This is the ultimate checklist of night fishing essentials.

When darkness falls, it is important that you are comfortable when night fishing for carp and have the right equipment to have a successful session. Night fishing is very different from day fishing.

I’ll take you through a night fishing equipment checklist and show you some things you may not have thought of to make night fishing really comfortable.

If you are cold or the lighting is inadequate, it can end your night fishing session immediately. You will not be able to fish successfully if your lighting is poor.

Therefore, it is important that you read through this article and make sure that you have the right equipment before you go night fishing.

In addition to your fishing rods, reels, fishing license, and the rest of your daytime gear, you will need a few more pieces of equipment if you are going to fish at night.

night fishing checklist
Night fishing checklist

Night Fishing Essentials

What equipment do anglers need for night fishing? Here you will find a detailed list of the things you absolutely need to have with you when night fishing, but also some extras that will make your night fishing session really enjoyable.

Obviously, you will not just go out and buy all this gear in one big shopping spree. But you can decide what you need most and buy it little by little, or even suggest them as a Christmas gift.

I suggest you come back to this article when you have some spare money and decide what you need next.

Bedchair

There is a wide selection of bed chairs on the market these days. You need a bedchair that will support your weight adequately, that folds up but is also comfortable. You will not get much sleep on an uncomfortable bedchair.

Sleep systems are all-in-one bedchairs that have a built-in sleeping bag and pillow. They are more expensive but much more comfortable. If you invest in a sleep system, you are guaranteed a comfortable night.

Read our reviews of the best bedchairs here.

Bin Bags

Always take your rubbish with you. Most fishing lakes are likely to ban you from returning if you leave rubbish lying around. Bin bags are easily forgotten.

Bivvy or brolly

Sometimes you do not need a full bivvy, especially in the summer months. All you need is somewhere to shelter from the sun and bad weather and a place to sleep. In this case, a brolly or day shelter is a better choice.

Clothing

Apart from your T-shirt, trousers, and shoes, clothes are a must so you can feel fresh when you go on a long fishing session. If you take several layers with you, you can adapt to temperature changes more easily. A thick carp fishing jacket will help when it gets cold.

Hip flask and mug

Essential for keeping warm in cold weather.

Food and drink

Plenty of food and drink is a must when carp fishing. Packaged food if you do not have a portable fridge.

Frying pan and pots

Only if you plan to cook, you will also need cleaning stuff for when you have finished cooking.

Kettle

For tea, for cleaning, but also good for shrinking shrink wrap on your rigs.

Lighting for Bivvy

A good light source when carp fishing, aimed at the front of the bivvy, will make it much easier when you have a run. Magnetic lights or hanging lights, ideally USB for quick easy recharging.

Lighting for rods

Lighting on a stand, ideally with a motion sensor. You can also use a light stick to illuminate the area. You could mount it on your rod rack.

Pillow

A fleece-lined pillow is usually the most comfortable.

Sleeping bag

Buy a 5-season sleeping bag, nothing less.

Rechargeable Head Torch

Rechargeable head torch and headlamp

Invest in a good rechargeable head torch, with a red torch option.

Storage

A folding storage unit is useful when night fishing, as it allows you to stow your belongings and not trip over them when it gets dark.

Bank Markers

When fishing at distance, bank markers are great to use to line up your cast. Having a light or a glow stick will help even more.

Pre-made Rigs

Pre-made rigs save the hassle of tying new rigs in the hours of darkness. Make sure you choose rigs with adequate breaking strain.

Pre-made PVA bags

Great for getting quick bites when a group of fish finds your bait, but can be a deadly combination during the winter months.

GPS bait boat

Ideal for night fishing and getting your bait back on the same spot in complete darkness. Highly recommended if your fishery allows it.

Heating

Gas can be found at your local camping shop. A bivvy heater can be useful if you are conscious of the potential dangers they bring if used incorrectly.

Nightlite bobbins 

These make it really easy to see which bite alarm has been activated. They plug into your bite alarm and light up using the power from the bite alarm. Great for clear bite indication.

Toilet facilities

Nature happens….

Walkie talkies

Useful for waking up your fishing buddy to help you with your catch, and to ask them to help you take photos.

Cleaning towels for condensation

Being able to remove condensation from your bivvy will help it to last longer, if you put the bivvy in its bag when it is wet, will cause it to smell damp and likely cause it to go moldy.

Crocs or sliders

Although they are not ideal for walking around in town, they are ideal when needing something quickly on your feet when your alarm is sounding at 3 am.

