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Carp Fishing in the Autumn

Carp Fishing in the Autumn

Carp Fishing in the Autumn can be very rewarding because if you get it right, the carp will get on the munch and be packing on the pounds, so you could be in for a new PB! 

It takes a lot more motivation to get out on the bank this time of year due to the colder, damp and frosty mornings. The nights get darker quicker and for longer, leaving you cooped up in your bivvy. People who fish after work are setting up into the dark and then spend a long dark night hoping that they are in the right spot. This is why many carp anglers have already packed their carp rods and carp reels away till the warmer weather picks up again in the spring. But for those of you that stick it out, you could be in for some great rewards.

The colder mornings, longer nights and leaves falling from the trees littering the surface of the water are some of the triggers telling the carp that the colder weather is on its way and it’s time to get ready for the winter. It’s quite strange that some waters can go quiet for a week or two when we have the first fall of leaves. This used to happen on a lake I used to fish on. I was told it’s because of the new shapes and shadows from the leaves that have fallen on to the water's surface. This spooks the fish for a while until they get used to it. I’m not too sure how true this is, but I’ve also known it happens on other waters but once the carp come back on the feed, you can be in for some great sport.

I was fishing on a water back in the early 90s in late October and got to the lake just before dusk. It was one of those warm evenings, and a mild wind was blowing into the shallows. Not many fish had been out, and many of the anglers had started to fish the deeper water. As I pushed my barrow full of carp tackle around, I noticed a fish stick it’s head out in the shallower water. I was heading for the mouth of a bay that I knew had deeper water to its left, then it shallowed up into the bay. I was going there because the sun was meant to be making an appearance the next day in the afternoon. I was hoping that the carp would come into the bay out of the cooler, deeper water to feel the warmth from the sun.

The spot where I saw the fish show was about 80 yards up to my left around 20 yards out from the bank. I knew from fishing in that spot before that it was only in three to four feet of water. I continued to set up as it was quite dark now, and I heard a fish crash out twice more. So on hearing this, I walked up to see if I could get a glimpse of anything. When I was a couple of yards away, I saw what I thought to be a big swirl on the surface of the water, and then I noticed a couple of leaves start spinning about 10 yards from the bank. I waited a bit longer, there was definite movement on the water. 

I quickly got back to my rods and put on a small 2oz distance casting shaped lead, you know the ones that are shaped like a torpedo and a 15mm yellow pineapple pop up. I used this shape of lead because it would make less disturbance when it entered the water due to its shape than, say, a flat pear lead. I walked up as close as I could to the area the fish were in and cast around where I’d seen them. I took my rod back and set it on my alarm, but the hanger on then continued to set up my other rod. 

This had scuppered my plans as I was going to fish one rod in deeper water and another in the bay, waiting for the sun to come out with as little disturbance as possible. This time of year, I would fish for one bite and go from there, so I was happy for my carp rod in the bay to sit there all night, hoping a fish would come in on the afternoon once the sun was out and I would get a chance. I didn’t plan on having two rods in shallow water. Within 10 minutes, I had a bleep on the left hand rod, and it stopped me in my tracks as I’d never really expected to hear it. Then again, the alarm sounded. This carried on and off for an hour or so. By this time I’d positioned my right hand rod in the bay, planning to move my left hand rod into deeper water if there was no action, but there was. The shelter had also been put up, and I was ready to sit back and chill, so with a cuppa in one hand biscuit in the other, my left hand rod screamed into life with tea and biscuit going everywhere. After a short fight, I’d landed a common of around 15lb, and I was happy with that, saying that the biggest fish in the lake back then was a mirror of 20.02 that a good friend of mine Martin had caught a few months before. I put the fish back and re-baited the rod. Just as I started to walk out of the swim to get a bit closer, the rod in the bay was away, resulting in a 17lb mirror. Well, this carried on into the early hours of the morning then it all went quiet. I’d had 5 fish, and the biggest was the mirror of 17lb. I was really pleased as there hadn’t been much fish, and I’d just hit it right.

When I go fishing, I always like to think I learn something new. This session taught me a massive lesson in what I’d done wrong! The problem is I’d planned before getting to the lake where I would fish and how I would fish. If I hadn’t seen the fish, I would have ignored that spot because it was shallow all around it. Also, the good old British weather forecasters had got it wrong yet again, and the sun never came out. I didn't expect the carp to be hanging around in the shallows in autumn, but they were.

Autumn Carp Fishing Tips

So when fishing in the colder months, it can be so easy to stay in your bivvy wrapped up in your sleeping bag, but if need be, sit in your sleeping bag in your chair watching the water. At this time of year, looking for fish is one of the best ways you are going to catch them. Carp will slow up as it gets colder, sometimes holding up in one area for days or weeks at a time. So go to your chosen water with an open mind. Look for fish, and if you can’t see anything set up where you have the best vantage point of the lake. 

Fish lightly so you are ready to move if you can and the lake isn’t too busy. Don’t put kilos of bait in because it makes it harder to move knowing what you’ve put in on the spots you’ve chosen. Just start with your hook bait, a small stick or stringer, and if the carp wants more, you can give them more. But if you’ve filled it in, you can’t take it back out. 

Fish for one bite at a time, and just remember if you keep getting liners and no runs, the fish are between you and your hook bait, so reel in a bit closer. 

Keep your noise down when setting up because when the months get colder, there's fewer anglers walking around and making noise and the fish get used to this, so you clattering around will soon have them on high alert. 

Fishing on your own can make a massive difference any time of the year. Make your own decisions and fish where you want. You will learn more and only have yourself to blame. If you go fishing with someone, you will look for somewhere to bivvy up close to each other, and all those lines in the same area can be a huge disadvantage any time of year, especially in the colder months. If you see fish showing, will you move to them leaving your mate behind? If they saw them the same time as you, which one of you fishes for them because one rod in that area is more than enough. 

Also, choose your bait wisely and if you're using a freezer boilie try taking them out of the freezer a couple of days before you go fishing. Leave some in a bucket with the lid on in a warm area so they start to activate and get slightly sticky or speckly. Because as the water gets colder, the breakdown of your bait will get slower. This will speed it up so your bait leaks all its attraction out quicker than if you had just taken it out of the freezer. 

I hope this has helped you somewhat but remember that if you are confident, you have a chance and never be frightened to try something different because there will always be another time.

Feel free to get in touch if you want to learn any more autumn carp tips!

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