Tackling New Waters

As I have joined a new lake this year, I thought I would write about how I go about tackling a new venue.

Firstly, get yourself down the lake as much as possible; walk around it as much as possible, observe the lake looking out for potential areas where the fish my frequent, and try to spend as much time as possible just watching these areas in the beginning.  I can’t stress how important observation is.

Next, get the Deeper out or if you don’t have one, marker rod and lead about (even if you have a Deeper, you can do this as well).  It will let you understand the makeup of the lake bottom; silt, gravel, etc.  Also, it will let you know the depth of the water and the topography of the lake.  You will have an idea of where to start looking for where the carp are likely to be.  Put it all together and you’ll soon find the best areas to start fishing.

My new venue is a small estate lake only 4 miles from my house.  It’s given me the opportunity to go there quite a lot.  I soon mapped the lake and found where the carp like to hang around.  It wasn’t until the water temperatures came up that I started to spot the carp, but I did know where to look.  This was done partly by walking around a lot, but also when I was fishing.  I set myself up in a position where I could watch the other parts of the lake at the same time.  I had still yet to lead about fully but knew a lot of spots by walking around the edge of the lake with a 9ft pole.  It’s a man-made lake with a stream flowing in at one end and a dam wall at the other, with fairly straight cut sides in most places. This made it easier for me, but I still prodded every inch all the way around and found some perfect spots and some not so.


Talking to other anglers is a great source of information but only if they are willing and are happy to open up – some will and some won’t.  I didn’t have that issue, I’ve yet to see another member. I do know from some anglers, that they find that doing the whole process by themselves is more satisfying, which is what I personally prefer as well.

My next step, in the journey, is to get leading about and seeing what sort of silt is where. As the lake is surrounded by trees, there’s going to be a lot of leafy matter about or to steal a word from Rob Maylin – CHOD.  Not all venues will follow the same process or pattern, this is just the path this particular lake took me down, as I progressed my understanding of the water.

I’ve managed to fit a night in and this did throw me somewhat!  I’d clearly tracked a group of fish down and was convinced they were feeding at night.  However, it turned out that I was wrong!  You mustn’t let this get you down, it’s all part of the learning process and developing your understanding of the water.

Another option you could look at is teaming up with another member and pooling your findings.  Fish different nights and gradually you will discover more about the lake and a lot faster.  I’ve started to do this here with the person who introduced me to this water and recommended me to the Syndicate Manager.  Neither of us plans on regularly fishing the lake, in my case a day trip every week to keep the travel costs down and I am sure I will do the odd summer night.

I’ve now been a member for probably six months and one fish to my name.  This will do me, as the amount of time I’ve been able to get down here has dropped right off.  After doing another evening a few weeks back where the mozzies really loved me, it’s a bit of a problem.


I’m very confident at the location every time I go now, it’s more about getting the carp on the feed and I may just have to wait until the Autumn.  I can then get a few nights in, and hopefully, start a baiting campaign, to get them to start picking up boilies.

These fish are very hard creatures to predict.  After having a few months away, I returned to find no change in their locations on the lake – pretty evenly spread about. One thing became very apparent and that was the lack of angling pressure.  I’ve become convinced that if you set up one end of the lake or even in the middle, they would simply drift out of that area.  I managed another take by dropping baits in the margins and sitting way back.  I still remain convinced that they totally know when you are on the bank.  I did a whole day and a night, I arrived quite early in the day (about 9 ish), used my baiting pole to place my baits, and set up as quietly as possible over the next 2 hours.  I was very conscious of any noises I made.  I then spent the next 24 hours tucked up in my bivvy with the mossy panels open, but the door down, so no movement could be detected and I hardly saw any carp close by.  They had drifted around the back of the island and up the main arm of the lake.  However, in the previous few days, they were showing themselves and topping, they just melt away.


Autumn has arrived and we are having an Indian Summer. There’s been a work party de-weeding part of the lake and giving the place an Autumn tidy up.  Work parties are a great opportunity to meet other members and have a laugh and a joke.  This will break the ice; as we all know too well, most anglers will never give up much information. However, on these occasions, you will be surprised how forthcoming they will be, so if you get the opportunity, go for it, as any knowledge gain is a bonus.


I’m holding back a little on the full-blown baiting up as the weather is still pretty hot in daylight hours and not really getting below 10 degrees at night. So, at the moment I’m only sticking in a kilo a week and will move on to more, once things change.

Unfortunately, it finally dawned on me, this lake clearly did not have the carp in there that it was supposed to have.  One of the members that had been more successful than me – after catching 10 carp, was getting repeat captures!  But I was happy with my 3 carp landed and 1 lost, I didn’t really put that much effort into the lake until late Autumn.

I have moved on to an old club lake where I fished over 18 years ago and been quite successful.  If you search under School Lake on my website you will find plenty of blogs.

The key to cracking any lake is observation and sometimes a bit of luck and next year I’m going to have to put this into good use again.

Until next time










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About richardhandel

I would like to give a brief snap shot of my life and introduce myself; My name is Richard Handel and was born in 1965 in Suffolk. I have worked as a UK Operation & Intermodule Manager for a shipping company. I live in Hampshire now and am married with 2 young children, both girls so I am a bit outnumbered even the cat is a girl! I have been fishing since I was about 7 years old. I started on small local rivers in Suffolk, then moved onto gravel pits and then carp fishing. My personal best is a 39.08 mirror, over recent years I have started river fishing again, on the Hampshire Avon, this is a nice break from the carp lakes. My life has turned a big corner this year, the company I was working for relocated their Operation centre to Estonia. I was offered a job at the head office in London. This would have meant a 5 day commute and working in Stratford. As a family, we did not fancy this, as I would hardly spend any time with the children (and the Mrs). So after 22.5 years, I was given a nice redundancy package and with my wife is working full time. I became the house husband. This has meant a complete turn around in my fishing, as I can pick and choose when I go. I have found a splendid new syndicate to fish this year, which includes 5 lakes and some 8 miles of river with only 150 members. It's an amazing change to the way I am able to fish. I am now trying to start my own tackle business and make a bit of a name for myself in the world of fishing, as I have retired from real work. Richard
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