Well, it looks like summer is finally on it’s way out and my favorite period of the year is here. The Fall. What’s so special about this magical few months? Apart from the cooler more stable weather, the stunning color of the foliage and less issues from poisen ivy and mosquito’s, it is a period when the carp really feed in earnest as they bulk up for the winter months.

A fall stunner from 2012

A fall stunner from 2012

In the past, Fall has produced some of my best sessions, including a couple of PB’s topped by a magnificent mirror on my birthday two years ago. It can also produce bumper sessions with big numbers of fish if you get things correct. Before I discuss my approach to Fall fishing and my tactics lets catch up on what’s been happening during the last few months.

The perfect Birthday gift

The perfect Birthday gift

The spring was nothing short of awesome for me, producing lots of big fish and some amazing sessions. My tactics really paid off and I was also happy to see a couple of friends catch PB’s as well. While we all want to catch the monster(s) ourselves it is very rewarding to see your friends bank the fish of their dreams. Talking of dreams, it has long been an ambition of mine to be affiliated with one of the world’s best carp companies and when the opportunity to join Fox Tackle came along I jumped all over it. In the 3 months I have used their products I can honestly say I don’t have one complaint. I’m generally very picky about my terminal tackle, but straight away I was impressed with the Arma Point hooks and apart from a couple of small fish dropped in the weed they really have done me proud. Anyone looking for hooks that won’t let them down should take advantage of BC Tackle’s discounts at the moment as the Arma Points are on sale!

http://www.bigcarptackle.com/store/home.php?cat=377&sort=orderby&sort_direction=0&page=3

One of my first captures

One of my first captures

Moving into the summer I decided to hit up one of my local lakes which is usually not an easy prospect. After a couple of night sessions I knew I wouldn’t fish it again until the Fall as firstly the weed was an issue, secondly the bull heads were very active making presentation a problem, but most importantly the bigger fish seemed to have disappeared. While any fish is welcome from this venue, for the effort invested I prefer to fish it when I know the 30lb+ fish are on the munch. Having been told that these fish could not be caught on boilies it is interesting to note that out of 15 or so fish I caught, all apart from two were taken on fluro pop-ups! Conclusion…do your own thing.

Caught plenty of fish this size...time to move on!

Caught plenty of fish this size…time to move on!

As my fishing time in the summer is very limited I decided to break up the routine and fish a few sessions on the float for smaller carp. I have to admit, even though I class myself as a ‘specimen’ angler who tries to target big fish, I thoroughly enjoyed these sessions. Typically, I fished for 4 to 5 hours each session with simple corn and hemp tactics, occasionally changing to bread when the bite slowed down. I not only hammered carp, I also caught goldfish, bluegills, catfish, suckers and plenty of turtles. There really is nothing better than watching a float disappear and bending into a fish, no matter their size. Having said that, I did have a couple of opportunities with much, much bigger fish, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I blew it! Oh, well….maybe next year.

Float fishing for monsters!!

Float fishing for monsters!!

I also managed a couple of sessions on my Spring water as I was in the area for my job. It would have been rude not to do the odd overnight and I was pleasantly surprised with my results as it was extremely weedy and the fish were usually right in amongst it, pre-occupied on naturals. My tactics of solid bags and bright visual baits paid off with some beautiful fish, and while I could have bounced around areas and caught more fish I was quite happy fishing knowing that the next bite might be the stuff of dreams.

Mid Twenty Snub Nosed (2)Upper Twenty - Full Moon (4)

Low ThirtyUpper Twenty (4)

This summer I have really refined my approach to fishing in the weed as virtually every area I have fished has been choked with it! While the chod rig is the most common approach to weedy waters I personally prefer to use PVA to present my baits. Chods are successful because they allow you to present a bait in areas that were previously unfishable. However, with chods you will then need to bait over the top of the rigs, which can be problematic at range. PVA Solid Bags allow me to cast into weedy areas and also present a nice package of bait which in most cases will disguise the rig as an added bonus. Don’t be worried that the carp won’t find your baits in the weed. They are used to feeding in it and if they like what they smell and see they will literally rip the weed apart to get to it.

Solid bags - Great technique for the weed

Solid bags – Great technique for the weed

To round off the summer I planned a three day trip to upstate New York to fish for the numerous Seneca commons. I had a few new baits from CC Moore to test out and I figured three days would also give me a good chance to get through to a decent fish or two. It started quite well as the 4 hour drive was quite pleasant and on arrival I had the swim to myself. After a slow set-up and some pre-baiting I finally got my rods into position around 11am. My approach was to fish a spread of boilies over 2 rods and then spomb tightly with hemp, cracked corn and tigers on the 3rd rod.

Seneca River

Seneca River

I left the pre-baited areas alone for a few hours to let the fish have a free feed before topping them up again. Immediately, the spombed particle area kicked off and even though I only fished one rod on the area it was the one that produced more than 20 fish! I did notice straight away I was going to have issues as the weed was extremely thick and to make matters worse it was infested with very sharp zebra muscles. The carp love this environment but it is ridiculously tough on end tackle and my 45lb leaders were beat up after each fish, leading me to go through a whole spool in short order. I had not anticipated these conditions, otherwise I would have bought some heavy duty tubing to cope with the zebra muscles. As much as I love catching carp, it became somewhat of a chore as I proceeded to land plenty of fish, but also had no time to sit and relax as I was constantly tying rigs and leaders as well as baiting.

Not a bad problem to have, but with most of the fish being under 20lb’s and lack of sleep catching up with me I wound in all my rods at 3.30am to get some well earned sleep. On awaking the area was alive with other anglers, who were fishing directly over my areas. I retreated and went for breakfast to decide on my next plan. I know I should of sucked it up and continued to hammer the area as my tactics were spot on. However, big fish were calling me and instead I drove across the state to scout a well known lake that I have ambitions to fish. On the plus side I found fish in two areas and I am sure I would have had a good chance to catch if I had stayed, but it was only a flying visit.

One of the better fish I managed to land

One of the better fish I managed to land

I fished the second night in a known big fish area with another angler and blanked!! Not the end of the world as I really needed a good nights sleep and I returned home 36 hours early. Sometimes it is worth following your gut instinct and in this case although I left feeding fish I didn’t want to fish simply for the sake of it.

So back to the fall. I had big targets at the start of the year and achieved most of them in the spring. Fall for me will be about maximizing my chances when they come around. As I am busy with work and family, I will have less sessions than in the spring, which means I will have to fish more efficiently. I’ll be trying hard for a few more big fish but I plan to enjoy my sessions and not pressure myself to catch fish. Fall is all about being in the right place at the right time, so lets hope this happens at least once or twice. If it does I’ll be more than happy.

Hoping to be greeted by this site a few times in the Fall

Hoping to be greeted by this site a few times in the Fall

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