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Night fishing for Carp: A Guide

Night fishing for Carp: A Guide

Night carp fishing offers an exhilarating experience that challenges an angler's skills and immerses them in the mysterious realm of nocturnal angling. Venturing into the nighttime world of carp fishing unlocks a wealth of opportunities as these elusive fish are known to be more active during the darker hours, feeding with confidence under the cover of night. The combination of increased carp activity, reduced angling pressure, and cool, oxygen-rich water creates an ideal environment for targeting these fish as they forage for food. By overcoming the inherent challenges that low-light fishing brings, anglers can revel in the excitement of capturing a trophy carp while the rest of the world slumbers.

Which seasons are best for night fishing 

As the seasons change, so do the habits and patterns of carp, making it essential for anglers to adapt their strategies and techniques accordingly. While night fishing for carp can be productive throughout the year, late spring to mid-autumn usually offers better opportunities and higher chances of success.

  • Spring: As the water temperatures begin to rise after the winter months, carp become more active and start to feed more aggressively. The increase in metabolism and spawning activity makes spring a prime time for night fishing. The carp are on the move, foraging in shallow waters, and preparing for the spawning season, making them more susceptible to well-presented baits. Additionally, insect activity increases during spring, attracting carp to the surface to feed on emerging bugs and aquatic insects.
  • Summer: With warmer water temperatures, carp are more active during the summer months and can be found feeding in various parts of the water body. Night fishing during the summer can provide relief from the heat and the pressure of daytime angling, as carp tend to be more cautious when the sun is high in the sky. As the sun sets and the temperatures cool, carp become more willing to venture into the shallows, providing an excellent opportunity for anglers to capitalise on their increased feeding activity.
  • Autumn: As the days grow shorter and the water temperatures begin to drop, carp sense the approaching winter and start to feed heavily in preparation for the colder months ahead. This feeding frenzy provides a prime opportunity for night fishing, as carp are more likely to take baits during the evening and nighttime hours. The autumn season also sees a decrease in fishing pressure as many anglers turn their attention to other outdoor pursuits, giving those who continue to target carp a better chance at success.
  • Winter: Although night fishing during winter can be challenging due to the cold weather and reduced carp activity, it’s not impossible. Carp tend to become more lethargic in the colder months and generally feed less, but they can still be caught with persistence and the right tactics. Patience is vital during this time, as well as utilising slow-sinking baits and presenting them near the carp's wintering holes. Night fishing in winter requires a high level of determination and preparation, but the sense of achievement in catching a carp in these conditions can be truly rewarding.

Carp Set-Up for Night Fishing

When preparing for a night fishing session, choosing the right set-up is crucial to maximise your chances of success. The ideal set-up for night carp fishing should be efficient, easy to manage in low-light conditions, and adaptable to various situations. Here are some key aspects to consider when setting up for a night of carp fishing:

  • Rods and Reels: Opt for medium to long-range carp rods with a test curve of 2.75-3.5 lbs, which offer a good balance of casting power and sensitivity. Pair your rods with reliable and smooth-operating reels, preferably baitrunner or free-spool reels, which allow carp to take the bait and run without feeling resistance, thus increasing your chances of hooking the fish.
  • Line: A robust and abrasion-resistant monofilament line is typically recommended for night fishing. Consider using a line with a breaking strain of 12 to 15 pounds, as it provides a good balance between strength and casting distance. Fluorocarbon leaders can also be helpful in low light conditions, as they are less visible to the carp.
  • Rig Choice: Some popular night fishing rigs include the Chod rig, Hair rig, and pop-up rig. These rigs present the bait naturally and offer excellent hooking potential. Be sure to use strong, reliable hooks and high-quality components to maximise your chances of landing a carp.
  • Bite Alarms: Using electronic bite alarms with adjustable sensitivity settings and built-in lights can help detect carp bites in the dark. Combining these alarms with illuminated hangers or bobbins can provide visual confirmation of a bite, allowing anglers to react quickly and efficiently.
  • Bivvy or Shelter: A comfortable and sturdy shelter is essential for night fishing, especially during colder months or inclement weather. A quality bivvy or fishing tent can protect from the elements and make the nighttime fishing experience more enjoyable.
  • Essentials: Remember essentials such as a carp unhooking mat, a weigh sling, a carp care kit, and a quality landing net. These items help ensure the safe handling and release of carp caught during night fishing sessions.

