With autumn proper now upon us, the shorter, cooler days bring a change of scene for anglers of all persuasions. So, is your idea of perfect autumn fishing a spot of lure fishing for predators, or perhaps a return to the rivers and the likes of roach and barbel? We asked several of our ambassadors, staff and supporters for their own autumn inspiration.
KEITH ARTHUR Columnist, presenter and Angling Trust Consultant
“I love Autumn. Once my birthday has passed…and I’ve had plenty…and October begins, the only downsides are shorter evenings and bloody leaves. The fishing however is magnificent and so are the fish, all in peak condition.
Living, as I do, no more than a 5-minute stroll from the semi-tidal Thames until the November draw-off, when the section above Richmond is all-but drained for barrier maintenance, I hope to have a few goes at the very special roach we have there. They’re not massive by national standards – a two-pounder is still a dream for me although I know anglers who have had half a dozen – they are pristine, more like chalk-stream quality and the by-catch can be fun too, with barbel and carp both featuring.
Once the draw-off happens I’ll mooch further downstream to Chiswick and Barnes, still with roach in mind but expecting bream and…well, who knows? In the last month down there I’ve seen photos of a 41lb+ common and a 30lb grass carp. Now they’d be fun on my roach gear!
DOMINIC GARNETT Author and Angling Trust Blogger
I tend to feel a mixture of excited and slightly deflated at this time of year. Excited because I can start fishing for pike again (I leave them well alone in the summer, because my local waters are much too warm). A little deflated because invariably I haven’t managed to squeeze all the fishing I wanted into the warmer months.
This year, I’m kicking myself a little that I didn’t fish the trout streams more. That said, the prospect of a little “extra time” targeting grayling is a must. I had a beautiful recent day on the River Tamar, as covered in a recent fly fishing blog, with a couple of nice grayling to the net. Some folks still assume most of the fly fishing is posh or exclusive, but anyone can have a crack for as little as £6 a day here in Devon and Cornwall, with the Westcountry Angling Passport.
Other than this, it’s pike that really get me excited. I’m not worried about the big waters and fish of a thousand casts; I just love stalking smaller rivers and drains, where you can witness the takes first hand. I’ve also seen some good perch lately, so a few smaller flies will be in my box beside the pike specials. Tying up fresh ammunition is a nice way to spend darker evenings, of course, for when you cannot get to the riverbank!
JAMES CHAMPKIN Angling Trust Campaigns Officer
This summer and autumn was intended to be all about the hunt for a new PB barbel. However, the scorching heat wave during June, July and August put paid to that idea, and I didn’t really get going on that score until September.
My main barbel venue for 2018 was always going to be an extensive syndicate stretch of the historic Hampshire Avon. I was concerned that time would beat me, but I need not have worried. Over four sessions I managed to land eight barbel, including three fish into double-figures. All in daylight, too, which I find more exhilarating than night fishing.
On the first Avon trip I was struggling to locate the fish, but late in the day on the way back to the car I dropped into a superb looking swim sporting a large overhanging tree. With just a couple of hours left, I waded out and placed my double boilie hookbait right under the raft of debris that had formed around the trees’ trailing branches. A few 10mm offerings were scattered around the rig, and I carefully walked back towards the bank to await events.
After 45 minutes I received confirn that there was something at home as the rod tip wrenched round and I suddenly found myself doing battle with a big barbel. Weighing confirmed a true beast of a fish at 14lb 8oz, and a new PB. The scorching summer months were instantly forgotten as I admired a beautifully golden autumn fish.
PHIL SMITH Specimen fish ace
As always, if weather and conditions allow I continue to fish for the barbel as the seasons change. If the temperatures drop too low, though, I then tend to look at the chub fishing on the rivers. At the same time I continue to fish a couple of venues for the 3lb plus roach to follow up the specimen I caught in the Summer.
Added to these targets, I will put in a few trips for both perch and bream as weather and conditions allow and to follow up reports from friends. As you can see, I prefer to dance a lot of different tunes and have not been a one method/ water person for many years now, hence the barbel challenge of chasing different river doubles [I am up to 32 now!].
Looking at several species you can tailor your efforts to the conditions and current form, which helps keep the bites coming. I cannot see the point of going to the same venue and catching the same fish many times. I’ve heard all the excuses, “there’s one I’ve still not caught,” “it’s local to me” and many others. All things considered, it is change that keeps my interest after 50 plus years of fishing and I’ll continue in this vein as long as I’m able.
SAM EDMONDS: Lure fishing fanatic
Autumn is a very exciting time for predator and lure anglers for a number of reasons. Many reservoirs across the country open their doors to lure fishing, and this provides an opportunity for anglers to try their hand at targeting pike, perch and zander. Some of these grow to trophy sizes and will have received little pressure for many months!
The cooling water temperatures always seem to trigger predators to feed in preparation for the winter, and this can make for some fantastic sport. Although I will miss the warm weather then, there’s a lot to look forward to in the coming months. On the big waters you never quite know what will take your lure next and we’ve had some excellent samples of all the main predatory species over the years.