Baby Wipes

To keep clean and to clean wounds.

Bivvy Table

Handy when tying rigs and keeping things off the floor.

Bottled Water

For drinking, tea, and showering.

Carp Barrow

Handy if you have a lot of gear, so you can stay mobile.

Cooker Or Burner

Nice to have a decent meal to stay warm on the bank.

Cutlery

Needed if you are doing any cooking on the bank.

Dab Radio

Nice to have, but keep the volume down.

Pop-Up Shower Tent

Useful when you need privacy for showering and toilets.

Portable Shower

Now very cheap and useful for keeping fresh in the hot months.

Portable Toilet

Much nicer than most of the public toilets that everyone else uses.

Powerpack

For charging USB devices.

Toilet Roll

Just in case there is none in the communal toilet, or if you have your own portable toilet.

Towel

For drying off after a shower.

USB Solar Panel

To charge the power packs and USB devices.

Warm Clothes

For when the temperature drops.

Wash Bag

To keep your overnight gear together, plus your toothbrush.

Spare Batteries

Particularly for lighting and bite alarms. You can’t fish at night without these.

Spare Gas

For heating and cooking.

Spare Net Handle

If your landing net handle snaps and the fishery gate is locked, your session is over.

Spare Set Clothes

Spare clothes will save you a fishing session if you get wet and need to change. Spare clothes will also allow you to add more layers of clothing if you start getting cold. 

There is nothing worse than wearing wet clothes and having nothing else to change into. Especially if you’ve then got to get into your sleeping bag.

Night Fishing Essentials – The Bare Minimum

At the very minimum, on top of your day fishing kit, you will need shelter, a bedchair, a sleeping bag and pillow, adequate lighting such as a head torch, and if fishing alone, a life vest.

Night Fishing for Beginners

Before we start, night fishing for beginners can be dangerous and disorientating when it is pitch black. It’s advisable to learn how to fish effectively in daylight before trying to fish at night.

When you first start overnight sessions as a beginner, be sure to go with a friend so that they can help you when you hook into a carp.

Night Fishing Tips

Choosing the right swim for night fishing

Choosing the right swim if you are night fishing is an important decision to make. You want to choose a swim where you can see what is going on around you.

If you pick a swim that is difficult to cast in due to overhanging trees, for example, the difficulty in casting to your fishing spot will only magnify at night. Using bank sticks as distance sticks will help, so it’s worth learning how to use them. 

Fishing the right spots to fishing at night

If the spot you are fishing during the day is really hard to cast to, you are never going to be able to put your rig on the same spot at night.

The only time you’ll be able to do that is what a GPS bait boat perhaps. So be sensible when choosing a place to fish at night.

Believe it or not, most fish will be right in front of you at night eating the bait the other anglers have thrown into the margins.

Trying to cast in complete darkness is pointless, and nine times out of ten your rigs will not be in the right spot.

Night fishing on your own

Ideally, you would fish with fellow anglers. But if you don’t have that option, make sure you check in with someone at home when night fishing.

Ideally, as silly as it may seem, you would wear a life vest in case you slip and fall in. And believe me, it happens to the best of us, just ask Adam Penning.

How do you prepare for night fishing?

Good lighting is key for successful night sessions, being able to see your swim, where your line enters the water, and being able to get photos relies on good lighting.

Keeping warm on winter nights is key to being comfortable. If you are cold, your enthusiasm is going to be low, which turns the session into a miserable one.

Cooking equipment is also key on a night fishing trip. Having food that warms you up is going to make the cold nights much more bearable. 

When the water temperature and air temperature start to drop, you are going to need a way of warming your hands back up.

Why do fishermen generally go fishing at night?

Nighttime is when most larger fish movement occurs, they will move into deeper water to keep warm, so it makes sense for anglers to go out at night for some fun nighttime adventures. However, daytime is easier than nighttime because it’s easier to see where the fish are hiding.

If you want to catch fish, put in some extra time and energy to get out there. Because different species eat differently, you may see some new fish that you didn’t know existed. You could even run into a larger fish or a rare giant!

As a carp angler, most of your biggest fish will likely come at night, or in the early hours of the morning.


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Shane
Shane

I have made a lot of mistakes during my fishing sessions and don’t want you to make the same mistakes. I’ve learned the hard way over 20 years of fishing most weekends, testing, tweaking, and testing again and now want to help you excel with your carp fishing.

If you need any help, you can reach me at Fishing Again’s Facebook page