Moontime Carp – Part 2, A Short Session Approach

In part 1, I outlined the basics and summarised the effects the moon plays on carp behaviour and their feeding.  Now I get to the heart of the matter and reveal the practical details and specifics on how I apply this knowledge to my carp fishing and improve my catch rates.


I, like the majority of carp anglers, am restricted to when and where I can go fishing.  In an ideal world I would put together my moontime data, see what the best possible times are for the week ahead and then pick up my gear and go fishing.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out like that for me so I have to make the best of the opportunities available.  Generally speaking, throughout the year I fish two short sessions a week on my local waters plus a few week long trips to France per year, if I’m lucky!

Short sessions

Timing – At home, I fish one session at the weekend and a further session in the evening after work. In order to maximise my chances I will try and fish during one of the peak days around the moon phases, i.e. either one or two days either side of a moonphase (new moon, first quarter, full moon or last quarter).  This is my starting point, although not always possible as these peak days will not necessarily fall on my available fishing days.

I then look at the moontimes during that day, in other words, when is the moon RISE, H.P (High orbit point) SET or L.O (Low orbit point) times.  As I set out in my previous post, the transit times when the moon is directly overhead or in-between moon SET and RISE (H.P and L.O) are the stronger and  longer peak times, so, if I can, it makes sense to plan to fish around those times, as this gives a lengthier time when my chances are better.  It does not matter to me when these times fall; I will still aim to fish whether they are during the morning, afternoon or evening.

To give an example, and bearing in mind I am talking about short sessions here; if on a particular weekend the moon RISE is at 6am, the H.P is at 1pm and the moon SET is at 8pm, then I would plan to fish during the H.P and have all my rods in the water by 10.30am, which means I am ready with my traps set 30 minutes before the start of the H.P transit time at 11am.  Remembering that the H.P moontime lasts for approximately 4 hours, I would fish until 30 minutes after the end of the peak time then reel in and pack up at 3.30pm (unless I fancied staying a bit longer!).

If on the other hand other commitments meant I couldn’t go at that time then I would aim to fish the moon RISE instead which would mean an early morning call when I would want to start fishing at 4.30am and finish at 9am (bearing in mind that the RISE moontime lasts for approximately 3 hours).

carp fishing moon phases graph


Baiting Approach – On short sessions (3 to 5 hours) I don’t usually put much bait in and concentrate more on location.  Usually, and if time permits, I will put my efforts into a quick walk around the lake to see if I can find signs of carp, but if not, then it’s down to a best guess.  Once I’ve chosen my swim I will quickly cast out my pre-set up rods (usually I use 2 rods on a short session) then I MAY put out a little bait over one of the spots.  By little, I’m talking about no more than a dozen baits and it must be done accurately.  I want any bait I put in to focus the attention on my hookbait so I want any freebies to be within a 3 foot circle. The other rod will be a single high attract hookbait, either fished as a single or with a very small pva bag or a 3 bait stringer.

However, I will only put in bait over one rod if I manage to set up BEFORE the start of a moontime, otherwise its singles, bags or stringers only.  Even if I catch a carp over a baited spot, I rarely will put any more bait in.  I am only fishing for a few hours so my target every time I go fishing is to catch a carp.  If I am lucky, and I have got my location right, then I may get a double hit (or more) but my aim is to catch one carp at a time.

carp fishing moon phases

Nice upper twenty common caught from Oakview in July which was part of a 5 fish haul in a 2 ½ hour RISE moontime from 1pm to 3.30pm. It was 35 degrees but the carp kept biting.

Times During Moontimes – You will find that there are certain times within a moontime that your chances are increased.  Generally speaking, these will be at the start of the moontime, the actual time of the RISE, SET, H.P or L.O and then again at the end of the moontime.  I will definitely not re-cast or do anything with my rods (unless I get a run of course!) or put any bait in around these times.

Next time

When you have a week to fish you can really reap the benefits of knowing, and applying your tactics around Moonphases and Moontimes.  Next month, I will share my approach to a week in France which I hope will add to your enjoyment and hopefully your catch rates too.


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