy a change but far too often people change their attach plan within too short a time and potentially spook away the fish for the entire session. But at the same time if it’s fairly evident the fish aren’t where you are, don’t be scared to move. A mobile angler is a successful angler.
- Drink to excess – I’m fairly happy going fishing with someone who plans on having a beer or two, but fishing isn’t an excuse for a piss up and taking it too far. You could damage your gear, hurt yourself or even worse damage the fish.
- Don’t keep your alarms on full volume for the entirety of the night. This is one of my biggest gripes and even though I’m a super heavy sleeper people who leave their alarm volume on full the entire night annoy me. I think it should be mandatory for everyone who wants to fish at night to have a receiver. If you’re reading this and you do it just know that everyone on the lake hates you.
- Don’t lose faith – We all have night fishing sessions that are a bust, all that preparation and time and money spent for “nothing”. It all pays off in the end though, even if you don’t catch that night, the experience of that disappointment will help you be more motivated next time.