STAY MOBILE AND MAKE SMALL CHANGES TO YOUR BAIT APPROACH TO KEEP THE BITES COMING
KEEP ON BAITING!
Don’t stop prebaiting, or cut back too drastically on the amount you are prebaiting with, just because the nights are starting to draw in. This is a mistake many anglers make at this time of year.
Carp are at their hungriest in the autumn, and boilies (as well as larger particles such as tiger nuts) really come into their own as a result. Keep introducing bait to your spots in reasonable quantities until temperatures really start to plummet and we’ve had a period of severe, sustained frosts.
BOOST YOUR BOILIES
There are many clever ways to give your boilies a little extra bit of pulling power. One of my favourites is to soak them in hemp oil – it’s one of the best attractors there are. It’s relatively inexpensive too – I buy mine from the supermarket. To get the hemp oil to penetrate right into the bait, add it to the boilies as soon as they are removed from the freezer, and they will soak the oil up as they defrost.
This is a great little edge for late autumn, but once it gets really cold, I’d look at substituting the hemp oil for a more soluble, digestible liquid.
MIX AND MATCH
If you’re fishing with three rods, on at least two of them match your hookbaits to elements of your loosefeed, whether it’s boilies, tiger nuts or corn/maize. If I’m fishing over a mix of particles I also like to have the two end rigs placed in quite close proximity to one another. Conversely, if I’m fishing over a spread of boilies, I’ll have them further apart on the lakebed.
On your third rod you can experiment with single hookbaits, or alternative offerings paired with a small PVA bag of free samples.
A chunk of hair-rigged Peperami, with a small PVA bag of diced ’Rami and small pellets, is a great combination at this time in the fishing calendar.
STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN
Carp are highly active in autumn, and at their most visible too – by this I mean they give away their presence far more frequently than in the hot, settled weather of high summer.
Location is everything in carp fishing, so don’t get distracted and sit back and listen to a radio or play around on your phone or iPad. Put the kettle on instead, grab a cup of tea and spend the time sat by the water listening and looking out for signs of fish activity. Your catches will soar as a result.
DULL IT DOWN
I like to vary the colour of the boilies I’m using to match the season. In winter, when the fish are torpid, or in spring, when they are just waking up, hi-viz, highly-flavoured ‘in your face’ pop-ups tend to work well because they attract cruising fish. In late summer and autumn I swap to a pop-up that matches the bottom baits I’m feeding, as I think that the fish have been hammered on hi-viz baits for six months or more.
Not only are they are far less blatant, they also match more closely what the fish are naturally eating (water snails and the like).
FISH OFF A BARROW
We are all guilty of taking too much kit with us most of the time. Another common pitfall, particularly at this time of year, is choosing a swim for the weekend and staying out once the house is up and everything neatly
“TRY FISHING ‘OFF A BARROW’, AT LEAST UNTIL YOU HAVE A BETTER IDEA OF WHERE THE FISH ARE”
arranged inside. However, as mentioned previously, carp are highly mobile at this time of year, and to get the most out of your sessions you should be too.
So, try ‘fishing off a barrow’, at least for the first few hours of your session, until you have a better idea of where the fish are and where you want to set up. Unload your kit on to your barrow, with the rods (already rigged up) on top. Lakes are far less busy at this time of year, so you can wander round the venue, looking for signs of fish. Once you spot some carpy activity, you can have a rig winging its way to the spot in next to no time.
Solid PVA bags are great for casting at showing fish, and virtually guarantee good presentation, whatever the make-up of the lakebed may be. So, if you see fish showing over an area you know to be weedy (perhaps they are harvesting an autumn larder of invertebrates), whack a solid bag to the spot.
Keep the pellets in the bag quite small, and to give the contents a little extra zing, use a syringe to inject a small amount of watersoluble flavouring.
The choices are endless, but steer clear of non water-soluble oils, which are a bad idea as the water begins to cool.
DITCH THE MARKER FLOAT
Marker rods are an important bit of kit for the carp angler, but they often get over-used and the commotion they cause can send the fish scurrying to all four corners of the lake. With the weed dying back at this time of year, they’re not as vital as in spring or summer.
So, if you still want to have a ‘feel about’ in a certain area of the lake, remove the float and cast about with a slightly smaller lead on the end of the braided mainline on the marker set-up. It causes far less of a disturbance, and a couple of casts are all you need to discover if an area is clear enough to fish over.
FISHMEALS ARE FINE
For years the unwritten rule was that you couldn’t use fishmeal baits in winter as they were too filling. You needed to use fruit, cream or spicy-flavoured baits instead.
This is rubbish – the thing is, you just use fewer of them instead. There are so many great baits on the market now that it comes down to what you personally like and are confident about using. For me, I use either Dynamite Baits’ Crave or Monster Tiger Nut, the reaon being that this gives me two completely different offerings – a strong, fish-flavoured bait and a sweet, nutty one.
DROP A BOILIE SIZE...
You’re just as likely to catch the biggest fish in the lake using a size 10 hook paired with a 10mm boilie as you are using a size 6 hook and a 16mm boilie. So, in keeping with the carp’s tendency to harvest naturals at this time of year, try reducing the size of the boilie you’re using.
For short range fishing or margin fishing 10mm boilies can’t be beaten if your spot is within catapult range.
They also more closely resemble some of the carp’s favourite natural food items – namely small water snails and
Stay mobile and you’ll catch more fish in autumn.
When it all comes together the results can be staggering!
Drop the float and use a bare lead.
I switch from bright to dull boilies.