Looking Back Over 2020 Part 2 of 6

Looking Back Over 2020 Part 2 of 6

Welcome back to my looking back over 2020 feature as part of my Podcast series and will feature multiple trip in one long podcast, from pike to carp fishing and easy lakes, to the big water I love to fish so much.

Trip 11 Carp Fishing- 2020

Location – School Lake

Hours – 4 Hrs

With my 2 day job completed by 11am on Tuesday, I quickly popped home and swapped gardening stuff for the Carp tackle, this is the simplest to organize and I soon pitched up at the lake.  I was also very interested to see the completed work on the lake and if it was possible to fish a certain area from the opposite bank, where  I normally do.  This would be nice, as it will now just involve an underarm cast as the trees have been removed.  The Carp will not be bothered, my only concern is the possibility of new underwater snags, but the maintenance team is pretty good.

I looked up and down that bank for a bit before I settled on a swim and then moved down one more!


I had quickly grabbed a bucket of the Catalyst expanding pellets and my trusty PPS/CC 12mm pop-ups.  I was going to be dropping large bags of the expanding pellets out with a scattering of 8mm normal Catalyst pellets.

I may move but it would be interesting to sit this one out in the same spot, just out of interest.


I’m down to the last 20 minutes before pack up time and the conditions have gone from sunny to rain and back again.  The wind it’s Baltic when the sun isn’t about and my plan looks like its heading for blank, but there is always a chance until the rods are packed away.

With the heavens opening up on me again, I was soon packing up and heading for the car.

next trip

Trip 12 Pike Fishing- 2020

Location – Waterworks Lake

Hours – 5 Hrs

I’m back out on the reservoir today, after the Pike and after successfully catching some live bait today, I’m very hopeful that I can bag my first Pike from this area.  I’ve checked with the Deeper and there is plenty of silverfish, so there has to be Pike about – other than the small Jack who tried to grab the Roach off me earlier on today!


Well, today has certainly been a step forward, unfortunately only small Pike, but it’s certainly proven that the live bait is the way forward.  I just have to locate the bigger Pike, who are surely not that far away.  I managed 2 landed and one dropped the bait, which is 3 more takes than the last two trips.

next trip

Trip 13 Carp Fishing- 2020

Location – Meadow Lake

Hours – 38 Hrs

I’m back out for another 48 hours and the conditions are pretty perfect.  Unfortunately, the other 5 anglers set up before me thought so as well!  But that’s fishing.  Mind you it’s good to see a bit of pressure on the lake and some bait going in.


There was really only one option where the selection of swim was concerned – I was in the same swim as last week.  The water level was much the same, it had also been raining for the last two days on and off, so it was like a swamp.

Bait up was going to be fun – there was a strong southwest wind blowing down the lake but I felt that I had done a pretty good job.  The baits were on their spots and I was a very happy camper.  I had baited with a mixture of 12mm & 15mm Catalyst, Classic Corn boilies with and few scoops of particle blend.  Pop-ups were my choice of hook baits, both 12mm, but one CC and the other PPS.

My first take of the weekend belted into action just after 0315.  I was soon out of the bivvy (with the waders on) and pulling into a nice lump who was on a mission to go right which is always a worry.  There is a small bay there with a lovely overhanging tree and I’m sure it very nearly found it.  Saying that it had certainly found a weed bed on the way in.  The thought of this worried me until it was under the rod tip and I could play the fish out.  Fewer obstructions were about at the end of the swim as it was some 3ft underwater.  I safely neglected all this and a lovely Common was on the Nsr.


31lb 6oz Common

That will do me!  It was definitely worth all that effort to set up in the dark and rain.  The rod was back on the spot and I was soon back in the warmth of the bag.

The second take happened before I had even settled down and turned the bivvy light off.  It was a hard-fighting Meadow Carp, but less of a problem with the tree than the last. Very much over the moon with these two fish.


19lb 6oz Common

It’s now coming up to 5am, after I got that rod back out on the spot and wrote the blog while it’s fresh in my mind.


