LEWIS READ

UN­DER­STAND­ING WHAT MAKES CARP TICK IS THE ROUTE TO A FRUIT­FUL AU­TUMN CAM­PAIGN

Angling Times (UK) - - CONTENTS -

UN­DER­STAND CARP BE­HAV­IOUR

Carp will try to main­tain a steady body tem­per­a­ture, mean­ing they will back off a cold wind and seek out the warm­est pos­si­ble ar­eas of the lake. Dur­ing the au­tumn, any time you stand in the face of the wind and think “That’s freez­ing”, the chances are the fish will be think­ing the same!

If you can’t find ac­tive fish on the wind, try look­ing at shel­tered, sunny ar­eas, or iden­tify ar­eas be­tween is­lands and bars that of­fer sta­ble con­di­tions for the fish. When you’ve found them, chances are they will be in that area for a while, so you can reap the re­wards.

GET IN SYNC!

There is a marked change in feed­ing times on many wa­ters at this time of year, of­ten shift­ing from morn­ing to the mid­dle of the night. If you’re not on the lake at the right time you will be miss­ing out, so be pre­pared to tai­lor your an­gling trips around the fish.

If that means do­ing the odd overnighter in the week, so be it – you’ll be an­gling far more ef­fec­tively than on day ses­sions.

TAR­GET SILT BEDS

As the water tem­per­a­tures dip, in­ver­te­brates that the carp feed on crawl into the sed­i­ment to nes­tle down for the win­ter. The carp in­stinc­tively know about these valu­able ‘larders’ and will take full ad­van­tage. That’s why you of­ten see bubbling in the au­tumn as the carp har­vest the nat­u­rals.

Catch­ing carp un­der these cir­cum­stances can be in­fu­ri­at­ing, and fish­ing an un­nat­u­ral­look­ing, per­fectly round boilie re­ally is about as in­ef­fec­tive as you can get.

Ring the changes with an al­ter­na­tive hook­bait such as a lit­tle nut or a bit or Peperami – it’s of­ten enough to trip up a carp or two. I’d add a caveat here - if your bait is re­ally ‘rock­ing’ and the fish are ac­tively look­ing for it, don’t worry. Just chuck it among the bub­blers, be­fore sit­ting back to await a war­bling buzzer!

OP­TI­MISE YOUR RIGS

Most rigs will work in silt, but take care with any left out for ex­tended pe­ri­ods if your venue ex­pe­ri­ences any sig­nif­i­cant un­der­tow. My opin­ions on lead ar­range­ments have swung quite rad­i­cally in this sense and I now pre­fer a lead clip ar­range­ment and a longer hook­link when fish­ing over silt.

With a he­li­copter rig, the un­der­tow can cause the leader to get pro­gres­sively buried deeper into the silt when­ever the bow in the line is taken up by the tow, and this drags the hook­link down into the mire as well.

CON­CEAL YOUR LINE

The re­duc­tion in light lev­els, weed and sus­pended al­gae that takes place in au­tumn means you need to be even more care­ful about lay­ing your main­line on the lakebed.

If your spot is within rea­son­able cast­ing range, us­ing a good fluoro­car­bon main­line

like Mi­rage can re­ally help (Nige and I dif­fer on this point!). Used in con­junc­tion with lit­tle bob­bins, it’s pos­si­ble to use small tell-tale lifts to learn whether fish are present and feed­ing in the vicin­ity of your terminal tackle.

RE­SEARCH THE HOTSPOTS

There is enor­mous ben­e­fit in get­ting the fish used to reg­u­larly see­ing bait over the win­ter, and keep­ing a steady trickle go­ing in can work won­ders. You can set traps that are likely to be tripped even if a small pod of carp come in and browse lightly in you pre-baited ar­eas.

To this end, do some re­search on his­tor­i­cally pro­duc­tive win­ter zones, un­der­stand­ing when in win­ter they pro­duced fish, and work to a loose plan, prep­ping ar­eas for a week or two ahead of planned trips.

USE MAG­GOTS

If your lake doesn’t con­tain loads of sil­ver­fish, then us­ing mag­gots can be noth­ing short of mirac­u­lous! They’re hugely digestible, and can be fished as big balls or on a Mag-aligner ar­range­ment. There’s no need to go over­board ei­ther. A gal­lon of ‘germs’ (cost­ing not a lot more than a kilo of boilies) is am­ple for a cou­ple of nights.

Spod them out and use a PVA bag to fo­cus the fish’s at­ten­tion around the hook­bait, which should be mounted on a nice soft hook­link (some­thing like Trick­ster is ideal).

If you get your lo­ca­tion right, you could en­joy a ver­i­ta­ble bob­bins bo­nanza!

WRAP UP YOUR SPOTS

Us­ing dis­tance sticks to ‘wrap up’ dis­tances to spots you’ve found in the lake makes ac­cu­rate fish­ing pos­si­ble even if you ar­rive at the lake after dark. If you do a bit of prep work and write down all the spots, not­ing sky­line mark­ers too, it’s sim­ple as sausages to fish as tight and ef­fec­tively at night as you can in the day.

This is an im­mensely pow­er­ful au­tumn tool, and I now look back at the pre-wrap­ping years and de­spair at the way we used to do it!

MID­NIGHT MA­NOEU­VRES

At this time of year the fish of­ten show in the early hours – so set your alarm clock, put the kettle on and get out of your pit. You won’t know a thing about fish show­ing if you’re not con­scious!

This could lead to you get­ting the drop on other an­glers and catch­ing some lumps by mov­ing into ar­eas that they are us­ing ac­tively at night. It’s an ad­dic­tive buzz once you have caught after be­ing proac­tive!

EN­JOY YOUR­SELF!

Choose the venues you fish and your com­pany wisely, and don’t be afraid to oc­ca­sion­ally have a so­cial and recharge your bat­ter­ies. Fish­ing is sup­posed to be en­joy­able and not trench war­fare, so its okay now and again to take your foot off the gas and en­joy a chill-out with your friends just ad­mir­ing the sun­sets and sun­rises (al­ways spec­tac­u­lar in the au­tumn) and maybe en­joy­ing a quiet beer or two. The fish are at peak weights too, and when the buzzer bleeps there’s a good chance it’ll be a true whacker on the end of the line…

I now pre­fer a lead clip and a longer hook­link when fish­ing over silt.

Keep­ing ‘hotspots’ topped up with bait is a great habit to get into.

If there aren’t too many sil­ver­fish about, mag­gots are hard to beat.

Fluoro­car­bon helps when you want to lay your line tight to the lakebed.

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