Fishing in the dark

Fishing in the dark is great fun and gives you a better chance of catching specimen fish as they have more confidence in feeding as you can see from my latest trip to the River Trent in


Me and my son Jordan have a session once a week, and fish from around 6.00pm until around 11.30pm, the first couple of hours is about feeding accurately and getting some bait down as very often you get no signs of fish at all until dark then its like a different river and can be bites galore.


The main target fish is Barbel so I am using a Shakespeare Mach 2 Barbel Rod perfect for the job, It has the strength to land Barbel well into double figures and also delicate enough to land Chub and Bream. The Reel I am using is a Mitchell Avorunner V2 7500 as you need a reel with a bait runner and you also need a reel that has the power on a big rivers like the




I am using 10lb line to a size 9 swivel tied to a 8” sink braid hook link. A size 8 JRC Connect 1 barbed hook set up as a hair rig. Tied to the end of the hair is a Korum quick stop as these are good to use in the dark as they are tied to the hair and never come off. On the line I first of all add 2 float stops 2 feet above the swivel. This acts as a semi bolt rig and also a weed stop. As in the Autumn weed is floating down the river and when it hits your line it will usually slide down to your rig but with the stops it prevent this as the weed will gather around the stops.


Then I have a beaded clip swivel that can run freely up and down the line this also allows me to alternate between a 2 to 3oz feeder or a 2 to 3oz JRC Connect pear flat lead. And last of all a buffer bead which you can slide down and fit snugly over the swivel this tidies the rig up and also acts as a buffer for the feeder/lead when running up and down the line.



I set my rod up pointing up at 45° to the river to stop the drag of the current, its also good to see your bites materialise, so I add an isotope or a clip light towards the end of the rod so you can see the fish showing interest. Also another good tip is at the start of the session cast to were you want to fish and put your line behind your line clip on the reel then between your reel and first eye tie a piece of bright coloured pole elastic in a slip knot leaving a ½” tag either side (around a number 4-6 rating).


As you don’t want your line clip on when you hook a Barbel, so the idea is to cast to your line clip take the clip off and engage your bait runner if you get a bite and land a fish then you can cast out of the way somewhere to the elastic and put your line clip back on, then reel in and bait up again, then cast to were you are fishing. If you don’t get a bite put your line clip back on and reel in. At least this way you always know how far out you are casting in the dark.


The bait I am using today will be Berkley Gulp Squid & Liver12mm Boilies using one on the hair, also before casting I dip the Boilie into a Berkley Gulp Squid & Liver Dip which gives it extra flavour that fish can pick up on in the flow of the river.




 Today I start the session at 6.30pm with a feeder which I fill with a fish meal based groundbait with some Berkley Gulp 4.5mm Halibut pellets a few larger ones and a few free boilies scattered in the mix. And when I use a straight lead I always use a PVA bag full of pellets around 30-40 small pellets and 2 or 3 boilies in it, its up to you one day the feeder will work another day the lead will work its up to you it just gives you a second option.



I cast into the middle of the river at around 50yds out I do this every 10 minutes for the first hour to get some bait down then every 20mins or every fish afterwards. It’s dark at 8.00pm. I then get my first bite a 4lb Chub followed by another 2 x 4lb + Chub, good start. Then it goes quiet for around 20mins and I hook into a Barbel feels a good one yes 10lb 8oz.



I don’t get another bite until 9.00pm then the rod keeps rattling I strike a very big Bream comes to the net, that’s the end of the Barbel as a  huge shoal of Big Bream move in and I catch 10 of them in the next 2 hours 9lb 2oz, 8lb 8oz, 8lb 4oz,  4 x 7lb+ and 3 6lb+ fish, 14 fish for over 90lb in 4hrs not bad,



I now call it a night at 11.00pm as got to go to work in morning.

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