I was up quite late, about 0930, I must have been tired after all that action!  I got the kettle on, got my head together and topped up the swim.  There where clearly a few fish crashing about out last night and if the same happens tonight I need to hold them there.  It’s a pretty windy day out, but with a good deal of sunshine, which is certainly nice to see.


The day passed by as normal.  The sunset and it was Netflix time.  I had a minor disturbance at 1950 with a Bream on the left-hand rod but I was all set for the night.  Unfortunately, there was a band of rain moving through in the early hours, right on feeding time, so we will see how that affects their feeding pattern.

The next Carp take happen just after 0615, interestingly not long after the rain stopped.  It was the left-hand rod again, after another hard fight (avoiding the huge tree in the water to my left), it was under control and in the net.


23lb 6oz Common

It must be the weekend of the lbs and 6oz fish!  I was very happy with my result.  With first light arriving at 7 am, it’s nice to see the days getting longer.  It’s going to be one very muddy pack up.

I was halfway through packing up and the left rod ripped off again!  I was into what felt like another lump and it was certainly nice to play a fish in the daylight.  After another encounter with the overhanging tree, it was soon in the net but after a good battle under the rod tip.


34lb 10oz Common

What a cracking weekend on the Classic Corn.  After setting up in the dark in the swap, I was certainly a happy man today.

next trip

Trip 14 Carp Fishing – 2020

Location – School Lake

Hours – 5 Hrs

I’m back out on the School Lake for a few hours today and was quite surprised to find 4 other anglers on the lake.  They, however, were all down the other end.  I headed up to the island end of the lake and set up so I could cast to a couple of the corners.  I could also get a good view of the lake, just in case, it was worth moving, later on.  I’m 100% sure there will always be carp down this end, so I was very confident in my choice, but it still Winter and you need to keep your options open.

I was putting out 8mm Catalyst pellets with a 12mm CC pop up over each area.


After watching 3 or more fish crashing out further down the lake, I couldn’t help myself and was soon on my way.  I had to stealthily get the rods back out; on lakes like this I’m never sure it’s worth the move as you could end up chasing carp all day.  But with no signs my end, it just had to be worth a go and I was soon picking up liners, I just need a pickup.

The move finally paid off.  I had to adjust the baits after realizing that the carp were a lot closer than I thought, they were fizzing up right off the boards.


With no more action and zero signs of feeding carp, I headed back to the island but not the same swim as before.  I wanted to present a bait on the front of the island on my side of the lake and the other rod was put where my left hand was, first thing this morning.  Hopefully, I will bag one more before 2 o’clock.

It didn’t take long, a bit of a small one, but you can’t choose what bites!


The next fish was a Mirror and absolutely stunning.  This take had come from the spot off the end of the island, they clearly were in more open water more than normal.  And I was very happy.


I’ve about 15 minutes before pack up time and I’m very happy with my results.  It was hard going, I moved 3 times but successfully banked 3 carp today, which was looking very unlikely at one point.


After spotting another fish roll on the same spot, I quickly moved and put one rod on the spot, in the hope it rattles off in the next fifteen minutes, you just never know.

next trip

Trip 15 Carp Fishing – 2020

Location – Meadow Lake

Hours Fished – 41 hours

After last week’s success, I was incredibly keen (to say the least) to get back into the same swim.  They were clearly held up in that area of the lake and it was only a matter of time before one of the big girls picked up a bite.  I was planning on it being my bait.  I managed to organize a friend to collect the kids from school on Friday, so my plan was to arrive at about 0930 Friday morning.  However, as the week progressed, Saturday night looked horrendous with heavy rain and 60mph wind and I’m not that stupid anymore, well some times maybe.  So, with the goodness of my wife’s heart, she let me go Thursday after she had got home.  This would give me 2 nights on the lake and hopefully a better chance to get into that swim.  I arrived at around 1845 and there was only one other member on the lake and nope he was not in that swim.  I quickly set camp up and set about spombing out a good load of Classic Corn boilies and particle blend soaked in Classic Corn syrup, into the darkness onto my spots.

