Scott Sweetman - Autumn Tips
Scott Sweetman breaks down his top tips for getting the most out of fishing in the autumn.
Autumn is fast becoming my favorite season to be fishing. Being an overnight angler in the spring and summer, it can be quite frustrating as a lot of the activity tends to be late morning or even throughout the day in the spring, whereas in the autumn, the activity switches to the hours of darkness.
This is when overnighters can really come into their own.
Coming into the autumn with the weather turning, the longer hours of darkness and the prospect of a long bleak winter, it’s potentially a time where people may start to think about taking their foot of the gas. I think one of the most key features to having a successful autumn is keeping a positive mindset.
Key features to having a successful autumn is keeping a positive mindset.
It can become a bit of a slog turning up to the lake quite often in the rain, trying to find the fish becomes harder and we start to lose the light earlier when the clocks go back. It’s more important than ever to locate the carp, even if that means walking for hours in the rain and dark. They are much more likely to be doing their showing late into the evening or through the night, so staying positive, having the right clothing on to be able to stand out listening, will 100% pay dividends and catching them late into the year can be the most rewarding, with the autumn back drops and the carp looking their best can soon make all the effort feel worthwhile.
For location, I have noticed over the years that they start to creep into areas of the lake you might not expect to find throughout the spring and summer to harvest the natural food that has built up in these zones. This is why going back to the first point on location, it’s worth doing the leg work as they sometimes turn up where you least expect them. Spot wise I have found the silt to be much more productive, rather than the blatant gravel / clay areas. I think this is where they are already looking to feed in those areas due to the natural food and those cleaner spots have been hammered throughout the year.
I like to use hemp where possible, I think it’s the closest bait to mimic natural food
Bait wise, I don’t believe in the autumn feed up, I think a lot of that has happened throughout the summer, I think they start to switch off angler’s bait in the autumn, so I’m starting to look at setting more traps with single hook baits or small amounts of bait. I also think it’s a great time to switch to the natural baits. This is one of the reasons I like to use hemp where possible, I think it’s the closest bait to mimic natural food, with dark small crunchy shells but is much cheaper.
Rig wise, although it would make sense to use pop ups due to the leaf litter and weed breaking up making the lakebed a lot harder to present, I feel fishing on the bottom is the way to go if you can make sure you’re presented. This is just due to what they are feeding in and on, when the carp are more switched on to natural food, they are feeding hard on the deck in the silty zones, I feel like sometimes a pop up can be missed - I want my hook bait right where they are feeding, ideally in a nice bloodworm bed.
Overall, autumn can be a great time, especially for the biggens in and around the moonphases and weather fronts. It takes a bit more drive than spring and summer, but the thought of cradling your target fish on a chilly morning in November in its peak condition is enough to put fuel that buzz.