21 es­sen­tial tricks for au­tumn

It’s a bril­liant time for bag­ging right now… here’s what to do!

Angling Times (UK) - - TIP & TACTICS -

ILOVE this time of year, as many of the venues I fish stop be­ing all about carp and switch to ses­sions where more species, baits, rigs, and tac­tics come to the fore.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to en­joy a busy ses­sion on long pole shal­low when the sun is shin­ing, but ad­ding bream, skim­mers and roach to the mix in au­tumn just makes my fish­ing so much more var­ied and en­joy­able.

I think this change in sea­son is when the think­ing an­gler gets his re­wards too, and ev­ery lit­tle edge you can cre­ate can make a big dif­fer­ence to your re­sults.

Here are a few of the tricks I’m us­ing right now…

DON’T BE BLINKERED

AU­TUMN is the best time to tar­get qual­ity sil­ver­fish, and in a match sit­u­a­tion these fish of­ten be­come es­sen­tial to a win.

It’s all about be­ing flex­i­ble with your ap­proach and re­spond­ing to the key feed­ing times of the species you’re fish­ing for.

Quite of­ten I will plan to tar­get carp early and late on in the match – the times when these fish tend to feed – and then fill the oth­er­wise bite­less gap in the mid­dle of the match by catch­ing sil­ver­fish.

This is far bet­ter than sit­ting wait­ing for a carp to come along, as it means you are al­ways putting weight into your net. If you can catch 10lb of sil­vers in two hours that’s the equiv­a­lent of two carp on a lot of venues, and at the weigh-in that 10lb can be the dif­fer­ence be­tween fram­ing and not.

FIND SOME COVER

AS LONG as there is more than 12ins of water against bank­side cover it’s well worth look­ing for carp there.

Cover makes them feel safe, so the tighter you go, the more likely you are to get a bite!

Quite of­ten it’s worth go­ing down with­out feed­ing first, as the carp are likely to be al­ready there.

Then, when you have caught a few, try feed­ing small amounts of bait to keep the bites com­ing.

GO BIG­GER WITH MEAT

MEAT is very much the ‘in’ bait, but it’s still well worth think­ing about hook­bait choice.

I al­ways start on a sin­gle 6mm cube – af­ter all, I’m feed­ing 6mm cubes so it makes sense to fish the same on the hook.

How­ever, I’ll change de­pend­ing on bites and, if I find if the fish­ing is hard, two cubes tend to pro­duce more bites than one or even half-a-cube – prob­a­bly be­cause the big­ger bait stands out more.

COM­BINE MEAT WITH CAST­ERS

MEAT is a great bait at the mo­ment as carp feed up be­fore the colder weather ar­rives.

I like to feed it with cast­ers, which are un­beat­able for hold­ing carp in the swim.

On com­mer­cials I feed a 250ml pot con­tain­ing two-thirds caster and one-third meat to kick the swim off. I then loose­feed meat over the top. If bites go a bit funny or the swim dies I sim­ply get the big pot out again and feed some more cast­ers!

USE STEALTHY FEED­ERS

A MINI pel­let feeder can be a great choice at this time of the year as it doesn’t make a big splash when it hits the water.

A big feeder can eas­ily spook carp, es­pe­cially once the water starts to clear.

It’s also eas­ier to reg­u­late the amount of bait you are feed­ing – of course, if the carp are re­ally hav­ing it you can in­crease the feed but if they aren’t then it’s much bet­ter to start on a small feeder and go big­ger later.

CRE­ATE RIGS FOR A SLOW FALL

AS THE water gets that lit­tle bit clearer, light floats re­ally come into their own when pole fish­ing. They give a slower fall of the hook­bait, which I be­lieve at this time of year pro­duces more bites as the fish fol­low the hook­bait down be­fore tak­ing it.

As a guide, when fish­ing baits like meat and corn, I will of­ten fish just a 4x12 float in 7ft of water.

USE BACK SHOTS

GOOD pre­sen­ta­tion is vi­tal when pole fish­ing, so it never ceases to amaze me how many an­glers still don’t fish with back shots.

Back shots are some­thing I now al­ways fish with. Nor­mally they in­volve at­tach­ing a string of three or four No9 shot be­tween pole float and pole-tip.

The first shot is placed 2ins-3ins above the float and the rest are spaced at 3ins in­ter­vals above this.

These back shots not only help in terms of pre­sen­ta­tion but they also make me stay tight on the float, which in turn means I miss fewer bites.

SWITCH YOUR WAG­GLER

WITH the water tem­per­a­ture start­ing to drop the pel­let wag­gler starts to be­come a less fash­ion­able tac­tic, which is odd re­ally be­cause it still works!

All it needs is tweak­ing slightly – in­stead of fish­ing a short stumpy wag­gler I like to switch to a proper float like a pea­cock in­sert.

The longer float al­lows me to fish deeper with good pre­sen­ta­tion, and this is the real se­cret to suc­cess at this time of the year.

As the water tem­per­a­ture falls, the carp in turn will drop down lower in the water col­umn.

So if you want to catch carp on the wag­gler right now you should be pre­pared to go deeper.

As a guide I would say a float set 4ft deep in 8ft of water is a good start­ing point.

DON’T DUMP THE MAG­GOTS

RIGHT now mag­gots are al­most un­beat­able for F1s. There are two ways of feed­ing them – ei­ther by hand if you’re fish­ing close in or, if fish­ing the long pole, then via a Kinder-style pot.

To get the most out of mag­gots when tar­get­ing F1s you need to feed lit­tle and of­ten, as they don’t tend to be a species that re­sponds well to dump pot­ting as other carp do.

