Dave Har­rell How to keep catch­ing on low, clear rivers this au­tumn

Au­tumn is here and good catches are pos­si­ble with the right ap­proaches!

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

EV­ERY­WHERE I’ve fished over the past few weeks I’ve no­ticed that the rivers have been run­ning clear.

On some, I’ve been able to see the bot­tom 4ft or 5ft down, and this has meant hav­ing to think very care­fully about ap­proaches.

Big feed­ers have gen­er­ally been a waste of time – fish have just been back­ing off them. Float­fish­ing has been much more pro­duc­tive on the venues I’ve been go­ing to, so this week we’re look­ing at ways to put more fish in your net now au­tumn has ar­rived. The air tem­per­a­ture is still up and it’s a great time to get out on the rivers.


I’ve lost count of the num­ber of times I’ve scaled down to a light hook­length and started to catch roach when a thicker hook­length was to­tally ig­nored. Most of my run­ning line au­tumn fish­ing for roach is done with 0.14mm or 0.16mm main­lines and 0.08mm to 0.10mm hook­lengths. These are typ­i­cally tied to size 20 or 18 Dren­nan Car­bon Match hooks.


Get into the habit of feed­ing then cast­ing, rather than do­ing it the other way round. You’ll fool far more fish into tak­ing your hook­bait this way as they dart into the loose­feed where your hook­bait is up for grabs!


Where big chub and bar­bel are likely, it’s silly go­ing too light on the hook­length, but smaller than usual hooks are of­ten worth try­ing. A good strong pat­tern in the smaller sizes is the Dren­nan Car­bon Feeder, which I use on the float as well as for static baits.

It’s pos­si­ble to land big fish on rel­a­tively light lines as long as the rod is soft enough.


In clear wa­ter, you need the hook­bait to go down the swim as nat­u­rally as pos­si­ble and this usu­ally means very light shot­ting down the line, es­pe­cially for wag­gler fish­ing.

On the wag­gler, use a No8 shot for every 2ft of depth, so for a 6ft deep swim, use three No8s.


This ploy has caught me loads of fish over the years in sit­u­a­tions where con­tin­u­ally feed­ing with just mag­gots would have even­tu­ally overfed the swim.

For some rea­son, you can keep feed­ing hemp and the fish stay in­ter­ested – but don’t over­feed.


A dot­ted-down in­sert wag­gler will show more bites from sil­ver­fish than a thick pea­cock or balsa float. Early in a ses­sion, keep adding No8 shot un­til the float shows as a mere dim­ple. As long as you can see it all the way down the swim this will re­sult in loads more bites suc­cess­fully con­verted into fish.


It’s a great time for tares, with hemp as feed. Keep a steady trickle of tares go­ing in all ses­sion but feed mainly hemp. Half-a-pint of tares is am­ple for a long ses­sion.


When the river is clear, I try to feed the swim so that fish are 10m-30 me­tres down­stream from me, or they will spook too eas­ily.


Bread­flake is a great bait for chub. To use it, just rip a small piece from a slice and pinch it around a size 8 hook. The bread will soon soften in the wa­ter, mak­ing it easy to strike through once a fish pulls the float un­der!

“Get into the habit of feed­ing, then cast­ing, rather than the other way around”

The float will catch you more on clear rivers.

Chub are suck­ers for a big lump of bread­flake.

Hemp (top) and tares: Great for roach.

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