Now that autumn’s well and truly here are there any big changes in the habits of the carp that I should be aware of, and should I now fish the deeper water?
All lakes (and all carp) behave quite differently, so while there may be some generic guidelines that we can apply to perhaps the majority of lakes, there are so many where the fish will do the exact opposite. For this reason I never offer any hard and fast advice without knowing the water in question, and even then it is with the caveat that the fish will always surprise you. They are wild creatures, and rules and boundaries do not apply. I can think of quite a few lakes where, at this time of year, the fish are beginning to migrate to deeper water. Conversely, I can also think of several venues where the fish will remain in good numbers on the shallower areas as it cools off, and a few more still where they will stay in these zones for the entire winter. So, instead of trying to plan your fishing trip based on location advice, try to take a more proactive view. That means finding the fish yourself, which brings me nicely on to the
second part of this question.
One of the most noticeable behavioural traits I have seen (and this can be applied to the majority of carp lakes I have visited) is the switch to nocturnal hours in terms of showing and feeding activity.
It seems that as soon as we pass the autumn equinox, night-time action massively increases. It is the only time of year that dawn becomes the second-best time to spot and locate fish. If you are not sure where they are, they will often give themselves away after dark, and regularly this will be in the more civilised first half of the night.
If you are doing the ever-popular quick overnighter it can pay not to be in a rush to get set up in the first available swim.
If you are patient and walk around into the evening it is very likely the carp will reveal themselves. It’s far better to get set up on fish in the dark than to be perfectly organised in daylight, but in an empty swim!
There are no rules – the fish will be where they want to be. This was a shallow feeder in cold weather.
Autumn is a time when the carp become more nocturnal.