SOFTEN YOUR MEAT

TO GET the best out of meat I al­ways like to keep it damp while I’m fish­ing. Meat that dries out can po­ten­tially float and be­sides, keep­ing it damp also helps to soften it for use on the hook, and carp love a soft bait.

To keep it damp all I do is cover it with water and then drain that water off af­ter five min­utes. This en­sures the meat is wet but not soak­ing. I then sim­ply cover it with a wet towel to stop the air get­ting to it.

PLUMB ALL OVER YOUR SWIM

PLUMB­ING the depth is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant at this time of year, as fea­tures above and be­low the water will hold fish.

I al­ways spend a good five min­utes plumb­ing around to get an ac­cu­rate pic­ture of what’s in front of me. It might sound ob­vi­ous be­cause ev­ery­one does it, but do it prop­erly and it can make a mas­sive dif­fer­ence.

Too many an­glers al­ready have a pre­con­ceived idea how to fish a peg and there­fore only plumb the ar­eas they in­tend to fish, rather than the whole swim. They then miss out on a po­ten­tial fish-hold­ing area as they have no idea it’s there.

EN­SURE YOU LAND EV­ERY FISH

TO LAND ev­ery carp hooked there’s no bet­ter pole elas­tic than White Hy­dro. I can land carp from 2lb to mid-dou­bles on this.

It’s best to fish it with a puller kit. This way you can hook a fish, steer it out of the swim and then, once the fish is in close, use the puller to quickly gain con­trol. It might take slightly longer to land a big fish but as long as it ends up in the land­ing net it’s worth it.

FEED PAR­TI­CLES IN THE EDGE

FOR the mar­gins you now need to change your ap­proach slightly. Rather than dump­ing loads of ground­bait in the edge I find it bet­ter to feed dead mag­gots and wet­ted-down 2mm pel­lets.

These are a great combo. The pel­lets at­tract carp and then, once they ar­rive, they feed on the dead mag­gots.

MAS­TER THE BOMB AND PEL­LET

THE straight lead and pel­let comes into its own now. Carp like to feed on the move so loose­feed 8mm hard pel­lets over the top of your hook­bait.

I feed 3-5 pel­lets ev­ery two min­utes, then cast around the baited area. If you fish just past your loose­feed you’ll pick up any sat at the back of the feed. If you start get­ting line bites you can drop back short on to the feed, know­ing there are fish al­ready there.

TRY PING­ING

NOISE can still at­tract carp into your peg, and ping­ing in hard pel­lets on a lit­tle-and-of­ten ba­sis on the pole is the way to cre­ate it.

I use hard 6mm pel­lets and feed 3-5 of these ev­ery 90 sec­onds to pull fish into the swim.

I will keep ping­ing un­til I get an in­di­ca­tion. Once I do I will stop ping­ing and keep lift­ing and drop­ping the rig un­til I catch the cul­prit! The se­cret to this type of fish­ing is not to feed too much. If you do, line bites and foul hook­ers can be­come a night­mare!

DON’T IG­NORE BREAD

BREAD is a bait that many an­glers as­so­ciate with the depths of win­ter, but in ac­tual fact it catches carp all year round.

One of my favourite Method feeder hook­baits is three or four 10mm discs of bread on a hair rig.

Be­ing bright white, these discs make a bril­liant stand-out hook­bait and once the bread fluffs up, carp find it hard to re­sist.

BRIGHT METHOD BAITS

NOW that the colour is drop­ping out of the water on most com­mer­cial fish­eries it’s well worth putting a lit­tle bit more thought into the colour of your hook­baits when fish­ing the Method feeder.

Colour can make all the dif­fer­ence in clear water, so in­stead of us­ing what I call ‘blend in’ hook­baits such as dark pel­lets, as I would in the sum­mer, at this time of year I pre­fer to switch bright, highly vis­i­ble baits such as mini boilies in flu­oro orange or yel­low.

Carp find these easy to lo­cate by sight.

LIQUIDISE YOUR CORN

JUST be­cause it’s that bit colder it doesn’t mean that on snake lakes you can’t catch in the shal­low water.

The key is to put a cloud in the water, and liq­uidised corn is ideal. Fed through a Kinder pot, it ex­plodes on the sur­face and carp then move into the cloud to feed.

I like to put four or five grains of corn in a small pot and cap it with the liq­uidised corn. Fish at­tracted by the cloud will feed on the solid of­fer­ings on the bot­tom. Hook­bait is a grain of corn or a slow-sink­ing corn skin.

SORT HOOK­LENGTHS

FOR pole work my rule of thumb is 4ins shook­lengths for shal­low water, and 6ins for deeper water.

The only ex­cep­tion to this is for my F1 rigs, where I pre­fer short, 4ins hook­lengths even in deep water.

The rea­son is that I like my F1 rigs to be pos­i­tive, and a 4ins hook­length al­lows me to put shot that lit­tle bit closer to the hook.

AL­WAYS TAKE CORN

AS THINGS start to cool down, corn comes into its own – it’s easy for the fish to spot eas­ily and read­ily di­gestible by the fish.

I al­ways tend to find less is more with corn so I like to feed just 4-8 grains at a time on the pole and fish it out.

When fished in mul­ti­ples of two or three grains, corn also makes a great stand-out hook­bait when fish­ing the straight lead.

FISH THE CONE

WHEN you need to feed a lit­tle less bait the pel­let cone is per­fect.

I pre­fer to use 4mm baits so I’m not putting so many in­di­vid­ual par­ti­cles around my hook­bait. I like to soak mine in the nor­mal way but then add a squirt of Main­line Cell Stick Mix to help them bind. Not only does this sticky the pel­lets up but it gives the pel­lets a flavour boost too.

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