Fall carp fishing can be incredible.
The leaves are falling, and the temperatures are dropping.
Many anglers have packed it in for the year come September, and you are probably wondering if you should too?
The answer? Not a chance.
Carp fishing only gets better in the fall if you ask me.
The size of the carp and the overall weather conditions create the perfect combinations of elements for me to get excited right when everyone else is calling quits.
I believe over time, many anglers, possibly just like you have been under the impression that it’s tough to catch carp when the temperatures begin to drop.
Hell, I even discuss some of the pros for fishing in the warmer months in my blog post on how to catch more carp.
What I don’t do, however, is mention that colder weather fishing for carp doesn’t work.
It absolutely does.
They are still out and about and ready to bite.
Grab your gear and best homemade bait because the fun is just getting started.
Let’s go over the 13 ways to increase your carp size and overall carp count for this fall and retire the 2021 season in style and enter the next season with some momentum and confidence.
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Table of Contents
- #1: Don’t Fear Fishing the Snags
- #2: Use the Correct Equipment
- #3 – Revert to the Vegetation, Get back to the Basics
- #4 – Make them Want the Bait
- #5 – Use the Weather
- #6 – Try Rivers and Water Outlets or Warm Water Discharge Areas
- #7 – Keep it Soft with Bait
- #8 – Be Willing to Adjust and be Soft with Your Approach
- #9 – Pay Attention to the Weather
- #10 – Time of Day Always Matters
- #11 – Don’t Ignore November and December
- #12 – Remember the Science Behind Carp
- #13 – The Most Important Tip of Them All – Have FUN
- Wrapping Things Up
#1: Don’t Fear Fishing the Snags
When the temperatures begin to drop, carp fishing gets a bit more interesting.
They start planning out for the next months ahead and attempt to locate the safe harbor spot for the winter months.
This is going to be near the snags and trees or anywhere providing cover for the carp.
They want to feel safe and get away from the natural pressure of the water your fishing or possibly are just trying to avoid being caught altogether.
Also, snags offer a large variety of carp’s favorite snacks, so they are already primed, ready and in the mood to eat.
For most, this is a problem.
Anglers typically don’t target these safe spots for carp.
Snags are referred to as an area that would usually suck to fish for if you didn’t know what you were doing.
It’s a dense brush, downed trees, and dense vegetation spots.
That’s only what we can see from above the water.
Beneath, the picture gets harder to navigate. It’s like trying to navigate a hook through a corn maze at a pumpkin festival.
The sneaky part of this is that you now have made the carp feel safe and sound if you can land the cast effectively.
You are attempting to place your bait in an area this fish considers his home for the winter.
The kicker, however, is that his metabolism isn’t quite finished for the year.
They are still hungry and ready to bite.
Don’t try fishing these snags unless you’re prepared for some work and frustration.
It can be an absolute pain.
It can also yield your largest carp catch of 2021.
The decision is yours.
Nail the cast!
This is honestly the easy part of fishing the snags.
You don’t need to be directly in the obstacles or under them to have luck.
Just get close.
It’s not rocket science.
You need to be able to retrieve the line so don’t get crazy trying to place your hook between a maze of branches and brush.
#2: Use the Correct Equipment
Fall fishing for carp is much different than your regular bottom fishing for carp in the heat of the summer.
It’s also different than fly fishing for carp.
By a long shot.
No matter how experienced you are with either of the previous two mentioned methods of carp fishing, this will be an entirely different ballgame for you.
You need to be willing to spend a couple bucks on durable, strong equipment to compete against these monsters.
A weak rod, reel or even hook set up will most likely leave you empty-handed.
If we were fishing for the 3-5 LB carp, this might be a different story, but we aren’t.
Fall fishing for carp is for the big boys.
15LB is on the small end of the scale when you target carp in September and October.
Here’s a list of the minimum equipment needed to carp fish near snags in the fall.
We will cover the exact setups toward the end of the blog post.
#3 – Revert to the Vegetation, Get back to the Basics
You don’t necessarily have to snag fish for carp in the fall just because it was Tip #1.
Carp will still bite 6-12 feet away from snags. It’s going to be much more of a waiting game.
This would just be more of your typical bottom fishing for carp. Or…
You could go back to the basics and everything you know about catching carp.
You can target vegetation. Look for areas in shallow water with substantial amounts of vegetation.
You should be able to visually make visual confirmations of the carp in these areas or notice them tailing.
Point being, snagging for carp doesn’t have to be your only method of catching carp in the fall.
Get back to the basics.
#4 – Make them Want the Bait
Remember carp can see just fine. They can smell very well too.
Use this to your advantage. Try baits that really pop in color compared to the background contrast.
I have a blog post dedicated to the best carp baits you can use.
This may be of use before your first trip out on the water.
If not, here’s a few examples.
Corn can really stand out in the marshy green high vegetated area.
Just make sure you have the correct hook set up to keep the corn on during the cast and while under water.
Another example could be a fly that contrasts the watercolors your fishing. Try a bright color to gain attention to the monster you attempting to reel in.
#5 – Use the Weather
We all know fall gets.
