The days are getting shorter and the weather’s getting worse, but at least you can still go fishing. Autumn probably brings some of the best views for fishing, a canal or river lined with a sea of orange and reds trees is such a nice place to be, although, it is a shame it isn’t as warm as the colours of the trees! This time of year sees some anglers put their rods away until spring, but there are still plenty of fish to be had, in fact it is the best time to target some species.
Perch, pike, chub and barbel are all great fun to catch this time of the year, as well as some autumn roach. This is a great opportunity to dust off the lure fishing kit and hook some perch or pike. Not only do they give a good account of themselves once you’ve hooked them, but going from spot to spot and working the lures definitely keeps you warmer. There are lots of different ways to fish for these species and everyone has different preferences, but I will run through some of the best places to hopefully stop you blanking.
Perch are probably one of my favourite fish to catch, they always fight well for their size, and as most people, I fondly remember a perch as being my first fish. They also are normally willing to bite regardless of the conditions, and tend to have quite a big appetite even if they can barely fit the lure in their mouth. They are quite common throughout the canal network with some monsters lurking in the depths, but big perch aren’t the easiest to catch and the key to catching a specimen is locating them.
The canals are a perfect place for lure fishing, the towpath gives you access to the whole canal, making it a lot easier to work a lure at the angle or position you want, instead of having to climb up and down from peg to peg. They also offer loads of different spots for perch to hide, fishing near moored boats, bridges and inlets can all produce some of the bigger perch. As some of the canals have less obvious features you will find that the fish are drawn to areas of structure, these are always a good place to look for perch, so if you have a stretch of canal near you with a lot or bridges you might be in luck.
This year dropshotting has become very popular and proved very effective for many fishermen, it is easy to master and you can travel light, with minimal tackle required to be able to do it. You essentially fish with a lead at the bottom of the rig then the lure at a right angle to the rig in mid water. This keeps the lure in the taking zone as you retrieve it and the leads are designed so that you can easily adjust the depth. This tactic is one that is worth trying especially on canals where you can cover a lot of water with this light roving tactic and it gives you the opportunity to catch bigger fish as well as smaller ones.
Autumn is also a time when worms can come into their own, with most fish happy to eat a worm. Worms work well in winter because they often get washed into the water by the rain, meaning the fish are used to eating the worms freely with little associated danger, making them more effective as a bait. It also puts a bit of colour into the water, so if you break the tail off your worm it lets the smell leak into the water which can often help to increase your catch rate.
So just because the best of the weather has gone, doesn’t mean you can’t go fishing. With lots of fish still feeding and many ways to catch them, there is a reason for everyone to get out on the banks this autumn, just remember to wear some warm boots and take a flask of tea.
Jake joined the Trust in July 2015 as part of the Marketing & Communications team. He first went fishing aged 11 and has been hooked ever since. Jake will be telling you some stories from the bank as well as some helpful hints to hopefully pass on some of what he has learned over the years.See more blogs from this author