Age: 41 Favourite Venue: Anywhere quiet off the beaten track UK PB: 47lb 2oz
For me this time of year is all about keeping the bites coming for as long as possible. The reason I say this is that to the best of my knowledge, the lake I am fishing has not done a bite between mid-november and mid-march in over seven years – and that is despite being fished during this time by some top quality anglers. Not being a top quality angler myself, and not being one for wasting my time either, this is all about maximising results, if I can, before that shut down.
To do this, I’ve recently selected an area on the pit that has produced a number of bites for me in previous autumns, and I will be heavily baiting a few spots twice a week to try and get the nomadic carp used to finding food in that area. It has worked well for me previously, and I am hoping it will again. It costs me a small fortune and takes a lot of discipline to keep piling multiple kilos of bait into these areas regularly, but hopefully, the results will be worth it. I plan to keep fishing it until the end of October at least, by which time I will either know it’s worked well, or I was wasting my time and money.
This baiting is done with a combination of a quality particle mix supplied by Big Dog Baits, plus, at least 10kg per trip, of highly nutritious fishmeal and marine-based boilies. In recent times this has almost exclusively been the Pro Marine from Tails Up.
Assuming this works, an inevitable slowdown in action will eventually occur – but the action can be extended. One thing I always try and do throughout the year is keep an eye on the population of naturals in the areas I am fishing. In the spring I tend to only start baiting more heavily when they come ‘up the shelf’ so to speak and conversely in autumn I do the reverse. You will regularly find me peering into the margins to observe halved baits I place there that I use to try and assess the population density of the carp’s natural larder. In this rich lake, they usually swarm over any freebies. As autumn progresses and the water column cools, most aquatic invertebrates and molluscs will slink into deeper, slightly warmer water which means that the natural prey for our quarry migrates away from any shallower spots you have been fishing into deeper water. Evidence of this can be seen by regularly ‘pitted’ baits getting less and less attention from the aquatic critters. If I notice this activity reducing, it may be time to try a change of depths and spots. This means following the migration back ‘down the slope’ and into the deeper and warmer areas where they have retreated and the carp should not be far behind. Often I don’t think a spot ‘blows’ but that the depth you have been fishing at and this consequent change can buy some extra bites before the carp depart to their as yet unfound winter quarters. In the meantime I am hoping the above works again for me this year and an autumn beast is on the cards.
IMAGES1 - Returning a brute of a common from the same area, a few autumns ago. Here’s hoping to more of the same this year2 - Reading the signs – when this sort of activity slows down, then a change will be on the cards3 - A freezer full of Pro Marine and the first glimpse of a fishmeal test bait, ahead of yet another baiting mission 3