A year on the Airfield Lake


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I absolutely love this lake.  It consists of many islands, two of which you can fish off but that’s if your brave enough to cross the bridges.  It was three separate lakes which were joined together many years ago.  There are access pipes to the other lake on the other side of the bird reserve, but it is now blocked up

A small bit of history for you.  After the Airfield was closed down, the surrounding valley was dug for gravel and then filled it with blitz rubble.  It was then re dug again for more gravel and then turned into a reservoir, it was then a fish farm, over the years the lakes did have the odd syndicate.  This was until the estate decided that they would run their own syndicate.  At one point the lakes where over stocked with smaller carp, these were netted out over many attempts, this was due to the make up of the three lakes and the variation in depth over the whole complex.  Unfortunately, the lake bed is still littered with boulders and other underwater obstructions that the carp know oh so well!

When we arrived back in early March and the carp are pretty active, but also clearly back on the natural food source.  They’re very hard to get at this time of the year.  The only realistic option is to fish tight up against the snaggy overhanging trees, which to add to the complication, is the whole of the west bank.  This is also the longest bank which is all out of bounds and there are only about 6 swims available to fish these areas.  This doesn’t sound a lot, but one big advantage for this syndicate is there aren’t many members who are that keen and at least half this swims are always free.  This is because a lot of us believe there are plenty of other options to trick the carp into picking your bait up, as they clearly show themselves over most parts of the lake from early March onwards.

This season have been pretty good and I’m not sure if lockdown helped.  We managed two weekend before the lakes got closed down and I bagged a nice Common.

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That was it until we all allowed back in May time, I think.

My first trip out was on one of the islands which only had one swim.  Perfect to keep myself away from any one else, as I suffer from asthma and no one was really sure how that effected you with Covid.  I managed to lose a carp to one of those annoying boulders.

My plan this year was to concentrate on the deeper lake, which is where I’d started in March.  I picked an area that never got fished that much in previous years and it gave me access to a couple of nice bars.  I headed back down there on my second trip to find that it had been fished – this was a bit of a blow to my plan, but things change and I headed to a different area.  My plan was to stick to an area and slowly build up the bait, which wasn’t going to work in one of the popular swims.

I did pretty well over the next month, but started to realise that the new swim I’d moved to was also getting fished more and the other options didn’t give me access to the area I wanted to fish.  This part of the complex was getting popular and it was time for a different approach and a new plan to head into Autumn feeling confident.  I had the chance to make October count, as the naturals will have died down a lot.

I now started to concentrate on the main part of the lake which had a lot of open water and a couple of islands to fish off (and a fair few that you couldn’t).  It was also closer to a large area of water that wasn’t accessible and held a lot of carp.  Anglers had seen some real lumps crashing over the years here.

Over the previous year’s, some of the swims had become unpopular and even overgrown.  So I started to bait these over the coming weeks, but not fish them.  I’d spent a lot of time studying the Deeper Lakebook page and by now I’d mapped a good deal of the lake.

My catch rate was improving and I was keeping away from the real smaller carp, but still getting plagued by the mid doubles.  I managed to lose what felt like a nice carp one night, so I knew I was at least in the right area.

September provided to be a very good month.  I’d started to fish the areas that had been baited previously and started to rotate the swim over a fortnight period, to keep the bait going into two different parts of the lake.  I even cut back one of the overgrown swims to give me access to a part of the lake that didn’t get fished very much.  The down side of this swim was you had no option other than to live in your waders and put them on when you had a take at night.  It wasn’t possible to land a carp from the bank, due to the overhanging tree’s and you needed to keep the carp away from the marginal snags.  I also rotated around the swims with my fish buddy Ian – if you read my blogs on my website you will have spotted the odd photograph of him with a fish, he also does a lot of the filming for me.

We had managed to consistently catch carp since Lockdown had eased and the average size of the carp had been getting better.  We had played around with a couple of rigs, trying to improve the odds in our favour regarding only catching bigger carp.  This worked pretty well, but the mid doubles wouldn’t completely keep away.

We headed into October and this was going to be a new experience, we’d never fished this month before.  I was really looking forward to seeing the trees change colours and that lovely yellow glow you get as the sunset over the lake.

The fishing started off pretty well until the weather changed to north easterly winds and started to make things a lot harder.  The carp were pretty easy to locate, but they were not picking up baits.  The pressure had risen dramatically which I really don’t think the carp like on this lake.

The last week arrived and the weather looked perfect.  However, two days before this, we had over 36 hours of heavy wind and rain from the north.  This didn’t deter me and I headed out for 5 nights fishing, which turned out to be extremely hard going.  I was saved a blank with a 11lber, however my friend Ian landed a lovely 30+ on the second from last night and it made our trip just brilliant. 

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The joy on his face shows and if you could see the smile on my face behind the camera, it was exactly that same.  I love to share the joy in other peoples capture, the emotion just rubs off on to you and you feel that joy of fishing.  This is what its all about. 

I’ve enjoyed my season on the Airfield Lake and had my best one for some years with a total of 54 carp.  Unfortunately, for the first time no 30 lbers but close with the 29lb 6oz Common and I’m convinced I has lost 2 that may have turn the scales over 30.  It’s quite a nice to end the season with a long session and it means that I will be able to fish 5 months on Meadow and 7 months on here each year.  However, you never know what’s around the corner, especial in this day and age. 

We will be back next session for another go

Until then, stay safe.

Richard 

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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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