This is pretty simple on a moonlit night and using the horizon markers.  You need you also need to have confidence in your casting skills.  Once that was done getting both rods onto the area.  One had a Classic Corn wafter and the other had a 12 mm ‘pps’ pop up which looks great.  Just about 20 minutes, the left rod absolutely screamed off and I was into a nice lump of a carp who plodded about and slipped into the Nsr50.  I just couldn’t believe it, what a start to a session!

39lb 5oz Mirror

Really an amazing carp.

The rod was back out on the spot, I just sat back and soaked up the feeling.

The second take of the trip happened just before 5am, it was freezing out there there was frost everywhere.  I slowly managed to get another carp into the Nsr50, with no real issues.  After a quick vid and some snaps, another lovely mirror was back home.

17lb 5oz mirror

The time I had written this and tidied up, it was coming up to 6am and -2 outside (brrr). The third take of session happened just before 9am and this was a lot harder fighting carp.  I’m glad it was daylight, as this helped me avoid that horrendous snag to my right.  Once that was avoided, it was pretty straight forward – play the carp out under the rod tip and then slip it into the Nsr.

26lb 5oz Common

I’m quite stunned at my results from this swim/session and I really need to keep my head together and not get to overwhelmed with it all.  I took the opportunity to bait up the swim again and rebait the other rod.  This oddly hadn’t produced a take and that was the main one last week! The carp must have moved off to the right more.

The fourth take happened, just after 1015.  To catch in daylight just makes life better, it was a great help today.  This fish was clearly intent on getting under the overhanging bushes and even found a big weed bed to my right twice!  It was completely enveloped in weed when I managed to get the fish (and the weed) into the Nsr50, to my great relief.

36lb 12oz common

I safely returned the fish and had a sip of my now cold coffee.  I got the rod back out on the spot and sat back a soaked up the moment.  The fifth taken happened just after 3 pm and if it wasn’t for another syndicate member talking to me at the time I would have not noticed as my remote was on low.  That was lucky.  I soon had another nice Common in the net.

29lb 14oz common

With the rod back out, it was worth putting a few more spombs of bait out for the night.  But before I even got the spomb cast out, the rods were off again!  Just unbelievable!  I’m up to six fish and just can’t believe how well my session is going.  I’ve now managed to get the rest of the bait out into the swim for the night.



13lber Common

With a lovely bank of cloud coming over the lake tonight, it will certainly be a lot warmer.  Just after 11 pm, I had a bream, it was similar to the size of the one I had last week.  Somehow, this one managed to tangle up with my other line and caused a wipeout of both rods! I now need to redo both rods.  It was gone midnight before I was back in the sack and getting my head down.  I fell asleep listening to the rain, one of the light showers forecast over the course of the night.  At 6 am, I had another bream.  It was looking like the carp had moved off the spot.  Dawn was just around the corner and with the activity, I received in the daylight hours yesterday you never can tell.

With only a few hours before I head home, I’m sitting on my bedchair writing this and reflecting on what an amazing session this has been.  More importantly, a big thanks to my family for sorting things out so I could get down the lake 24 hours earlier than normal.  It resulted in these incredible captures.  Otherwise, I would’ve arrived at 7 pm Friday night and only had bream.  I could have completely missed out on all the action, it’s amazing how luck can play a part on your fishing, some or even all of the time.

next trip

Trip 16 Carp Fishing – 2020

Location – School Lake

Hours Fished – 5rs

With a gap between the storms, the next few days are looking quite nice.  I even caught up on my gardening jobs!  This is helpful and will give me a few more days free before Spring kicks in.

I’m out on the school lake today.  It was a very hard frost last night and now a fresh breeze running down the lake.  After looking for signs of carp and there being none; I’ve hopefully set myself up in a swim which has produced me fish before and I also get a reasonable view of the lake.  I can move on quickly if or when I spot any signs of carp. There is another angler up by the island so that rules that spot out, we shall just have to keep my eyes open and fingers crossed today, I think.


