The period from October through to Christmas is generally accepted as being the best time of the year to go carp fishing. The days grow shorter and the water temperature drops and carp recognise these seasonal time clocks as nature’s way of telling them that winter is coming; time to fatten up for the bleak times ahead. That said, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the carp are suddenly going to drop their guard and throw caution to the wind. As fish that has been suspicious of bait all summer is not going to loose that suspicion just like that!
So with this in mind I want to look at the options available to us as far as bait application is concerned comparing the advantages of big beds of bait as opposed to much smaller bait carpets or even single baits.
The right hand rod covers one of my favourite areas, the underwater bar that is an extension of a prominent point off to the right hand side of the swim. This bar runs out into the lake for about thirty yards or so and the depth varies from about a foot or so in the margins down to seven or eight feet at the end of the bar. It is rock hard, covered in hard, sharp shale and the carp adore hanging around the area.
It is a cast of about 100m to the bar but baiting up along the bar is simplicity itself, as you simply walk round to the point and bait up with a catapult. I invariably start my session fishing single hookbaits to the point, the reason being that there are almost invariably fish present and often the bigger ones hang around the bar and they don’t always take kindly to someone piling a big bed of bait on top of them. If nobody has been fishing there for a week or two prior to my arrival it is a racing certainty there will be carp mooching around the area. I therefore don’t want to risk scaring them by piling in a load of bait straight off.
I always start with fishing single hookbaits, as the swim is pretty popular so it is quite likely I will have followed someone into the swim and he could have spooked the fish from the area. It is always as well to presume there may be some of the previous angler’s bait left uneaten in the swim when you move in and the last thing you want is to add yet more bait to his uneaten stuff. That is why I generally start with hookbaits only. However, if nothing happens within the first 12 hours or so I will again use a mass bait approach, again using my favoured blend of seeds, cereals, pulses, nuts and boilies and not forgetting a generous helping of SuperRed. I make copious use of medium to larger balls of groundbait – SuperRed-based – and these are either put out by catapult or if it I am after longer ranges I use a groundbait sling.
So there we have it; my approach for one of my favourite venues at what is undoubtedly my favourite time of year. If you find yourself able to cover a large area of your chosen lake, do try my strategy. Remember, it revolves around bait and lots of it, as carp at this time of the year are generally hard on the feed in anticipation of the rigours of winter that will soon set in. You would be astonished at how much bait a good head of carp can devour as the temperatures drop towards and below 10 degrees C so it pays to be generous and get it in there!
The amount of open water in front of the Boathouse can be seen from this photo. Such a lot of ground to cover!
Techni Spice ready mades covered in paste. A deadly combo they cannot resist. Often I get takes before the paste has broken down.
My favourite particle mix, a blend of Red Band mixed with popcorn maize and hemp seed.
A standard bottom bait with a stringer of Frolic dog biscuits attached.
Tiger nuts are introduced with a mini spod.
I make copious use of medium to large balls of SuperRed and these are either put out by catapult…
Or if it I am after longer ranges I use a groundbait sling.
The above-the-surface part of the point to the right of the swim. The bar extends about 30m from the bank, gradually dropping from 1 foot in the margins to 7-8 feet at the end of the bar.
Action in The Boathouse.
A late autumn common from the Boathouse.