Top 5 Tips For Autumn
I absolutely love the Autumn season. Gone are the sticky, airless days of summer that often provided frustrating angling as the carp lazily bask in the soaring sun all day, feeding intermittently on the surface. Autumn is big-carp hunting time and for many is the season for a PB and a target fish or two. I have been rewarded many a time during Autumn and it is no coincidence that it’s up there with my favourite time of year.
Start targeting the deeper, siltier areas
During summer, I will often target the shallower, warmer, sunnier areas of the lake, but as the temperatures start to plummet, I have found the carp to slowly move out into deeper water as they search for food and the more oxygenated, active water. Such areas can often be in the form of silt beds, a feature that I find very productive during Autumn. Such spots present bloodworm, a natural food larder that the carp find hard to resist.
The deeper, siltier areas will also be more open water based and I find them to be particularly good on large, windswept gravel pits. Search for these using a marker or bare lead and keep them topped up with bait.
Look for the cleaner spots, though. The leaves will be quickly falling from the trees forming detritus on the bottom, so pinpoint the glassier areas.
Other active areas are ends of the lake that see the big, fresh, warm winds. The carp are very active in Autumn and so move on big winds which help to push foods and naturals into certain areas.
This is KEY! Prebaiting plays an integral role in my campaign angling these days, so much so that I struggle to fish with confidence if I hadn’t prebaited. With carp feeding heavily before their winter slumbers, I find that prebating is particular effective in Autumn. Find an area that they frequent to feed and keep it ticking over.
I don’t bother with particles very often at this time of year, because they are switched onto the baits that will give them most benefit nutritionally - boilies!
Consequently, I go all out boilies and ensure that I opt for one that will provide nutritional value, one they readily accept, and one that they will return for time and time again, eventually recognising it as a food source. My two personal preferences are Odyssey XXX and Pacific Tuna - two proven big-carp catchers that tick all the boxes. Both are soluble and very digestible too - two very important factors when prebaiting. I am happy to use them straight out the bag, or pimped a little with extra attractors.
Timing is everything
As the nights get colder, I find that the bite times can start to change and early to late mornings can become more productive. As a result, I will cast out my rods just before dark and introduce bait at this time too, leaving the rods in position until lunchtime at least the next day. You will slowly begin to build a pattern of the their feeding spells and they will often become predictable. Just make sure you’re there!
Strangely, I have also found carp to show a lot at night during Autumn, so if you’re able to wrap up warm, it often pays to spend an hour or two by the edge listening for signs and shows in the darkness, ready to move should they reveal their whereabouts. I might sound mad, but it’s these little signs that can put you one step ahead of the crowd.
Don’t get cold!
The temperatures can drop dramatically in Autumn. The first frosts of the year can really catch you out so don’t go under prepared.
1. Wear under layers - lots of companies produce long johns and base layers now which can keep the chill off under your regular garms.
2. Take some lightweight waterproofs - I always have some compact lightweight waterproofs in the rucksack just in case. Both Korda and Vass produce some great gear for the wet.
3. Take a hot water bottle - this is an absolute edge in the bag…especially when coupled with a nice warm pooch haha!
4. Stove - it goes without saying that a stove and kettle is essential to keep the cockles warm.
5. Sleeping bag - switch it over to the four season bag!
6. Footwear and socks - ditch the trainers and dig out the winter, fleece lined boots, coupled with Seal Skins!
7. Wooly hat - yes, it is that time. When you’re posing with your prize the last thing you want is cold ears.
Pimp Your Baits
Like I said, I go all out boilies in the Autumn but it can pay off to give them a bit of a pimp up to enhance them further with more attraction. One way that I do this is through a method that I call the ‘Heat Treatment’.
I will remove the baits from the freezer, or bag, a few hours prior to my session and place them into a bucket. I boil a kettle and then pour the boiling water over top of the baits, ensuring that they are completely covered. Following this, I cover with the lid of the bucket and leave to soak for around ten minutes.
I then remove the lid of the bucket and drain the baits so that no water is left. Each bait will be warm to touch, soft and porous. I personally love a soft bait and feel that the carp accept it more readily.
Due to the more porous nature of the baits, they will suck liquid in more effectively and so it is this time that I pour a liberal amount of my chosen attractor over the top. I love a combination of Odyssey XXX and Liquid GLM. The oil acts as a great feeding indicator as it sends flat spots to the surface of the water when fish are feeding.
Once I’ve added the liquids, I’ll cover the bucket again and shake it so that they’re all nicely covered.
Finally, a few scoops of Himalayan Rock Salt and or GLM powder complete the concoction!