talks through the bait­ing changes he makes to his he tar­gets ap­proach and the ar­eas feed-up dur­ing the big late au­tumn

Angling Times (UK) - - TACTICS -

THIS month is one of the best in the carp an­gling cal­en­dar. The fish are feed­ing hard, pack­ing on weight, and the weed has be­gun to die back, open­ing up plenty of new spots to tar­get.

In or­der to get the best from this prewin­ter time of bounty, it’s im­por­tant to tai­lor your ap­proach to suit the carps’ needs and to plun­der the ar­eas they’ll be search­ing for food.


In late au­tumn the bait mix that I use changes dras­ti­cally. In sum­mer I tend to use around 70 per cent par­ti­cles, with the rest com­pris­ing boilies and pel­lets. As the wa­ter cools, I switch to a mix made up al­most en­tirely of boilies, with just a hand­ful of tiger nuts and hemp thrown in. Carp love both these baits and I think a lot of that is down to their ‘crunch fac­tor’. Whether it’s the sensation of chew­ing the baits them­selves, or the vi­bra­tions emit­ted when they do so which helps trig­ger and stim­u­late other fish into feed­ing, I don’t know, but hav­ing them present in my loose­feed makes me su­per­con­fi­dent that the fish will stay feed­ing in the area un­til it’s all gone.

As I said though, it’s boilies that make up most of my bait mix. The carp are des­per­ate for the rich ar­ray of nu­tri­ents they of­fer and late au­tumn is when they re­ally ‘chow down’ on them.

When I was fish­ing on Stoneacres a few years ago, I had ac­cess to a boat and that re­ally opened my eyes to what the carp wanted. I would put 3kg-4kg on a spot and by the mid­dle of the night I could hear the fish show­ing over it. When I checked the fol­low­ing day, the spot was trashed and they had eaten ev­ery morsel.


A lot of peo­ple think that carp are just ‘pigs in a pond’ which have to eat our bait. How­ever, if they didn’t want to, they would sim­ply feast on nat­u­rals and never touch boilies. Re­mem­ber, carp grow big in lakes that never see an an­gler, so they don’t nec­es­sar­ily need to eat boilies. What I’m try­ing to say is that by putting some­thing out there that they know is good for them, that they know tastes good and that they can ben­e­fit from, they’ll take a chance of get­ting caught be­cause the re­wards on of­fer are too good to re­sist.

Carp have to work re­ally hard to har­vest the nat­u­ral food larder, which in the end doesn’t give them loads of nu­tri­tional ben­e­fit. By eat­ing boilies, they can get what they need much quicker and eas­ier, so they will take that risk. I com­pare it to hav­ing the choice of a roast din­ner in front of you or a salad 10 miles’re prob­a­bly go­ing to pick the roast!


Un­til the wa­ter goes re­ally cold, the Krill is my go-to bait, and has been for the past four years. I’ve got a huge amount of con­fi­dence in it, and that is the key; use some­thing that you are con­fi­dent in or that you know has a track record of pro­duc­ing fish, and lots of them too. I be­lieve that a good bait doesn’t ‘blow’. Each sea­son, I see a lot of peo­ple ladling in

“From up a tree, I’ve ob­served carp hoover­ing baits up from fully six inches off the deck”

the ‘lat­est bait’, think­ing that it’s go­ing to change their sea­son. Fast for­ward 12 months and this new won­der bait has failed to pro­duce the goods, be­cause the fish know it isn’t great for them and it isn’t worth tak­ing the risk eat­ing it. These same an­glers then move on to the next new bait, and the sce­nario repeats it­self. I can’t stress this enough – find a bait you trust and stick with it. If you’re not catch­ing on it, it’s prob­a­bly down to other fac­tors, such as fish­ing the wrong ar­eas, us­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate rigs, or ap­ply­ing the bait in­cor­rectly.


I of­ten get asked how much bait I put in at the start of a ses­sion. It de­pends on cir­cum­stances but, as a rule, I’ll cast seven or eight Spombs to my spot – enough to get a few fish feed­ing.

When it comes to hook­baits, I like to fish a ‘match-the-hatch’ ap­proach and al­ways make sure that my hook­bait is bal­anced. I’ve climbed count­less trees through the years to watch fish feed­ing, and I’ve ob­served them hoover­ing baits up from fully six inches off the deck. I’ve also seen fish hug­ging the bot­tom and glid­ing over a patch of whole, chopped and crumbed baits, think­ing that they would eat the lot, only to wit­ness them eat­ing just the crumb. That’s how del­i­cate they can feed some­times, which is why I use some­thing that is bal­anced and able to fly up into the carp’s mouth with ease, no mat­ter how ‘cute’ they are feed­ing.

A Krill Wafter straight out of the tub is of­ten what I opt for, and these sit bril­liantly over the mix that I use. I fish these in con­junc­tion with what I call the Noo­dle Rig, an ag­gres­sive bot­tom bait pre­sen­ta­tion that in­cor­po­rates a long shrink tube kicker which the fish find very hard to deal with. Due to the bait’s buoy­ancy, the rig will also ‘re­set’ it­self should it be spat out or moved about.

With the spots that I fish vary­ing in colour in au­tumn, I al­ways use a fluoro­car­bon leader. I find that this, in con­junc­tion with big blobs of putty, sinks bril­liantly and is far less vis­i­ble than any other kind of leader.


So, what types of spots pro­duce best in late au­tumn? As with the rest of the year, there’s no sub­sti­tute for find­ing the carp be­fore you start fish­ing. Once I’ve noted where they are show­ing, I then try to find any firm silt and dy­ing weedbeds in the im­me­di­ate area. Nat­u­rals, such as wa­ter snails, leeches and blood­worm will be drop­ping out of the weed and bur­row­ing into the silt for pro­tec­tion. The carp know this, which is why they use such ar­eas so much in the au­tumn.

Ide­ally, I’m look­ing for ‘silty gravel’, and what I mean by that is thin lay­ers of silt over hard spots. I like to fish the edge of such spots, as this is where they nor­mally start har­vest­ing. To find these I use a bare 5oz lead. This gives a great trans­mis­sion through the rod tip, and helps me to find smooth ar­eas with the odd rat­tle from the gravel. Once such a spot is found, I then pull the lead back un­til I hit some weed or a vari­a­tion in the bot­tom, be­fore clip­ping up.

In gen­eral, deeper ar­eas will be more pro­duc­tive at this time of year, but if the con­di­tions are right they will also mi­grate oc­ca­sion­ally to shal­low wa­ter. A lot de­pends on the nat­u­ral food larder avail­able, and if that hap­pens to be on top of the bars, that’s where the fish will of­ten be.

Get­ting the best out of your carp fish­ing in late au­tumn is all about un­der­stand­ing what the fish are look­ing for in terms of nu­tri­tion, and where they are likely to be feed­ing. It’s then just a case of of­fer­ing them what they want and, of course, hop­ing your luck is in. I hope you have your best Novem­ber ever!

ABOVE: Carp will recog­nise a good bait and will keep eat­ing it, de­spite the risks in­volved.

A semi-stiff hook­link and a rig sleeve help the hook­bait to kick away from the lead. The long shrink tube kicker makes it hard for the carp to eject the bait, once taken. Scott has ul­ti­mate faith in bal­anced hook­baits. A Sticky Krill wafter bar­rel is...

RIGHT: In the clear-wa­ter con­di­tions of late au­tumn, Scott opts for a fluoro­car­bon leader, with blobs of tung­sten putty along its length.

ABOVE: A bare 5oz lead is all you need to find the per­fect spots to tar­get.

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