Looking Back Over 2020 Part 4 of 6


Looking Back Over 2020 Part 4 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 30 Crucian Fishing – 2020

Location – Icehouse Lake

Hours Fished – 5 hours

My plan this year has been to start fishing the old local lakes after Crucian carp, it’s been well over 30 year’s since I have had any.  So, with one of the lakes on the club water containing them, these lakes are generally very peaceful and free of anglers, this was going to be my starting point.

My set up was a 11 ft float rod, as I would only be fishing the margins, there are a lot of overhanging trees to contend with.  My hook bait was going to have to be corn, due to the lake containing Rudd, Roach and Carp, this means I may have to switch to bread flake or worms at some point. I would be using Sf method ready pellets, they are just so simple to use.

I arrived about 4 pm (earlier than I had planned), this gave me time for a walk around and a longer time to set up.

I picked a swim along the dam wall as this would be the deeper area, in preparation for this, I had mapped out with my Deeper.

I was soon fishing.  The Roach were certainly going to be an issue, as I managed two within the first hour!  I didn’t like the idea, but I stepped up the size of corn grains, to combat this.  This did help, but would the Crucian pick up?.

As the evening drew on, the Roach died off and the baby Tench moved in!  I was having a very enjoyable evening with the float rod and certainly made a pleasant change.

No Crucian were had unfortunately, but it was a very enjoyable evening and I will be back again next week after them.

next trip

Trip 31 Carp Fishing- 2020

Location – Airfield Lake

Hours Fished – 65 hours

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I’m making the most of the wife working from home, the home schooling work is being done more or less by Thursday.  So, I get 3 days off as well as well as the kids, they just need to check if the teachers have snuck anything else on the website.  So, the Mrs gets the kids started on Friday before she gets to her work and I get to go fishing on Thursday.  So, until things get back to ‘normal’ and the wife is back in the office once again, I will be doing this.

I arrived at the lake by 1130 and there were a few people about. After talking to a couple, they had done a few nights already.  The lake had produced some carp and a fair few had been lost on the boulder, which hopefully I will not find this week.

With the winds due to push over 30 mph from the South West this weekend, conditions were looking better than last week.  I was at a bit of a loss as to where to go.  The few areas that floated my boat were already occupied.  It’s also hard to look at a lake on a hot flat calm afternoon and set up in the right spot in anticipation of the change in conditions.

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By early evening the cloud had arrived and the wind was nicely pushing from the South, I was feeling the love again and felt like I had picked the right swim.

I had baited an area where I’d done well from (on occasions) in the past, however, not for some years.  I was hoping with the wind from behind me, I will be able to gain some distance in my casting and get closer to the island margins, also into a gap towards one of the sanctuary areas.

The night as always passed peaceful for me.  This morning I’ve chosen to stick a rod along the right hand margins but not very far,  I am making sure it was right at the bottom of the shelf with a lovely pva mesh bag on.  I’ve also adjusted my rods, as I like them to point at the spot I’m fishing as it gives better indication.

Also less chance of losing a rod, I’ve done that twice in all the year’s I’ve been fishing.  Not a very happy moment and even after a lot of effort, I never got them back.

The other spot I’m sticking to and have topped up with my lovely mixture of stuff.

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Can’t go far wrong with that.

With yet another night on the Airfield Lake going by with no action, it’s going to start to become harder to stay positive. You just have to take the rough with the smooth on this place.  There was a removal of a lot of carp a couple of years back and the dynamic of the lake has changed.  I think I need to start treating it as though I’ve just started fishing on here for the first time and forget about past times.  These have certainly gone and the big fish hauls are not as frequent as in the past.  The ones we caught in the past have all gone and we are now fishing for a different strain (or at least carp who don’t behave in any way similar to their counterparts).

My personal belief is that the netting programme was struggling to capture anything in the past, succeeded one day to net the shoal that accounted for all the big hits over the year’s.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of carp in here.  I just have to relearn the lake, forget about past captures and areas that have produced carp for me (and other members).

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I reeled in for a couple of hours, had a long walk around the complex and a brew.  I then got the rods back on onto the spots where they were going to be, both on the baited area I was building up.  With fresh wafters on, I was all set for the night.

Morning arrived sooner than expected and pack up time was on me yet again.  I would be back soon, with a new plan and full of anticipation and confidence as always.

next trip

Trip 32 Carp Fishing – 2020

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of carp fishing.

