Autumn Fishing Tips: Your Guide to Fishing the Seasons

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Autumn Fishing Tips: Your Guide to Fishing the Seasons

Ready for cooler temperatures? Good news, autumn is here bringing with it a load more fishing opportunities.

When is Autumn?

Autumn or Fall covers the months September, October and November before transitioning to winter weather in December. With short spells of sunshine, rain, heavy winds and the colder nights; make sure you drag your fishing tackle out and get on the bank as the autumnal period can produce some magical sessions.

Why do us anglers love Autumn?

Along with spring, autumn is not just for carp anglers; many anglers favour this time of the year to be out on the bank or coastlines. The change of temperature can bring migrating saltwater fish to the coastlines, predators out from their hiding spots and plenty of fish on the feed, getting ready for the onslaught of winter. To make autumn all the more appealing to anglers, there is the distinct possibility that the larger fish in your venues are more targetable than at other times of the year.

What fish can you  catch in Autumn?

To prepare for the changing season, we’ve gathered together a list of what you can expect to catch this autumn across the disciplines.

Carp Fishing in Autumn

With a huge amount of carp anglers loving the summer months, you might find it a good idea to keep those rods unpacks for a little bit longer. Autumn brings to chance to better your PB with quitter venues and carp needing to stock up weight for the winter months, meaning more bites! Check out more autumn carp fishing tips on our blog. 

Sea Fishing in Autumn

The cross over from summer into winter means there are now hundreds of different fish in the sea waters, with early autumn bringing the best of both summer and winter species to coastlines.

  • Mullet: Typically found living in harbours, marinas or natural coves, mullet fish begin to spawn in winter and so are found more often travelling in groups in September and October.
  • Flounder: From late summer to late autumn is prime time for landing a flounder. Usually found in shallow waters in the UK and Ireland, flounder commonly weigh around 1lb, though some can grow up to a modest 5lb.
  • Pollock: Hiding in rocky, weed-covered seas, pollock are regularly found in early autumn, just before they begin to migrate into warmer waters for the winter.
  • Whiting: At their best during autumn and winter, Whiting often growing to their largest around the month of December.
  • Bass, Pollock and Wrasse: As autumn goes on these species will being to thin out to be replaced by the larger mature late autumn cod, who will easily be caught on the same lures used for a summer mackerel. 
  • Conger eels, Smoothhound & Thornback ray: These larger species will still be present during a fine early autumn evening, making October an excellent time to target these species.

Fly Fishing in Autumn

Cooler waters certainly liven up trout and salmon so it pays to have a selection of sinking fly lines for fall fishing to accommodate the changing temperatures and water levels. Flies should also be increased in size as the temperatures drop.  For fly anglers, an autumn day when conditions are good means a greater chance of landing a salmon or trout. Remember, autumn fish are not at their best size, and will serve a greater purpose in the river so autumn require catch and release to be followed.

Coarse & Specimen Fishing in Autumn

For Coarse fishing changing the whip for a rod and reel, scaling down your lines and trying smaller hooks are all ways anglers can improve catch rates in the autumn. Coarse anglers are suggested to use a smaller pellet feeder and give out less bait in the autumn for coarse carp, tench and bream. Autumn is also a great time to try for specimen roach, chub or barbel on the river.

Predator Fishing in Autumn

This discipline really picks up in autumn with pike, perch and zander roaming the cooler waters. The drop shot rods, lure rods and dead bait tackle needs to be primed, ready to go and target those freshwater predators when they are at their fattest and most impressive. Don’t overlook the autumn for some sensational predator action.

Top Autumn Fishing Tips for the UK

Autumn is the perfect time to target a whole host of species and try some new aspects of angling. Here are some of our Top Autumn Fishing Tips to help land you an impressive fish in your net.

1) Bait Choice and Approach

The change of summer temperatures to cool, frostier mornings call for a change in your choice of baits. Ditch the high oil pellets and fishmeal boilies that fish take longer to digest in the cold and swap for standard low oil coarse pellet or bird food based boilies. You can also try adding highly nutritional additives to your chosen bait to increase attraction by soaking your boilies the night prior to a session. You can also try adding a handful of hemp or some corn to offer a variety of hook baits for fish.

As we hit the middle of autumn try switching to more natural baits. Although boilies are a winner in the autumn, as the bites begin to slow up consider switching to maggots or casters to mix with some chopped boilies along with sweetcorn, as these baits often provide nutritional benefits and greater results as the fish gear up for winter.

For match and coarse anglers, using a pellet feeder can be devasting as the temperature drops. See the video below for more details.

When targeting large, open-water areas try spreading the bait over the large area with a throwing stick and then fish your rods across it to grab the fish’s attention. When fishing a heavily weeded lake or ‘spot fishing’ try to be far more accurate with baiting and use a spod rod.

