INSIDE THE MIND | Summer Boilie Fishing

Autumn is traditionally the most bountiful time of the year to go carp fishing… or so we are told. The fish are at their top weights and at their hungriest, which is a bit of a paradox when you think about it. Summer, for me is when they do most of their eating, but this does extend into the autumn too.

In the height of summer, as we looked at last month, the particles and small bits work really well. When it gets to this time of the year, I am looking to increase the quantity and slowly phase out the particles. I have always been a firm believer that moving into the autumn the fish prefer a little bit more meat on the bones, and this is when I use more boilies.

The weather will be cooling down and it can be a good idea to introduce something that you will want to use throughout the winter. Bait is very specific, and I tend to fish lakes that are very clear and weedy. There is no doubt that in my experience a dark fishmeal is the ultimate bait. I could give you a lot of anecdotal notes for that, both personal and from friends, so what I would say is that if you are on a clear and weedy lake, rich with naturals, get on a good fishmeal. I am on The Krill and as far the quality is concerned, I don’t think that there is a better bait out there.

If I was fishing a coloured, heavily stocked lake, then I would perhaps use something like The Manilla. I don’t mean this in a derogatory way, but fish like the Simmo strain, in murky waters, do seem to like a sweeter bait. Why I couldn’t tell you, but on personal experience this is what I have found.

These super-clear and weedy lakes are never normally that productive in the winter, so I would be going all guns blazing in the autumn with The Krill. If I felt like there was still a chance of a bite and I decided to carry on, I would continue to use Krill, just in smaller quantities. They will still eat it, but it may take them a little longer to digest, hence why I would use less bait.

So why would I go for a pretty much straight boilie approach at this time of year? If you look at it, throughout the year you will catch a better stamp of carp using boilies. You may get more bites in the summer on nuts or the winter on maggots, but I would still say that boilies, as a whole, will pick out the bigger carp.

You may not catch as many, but if you look out there at the serious boilie anglers then you will notice that the big carp like boilies. In the autumn they are looking for some quality food and boilies offer that. With the water cooling and the naturals depleting, they are looking for a good and easy meal and boilies provide this.

If the weed wasn’t too bad, then I would fish the old-fashioned way and that is by sight. Wherever I see them, I would ditch the marker sticks and be casting to the area and use the catapult or throwing stick to bait up. You never see this anymore and it really is a very effective way of fishing.

If there isn’t much weed, you don’t need to spend lengths of time finding the perfect spot. Just watch where the fish are showing, dispatch three pop-ups to the area and spread some bait around them. It couldn’t be any simpler and trust me, this tactic still works and well too. A little plop with a lead and 10 baits with a catapult is a wonderful way of fishing.

As I have mentioned though, a lot of the lakes that I tend to fish are weedy. This does require finding a spot and the only way to apply bait is with a Spomb, unless you are fishing in the edge of course.

For tight and accurate baiting, there is nothing better than a Spomb or spod. The bait itself, Krill, exudes so much attraction on its own. You only have to put some in a bucket of water to see how much attraction naturally leaks off the bait. That leak-off will happen over a long period of time and is quite phenomenal really.

However, there are a few things that I do to try and give it an extra edge, as I am aware that a lot of other anglers will be using the same bait and I want the carp to come to me. I like to use a lot of oil on my baits, so will crush them up and make a bucket of halves, quarters and chunks. I then add some Hemp Oil to it and shake it all up. I give it an hour or two to soak in and then add some Pure Krill Liquid.

The Pure Krill Liquid is one of the best liquids I have ever used, and it will sit on the bottom, even if all the bait is gone, and that smell and taste will remain. The oil will also help push those smells and attractors up through the water column. It will also give me an indication of when carp are feeding on the spot, revealing little flat patches on the ripple above it. This is great for giving you an indication of when to add some more bait to the area or if you think they have cleaned you out.

If I was fishing whole baits, I would apply the liquids in the same way. I do try and break them up though, and for a few reasons. Firstly, I think the carp will have been caught and certainly pressured throughout the year and can sometimes show caution to whole baits.

Secondly, when you break the baits up it reveals the inside of the bait, which is naturally softer and becomes easier to absorb the liquids.

Those small items will also keep the fish rooting round on the spot for longer periods of time, and when you are baiting an area it will become cleaner the more you fish it and apply bait.

To go one step further, and this is something that I have wrote about before, I often wash the baits out in lake water. I then mush them all up in my hands and then add some liquid. What this does is give you washed-out boilie crumb that is still ramped in attraction. This is something that I believe the carp don’t associate with danger and is a great way of tempting tricky fish to feed.

In terms of hook baits, I will nearly always use a ‘match the hatch’ bait. The autumn is a time of year where the fish have already been hammered and probably caught a few times in the season, so I wouldn’t want to alert them by using a bright one, as I feel they will shy off it.

If I was fishing over whole boilies, or using a spread of bait in an area, then I would be using a pop-up. I fish this on a variation of the multi-hinge rig and it can be used for both pop-ups and balanced baits. I keep plenty tied and use them for most situations that I am faced with.

I use a Gladio coated hook link as the boom and will use it long if the bottom is dirty and short if the spot is clean. It is really simple, but I feel that the carp find it hard to deal with, mainly because it is so aggressive and isn’t something you see many anglers use.

If I am spot fishing over small boilie chops and crumb, then I would use a balanced wafter. This is normally a small dumbbell, or I sometimes like to use a round 16mm but trim it down in to a misshape. It matches the freebies I am putting out there. When they are feeding on such small food items I want something small and light, to enable the bait to enter the carp’s mouth while they are feeding so delicately.

I think it is also worth mentioning location for this time of year, as it is always the most important aspect of catching carp. Traditionally, we are told to seek out the deeper, silty areas of the lake. While they can favour these areas, they can be anywhere, so let your eyes dictate where you fish. If they are showing on a shallow bar, that is where they want to feed. Don’t think that because the weather is cooling off the fish will be seeking the deeper water.

Every water is different, so don’t take a rule as gospel; watch where they are showing and fish it accordingly. Some people believe that the fish don’t show as much at this time of year, which isn’t true. Carp will always show, the only thing that will change is the time that they do it in.

I have found that most of the activity will happen at night, so set your alarm or sit up and listen; this is when you will often hear the sloshes and find where they are.

The only rule in carp fishing in terms of location that I find is true whereever I go, is that the carp will often hold up near the biggest weed bed in the lake. Large weed beds offer so much to them and if there is one large area of it and the rest of the lake is sparse, you can guarantee that it will hold fish. It offers safety and cover, as well as the natural larder that will be revealed as the weed begins to die back. Picking or finding a spot near a large weed bed, especially if you don’t have anything else to go on, can be a good bet.

As the carp are more active at night, so too will your action so you need to be organised. You will start to see the good anglers putting up plenty of night shots at this time of year and what I mean by good anglers is that they are prepared to take night shots and not bung the fish in the sling for five or six hours for a daylight photo.

Get yourself organised and kit yourself out with some night-time photography equipment. It is a time of year when doing the dawn watch isn’t that productive. If you are not seeing them at first light, make a point to get up in the night and listen for a few hours. It is hard work, but you need to know where they are so make the effort, use a bait you are confident in or that has a good track record and enjoy this wonderful time of year.