(As featured in  Talk Carp Magazine)

Location – Airfield Lake

Hours Fished – 71 hours

This week, I had the opportunity to start my three nights earlier than normal – it was Half Term and the wife was off work.  We should have been camping in Wales and what lovely weather it would have been, just perfect!  I arrived just before 10 am and it was going to be a hot one, hopefully not as bad as before, only up to 22 degrees.  The pressure was still high, but the carp have to feed.  There will be no let up in the weather for the next 2 weeks.  The cool breeze was still about, but nothing like the winds of last weekend, which didn’t make much difference to me as I blanked.

I had put a lot of thought in since my last session and I felt the bottom lake (being the deepest) was my best option.  I’ve switched back to the Catalyst, which had served me well on this complex.  The clarity of the water on this lake is like tap water, unlike the shallower ones.  The bird life (Tuffted Ducks) is a bit of a nuisance so a darker bait was called for.  I’d also opted for 10mm freebies and no particle added, just Catalyst soaked in the food dip since Monday and the hook baits would also match the darker colours.

The complex was very quiet when I arrived, just two cars on the first lake and 3 in the last car park.  One was a day angler and I think one had set up on the Middle Lake.  After a good walk and a bit of a drive around to the far end of the complex, this spot contained the most carp.  So, it was now about attraction and how to get them away from the safety of their favourite area – the far margins under the overhanging tree.  I wasn’t going to cast to close, that would just be a pointless exercise in how to lose carp.  After reviewing the Deeper lakebook recordings, I had the marker float on the spot and baited 2 kilos over a nice gravel bar.  I’m sure they must move along it when they come through the gap, they are always under the tree.  I’d just have to draw them out with that lovely aroma the Catalyst has.

The right hand rod just had to been near the gap, I think they must have been hammered there over the years, but just along 10 ft may work.  I don’t think you can ignore that area, it’s just finding the perfect spot.  I only put out about 1/2 a kilo, I’m sure there has been a constant flow of bait since we arrived back.  Both hook baits were going to be Catalyst wafters, and are also very dark. I just didn’t need the wildlife homing in on them.  During the day, I may stick a pink pop up in the gap out of interest tomorrow, just to see if the visual option works.

As evening was underway, I had decided it may be a good option to have an alternative spot.  I got the Deeper out, was just about to flick it out and connect it to the phone before I whacked it out into the lake.  Before I could finish doing this, the right hand rod ripped off and I grabbed it straight away but I didn’t stand an chance.  I walked backwards into the swim, the carp was under the overhanging tree, I thought they where a good way off.  I wouldn’t have stood a chance at night.  With this in mind, I would leave that until tomorrow and concentrate on looking for another spot in an area I was aware of a feature, but I hadn’t looked for.  As luck would have it, I found the 6 foot humps around an area of 7 foot straight away and put a few spombs of the Catalyst there with a re-done rig.

I needed to map a lot more of this part of the lake over the next few days.  The night drifted by with no other action, there were plenty of carp crashing all over the complex.  It was going to be another warm day on the bank and I need to diside if it’s possible to find another spot near the gap, but it needs to be further away from the trees to give me the opportunity to get the fish in the net.

Grrrr!  Just lost a carp on the open water rod – to a hook pull!  I just don’t need this at the moment.  Time to dig deep and focus on the positive fact, I’ve managed to get two takes in less than 24 hours and move forward.  The bait was back on the spot, there’d been a couple of fish crash near the other spot, which is also good to see.

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Just before noon, I baited the spots again with 1.5 kilo nice fresh wafters and whacked them back out on to the spots for the night.  Hopefully I may get another chance to get one or two in the net tonight.  Just after 01.30, the right hand rod ripped off into a carp who was kiting out into open water.  This one found a boulder or the line was pulled under one, after much patience on my behalf the line gave way.  I was gutted this is probably the worse start to a session on this lake and was getting pretty ridiculous to be fare and a bit silly.  Either, I’ve been incredibly lucky in the past or something has change.  I need to look back over past seasons and address this situation soon.  Don’t think I’ve much option on this trip, but will sort something out tomorrow morning.

