Carp Fishing 'Quick Overnighters' And How To Make Them Work | Carl Milton

With work, family life and other commitments, finding time to go carp fishing can be difficult for some. Luckily, our man Carl Milton has some great tips on how to maximise your time after work, so you can catch more and bigger carp on 'quick overnighters'.

Life is so hectic these days, isn't it? For me, a young family and a busy job means that I don't get as much time as I would probably like to go fishing. But this doesn't mean that I don't go, in fact, I try to get out regularly, certainly weekly, and the best way to do this is with quick overnighters.

So what is a quick overnighter? This generally would be making the most of that time before and after work. That might mean arriving to the lake at 7pm and being gone again by 8am the following morning. It's a short period, and unless you want to get the sack pretty quick due to exhaustion, you'll likely be sleeping through most of it, so you have even less time than you think. 

I've been fishing these short sessions for years now and have learned plenty of lessons along the way that has helped make them more successful for me, and in this article I'll share a few of the best ones with you...

Carl Milton Carp

Be Prepared 

Being organised and prepared with your kit and bait prior to your session is absolutely essential. You don't want to be scrambling around wasting time looking for things. Have several of your chosen rigs tied up ready to be clipped on and cast out from the off.

With bait, I like to have boilies, crumb, pellets, particles or whatever I'm using, already glugged in liquids prior to my visit, so I don't have to do any extra work when I get there preparing them and they have had time to soak in any additives. 

Get your luggage items, tackle box and other bits in order too, you need to know where everything is. Come equipped with spares also, so again, no time is wasted should you lose something, it break or something go wrong.

Make sure your camera batteries, alarms, headtorches are all fully charged too. These things might sound obvious but it is surprising how many people just leave their kit in the car and when they get to the bank are in complete disarray with problems popping up all over the place. On longer sessions you can get away with this, but on a quick overnighter this could end up being the difference between catching and blanking. 

There are some awesome items in the OMC range to help with organisation, most notably the Rig Ready. Have your rig, lead and even leaders all clipped with your rod and ready to go!

Carl Milton Fishing

Location Is Everything

Finding the fish is one of the key battles on overnighters, you simply don't have time to wait and hope they will come to you. Spend more time on this than anything, as just 10 mins on them is worth 10 hours not.

Make sure you check every bay, quiet corner and margin, you never know where you might spot a chance or two.

Watch the water when carp fishing

The more you learn the lake, the more you will know where to head for and start looking in certain conditions. On almost every lake, there will be spots they favour when the sun is out, some they favour in a strong wind and others they migrate to when things get really cold.

Try to keep a note of everything you learn on the journey and record it in your phone. If you then find fish in the area on a future trip, you don't need to lead about and spook them, you'll have spots marked with wraps in your phone and you can cast straight out. 

marking fishing spots in phone

Be Confident In Your Rigs

Presenting your rig properly over any substrate you are faced with is essential to maximise your time and success on overnight sessions. You simply can't afford to be fishing for any period with an inefficient setup.

As long as I get a firm drop on the lead, I'm happy that the Flipper Rig will be doing the job for me. I've just got so much confidence in it, particularly when tied with the Lock Hook. The Flipper is a really effective bottom bait and wafter rig but there are a few things you need to consider for it to work perfectly. From experimentation, I've found you need a longish hair of 10-15mm separating the bait and the top of the hook. The rig length also needs to be no less than 5-inches, if you go shorter,  you'll get hookpulls!

The Flipper Rig, Carp Fishing

For softer drops, I will switch to pop-ups or Solid Bags. The Spinner Rig, especially with the Lock, again, is an out of this world rig I have so much faith in. I like to use double hookbaits on my Spinners just to be a little bit different and find the hook still sits up perfectly to cause the fish real problems.

Spinner Rig Double Bait

The Hinge is also a firm favourite on choddy ground, the Redesmere Hook is another phenomenal pattern that has my full confidence. Between these three rigs I am covered for every eventuality I might face and I have caught some very big carp on all of them. Sometimes, I might even have one of each on all three rods, so I can see what spots the fish feed on best and adapt accordingly. 

It's important to note, that whilst I like fishing over softer ground, I will always recast if the drop feels like significant weed. It's too easy for the hook to get snarled up and the presentation ruined. On a short session, you just don't have time to waste and find out in the morning the hook wasn't accessible due to a weeded point. 

Checking Hook Carp Fishing

Bait Light and Make That Hookbait Nice

On these short sessions, don't over bait. Fish for a bite at a time and you will reap the rewards far quicker. Putting too much bait in the swim can make it take longer for a bite to develop, if at all. On days when the fish aren't really up for it, you likely will ruin your chances entirely. Small traps mean you could get an opportunist curiosity take at any time.

Carp Fishing Spomb

With that said, if pre-baiting is allowed on your lake, this can be a huge edge in getting the fish confident on your spots. Turn up to the lake days before you are going to fish are put a few handfuls on your intending areas. On return you will no doubt find the fish have polished them off and won't be far away, just a few baits and a hookbait should then be enough for a bite in quick time. 

It goes without saying that you need to make your hookbait as attractive as possible. It needs to be one of the first things they want in the swim. I like to make my hookbaits standout with coloured toppers or by doubling them up. 

Double Up Your Hookbaits

Make Every Second Count

We have already covered this in several other points but I can't emphasise enough how important it is to have your rods in the water for the maximum amount of time. You need to make the most of every second. That's why for my short trips I pick one or two local venues and stick to them. I get to learn them, I get my gear organised and I have the rods in quickly for the longest period. Lie them on the floor whilst you pack up the banksticks and alarms, you just never know when that bite might come.

Most of all, enjoy it, you can always find time to get some fishing in. Hopefully this article helps make your short sessions memorable ones. 

Rods on the floor

Author Carl Milton is an experienced southern carp angler who has landed fish to over 50lb in the UK. He's currently fishing the historic Wraysbury complex.