• You need to be a registered member of Barbel Fishing World to post on these forums. Some of the forums are hidden from non-members. Please refer to the instructions on the ‘Register’ page for details of how to join the new incarnation of BFW...

Arriving after dark/before first light on small rivers

Since I started fishing on the Thames a few years ago I have had to resort to starting sessions at times of day where there is no daylight in winter, either before or after work.

I have now moved closer to some smaller rivers (Loddon and Kennet) and wonder if it is still feasible to arrive in the pitch black. I imagine casting can be much harder, on the Thames I could just clip up, but sometimes the going area was the size of a tennis court!

Before I talked myself out of it without really attempting, I thought I would ask here to see if anyone has any suggestions or has been in a similar position due to work commitments in these winter months?

Anthony Pearson

Senior Member
You'll probably have more light than you think. Add to this that you are likely to be casting much shorter distances, possibly to features on your own bank of the river. If you're familiar with the swims, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Chances are, you'll also have the pick of the swims (especially at this time of year)! Sounds good to me.

John Walker

Senior Member
James, arriving in the dark on small rivers alone needs EXTREME caution unless you know the section really well mate, undercut banks in winter can cave in quite unexpectedly and even a strong swimmer if laden with warm clothes ect can gt shocked by the cold entry and cramp up, in the dark alone this can be fatal mate so use a lot of caution,
as for vision in the dark try to remember the tree tops and tree/ bush shapes thus giving you a sky outline map of where you really are regards the river,
and an aiming target measured by casting at a section of the tree/bush height too, this method with practice can be very very accurate even in dark nights, but dont be afraid to use a strong beamed torch when moving along the bank because of reasons postd above, good luck and keep safe:)
Thanks very much for the advice chaps, I'll be sure to be careful out there as you say John but like Anthony said the lure of banks devoid of other anglers is too much to miss out on.... The ticket I'm after is relatively expensive so I just didn't want to find it was a waste with the season ending in March.

Dave Taylor

Senior Member
If you know the swims it can be worthwhile fishing before dawn James.
Some years back on a mild February morning I got up at some ridiculous time , ..drove the 20 miles to a favourite venue and was settled in 2 hours before dawn.
I was rewarded with 2 fish ,.. a high 13 and a good 12 all before first light on what was a very hard venue. Didn’t get another touch through to lunchtime.
Often do well for winter river pike just as it’s light enough to see a float.

Derek Funcks

Senior Member
Safety is paramount in the dark, let someone know exactly where your'e going, and what time you expect to be back. Excellent advice from the guys above. A dog spike and rope may seem a little extreme, but can be a life saver. Tight lines. :)

Mike Thompson

Senior Member
Agree with Derek regarding the dog spike and rope. Last year I settled into a swim on the Derwent. After an hour there was light rain for perhaps fifteen minutes. Without the rope I would never have got back up the bank. Couldn't believe how slippery it had become.