Angling Times (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Misty morn­ings, colour­ful leaves and plump carp look­ing their very best are what I love most about the au­tumn.

It’s a time when the banks are of­ten qui­eter, and a time­when the carp are feed­ing hard in prepa­ra­tion for win­ter. If I were to choose just one pe­riod in the year to tar­get big carp it would have to be from now through un­til around Christ­mas. At last the golden time is here, time to get out the woolly hat and scarf!

Tar­get­ing big carp through the au­tumn needn’t be dras­ti­cally dif­fer­ent from any other time of the year, but here are a few point­ers and things worth bear­ing in mind.


‘You can only catch what’s in front of you’ is a well-known say­ing in fish­ing, and never was a truer word spo­ken.

Once the water tem­per­a­tures be­gin to cool the carp tend to be­come more lo­calised in their move­ments, so it’s par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to be fish­ing the right ar­eas.

The best pointer here is to keep your eyes peeled for show­ing fish, es­pe­cially at dawn and dusk, as these are nearly al­ways the best times for spot­ting any signs. Any deeper water is worth keep­ing a close eye on, as those ar­eas which may have not have been fed on through the long hot days of sum­mer sud­denly be­gin to get har­vested by the carp.

It’s also worth pay­ing spe­cial at­ten­tion to the winds at this time of year as they can prove a huge aid when it comes to lo­ca­tion.

The wind and its in­flu­ence can be a tricky sub­ject to write about, and there will al­ways be ex­cep­tions to the rule, but in gen­eral I tend to avoid the winds from the north or east, es­pe­cially if they have some strength to them. Ba­si­cally, if the wind feels cold then I tend to ei­ther fish off the back of it or I try to choose ar­eas that are partly shel­tered, such as the lees of is­lands.

Southerly winds, on the other hand, have been pro­duc­tive for me dur­ing the au­tumn, but only if they’re mild and not too strong. Once they’ve been blow­ing strongly for a few days I’ve of­ten found that the carp back off, and in this sit­u­a­tion it can be bet­ter to tar­get the shel­tered water in­stead.

It’s not so rel­e­vant in the spring and sum­mer, but some time around Novem­ber I start tak­ing the water tem­per­a­tures, and this can also help when it comes to de­cid­ing whether to

fol­low the winds or to fish off the back of them. I can think of times when I’ve been sur­prised at how fast the water tem­per­a­ture has risen on the end of a mild, choppy south-westerly, par­tic­u­larly if it fol­lows a cold spell, so a ther­mome­ter is al­ways a handy ad­di­tion to your kit.


One of the best things about au­tumn is the ex­tended feed­ing spells. No longer are we look­ing at those short dawn win­dows which we come to ex­pect dur­ing the height of sum­mer. Now that the cooler days of au­tumn are here and con­di­tions are more suit­able for carp to be feed­ing than they are for sun­bathing, there’s a chance of ac­tion both day and night.

Whereas through the hot sticky days of sum­mer we may have got into the habit of wil­ing away the days and not putting our rods back out un­til last thing in the evening, of­ten set­ting our traps in the hope of ac­tion in the cool early hours of the fol­low­ing morn­ing, in the au­tumn months things are dif­fer­ent, and of­ten the day chances prove to be just as good or even bet­ter than the nights.

I quite of­ten find my­self re­cast­ing fresh baits early in the morn­ing in the hope of day­time ac­tion. In short, it’s worth pay­ing just as much at­ten­tion to your day­time fish­ing as what you’d nor­mally pay to the nights, as takes re­ally can come at any time.



Boilies will al­ways be a favourite and well-proven catcher of big carp through the au­tumn months, but by this stage in the year it’s likely that they will have al­ready been caught on them a few times, so it’s of­ten worth try­ing some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent to what ev­ery­body else is us­ing.

Well-known par­ti­cles such as hemp, tigers, maize and corn have all done well for me at this time of year, and it’s rare for them not to form at least part of my ap­proach.