Which lights to use 

Proper lighting is an important consideration when night fishing for carp, as it can help you see your equipment, safely navigate the bank, and detect bites on your alarms or indicators. However, it's essential to strike a balance between having sufficient light to function effectively and not spooking the carp with excessive illumination.

  • Headlamps: A reliable and comfortable headlamp is a must-have for any night carp angler. Choose one with adjustable brightness settings, allowing you to switch between a low-intensity red or green light for general tasks and a higher-intensity white light for more detailed work or navigating the bank. The red or green light is less likely to spook carp and helps preserve your night vision.
  • Rod Tip Lights: Attaching small LED lights or chemical light sticks (also known as isotopes) to the tips of your rods can make it easier to see line movements and detect bites. Opt for colours like green, blue, or red, which are less visible to carp and less likely to spook them.
  • Bivvy or Shelter Lighting: A well-lit shelter can make your night carp fishing experience more comfortable and enjoyable. Use a low-intensity, dimmable light source inside your bivvy or shelter to create a cosy atmosphere without spooking the fish. Battery-powered LED lanterns or strip lights with adjustable brightness settings are ideal for this purpose.
  • Bankside Illumination: When navigating the bank or setting up your gear, it can be helpful to have additional lighting to increase safety and visibility. Solar-powered or battery-operated bankside lights can be placed strategically around your swim to illuminate critical areas like paths, steps, or pegs without disturbing the fish.

Carp bait to use at night

Carp are more active during the night, and their heightened senses can help them locate food sources more efficiently. Therefore, offering them irresistible and easily detectable baits is crucial for attracting and catching carp under the cover of darkness.

Baits with strong, pungent smells and flavours can be highly effective during nighttime sessions, as carp are attracted to them with their acute sense of smell. Sticky Baits Krill Boilies, for example, are an excellent choice due to their rich, fishy aroma and natural ingredients. These boilies have a proven track record for attracting carp, both during the day and at night. Another popular choice among carp anglers is the Dedicated Freezer Boilies by Mainline Baits. These high-quality baits are available in various flavours and have been designed to provide optimum nutrition for the carp while stimulating their feeding response. In addition, their long-lasting freshness and palatability make them a top choice for night fishing sessions.

To maximise your chances of success during nighttime sessions, consider pre-baiting your chosen swim with a mix of boilies, pellets, and particles. This process will help establish a food source in the area, encouraging carp to visit and feed regularly. Regularly pre-baiting your spot can build the carp's confidence in feeding on your chosen bait, increasing your chances of hooking one during your night fishing session.


Night carp fishing offers a unique and exciting challenge for anglers, providing an opportunity to catch the elusive carp under the cover of darkness. It's an experience that tests an angler's abilities, knowledge, and adaptability while also allowing them to witness the serene beauty of nature at night. 

Success in night carp fishing depends on a combination of factors, including understanding carp behaviour during nighttime hours, selecting the most effective bait, and using the proper techniques and equipment to ensure a smooth and enjoyable fishing session.

By embracing the challenges and learning to adapt to the changing conditions, night carp fishing can become a rewarding and memorable experience for anglers of all levels. With persistence, patience, and a willingness to learn from each session, night carp fishing can open up a world of possibilities and provide a greater appreciation for the art of angling.

Ready to take your night carp fishing to the next level? Contact us today to discover how we can support your journey and make your night carp fishing experiences truly unforgettable. We're here to offer advice, share tips, and provide guidance to help you excel in this exciting angling adventure.

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