The Overnighter Angle- Dan Handley
Dan Handley explains how getting out there and braving the elements even on short overnighters can be dually rewarding, as he has found throughout the winter period. As we approach spring and the light levels are greatly increasing, there is no excuse to squeeze in that quick overnighter between work. Dan explains the key fundaments to success on these short trips and how he goes about ensuring he makes the most of his time when bank- bound…
Overnighters can be quite gruelling, especially if the conditions are less than favourable and it means packing up in the rain; but if they bring success, surely they are worthwhile? I have been plugging away over winter and have really enjoyed fishing on limited time at the drop of a hat. This mini feature gives you an insight into how I make the most of those short overnight trips at any time of the year:
If you have the opportunity to get out for one or maybe two nights during the week, try and make them co- inside with the best possible conditions. Weather apps are brilliant at making monitoring easy and I regularly check the overnight temps and air pressure, as a gauge to when is best to venture out. If a pressure drop is forecast, I will always try and coincide my overnighter with this to benefit from that sudden change to favourable conditions.
Even if the conditions outside are hard work, nothing beats staying comfortable and dry during an overnight session. Having plenty of gas and food to keep you warm during your quick night will make it all the more enjoyable. Motivation is key when doing the overnighters and to keep spirits high you need to feel comfortable when out on the bank.
I always prepare my bait at least the morning or evening before my trip for a few reasons; firstly, I want it to be as attractive as possible, drawing in and absorbing the liquids and powders I add. This is effectively when doing short sessions, as your bait is as attractive as it can be for the duration you are at the lake. Secondly, it saves time when you actually arrive at the venue to focus on getting the location right and sorting rods before nightfall.
I know pretty much exclusively fish braided mainline for a number of reasons, but the main one is that is vastly helps when finding and determining what spots are suitable for presenting on. During quick nights, the last thing you want to be doing is thrashing a marker around, so I adopt the use of my fishing rod and a lead to pinpoint firm areas to present my rigs. Braid aids the transmission and feeling to the rod tip more so than monofilament; eradicating the need to carry a marker rod when doing a quick overnighter.
Even in the depths of winter, I can comfortably fish under my brolly with the minimal amounts of gear that I carry. Stripping back simply means sorting through your tackle and leaving out unnecessary items that are simply not needed on a quick night. I carry a small rucksack with all of my tackle for a short session, a small bucket of bait and a stripped back tacklebox with all the essentials that I am likely to need.
This winter has seen me have some great success from a snaggy bush where the fish seem to regularly hold. If possible, it pays to visit the lake between overnight trips to trickle in a small amount of bait in a few likely looking areas. This pre- baiting prep will no doubt improve your chances of succeeding on quick nights; as the fish will be actively searching out items of food in and around a baited area.
Certainly in the spring, bright baits play an active part in my angling when trying to nick bites on overnighters; fish will often cruise over an area and fall foul to a bright one presented among a light scattering of food baits. Boosting them up with matching spray will vastly increase the flavour levels, drawing fish into the area much quicker!
Staying in Tune
Being in tune with the lake as we move into the spring can put you in the best possible position of catching on every trip. As the water warms, the fish’s baviour will change greatly and taking an active role of being at the lake even when you are not fishing can help give away clues and vital information as to their whereabouts. If one week you cannot get down to the lake for a night, try just getting down for a look around even if it is just for a few hours. Information is the biggest influencing factor when trying to piece the puzzle together.