Ultralight night fishing for carp
It has been 17 years since I started to focus on carp fishing. Even though the era of the “boilie” had started, the use of bite alarms and nights spend at the waterside were becoming normal, I have seen a lot of changes.
The carp scene has boomed, also thanks to social media, and resulted in exceptional growth and commercialization. Some find these developments negative, but we have profited a lot from it as well. The product range of material and bait has been further developed than ever before. You can determine yourself how far you go along with the marketing story of the producer and how much you are willing to pay.
A fact is, that we have to share the waters with more fishermen. Despite the overfishing of the more well-known carp waters around the higher populated areas, I noticed that the less-known waters are becoming more crowded as well. This does not have to be a problem when you are willing to adapt. For the fisherman who looks at the broader perspective, the options are endless.
For example the concept ‘Urban fishing’. This concept is increasing in popularity and consists of people trying to catch carp in the centre of the city. The results of these concepts do not lie. I have come across fish that have exceeded my biggest dreams, on places I did not even consider to go fishing before.
Throughout the years, fishermen have also started to fish with more compact gear. Only the highly necessary will be brought, so it will be easy to move and carry the equipment. Again, the commercialization is one of the factors that has helped to develop the product range of compact fishing gear that is now available.
I am not a trendwatcher and I like to fish on my own way. Something that does not always got me the best result, but hey, at least “I did it my way”. Still, I really do like to go fishing with less and compact gear. Just so I don’t have to carry my stuff up and down ten times. I have tried to cut back on my gear for years, something that has proven to be more challenging than I thought. Especially when I go on multiple day fishing trips.
When I go fishing, I am a loner. I like my peace and quiet and try to find these surroundings by fishing on spots that are deemed impossible. I will be the last you will ever see at the well-known carp waters in my local area. Because of the increasing angling pressure, I have forced myself to look into other directions, which can be achieved with new gear from time to time. I have swapped my bivvy for a lightweight brolly version and my big comfortable stretcher with sleeping bag for a more compact version, but they still were a thorn in my eye. One proper fish trolley was at least necessary to get everything to the waterside. To get this trolley to the waterside, there should be some sort of path and to put up the brolly there should be at least a flat square meter present.
Everything together, enough reason to broaden my horizon. My brolly has been left at home a few times when I slept under the stars. However, it turned out the Dutch climate is not ideal and I still had to bring my stretcher. Therefor I continued the search. Until last year during my holiday in Sweden, I stumbled across a hammock. This turned out to be the perfect product to sleep on places that do not allow a stretcher, moreover, it is super comfortable!
When I got back to the Netherlands, I started to read up on this topic and a few weeks later I bought my gear to use during multiple day hikes and for fishing abroad and in the Netherlands. This was the last piece of the puzzle to really go night fishing with compact gear.
A simple backpack with fishing material, two 10 ft rods and two trees are enough to go fishing for multiple days. Even the more challenging spots where I normally need a big unhooking cradle, waders and long bank sticks, I can still use the gear which I used to just go fishing for a couple of hours. Of course, not every spot is appropriate for this approach, but it opens doors to spots I normally could not have gone fishing.
In the meantime, I have been experimenting with this method, where I use hike techniques in my fishing experience, for over a year. My hammock has a mosquito net which makes it easy to sleep bug-free. If it starts to rain, I can easily set up a tarp above my hammock so I can go sound asleep without waking up and being soaked. I also use my water filter to clean the water I fish, to drink water, coffee or tea. I boil the water to eat instant meals, which helps to cut back on the weight in my backpack.
My fishing gear usually consists of two VaderX 10ft rods with DominatorX 6000 RS reels by Sonik Sports, supplemented by the unhooking cradle, landing net, alarms and bank sticks. Nowadays I also use the 6ft Xtractor rods of Sonik Sport to fish even more compact. Considering fishing tackle it varies. Often I stick with six rigs, six fishing leads, and four snag leaders with a safety clip. My favourite bait is produced by the brand Wavefishing, from which I use around 1-kilogram boilies a day. The boilies of Wavefishing are relatively new on the Dutch market, but in my experience loved by carp. I like to use a snowman or pop-up presentation, which helps the weight of the hook bait to be compensated and easily sucked up by the carp. That is why I always have two different pop-ups in my backpack. Furthermore, I love to fish with PVA sticks to which I add boilie crumbs, or otherwise added with pellets or liquid. The PVA dissolves in water which makes a little pile of food around my hook bait.
In this way, I have managed a multiple-day session with gear around the 15 to 20 kilograms, and I did not miss anything I needed. With this way of fishing, I can go to spots that would be impossible to reach with a trolley and stretcher. Above all, it has given me an entire series of fish I would not have caught on more well-known spots.
The search for new fishing spots and beautiful carp is merely limited by our imagination. My advice for everyone who fishes on carp is to look at it from another angle or with help from different fishing methods. Fishing carp from a boat will open different doors, but also looking at roach of bream fishing methods can be lucrative. These things are perhaps for a next article to write about.
Our scaled friends will not care about what happens above the water and continue to go to places, where we as fishermen cannot throw our bait.
Raymond van Ommeren