Just after 0500, the same rod buzzed into life, they really scream from here without any warning.  This one was also kiting out of the bay, but found no boulders in its path.  I was soon in the water up to my knees, giving side strain and hopefully stopping the carp from going around the end of the point to my left and into another bay.  My efforts paid off, the carp was under control in the margins.  It was time to play it out and get it safely in the Nsr, which I did must to my great relief, success at last.  I often say that a lost fish is better than a blank as you have got the location, bait application right and it was unfortunately that you didn’t bank the fish.  If you only get one peace of the jigsaw wrong, its better than all of the pieces scattered everywhere!

That will do me! 19lb 15oz Common

With wet shorts, I was over the moon.

I proceeded to get the rod back out with a fresh 15mm Catalyst wafter and got a brew on.  I would probably drift back off to sleep at some point.  I hadn’t even got the brew into the cup, the left hand rod screamed into life with a wild and angry Airfield Lake Common.  This fight lead me even further out and nearly around the corner!  There was a close call with the overhanging tree, I had to bury the rod under water and pump the fish towards me.  I was hoping all the time that I didn’t make contact with a branch.  Once the fish was safely around the corner, I could relax again and play the fish out under the rod tip.

15lb 11oz Common

Another cracking looking carp from the wild water.  The bait was soon back out and I’d taken a sip of my luke warm coffee when I had an amazing drop back on the right rod just after 0730.  There was nothing on the end if that one, the rod was straight back on the spot after checking the hook point.  This is one thing I’m very keen on – the sharpness of hooks, as sticky sharp as I could.  They are sticky, because of the way they just stick to your fingers without even trying.  I’m quite happy to sharpen my hooks and don’t feel the need to put a brand new one on every time.  A good hook should be sharp out of the packet and have the capabilities to be sharped a few times without affecting the performance of the hook.

After having another drop back, I had to conclude that, there was a carp trailing line, which is a very unfortunate situation.

I got the other rod out again after checking the hook and got another brew on.  Just after 0830 the right had rod ripped off and I was happily playing the fish back towards me.  The hook pulled out again!  I was still holding the rod thinking over the situation and the other rod ripped away!  I quickly grab that and pulled into another carp which was kiting left and I need to get wet again (joy) and keep it away from those trees.  It did make me wonder what on earth I would have done if I hadn’t lost the other fish.  I continue to pump the carp in to avoid any possibility of hooking up with the branches underwater, it eventually made it round the corner and into the Nsr50.

The Nsr system is absolutely brilliant once you have netted the carp.  Let the line go slack and the fish will drop to the bottom of the net.  It’s just like a retainer and it will happily sit there, as you get the camera kit etc all sorted.

A lovely 15lb 15oz Common

And back she goes to fight another day.

A fresh bait was back on the rod and on the mark again.  I rebaited the area with another 3 kilos of 12m Catalyst boilies at just before midday and then headed around to a friend’s swim for the afternoon – social distancing of course.  There was no way I was spending another afternoon baking in my swim and it was a pointless exercise.  After 1630, I headed back and clipped on the rigs I had all set up and also had decided (with some discussion this afternoon), I would put my rods closer to the bivvy door and a lot higher up.  Hopefully, this will combat the boulder issue and convert more carp in the net.

Just after 22.30, the left rod tour off and I was safely attached to what felt like a lump.  I was slowly gaining ground and then the hook pulled out.  Once I’d reeled in, I checked the hook and it was perfectly needle sharp.  I don’t know if the powerful take made the hook dislodged, he same rig earlier banked me a fish.  I’d had to use my forceps to remove the hook as it was well in and perfectly hooked in the bottom lip in the middle.  So, why this time it’s choosing to pull out?

The Ronnie Rig does get you more pick ups than other rigs, but this is getting worryingly I need a fix to this issue pretty soon.  I can safely say this is doing my head in and has given me a lack of confidence in the rig.  I’ve had high regards for it over the past few years since moving off the 360 onto the Ronnie.  My thinking cap needs to be on and do some fine tuning, if this doesn’t fix it, it may be time for a change.  This has gone on way too long on over the past six months.  I think I’ve fixed the issue and I then get a weekend like this, I’ve finally found where the carp are held up, get 8 takes and only got 3 in.  It is pretty frustrating for me.  Confidence in your ability is a key factor in carp fish and you have to be careful it doesn’t get undermined, by a situation like this.  I think that knowing that this was a better/bigger carp hasn’t helped.  The trouble with this place, is the make up of the lake bed over the 3 different areas you can fish, it dictates different adjustments to the rig and I need to get all the pieces of the puzzle together and fix the issue tonight.

