Few anglers have the depth of all-round coarse angling experience as Andy Browne, the Angler's Mail columnist, who shares some seasonal suggestions here.
Autumn angling tips are front of my mind now, and catches can be fantastic if you go about it the right way.
I think that autumn is a lovely time of year. The leaves are starting to change colour and the rivers are starting to run with a bit more flow, being regularly topped up with rain.
Once we have had a couple of hard frosts the weed starts dying back, and in an ideal situation I would want to see the river bank high.
This gives the riverbed a good scouring to clear out the debris and weed, leaving some nice clean gravel.
Here are my top autumn angling tips whether you are planning on fishing rivers or stillwaters…
Prime time for pike
This is a really nice time of year to pike fish!
It pays to travel light and be mobile when fishing rivers, enabling you to wander a stretch and find the most likely spots.
Spots that look perfect sometimes disappoint by yielding very little, others don’t look that good but produce the goods!
It is always worth having a cast or two in each likely spot, but one thing is for sure, if you can find the dace and roach shoals, pike won’t be far behind them.
Perch from the mist
Some days you get to the lake and the autumn mist is just lifting.
This is a good time to watch for fry jumping out of the water, being chased by some hungry perch, indicating that this would be a good starting area to catch perch!
I normally chop some dendrobaenas or lobworms, which I then place in a small baitdropper to groundbait my swim, or I might introduce them using a small cage feeder instead.
My favourite perch hooks are Kamasan B983s. These are a light, strong, wide gape pattern, ideally suited for baits such as worms, bread and cheese paste.
Hook bait might be a whole lobworm threaded on and pulled up over the eye of the hook. I might use just the tail of the lobworm, or some days I find that the fish prefer a small bunch of dendrobaenas.
These baits can be float fished on a rod and line or pole, or you can leger using a small cage feeder and a quivertip rod.
Autumn angling tips for carp
At this time of the year carp can often be seen in the upper layers of the water at midday, so it is always worth casting out a zig rig.
A good place to target is just off the edge of some lilies that are dying back, using a simple rig.
This consists of an inline drop-off lead, fairly small hook (barbel hooks are good) and a couple of bits of contrasting coloured rig foam. The foam is presented on a short hair tied to the shank.
Chop and change with the lengths of the hook lengths until you find a length that works best.
Most of my autumn and winter carp are caught on brightly coloured pop-ups (above).
It is important, if possible, to find clean areas of gravel, as there will be a lot of decaying leaf mould and detritus on the bottom, giving you poor presentation.
The fish are not really that hungry as we approach winter. But saying that, a single bright hook bait, leaking off some enticing fruit flavours, can work wonders.
That’s especially true if it is carefully placed in front of them on the right spot. They will often get you a take or two in the middle of the day.
Use your loaf – now!
One of the most underestimated baits just has to be bread.
Autumn is a wonderful time to use it, and you can have great fun at commercial day ticket stillwater fisheries by simply filling a cage feeder with some liquidised bread.
Use one or two punched bread pellets on the hook, and cast out the feeder to a comfortable distance where the fish can be found in the deeper water during the cooler weather.
Initially you will be ‘bothered’ by silver fish, but this is a highly visual bait, and after a few casts carp are very likely to appear.
To get the bread punch on the hook, put a slice of bread on a hard surface, press the punch tool into the bread slice, and then twist to cut the edge of the pellet.
The punch has now been loaded with a small piece of bread. Now sweep the hook (point up) into the small slot in the side of the head of the bread punch, and lift the pellet out.
Push the pellet of bread with your finger so that it sits on the bend of the hook.
When the punch of bread is immersed in the water, it swells up, completely covering the hook.
You can always change from using punch bread to a lump of flake, which might deter the smaller roach.
Don’t ignore bread on rivers either, as it is one of the greatest baits for chub and roach.
Use it when the colour starts to drop out of the river after a flood. A lump of flake is also great for chub when rivers are crystal clear.
Cheesey autumn angling tips
Cheese is another great bait to use in autumn.
I like to make a cheese paste by placing some finely grated, mature cheddar and some Stilton in a large basin. Add a large spoon full of margarine and knead it into a ball.
Margarine keeps the bait soft as it contains emulsifiers, stopping it hardening in the fridge.
Keep this ball of bait in an inside pocket to stop it hardening up on cold days.
My preferred way of presenting cheese paste is to use a large wide gape hook. Mould a large pear-shaped chunk of around the bend of the hook, leaving the point of the hook proud.
Alternatively you can mould the paste around a paste coil and hair-rig it. The coil gives the paste a bigger surface area to grip on.
Rise to the barbel challenge
A sudden influx of water into the river and reasonably mild overnight temperatures give you a good chance of catching a barbel or two.
Barbel use these conditions to their advantage, leaving their lairs in search of food that has been dislodged by rising flows.
Luncheon meat is a great bait when the river has some colour on it – it can be rolled through the swim or fished static.
You can cut it into neat cubes, but my preferred method would be to rip it off like a piece of bread-flake.
Another bait that works well is quality fishmeal boilies wrapped in a matching paste. They will definitely catch a fish or two!
Autumn angling tips for trotting
Trotting a float is definitely my number one way of catching fish!
Long rods give you superb line control, enabling you to be able to keep in contact with the float at all times, and makes mending the line much easier.
Centrepin reels are great for trotting but I also like to use fixed spools, with a spool capacity of 80 to 100 yards, because that is all that’s needed!
A nicely-shotted stick float, with a strung out pattern consisting of multiples of No.8s, allows you to double up shots or pull them into bulks. This gives you lots of permutations, depending on how the fish are feeding.
Plumb the swim and feed little and often. If the bottom allows, keep increasing the depth to drag line on the bottom, slowing the presentation down. This will definitely get you bites on those cold days
Alternatively, if you find you have a very deep swim, a crowquill with an olivette and a couple of droppers, might be a better option.
Fruits of success
Autumn angling tips would not be complete if they didn’t mention fruits of the season…. berries and seeds.
Elderberries ripen and fall into water at this time of year, which doesn’t go unnoticed by fish, particularly chub, roach and dace.
Hemp and caster are also such fantastic versatile baits, attracting all kinds of species.
To prepare your bait ready for use, put your casters in one box and your hemp in another box.
Completely cover both baits with water to prevent them drying out, and skim away any floating casters and retain these for your hook baits.
The floating casters are buoyant, and when placed on the hook, sink at the same rate as your free offerings.
I like to encapsulate the hook into casters, by sinking the hook point into the end of the caster, and then feed the hook round into it.
Large grains of hemp are best for the hook, as small ones can be fiddly, and when you get fish going on hemp, action can be fast and furious.
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