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Autumn Baiting

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I have said so often just how much I absolutely love this time of the year, my favourite season by a country mile. The cooling weather for me makes me feel much more comfortable. It suits my grabbed moments of outdoor life between my mostly indoor working life. The fresh feel and smell of the often-damp early morning air, the biting insects are almost none-existent, and my pre-work walks more comfortable with an extra layer on that can be removed if required. As for the fishing, well, so long as I can get on them, I know I can really catch them.  


My old rigs and bait certainly don't need altering - one from a couple of weeks ago.

My rigs and baits have remained the same for many years now because they work, and they work well. There is no need to ever alter those, other than sometimes needing to switch between my home tied combi-rig and my reverse combi-rig, this being dependent upon what bottom terrain I am presenting my hook bait over.

Far more important is the amount of bait to introduce and what time to risk a re-cast. You can have the best bait and the best rigs, but mess the baiting up, or scare them at a time when they are just starting to feed by recasting, then you may as well be fishing with a pickled onion on a rubber hook. Okay, a fish might be 50 yards metre away at the time on the way to your area when you recast and be unaware, but the group of fish that were going to start colouring up the water and hiding the rigs, you can be sure they will be on high alert.

How much free bait to introduce and when to introduce it seems to be something a lot get right only once a month. Does that ring any bells. Do well, then struggle for two or three weeks?

From what I see this is the case more often than those who seem to be able to sneak a carp out regardless. Now I am talking waters here that aren’t concentration camps for carp that must eat whatever they are given or starve. Those waters will always respond to the sound of bait going in, but there are a lot of more sensibly stocked venues where fresh bait going in so often puts them on edge.


this 30 from October 2022 turned up just as the light was falling, a main autumn feeding period on this venue.

I have repeated myself so often on this aspect, but I am an avid recorder of the conditions all through the year. Just like so many others, I can’t choose when I fish, I am very much a weekend angler these days, so I must put up with whatever the conditions are and make the most of them. Although I could run my office from my bivvy, I know I don’t work well doing this and certainly don’t fish well either. So, I put up with whatever is thrown at me during the time I can turn my attention properly to the angling.

Mirror 2

They came thick and fast in October


I ended up with one on each rod and no baits cast out.

The most important things to me are...

1) Atmospheric Pressure – to try and make sure I am on the best venue for that pressure, or if concentrating on just one venue, then making sure I can get in a swim which offers suitable depths depending upon if we are having a high or low pressure situation. This can make a difference as to how much I feed into the swim. High pressure in a deep swim and I am not going to be giving them much. The lower the pressure, the more I will feed.

2) Moon Phase – This is something that so many take with little seriousness, I am now quite relieved that they choose to ignore it. Other than the frustrations of watching a load of bait going in when very few carp are going to be feeding. Remember above I touched upon some doing okay once a month but then struggle for the next 2 to 3 weeks?

Don’t read into it too heavily if you don’t want to believe that something which effects every animal on the planet also effects carp. I won’t get any heavier on this subject other than you are most likely to catch over a decent bed of bait between a new moon starting and just before the full moon. After the full moon, hold back on the amount you feed until the new moon is once again starting.

3) Wind Direction and Strength – The important thing here for me is how long the wind has been in a certain direction and what was it doing for the few days leading up to my next trip. I get asked so often ‘how long has the wind been blowing this way’ which just shows how turned off many are when away from the water, yet what is happening between trips is so paramount when it comes to choosing a swim, as indeed an idea of any changing weather systems due whilst you are there. Some strains of carp react differently to the wind, so it is important to know your own fish, but all carp will react to a change in the wind, most will follow a new wind, but how long they stay on it varies greatly particularly if it is a strong wind.

4) Time of Capture – Okay, not directly weather relatable although ‘out of the norm’ odd time captures will occur when conditions are bang on for that venue, so knowing what it was like when the take came tells me so much. I never ask what spot, what rig or bait, but I do ask what time did you catch? Everyone seems happy to share that bit of knowledge and this really is vital when putting the jigsaw together as to when to bait and when to re-cast. I personally like to separate these two activities and try not to re-cast more than one rod at a time. One lead going in will arise their suspicion that their number one predator is around. Two leads in a short time distance will confirm it, three leads and baiting will totally give the game away. Funny how a lot fail to catch during their first few hours of a session isn’t it?

after work

Conditions aligned a couple of weeks back allowing me to shoot over after work in the pouring rain for a bonus fish

Well, a few things to think about above. My fishing this autumn has been as good as I could have hoped for, so my old approach doesn’t yet look like it needs a lot of adjustment. Fortunately, I have detailed records going back for decades that have allowed me to come to the conclusions that I have.

Anyway, I need to make my final decisions where I am going to head toward tomorrow. With a full moon last Tuesday and a massive rise in air pressure which will be peaking Friday night/Saturday morning in the area I am most likely to be, is sure to make things a tad difficult this week. My baiting will have to be as discreet as possible, hopefully with the catapult if I can get away with it and almost certainly after dark. I don’t want the coots and tufties seeing where it is if I am only going to be putting a few beakfulls out.

Good luck if you are getting yourself out there. For me I will give myself the option of Magnum White, Rahja Spice and Rock Pool Rahja, and not much of either, so I'm not tempted to pile it in.

Best wishes as always

About the Author: Shaun Harrison

shaun profile pic

Quest Baits boss Shaun Harrison has put over 40 years of experience into developing his range of carp baits ” This bait range is the culmination of the bait knowledge I’ve gained throughout my carp fishing career, a journey which started in the 1970’s. It has truly been a long and winding road – frustrating at times, fascinating and rewarding at others….. Our range you’ll only find proven baits, the ones I use myself 

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