When it comes to boilies I’m a big fan of high-qual­ity fish­meals in au­tumn, as this is when the carp are keen to build up their weight and con­di­tion to see them through the win­ter. Dy­na­mite’s Crave and The Source boilies have both pro­duced well for me at this time of year, but I’m care­ful not to go too mad with the amount that I use. I tend to start off with small amounts, just 20 or 30 baits around each rod, and then I go from there.

If I’m get­ting ac­tion and I feel that the fish are up for a bit more, I can al­ways up the amount of free­bies later on.

If I hap­pen to be fish­ing a quiet water with no other an­glers about, some­where that’s not get­ting a lot in the way of bait from other sources, then I like to pre­bait be­tween trips. When the carp don’t see much bait a lit­tle can mean an aw­ful lot, and it’s nice turn­ing up to fish a swim which you’ve made the ef­fort to pre­bait two or three days be­fore.

How­ever, if it’s a well-fished venue and they’re get­ting bait chucked at them all the time, I nearly al­ways find it bet­ter to just con­cen­trate on putting small amounts out in the right places and at the right times. It’s

al­ways worth re­mem­ber­ing that if you only put a few out you can ex­pect a take at any time after start­ing fish­ing, but if you’ve put loads out you’re nearly al­ways writ­ing off the first part of your trip.


What rigs you use shouldn’t re­ally dif­fer from any other time of the year, but if I’m us­ing boilies and only fish­ing with light scat­ter­ings, then pop-ups on ei­ther hinged stiff or Chod rigs will al­ways be a favourite.

On the other hand, if I’m fish­ing over a fair bit of bait, boilies or par­ti­cles, then I nearly al­ways opt for rigs with baits fished hard on the bot­tom, ex­actly the same as the free of­fer­ings. There are count­less rigs for fish­ing baits hard on the bot­tom, but my ad­vice here is to keep it sim­ple and use some­thing you’re al­ready con­fi­dent in. The most im­por­tant thing of all is a sharp hook.


It’s of­ten over­looked, but you won’t fish prop­erly un­less you’re com­fort­able. Be­ing hunched up be­neath a brolly is fine for those quick sum­mer overnighters, but come the wet and windy weather of au­tumn it’s not re­ally an ideal set-up. If you’re there for any length of time a de­cent bivvy and ground­sheet are im­por­tant, as is a good sleep­ing bag and suit­able cloth­ing. It might mean more to carry, but stay­ing warm and dry will only have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on your fish­ing. After all, it’s not meant to be an en­durance test.

And last but not least, while a bot­tle of cold water and a cou­ple of sand­wiches might be okay in the sum­mer, when you’re fish­ing through the long chilly nights of au­tumn you re­ally want to be cook­ing a proper meal and keep­ing your­self topped up with hot drinks. A good stove be­comes par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant.

Au­tumn is a great time to be on the bank, and with the un­cer­tainty of win­ter just around the cor­ner I al­ways feel a sense of ur­gency. It’s when ef­forts are dou­bled and en­thu­si­asm is high. After all, we could be un­der sev­eral inches of snow by Christ­mas... now there’s a thought.


Once water tem­per­a­tures be­gin to drop, add a ther­mome­ter to your kit.

A lovely Oc­to­ber mir­ror. Au­tumn is a time when the carp are look­ing their very best.

Fish­meal boilies are proven catch­ers of big au­tumn carp. Pre­par­ing to unwrap over 50lb of Novem­ber mir­ror. I love au­tumn! If I’m us­ing a fair amount of bait I’ll fish hard on the bot­tom, with ex­actly the same bait on the hair as what I’m feed­ing.

Septem­ber through un­til around Christ­mas is my favourite time for tar­get­ing big carp.

Over a light scat­ter­ing of free­bies I favour pop-ups on hinged stiff or Chod rigs.

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