All I’ve done is put two bags on, filled with Catalyst pellets and I’m fishing a 12mm CC pop up.  There is a small scattering of broken boilies over each of the bags, once I’ve dropped them in the margins.

With no action by noon, I just had to move on a bit further up the bank and see how things go.  It’s certainly hard going at the moment, but lovely and warm in the sunshine still, which is definitely a bonus.


After spotting a showing carp, I was off down further along and quickly flicked the rods out.  Within 10 minutes, I had what I thought was a take, but it was just a heavy liner and that was that – time for home.

next trip

Trip 17 Carp Fishing – 2020

Location – School Lake

Hours Fished – 5rs

With the prospects of no fishing at the weekend, due to another horrendous storm pushing through, I’m totally convinced that it’s a waste of my time.  Before or after would be better, preferably before at this time of the year!


With that in mind, I’m on the School Lake again.  After yesterday blank and today’s cold n wet conditions, it could be another blank, but I’m not giving up that easy.  I’ve been hunting out the Carp with the Deeper and I may well have tracked some down.  After 45 minutes of searching, I just need to convince them to feed, which may not be that simple.


With that in mind, I’m using tiny PVA bags with a scattering of Catalyst pellets, crushed boilies and both rods on pop-ups.

At around noontime and after the rain had gone away, I moved to another spot, this time of the front of the island and within minutes I was away but within minutes I had lost it. Not helpful.  However, on a positive note, my thought process was correct on where the fish may be.  That rod was soon back out and definitely hopefully another take soon.


There were only 20 minutes left on the clock before pack up time, so it’s looking like another blank.  It’s a real shame I lost one, but with no other signs of carp, I stayed put in this swim with the hopes I would get another chance, but it wasn’t to be.

next trip

Trip 18 Carp Fishing- 2020

Location – Meadow Lake

Hours – 119 Hrs (5 Nights)

The family was away, it’s Half Term.  I’m down the lake and all set up in the swamp swim again.  It was a difficult choice, as the other swim I had in mind was nice, dry, clean and you didn’t need to wade out, whereas this swim is horrendous.  However, the underlying factor was that it was still producing Carp and I had utter confidence in that swim after the previous few weeks of being in here.  I know that if I set up in any other swim in the lake (as I had the pick of them all), obviously not the ones underwater!  I would spend the whole time wishing I was in there, so it just had to be done.

There was no real point in leading about.  It was a case of spombing out 23 wraps 4 kilos of Classic Corn boilies and particle blend.  Then casting the rods on to the spot with my hook baits, exactly as previous sessions and take it from there as the week goes on.

Within 20 minutes of the rods being out, I was into a Bream and once it was unhooked the wind picked up.  It was a right struggle to get the bait back on the spot and had to redo it again once the wind had calmed down again.  Eventually, the rain pushed away and the sunshine arrived at the end of the day.  There was still a good blow on the water, but the temperature was dropping, the pressure looked good and was rising over the course of the week.

My second take happened just after 2300 hours and was definitely a Carp.  I say was because halfway through pumping the fish in from my spot (which is certainly a few yards out and a few more once the waders are on), the hook pulled and from my close inspection afterward it was needle-sharp.  Just one of those things.  I just hope they haven’t wised up to my change in rigs adjustments.  We shall see.  It’s nice to get a take off the spot.  With the rod back out and the blog updated, I was soon back on the sack (getting some more shut-eye).  I awoke to a lovely but still windy sunny day, there had been the odd heavy downpour overnight which woke me.  Just before 0830 the left-hand rod was off with another Carp, again, frustratingly, bumped the hook out.  Two hook pulls is not very good news and I was at a bit of a loss to why.  The rigs I had been using were no different from the nice new ones I put on.  I soon changed them and got both rods back out again, I then topped up the swim with more bait. There clearly had been action on the baited area, albeit no carp on the bank.  Let’s hope I don’t have to wait until the early hours to find out if I’m correct!

