It can still happen

First light, and the traps are set

As I write this the nights are really drawing in and its now that all important ‘twelve hours of darkness..twelve hours of light’ time of year. Dark by 6 pm and not even approaching light at 6 am. For those of us who work ( and I don’t include you Brian Skoyles !!) it really hits hard on the overnighters and even for the keenest of the keen you have to have a positive mental attitude ( PMA) to succeed. Not even are the hours against us but for years we have been told ‘ad nauseum’ that this time of year is the best time of year to catch a big carp….duh….yeah right. When that advice was written the season started in mid June and by mid October the carp had ‘only’ had four months of pressure. Nowadays with the abolition of the close season most anglers start the season in mid March so by now the same carp have had eight months of pressure…twice as much !! No wonder they are harder to catch…but catch them you can I promise. There will definitely be less anglers present, the natural food will certainly have decreased and if you can find them the feeding spells can be very predictable and frenetic…. So what can we do to make sure it happens ? Well firstly giving up won’t solve anything and neither will having unrealistic objectives. Even after my tremendous summer of thirty odd twenties and three thirty pounders I am realistic enough to take every fish as a bonus and to judge my results not against the summer ones but as to how the water is fishing. Sure I will no doubt have some bonanza sessions but not as often as my summer campaign. Secondly although it is possible to set up and pack up in the dark it really is better to be able to set up in the light if you are putting in a night session. For me that means using my flexi-time up at work and getting away early one day a week. By using up that time, or taking a half day holiday I can get to the pond early to mid afternoon and get my swim chosen and cast out in the light.With the end of the F1 and MotoGP season I do my second overnighter on a Sunday bidding the good lady goodbye on Sunday dinnertime and using that afternoon to get set up and cast in…
With both sessions I will have to be at work the next day resulting in a pack up in the dark but if that’s what it takes then that’s what I will do. Alternatively you can join the weekend crew by getting down early on Saturday morning and then fishing till as late on Sunday as she will let you…If the waters one that produces in the day then you must be there well before dawn and stay till just after dark…if the rules allow it...
So what about some tips for those of us who are still cracking on doing the overnighters…. Here are my Top Ten… 1 - Be prepared. Do not rush anything and make sure you have everything with you. That means for me on Sunday mornings I make sure its all ready and when I pack up in the morning it goes away in exactly the same place it came out of.
2 - Keep warm and dry. A plain old umbrella is not enough, you need something like the Mission one is ideal with the sides that give you protection from the elements. Nice and easy to pack away in the morning…unlike bivvies which can take a lot more time and effort.
3 - You need to be comfortable so a good bed chair is essential. I use the Infinity three leg one which means I can sit up without a ‘tip up ‘ and sleep well when the carp are not playing ball.
4 - Keep dry. Waterproofs must be and warm clothes need to be warm even on the coldest of nights. Have a spare set of clothes in the car just in case and do yourself a favour get yourself to Primark and get a pair of £2.99 plastic clog type shoes. Easy to jump into, cheap and lightweight….
5 - You need light. I have a Primus Gas lamp and plenty of torches. Obviously you need to use some common sense but unless you are fishing in the edge the light will not scare the carp off. Don’t forget a head torch as well !!
6 - Before it gets dark clip up and mark up. Draw a plan of the tree line and ensure you know your sight lines for recasts. Electrical tape will help you recast to the same spot each time.
7 - Nights can be a long long time especially if you are on your own. Forget televisions and dvds and take some books and magazines to read and a radio turned down low. Subdued light is enough to read by and will not ruin your night vision.
8 - Have plenty of spare rigs tied up. It can be cold and wet at this time of year and tying good rigs at night can be hard. Plenty of spare ones make it a lot easier to be efficient…
9 - To ensure your hook bait has a pile of attraction round it don’t forget to use either a PVA bag or stringer on the rig. This stops tangles ( you can’t watch for tangles at night ) and will make it easier for the carp to home in on your hook bait
10 - And finally have some PMA. If you believe it will happen it will. Maybe not every night but you gotta believe in you and your methods…