Experienced day session angler, Alex West, runs through how he approaches short session angling, where night fishing simply isn’t an option.

I've done my fair share of day session fishing in the past, targeting many day’s only park lakes and more recently Sutton-at-Hone, so having such constraints on my angling is something I am used to. Though I'd much prefer to fish overnight, as casting out and reeling in during key bite times isn’t really the one, it’s a case of needs must and all that. I’m sure the current restrictions may not be for everyone, but I can assure you it’s not all that bad!

TRAVEL LIGHT

I’m sure many of us would prefer to be out fishing through the night, but just of late I've found that by treating each day as a fresh new adventure, I have really enjoyed being out, even in these cold conditions. Recharging my batteries each evening certainly helps and doing just the days can really keep you sharp and on your toes, so obviously lightening up on gear is a must. Having those extra time constraints can potentially open us anglers up to more possibilities including some that might otherwise be missed with the standard night angling approach that we are generally used to. Keeping your gear organised and stripped down to a minimum will only help when reacting to what unfolds before you. Staying mobile and trying different zones is never time wasted, as this will help build up more of a picture for following trips or for when things go back to normal.

TRAVEL LIGHT

I’m sure many of us would prefer to be out fishing through the night, but just of late I've found that by treating each day as a fresh new adventure, I have really enjoyed being out, even in these cold conditions. Recharging my batteries each evening certainly helps and doing just the days can really keep you sharp and on your toes, so obviously lightening up on gear is a must. Having those extra time constraints can potentially open us anglers up to more possibilities including some that might otherwise be missed with the standard night angling approach that we are generally used to. Keeping your gear organised and stripped down to a minimum will only help when reacting to what unfolds before you. Staying mobile and trying different zones is never time wasted, as this will help build up more of a picture for following trips or for when things go back to normal.

KEEP THE BAIT GOING IN

One thing I've found that can definitely put the odds in your favour, whilst fishing with daytime constraints, is regular pre-baiting, ideally applying the bait early morning or early evening, around natural feeding times that occur in the winter when the light levels change. If done on a little and often basis, it can trigger a feeding response fairly quickly afterwards, as well as training the carp to feed at certain times of the day.

I’ll always try to find spots close to natural holding areas such as snags or weed beds, features where more than a few fish can rest up in between feeds. Likewise, choosing the right type of bait is important too. You don’t want to fill the carp up at this time of year as it will take longer for them to digest their food due to colder water temperatures. Therefore, I opt to fish a mixture of smaller food items packed with plenty of extra attraction leaching from added liquids and powders. These tiny food items will make the carp return even when the larger bits have been eaten.

KEEP THE BAIT GOING IN

One thing I've found that can definitely put the odds in your favour, whilst fishing with daytime constraints, is regular pre-baiting, ideally applying the bait early morning or early evening, around natural feeding times that occur in the winter when the light levels change. If done on a little and often basis, it can trigger a feeding response fairly quickly afterwards, as well as training the carp to feed at certain times of the day.

I’ll always try to find spots close to natural holding areas such as snags or weed beds, features where more than a few fish can rest up in between feeds. Likewise, choosing the right type of bait is important too. You don’t want to fill the carp up at this time of year as it will take longer for them to digest their food due to colder water temperatures. Therefore, I opt to fish a mixture of smaller food items packed with plenty of extra attraction leaching from added liquids and powders. These tiny food items will make the carp return even when the larger bits have been eaten.

This winter I’ve been having results using a mixture of Manilla Active and Bloodworm, both in 12mm whole baits and crumbed, along with GLM and Krill powder, mixed together with Cloudy Manilla and a bit of Krill Liquid. It’s worth being mindful of nuisance species though. The local lake I’m fishing at the moment has a huge head of bream so I've had to take that into account, as baiting any old spot in open water would just bring those in onto the bait. Choosing spots near the marginal shelves, close to snags or reeds will reduce the chances of them hanging themselves.

This winter I’ve been having results using a mixture of Manilla Active and Bloodworm, both in 12mm whole baits and crumbed, along with GLM and Krill powder, mixed together with Cloudy Manilla and a bit of Krill Liquid. It’s worth being mindful of nuisance species though. The local lake I’m fishing at the moment has a huge head of bream so I've had to take that into account, as baiting any old spot in open water would just bring those in onto the bait. Choosing spots near the marginal shelves, close to snags or reeds will reduce the chances of them hanging themselves.

ALWAYS TRY TO FIND SPOTS CLOSE TO NATURAL HOLDING AREAS SUCH AS SNAGS OR WEED BEDS, WHERE MORE THAN A FEW FISH CAN REST UP IN BETWEEN FEEDS.

ALWAYS TRY TO FIND SPOTS CLOSE TO NATURAL HOLDING AREAS SUCH AS SNAGS OR WEED BEDS, WHERE MORE THAN A FEW FISH CAN REST UP IN BETWEEN FEEDS.