The day past by with no action.  My friend Ian came for a coffee and a chat for a few hours in the afternoon, which was nice, as I’ve not seen him for some time.  The weather was a mixture of heavy rain and sunshine today.  I’m hoping that tonight I can put last night’s problems behind me and move forward with a few carp in the net.

The night past in complete silence for me, I was fast off all night long – the fresh air must be working!  If it wasn’t for a friend calling I would have still been asleep now.  It was time for an adjustment with the rods, I didn’t feel it was necessary to move swim, just move one rod into another area.  As there is an incredible amount of water in front of me and only being able to fish with 2 rods does limit you.  I rebaited and moved the right-hand rod to a different spot, I left the other rod where it was for just for one more night, as there is a bit of bait out there.  Everything else is the same – rig, hook baits, etc. The weather is cloudy and an odd rain shower, tomorrow afternoon onwards there is rain forecast, but light rain, so all looks great.  Unfortunately, the pressure has gone up by 10mb which isn’t helping.  My fourth take of the trip happened at 1550 Tuesday afternoon and this time it wasn’t a Bream!  It also didn’t fall off!  After a very hard fight, avoiding the overhanging tree to my left, it was safely in the Nsr50 and wow, what an emotional fight that was after the last ones, I was just overwhelmed and relieved at the same time.

29lb 3oz common

The rod was rebaited perfectly on the spot, I was feeling much more confident now.

There was not a single bleep again all night long and I need to definitely spend some time thinking my options over today; stay, move or go home.  I’m going to give it until noontime before I make my mind up and way up the pros and cons.  I never like to wake up after a blank night and go ‘that’s it I’m moving’, I believe you have to be more calculated in what you do.  I’ll have a brew and a bite to eat (to feed the brain) because I don’t what to make the wrong choice.  It’s now 1300 hours Wednesday and I’ve decided to sit it out in this swim for another night or two.  I decided this after looking around and hunting them down with the Deeper.  It was clear that they were still in this swim.  The issue with this swim is that it commands so much water, you could fish six rods and not cover half of it.  The water in front of me goes into a sanctuary area, so unless you can cast 200 yards + they are safe from capture.  Therefore, after a long search about and returning to my swim for a look, an incredible reading popped up on the Deeper.

This just had to be the place to be.  They were drifting about, as I picked them up 3 times over an area, luckily I have baited this area.  I stuck both rods on it and fingers crossed that they pass this way again and fancy a feed.  The bottom looks perfect and felt brilliant once I had passed the marker rod over the area, as I like to do.  The weather conditions are perfect – with the exception of the pressure, which is still high, but hey you can’t have it all, I didn’t pick this week, the schools do!  My fifth take happened just before midnight on Wednesday after taking the decision to move my rods onto another spot.  This paid off with the hard fighting Common, who just ripped off with no warning – I was a bit dazed at first, but it was on the rod and I was gaining ground.  It was soon in the Nsr50, that was a nice result.

20lb 15oz common

I was well happy with that and as the rain started again I quickly got the rod on the spot, well I hope so.  The wind had picked up and was blowing very hard down the lake again, this definitely makes casting an issue and even more so in the dark.  However, once I had tightened up the line, it was pointing in the right direction, heard it click and it felt right when it hit the bottom, that the best I could do.  The next take was just before 0400 hours on the same rod as before, this also belted off like a train and did its best to get under a tree to my left.  Again, after a hard battle with the rod trip pushed deep into the water, I cleared the tree and set about playing the fish out under the rod tip.  It soon slipped into the waiting Nsr50.

28lb 14oz Common

Very happy with that and not sure if I will get back to sleep tonight as very much over the moon.  The rod was soon out again and looking like it was spot on.  I settled down with my head on the pillow; I hadn’t even closed my eyes before the right-hand rod was off this time and a very heavy fight ensued.  I was convinced I hooked a monster, but it was just weed the Carp had picked up on the way in!  But it was still another nice Common.

