One of the most productive angling holidays involves "pitching a bivvy" and heading out for some night fishing. Many species of fish choose to come out during the evening and night-time hours for feeding, especially in the warmest summer months. This is also a great excuse to head out for a short or long holiday, with or without your loved ones.
Perhaps the fish species most often sought when night fishing is carp. These fish can get massive in British waters, sometimes reaching well over 50 pounds (22.7kg). There are several different species of carp that are commonly found in the UK, all of which were introduced at one time or another in the last several centuries. Carp are especially sought after at night because they continue to actively feed at all hours.
Also nocturnal are catfish, which are occasionally fished for in UK waters. These fish are also capable of growing to massive size, presenting a unique opportunity for anglers. A staple of night fishing in North America, the catfish is a quite recent introduction into British waters, with the largest fish still being somewhat small by Spanish standards. Nonetheless, what started as a curiosity in a few Welsh waters, has become a staple stocked fish in several hundred streams and rivers throughout much of England, too.
Before carp fishing became popular in the 1980s, the most often fished for species at night was the venerable European eel. Eel are almost always fished for at night, since they prefer carrion on the river bottom. Nearly all UK waters have eel as long as they've not been fished out by trappers. Perhaps the hardest thing about eel fishing in the dark is getting them off the hook and back in the water, if you'll be releasing your catch. Generally speaking, the larger the eel, the more docile they are after the catch.
Other species that are very commonly sought in night fishing are predator fish such as pike and even trout. While not nearly as common as daytime fishing, angling at night has become quite common among serious fishers in recent years. While not all waters will allow fishing after dark, it is most commonly allowed in public waters that may be freely accessed or at the lakes and streams that are managed by fishing clubs and syndicates.
It's always a good idea to check and see if angling after dark is allowed before you set out. Even if you don't plan on staying all night long, there are many waters that are simply not managed after dark. Be sure to fish safely.