Gaz Fareham highlights how effective targeting silty areas can be, especially in the autumn.

Having grown up in the north west, silt doesn’t faze me in the slightest and neither it should! There’s a time and place for targeting gravel areas, but over 30 years ago when I fished the likes of Redesmere and the other famous Cheshire meres, you had no choice in the matter, gravel simply wasn’t present in those lakes.

As the temperatures plummet, fishing the often-shallower gravel areas become a thing of the past, and the deeper silty areas become havens for the carp. After all, the silt is where their natural food lives, and with winter looming, the carp seek their food out with gusto.

However, it isn’t just a simple case of casting out to the siltiest spot you can find, as it has different levels to it. By its nature, silt is made up of decaying matter and so can smell incredibly rancid. It’s this rancid smell you want to avoid, as these areas are clearly not appealing to the carp.

By using a simple leading up setup with a braided main line and a lead of your choice, you can identify the areas which are perfect to target. Simply cast out as normal and draw the rod back using the crook of your finger, if you have to curl your finger and use extra force then the spot is likely to contain thick, smelly silt, which isn’t the one! I look for a spot that feels like a veritable billiard table, where the lead glides across it like a sheet of glass. If you find a spot like this, smell your lead upon retrieve and I can almost guarantee it won’t smell of rotten eggs, but will smell almost neutral. Any spot that smells rotten will often be just that, so I always try to find somewhere that smells neutral. This has always proven to be almost a guarantee of a bite!

In terms of rigs and baiting approach, I keep things simple. As silt is a dark substrate, Tungskin is my go-to hooklink of choice, as the colour matches up perfectly. Unlike many anglers out there, I don’t go straight in with a pop-up presentation when faced with silt, instead I prefer to use a blowback rig. It is so subtle when compared to a hinge rig for instance and I believe on the cleaner silty spots, the balanced bait presentation gets you more bites.

In terms of rigs and baiting approach, I keep things simple. As silt is a dark substrate, Tungskin is my go-to hooklink of choice, as the colour matches up perfectly. Unlike many anglers out there, I don’t go straight in with a pop-up presentation when faced with silt, instead I prefer to use a blowback rig. It is so subtle when compared to a hinge rig for instance and I believe on the cleaner silty spots, the balanced bait presentation gets you more bites.

STEP-BY-STEP
GAZ'S BLOWBACK RIG

Little is more when it comes to bait in the autumn.

Bait wise I tend to use a small amount of amped up freebies with a balanced hookbait over the top. I have found this tactic to be much more productive than stoving it in from the off in the autumn. Just fishing for a bite at a time can soon turn into a red letter session, you just have to be patient.

There’s definitely a lack of confidence that surrounds anglers when fishing in silt, but it really isn’t anything to be afraid of. So long as you fish an area that doesn’t smell rancid, with a quality bait and rig that presents well over it, you should have plenty of success!

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