Depending on where you live it can get wet or damp, falling temperatures and much more wind.
This is beautiful for catching carp with ease.
The wind stirs everything up and also adds oxygen to the water which in return, gets all the carp hungry and ready to battle.
Everything most certainly includes food debris from trees, insects, and vegetation.
Rain also does nothing but help.
It washes everything down getting your carp into the zone to go on a feeding frenzy until he just can’t eat anymore.
Don’t shy away from the mediocre to lousy weather days to effectively fish for carp in the fall.
#6 – Try Rivers and Water Outlets or Warm Water Discharge Areas
Maybe your carp fishing in September or October never really reached its peak, and you’re not quite ready to put the gear in the attic.
I don’t blame you. I can barely handle the Christmas – New Years’ week without fishing before I start getting a little stir crazy.
Don’t ignore fishing for carp during this time near the rivers and warm water outlets.
Carp need some rest too.
But not so fast.
Carp’s metabolism naturally slows entering the cold months.
The fish knows when this just like you and I do due to water temperatures and other environmental factors.
In certain rivers and warm water outlets, it doesn’t seem to have the same impact on the carp.
Successfully catching carp using this method can help fill your winter depression and keep you on the water fishing for carp day and night.
#7 – Keep it Soft with Bait
In my time fishing for carp in the fall or the winter, it seems that the softer the bait you use, the better off you are.
This simplifies things substantially.
You can use your home-made dough bates or even revert to the all-time classic and my favorite.
Here’s a complete guide for how to catch carp with corn to help you out some.
#8 – Be Willing to Adjust and be Soft with Your Approach
Don’t bust out the gigantic rods and your shark-sized hooks.
Everything can stay small in the fall and winter when fishing for carp.
Small hooks, small leads and open reel with soft bait will bring you greater rewards.
#9 – Pay Attention to the Weather
Tip #5 mentioned how rain and winds can help.
We aren’t going to touch on that again.
I assure you I’m not crazy.
Pay attention to the temperatures.
If you are entering October and just had back to back 40 degree days followed by a 60-degree day, pack up the truck and get fishing.
You have to remember that just because they go ghost on you for a moment, doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to get out and eat if the conditions are right.
When the weather strikes, so will carp so be prepared and plan ahead a bit to further your success fishing for carp in the fall.
#10 – Time of Day Always Matters
It matters in March, it matters in June, and it matters now.
This won’t ever change for most species of fish.
Here is a full guide for the best time to fish for carp with real case studies.
Back to what I was saying.
Slight variations in water temperature is a crucial piece to fishing for carp during September and October.
Here in Illinois, the temperatures peak between 2-430PM.
When it’s cold outside, or the sun’s not shining, the warm weather or rays from the sun can get your carp up and about and ready to eat.
To recap, try fishing when the sun is beaming between 2-430PM if you’re in the Mid West.
If your in another region….figure it out, I’m sure you can handle it.
#11 – Don’t Ignore November and December
I know we are here to discuss fall fishing, but I don’t see a reason to blog again about how carp will still bite in the winter.
Sometimes just as well as the rest of the year.
Use the same tactics for fall fishing except continue your hot streak well into the holiday season.
Trust me, they still bite.
#12 – Remember the Science Behind Carp
The reason carp fishing can be so darn good this time of the year is that they know it’s about time to pack it up in until Spring.
I know we just covered fishing well into the holiday season so let me explain.
Great placement of bait will catch carp all year round.
Here’s the difference. In the fall, bad placement of bait will catch carp with ease.
They know they are getting ready for a long stretch of no food so they will go absolutely nuts before the metabolisms kick down into idle mode.
#13 – The Most Important Tip of Them All – Have FUN
Have fun with carp fishing.
The above example just helps illustrate others who have had great luck fall fishing for carp as well.
Not just in the fall or even during the winter.
Anytime you fish for carp, remember to have fun and learn everything you can and improve your skills.
Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t to avoid frustration.
If you remember, in one my old blog post, I mention how my OCD forces me to document everything.
This actually helps because after many failures and test runs trying to catch carp, I finally started learning patterns and what works.
This, in turn, causes me to have a blast each, and every time I fish for carp any time of the year.
Wrapping Things Up
I have had ups and downs fall fishing for carp.
That’s for sure.
In complete honesty, my first year doing so netted me close to nothing.
I began figuring out the trends and tips to make it happen, and it’s only gotten better.
Carp fishing has become a hobby I just can’t seem to shake and have no intentions of anytime soon.
The fight is something different and much better than many other game fish you can catch.
Although these fish can be a hindrance in some areas of the country, I’m beginning to be grateful they are around in such large quantities.
It’s opportunity at our fishing pole tips each, and every time we hit the waters.
Always remember that I’m not an expert.
This isn’t In-Fisherman, and I’m not paid to fish or write these blogs.
I just enjoy fishing and sharing my stories.
Plus, I can usually learn plenty from all of you as well so let’s keep that going.
If you have any more pointers or tips to add, please be sure to comment below so we all can enjoy catching more carp this upcoming winter.
Till Next Time!