24lb 3oz Common

I was well happy with tonight’s results – after the bad start with 2 lost fish, that was in the past.  I had just banked the 4th one of the trip and that was pretty good going for February.  Yet another carp on Spotted Fin Classic Corn boilies.  I’m pretty much hooked on and have utter confidence in.  I can’t wait to get back on the Airfield lake in the middle of March with these babies.  It just went past 0500 hours, I had better try and get some sleep, I need to be up early to rebait the swim unless I fancy getting soaked in the rain again.

What an incredible night that was.  I managed a bit of sleep and got up at 0800 hours.  I baited up the swim with the last of my bait and settled down to a day in the bivvy as the forecast is rained all day long.  The next take happened right in the middle of a heavy wind and rain storm but was successfully landed without any issues.  I didn’t weigh it as it was pouring down, just did a quick vid and got it back out there.

That will certainly do me, another one to the list of Carp who love the Classic Corn.  I took this opportunity and got both rods in.  After a quick trip to the box in the car park and collect a couple more bits, I then set about getting the rod ready for a recast when the wind and the rain starts in about half an hour. Unfortunately, the wind is now blowing directly into my swim from the NW and has a cold chill about it, it’s due to swing around again to the SW as evening progress.  The pressure has started to fall, which is nice, I do look at these things but as I generally only do nights at the weekend and short days in the week (until the gardening season really kicks in), I just go when I feel happy about the conditions as you really never know.

I had yet another Bream at about 1730 and there was just enough light to get the fish back in the water and the rod out before the light was lost for my last night.  The next take happened just after 2030 on that very same rod, but this one was a Carp and a Mirror, it was one of the new stockfish and after I double-checked the weight, as it didn’t look that big.

14lb 5oz Mirror

Happy with that, it certainly breaks up the Common run a bit!  With that rod now out, I settled down to get some well-earned rest after last night’s captures.  I was hoping for the same tonight.  The next take was a long wait, it happened just before first light on my last morning and I was dozing at the time, wondering if I will get another one before I pack up this morning.  It absolutely belted off and made me jump.

26lb 1oz Common

What a lovely Common to grace my net again, there’s actually now rain forecast today.  This is handy as it would be nice to get things clean and tidy.

It’s time, to sum up my trip – with a hard start and the thought of moving in my mind, lots of deep thinking happened and I stuck with this swim.  It was certainly worth the effort as the rewards were brilliant and my trusty Deeper helped.  The Classic Corn boilies did their job.  It all came together and produced the goods again for me, by the time I get back on here, it will be March and in my book that’s the start of Spring and Winter is over.  Boy oh boy, what a Winter it’s been.

4 x 30s

9 x 20s and plenty of doubles

And this all when the weather wasn’t particularly nice, the lake had flooded and the swim turned into a swampy bog.  But the rest is history.

next trip

Trip 19 Carp Fishing – 2020

Location – School Lake

Hours – 3 Hrs

With a few hours free today and the prospects of no rain (which certainly makes a change, mind you the wind is pretty harsh).  I’ve selected my swim on the less windy side of the lake and its also in full sunshine, this is in the hope that the carp feel the same way and tuck themselves against these margins.  4 other anglers are out today, so the extra pressure around the lake may make them move.  Something needs to as its Spring on  Sunday (1st March) and it’s been a lot harder on here this February than expected.

With that in mind, I was just going to be using PVA bags with Catalyst pellets soaked in the syrup and a few crushed up CC boilies.  One rod as a CC wafter and the other as a PPS pop up, for a change.  I will just work on from that.  It could be time to try out the Catalyst boilies.

It was about an hour before the left rod was off and with a lovely mirror in the net, that was a pretty good start.


Unfortunately, not long after that the school called, my eldest was feeling sick with a headache, it was a super quick pack up and I was off.

Very happy with my results in that very short trip.

Part 3 of 6 will follow in a couple of weeks

Until then 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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