Harley Doughty, Autumn Angling
Posted on 17th November 2019 at 11:50
So recently, most of the UK has been hit with the backlash of a big storm from across the pond and it seems as though we have well and truly said goodbye to the summer of 2019, but the good fishing is not over yet. In my experience, Autumn can be a massively productive season but is one that can be overlooked by some anglers and, even though we don’t get to spend our time on the bank enjoying the sunshine, it is probably my favourite time of year for angling. The fish have fully recovered from spawning and are in tip top condition, they will also be a little more inclined to eat as the temperatures drop off and the oxygen levels pick back up and are usually at a good weight so it really is a great time to bag some special fish.
I am hoping to squeeze a few sessions in at my local club water as it has been producing some good fish and if you can get the areas, baiting and tactics correct then multiple captures have been had from evening sessions. Aside from that I will be spending a bit of time at the farm lakes to give it one last go before the winter really hits to try and get a biggun on the bank as, unfortunately, this year has not gone the way I had intended.
Before I get into my Autumn sessions, I want to take you back to the end of August. I managed to bank something really special to me and a fish that has changed my perspective a bit on carp fishing and is something I have always dreamed of catching. I headed out for a little session with a really good friend of mine and life-long fishing companion. We grew up together and have stayed in touch since and over the years we have shared some incredible moments, including numerous PB's and many captures of new species. Some of my best times on the bank have been spent alongside him and the memories are endless. He is probably one of the most versatile and probably the best angler I personally know, so whenever we get the chance to go fishing together the expectations of something special happening are high and always enjoyable, so when he ‘phoned me up and asked if I wanted to spend a few hours walking some river banks with him I was straight in the garage getting some gear sorted. I quickly grabbed my 7-21g drop shot rod and my little spinning reel loaded with 6lb line and a bag of assorted jigs and lures.
On arrival the water looked nice clear and not too high as it was still around the time that we had the good weather so we talked up and went for a wander. We flicked some soft plastics around a few swims but it was all a bit quiet so I decided to raid my bag for any stray hooks I might have and see if I could tempt anything with some luncheon meat. After finding a little size 14 hook and a having few more casts about the swim, rolling meat along the bottom, I managed a nice chub -nothing huge at around 2 or 3 pound, but a very welcome start. We continued to move about trying different swims and different tactics but it was proving to be much more difficult that we first thought.
In the hope of getting a few more fish we decided to take a bit of a trek downstream to see if we could find them holding up in a different area and it was at this point that the whole session took a very big turn for me. We had walked past 5 or 6 swims and, as I always do, I was keeping a keen eye out for any signs of fish and then, as I passed this one swim, I had a glance under some marginal snags and had to do a double take as I had seen what I thought was an enormous Chub sitting just under the surface. I grabbed my friends arm and we both stood looking at this fish trying to see what it actually was as, if it was a chub it was sure to be 6lb+. I decided to try and get a closer look by climbing very carefully down the steep broken banks of the river and when I got low enough I realised that it was in fact a small common carp. Now, I had never caught a river carp but it was something I had dreamed of since I got into carp fishing. Real old warriors packed full of muscle from fighting the constant currents and they all are sure to all have a story to tell. With all of this in mind I got my friend to pass my rod down with a trimmed down VNX+ pop up mounted to it on the off chance I could temp this dark little monster up to the surface. To my surprise when I had slowly lowered the pop up in under the rod tip the fish immediately clocked it and started rising up through the surface layers to investigate. It proceeded to come all the way to the top and mouth the bait but it rejected it and sloped off under the snags taking with it a little mirror of around 5 or 6lb that I hadn't seen sitting under him all that time. Frustrated and disappointed, I stood in the swim and watched them slip away into the depths of the snags, I tried to follow them with my eyes to see if they ventured back out. After a couple of minutes of watching the area they were now in and getting a glimpse of a tail or the flank as they turned in the water I noticed something in the corner of my eye to the left had side right under my feet, it was a carp and this one wasn’t a small fish. I slowly lowered my pop up back down into the water where the first fish had been as the big one was heading to that area and as soon as the fish saw the bait to my surprise it swam directly over to it and came up to take, as it did so it missed the bait and now my pop up was sitting on its nose as it slurped away at the surface not realising what was happening. By this time I was terrified that the fish would feel the trimmed down VNX+ pop up and spook but luckily for me I managed to lift the bait out the water and lower it back down right in front of his mouth and within a couple of seconds it took a big slurp and my bait disappeared into his mouth, I hit into the fish and my legs instantly turned to jelly as the realisation of what I was now playing set in and I very quickly became aware of the tackle I was using to try and tame this river beast, a drop shot rod used for much smaller species such as perch, 6lb line and a size 14 match hook. Luck was on my side that day as I gently guided the carp away from the snags into the more open water and with my friend Ben on net duties we managed to win the battle slipping this incredible 20lb river mirror carp into he net.
I have to give huge thanks to Ben for top notch netting skills as I don’t think I would of stood a chance if I was on my own, first chance it gave him and it was in, he showed no hesitation at all and that gave us both one more memory to add to the collection and one I will never forget. I hope you all enjoyed your summer as much as I did and make sure you get out on the bank and make the most of autumn, keep it successful and who knows what you will catch!!
Tagged as: Harley Doughty
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