Sweetman shows how to make the most of your short sessions!

Steve Sweetman often only has limited time on his hands to go carp fishing, so he has to try and make the most of his opportunities and catch them whilst fishing shorter sessions.

Other commitments mean that he often only has a few hours spare to go fishing, or at most 12 hours for an overnighter between work, but he has found that he is still able to keep on putting some fish on the bank despite these limitations and having to fish a bit differently.

Here Steve explains how he goes about his short session fishing, saying: “Choosing a suitable venue is one of the most important aspects of short session fishing.

“Picking somewhere that is close to home or work is going to be a huge advantage and will make your limited fishing time more productive, rather than spending a lot of your precious time travelling to the venue.

“Being organised and having your rigs pre-tied and equipment ready to go is another big part to being successful when fishing short sessions. If an opportunity presents itself to go for a few hours or a quick overnighter, you don’t want to be wasting time tying rigs or getting everything ready before you can go. Any extra time that you spend at home preparing your kit and rigs will only help to put the odds in your favour during your time on the bank.”

Once on the bank Steve adapts his approach to suit the actual time he has available, explaining: “If I just do a few hours or a day session then the key is to travel light and to go and find the fish to maximise your chances of catching. This could be stalking, floater fishing, or even just fishing in areas where you have seen carp. As the old saying goes, ten minutes in the right area is better than ten hours in the wrong one!

“If you do find an area where you catch from or have seen fish, then at the end of the session mark it up using your distance sticks, and the next time you arrive if you see fish there again you can put on a light lead and get a rig out there with as little disturbance as possible and less chance of spooking them.

“When I get the opportunity to fish an overnighter I change my approach and will look for an area which I can imagine the fish visiting during the hours of darkness and at first light. This would tend to be deeper, open water and siltier areas of the lake where the carp will go hunting for naturals. Another reason why it is key to try and find a lake close to home or work is so that you can be there at first and last light when the fish are at their most active, and this will give you a good head-start when you get the chance to fish an overnighter.”

Steve varies his baiting as well depending on whether he will be there all night or just for a few hours, commenting: “There is no need to go overboard with the bait as this will dramatically reduce the chances of a fish picking up your hookbait, and often if I’m just fishing for a few hours I will use a handful of bait, especially in the edge when setting a trap.

“Another good approach that I find is to use a visual hookbait over your freebies – I use Linch Specials pop-ups over MC Nut boilies, from Oxford Carp Baits, and these pop-ups have a nice washed-out pink colour. Both the freebies and hookbait also stand out against the lake bed and I’ve watched fish in the margins homing in on the bait and it has produced plenty of quick bites for me.

“In the past I’ve done very well pre-baiting areas where I’m intending to fish overnight sessions and am confident that the carp are regularly visiting. But on a lot of waters – including the one I’m fishing at the moment – this is banned.

“To overcome that I’ve been trying to concentrate my efforts in one swim, but it is best to avoid the more popular swims otherwise someone else may reap the rewards!

“Sticking to one swim does have advantages for overnighters, as it is a way of regularly keeping your bait going into an area – I started the season using about half a kilo of boilies per night over two rods, but as the bites have become more regular I have upped that to two kilos. I’ve even had some double takes, which tells me that the fish have gained confidence and are now looking for food in this area.

“Another advantage to this is that as autumn approaches and daylight hours shorten, you can still fish very accurately to your areas even if you arrive in the dark, as you have them all marked out and casting to them will have become second nature.”

In terms of rigs, Steve favours a hinged stiff rig, constructed from Choddy hooks with Mouth Trap and N-Trap Soft, as he knows it won’t tangle and will give a good presentation over both clear areas and low lying weed, plus it fits his boilie approach.