2) Fishing Rig Tips for Autumn

For autumn, keep rigs simple and fish with nice slacklines. Use light leads of 2oz or under to keep disturbance to a minimum. Use a hinge stiff rig for pop-ups when targeting big fish and a simple blow back rig for bottom bait fishing.

When fishing in the silt or on soft bottom, keep hooklinks long in length of 10 inches or more. Use soft, nice subtle material with enough stiffness to ensure a presentable rig whilst blending into the lake bed. If the lakebed is weedy, choose a multi-rig or chod rig. See our chod rig tutorial below.


No matter what rig of choice you go for, they should all have a razor-sharp hook. Take care of your hook points as the sharper your hook, the better chance you have of hooking the fish in the first place.

3) Locating Fish in Autumn

Due to most fish being less active as autumn goes on, you'll need to locate areas where the fish will ‘hold up’. Try spots near snags, deep margins or in areas of deeper water. We advise that you target the deep, silty water, that is often neglected by other anglers as they offer natural goodies that attract carp. Autumn is a time where fish like carp with harvest off of lakes natural organisms such as bloodworm in the silt.

If you are able to find these areas at your local venue, you can keep fish concentrated and feeding in the area all through the winter. To locate your quarry, you can lead around to find likely areas, watch successful angling spots or try a technical approach by using a Deeper or Fish Spy to gain an insight as to where the fish are. It is also a good idea to try fishing on the back of the wind that is likely to be colder than the water temperature.

All these tactics, as well as always watching the water, will help you gain a full picture of where the fish are likely to be.

4) Timing, Watercraft and Predicting Movements

In autumn, the daylight hours are reduced requiring you to switch to the rivers for a day's mixed species fishing. Rather than sitting behind buzzers, head out and explore the river with a float rod, ledger rod and lure rod, as well as a few essential items of end tackle (a net and a mat) and go and explore.

Many anglers will agree, autumn fishing can create higher night-time activity in fish. Be sure to observe and be prepared to move pegs, even at midnight to be within a chance of a new PB. Consider travelling light for this style of mobile angling. It is a good idea to keep a note of times the fish tend to be showing at your local venue so you know exactly when to start searching hard for the fish. Fishing at first light also often gives insight to where the fish are hiding.

5) Autumn Moon Patterns and Fishing

As odd as it may sound, planning your fishing sessions around the moon can certainly help when targeting larger fish in the autumn. So many PB captures occur on the fall of full moons and new moons. You can check this autumn’s moon phases on the Time and Date website.

6) Wearing Autumn Fishing Attire

With the calmer waters of autumn, anglers need a higher level of stealth, certainly for carp and fly angling. Pick clothing with camouflage or neutral colours to help blend into the fish’s habitat. Choosing your clothing wisely, along with making as little noise as possible, will stand you in the best stead to catch fish in the calmer waters during autumn. Autumn also means you can bust out that camouflage hoodie, joggers and jacket from your fishing wardrobe as staying dry and warm is vital in the strong winds and showers that autumn brings.

If you are fishing on a long or overnight session,  have layering system for your clothing that allows you to remove layers as the day warms up. Consider having an outer layer will be of a breathable fabric, with the purpose of being windproof and waterproof. Then wear a layer of warmth such as a fleece or base layer. Many items on the fishing clothing market today has been made to be lightweight and durable ensuring your comfort in the autumn conditions.

If you are boat fishing or wading in the autumn remember the basics of safety and pack a life jacket and some form of eye protection from the wind whether its glasses or a hat.

7) Being Organised and Prepared for Autumn

Clothing aside, you need to have your tackle and bait organised for autumn before a session to avoid wasting time on a fishing trip. Have a target or focus for your angling, and make sure all the pieces of the puzzle are ready, then you can spend as much time as possible fishing.

Do not just think about tackle basics like your terminal and rod choice. Make sure your bivvy, sleeping bag and bedchair are all up to it. If you need any replacements or upgrades, finding out before hitting the bankside is going to save you a cold, wet night!

If you are attempting to take a youngster with you to the bankside during the autumn, be sure to pack a flask of hot chocolate or tea to keep the both of you toasty! You can also check out a range of bivvy accessories such as bivvy heaters to keep the wind and rain from ruining your mood. We, here at AD also stock plenty of cookware for those anglers wanting to split up their autumn sessions with some bankside recipes.

For more tackle ideas, well suited for the autumn climate, check out our guide to sunny and rainy days at the bank.

Autumn can be an exciting and entertaining time for anglers. So, don’t let the cooler weather put you off. It certainly won’t put the fish off.

For updates, more tips, guides and catch reports, follow our social media pages or check out ADTV on Youtube.




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