RIGS

Where rigs are concerned, I feel they should be versatile and suited to fishing over a variety of different lakebeds as part of this approach. Sometimes it’s not always possible to get into the zones that you have been pre-baiting, or if you’re lucky you might find an opportunity elsewhere and you can get a versatile rig out quickly to areas of activity without having to ring the changes.

In these cases, you should be able to react without having to lead about, potentially ruining the opportunity. For this kind of angling situation, I prefer a helicopter-lead arrangement, fished in conjunction with long Camsoft hook-link and Straight Eye Hooks, fished blow back style with a wafter hookbait. I’m confident that with this kind of setup ensures I’ll be fishing effectively, even over the softest of substrates.

RIGS

Where rigs are concerned, I feel they should be versatile and suited to fishing over a variety of different lakebeds as part of this approach. Sometimes it’s not always possible to get into the zones that you have been pre-baiting, or if you’re lucky you might find an opportunity elsewhere and you can get a versatile rig out quickly to areas of activity without having to ring the changes.

In these cases, you should be able to react without having to lead about, potentially ruining the opportunity. For this kind of angling situation, I prefer a helicopter-lead arrangement, fished in conjunction with long Camsoft hook-link and Straight Eye Hooks, fished blow back style with a wafter hookbait. I’m confident that with this kind of setup ensures I’ll be fishing effectively, even over the softest of substrates.

I prefer a helicopter-lead arrangement, fished in conjunction with long Camsoft hook-links and SE Hooks, fished blow back style with a wafter hookbait.

I prefer a helicopter-lead arrangement, fished in conjunction with long Camsoft hook-links and SE Hooks, fished blow back style with a wafter hookbait.

WATERCRAFT

The lake I’m currently fishing seems to switch on to drastic temperature changes, both on the increase and on the drop. When time is limited, looking for these patterns will help when planning trips and for targeting certain areas at the right time for the prevalent conditions.

Paying close attention to little details will stop you from wasting valuable time. For instance, this week was a bit of a learning curve for me. On the first day of two in a row, I managed a nice upper-twenty mirror plus a smaller mirror of around 17lb. After that I baited lightly for the next day but when I arrived in the afternoon, I noticed a coot diving and picking up bait. This told me that there was still bait left and that it hadn't all gone, but I did the evening in the swim anyway as I had found that the action would normally

come on dark. During the evening I had an aborted take, and after getting the rod back out quickly I only received a few liners before packing up. My experience told me that I needed to rest that zone and keep some bait trickling in, so the carp could regain their confidence in feeding in that area.

For my next trip, I'm planning to keep an eye on the baited area and will only fish that spot if the other end is pressured, or if the fish are back on the bait confidently and the coots are not picking anything up. In the meantime, I've got another two areas where I've found fish recently and I’m confident they will turn up there again at some point. Paying close attention to these little details will definitely result in more action.

WATERCRAFT

The lake I’m currently fishing seems to switch on to drastic temperature changes, both on the increase and on the drop. When time is limited, looking for these patterns will help when planning trips and for targeting certain areas at the right time for the prevalent conditions.

Paying close attention to little details will stop you from wasting valuable time. For instance, this week was a bit of a learning curve for me. On the first day of two in a row, I managed a nice upper-twenty mirror plus a smaller mirror of around 17lb. After that I baited lightly for the next day but when I arrived in the afternoon, I noticed a coot diving and picking up bait. This told me that there was still bait left and that it hadn't all gone, but I did the evening in the swim anyway as I had found that the action would normally come on dark. During the evening I had an aborted take, and after getting the rod back out quickly I only received a few liners before packing up. My experience told me that I needed to rest that zone and keep some bait trickling in, so the carp could regain their confidence in feeding in that area.

For my next trip, I'm planning to keep an eye on the baited area and will only fish that spot if the other end is pressured, or if the fish are back on the bait confidently and the coots are not picking anything up. In the meantime, I've got another two areas where I've found fish recently and I’m confident they will turn up there again at some point. Paying close attention to these little details will definitely result in more action.

KEEP SOME BAIT TRICKLING IN, SO THE CARP REGAIN THEIR CONFIDENCE IN THAT AREA.

KEEP SOME BAIT TRICKLING IN, SO THE CARP REGAIN THEIR CONFIDENCE IN THAT AREA.

APPRECIATING THE
LITTLE THINGS

These are strange times and still being able to get out and have some down time by the water is great for our wellbeing. I’ve found myself appreciating the little things like feeding the robins boilie crumb and watching kingfishers feed, it all adds to keeping that enthusiasm burning. Fingers crossed it all comes good and we’re back to doing nights again soon but until then stay safe and be lucky!

APPRECIATING THE
LITTLE THINGS

These are strange times and still being able to get out and have some down time by the water is great for our wellbeing. I’ve found myself appreciating the little things like feeding the robins boilie crumb and watching kingfishers feed, it all adds to keeping that enthusiasm burning. Fingers crossed it all comes good and we’re back to doing nights again soon but until then stay safe and be lucky!

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