Short sessions are a huge part of my angling whether that be overnighters, day sessions, or even just a few hours. Time is something that I've become more aware of over the last few years, it's precious and I find myself utilising it better and better not only throughout life in general but in my angling also. My time is fairly well scheduled and I generally know what I'm doing and when; which gives me the opportunity to prepare and adjust my angling approach to that time.
On a typical day session I would no doubt be heading to the lake as early as possible, and stay as late as possible, some of the best times throughout the year for seeing fish or even getting that bite is dawn and dusk so I always try to do an hour or so either side of that period. I really feel like being there an hour before first light has allowed me to get on fish for the day ahead and invest my time in the correct areas. Dawn is a really special time to be out in the countryside, the wildlife is waking up and it all adds to the atmosphere and the love of being on the bank for me.
As soon as I have identified an area of the lake that I want to fish I want rigs in the water as quickly as possible, I will have several rigs prepared with bright attractive hook baits attached to the ones on the rods before arriving, again just to utilise the time the traps can be set.
I like to pick venues that I know well, this means that sometimes I can anticipate where the carp are holding up before I even arrive, again it all comes down to having the rigs in the water as long as possible, maximising the chances of a bite. The sun plays a big part in my approach particularly in winter, so looking at the weather before my session is imperative, if the sun is going to be shinning I know that the carp will be following it, and ill often fish multiple swims throughout the day chasing the sun traps around the lake or up and down in the water columns with zigs. As I write this one venue, in particular, comes to mind where for a long period of the day in winter the sun shines brightly on a set of reeds against an island, I've fished very close up to these with great success when the suns at its peak of height and warmth. Slack water off the wind can also be great places to head for, particularly with zigs in the upper layers, catching them out as they bask and warm themselves.
Confidence is key any time during your angling but even more so when time is limited, I don't want to be experimenting with all sorts of rigs and baiting approaches when the window to get a bite is so short. Concentrate on good solid rigs and approaches that have served you well in the past, that way there is no “should I have done this” or “should I have done that” niggling on your mind.
Last but not least carry light, there is really no need to take the kitchen sink, be strict with yourself! A small rucksack with just the pure essentials is more than sufficient, I don't even take a chair, a decent mat is more than comfortable and can even be used to carry a net, scales, carp care kit, and even a bit of food and drink etc.
I’ve covered a few of the key elements I use in my “short session” angling, and I hope this drives you to use your time more effectively and maybe even get out when you ordinarily wouldn't have.
Just remember it can take only minutes to get a bite so there is no such thing as not enough time.