With the bait back on the spot, I could hear the carp crashing, there is certainly confidence to be gained from the knowledge that they are feeding on the bait and my location and thoughts about their movement were spot on.

I’m certainly hoping for better results over the next few hours to even the score board out.  About 04.00, the same rod as before was screaming off, this was a nice wake up call and a pretty straight forward battle played out.  The carp was into the net.  Much to my surprise, it didn’t head for the left hand tree and was well behaved.  It was also a relief after the hook pull in the night, which we are not going to talk about anymore.  I counted out the wraps to the spot, put a fresh Catalyst 15mm wafter on and fine-tuned the hook.  I was soon back out on the spot and looking forward to my next take.

15lb 11oz Common

I was a very happy angler.

I thought I would add a couple of photographs with my underwater camera, just to give you an idea of some of the leftover rubble we have to contend with.

The bottom shot shows a very large lump in the middle of the screen, you can just imagine what would happen if your line get dragged anywhere near it.

The time was 05.30 and the left rods was away into another wild carp from the Airfield Lake.  This one took me so far to the right, it nearly beached itself in the margins, but was soon back in front of me and off around the corner.  The smaller fish are a nightmare on here, after a close call with the overhanging tree, it was all over and done with.

And back home safely and another lovely 13lb 14oz Common.

My original plan was to do three night’s and the wife kindly offered the opportunity to stay another night, which was lovely of her.  However, after a lot of thought on this matter overnight, I have decided, it’s best to head home this morning.  I’m pretty shattered from the heat, the takes through the night and not being able to sleep in the day due to the baking heat.  I wouldn’t be functioning at 100% and when you’re fishing, I personally believe you have to give 100% to maximize your ability to catch carp.  The last thing I need to happen is to lose a good fish due to being exhausted.  So, I’ll be heading home just after 09.00, which gives me a couple more hours and a chance of another carp.  It’s been a hard ride of emotions over the past 3 nights with plenty of ups and downs and I hope this comes across in my writing.  I feel it’s more realistic to the every day anglers out there and losing carp is an integral part of the learning process within all aspects of fishing.  I’m hoping with the few tweaks I’ve made, there is a good possibility that my landing ratio will increase on here and I can get amongst the monster more over the coming months.

This trip has been my best for some years and I can’t complain at that.  I try my best to look on the positive side of life as much as possible.  This can be tricky at times and more so at the moment, with the current situation, you have to make the most of it all and take the good things that come with it and brush away the negative.

Life is all too short and we should enjoy the moment.  What could be more enjoyable than spending 3 nights out on the bank with the wonders of nature all around you?  Fishing is such an amazing opportunity to be outdoors.

07.30 the left rod was away again and this fish did the same as the last one.  Kited away to my right and then happily let me play it out under the rod tip again, absolutely awesome.

22lb 8oz Common

With reel-in time was just over an hour away.  With nothing happening on the right hand rod, I moved them both on to the same area to my left which had produced 3 takes in the last 3 hours.  Not wishing to be greedy, but there may well be time for another bite, I might just have to stick about for another hour, as I have also yet to start sorting out my kit ready for the barrow trip to the car.

That was that in the end.  I’m well happy with 6 carp land and 4 or 5 lost fish is a bit unfortunate, but my best trip on this lake for some years by far.  I’m looking foward to my next session.

next trip

Trip 33 Carp Fishing- 2020

Location – Airfield Lake

Hours Fished – 64 hours

With the weather conditions turning so much the lake was calling me and after lots of persuasion, the wife kindly agreed (she is my editor and my disagree). I managed to get down the lake by 1630 and I probably owe her lots.  Better catch and make it worth my effort.

I was heading for the same lake with a couple of swim options in mind, when I arrived they were all free, so was a bit lost for some time.  After watching the carp showing over the area where I’d fished last week, I decided to go be to that swim.  I also had the ability not to be cut off from the action if the lake filled up.  The weather was just going to be amazing, the pressure had gone from 1023 to 1006 overnight.  On Wednesday morning, there was a good cloud cover, light rain for a good part of the day and the coming day were going to be similar.

This week I’d soaked up some 20mm Catalyst, just in case the wildlife had found my spot.  For the first night, I like to fish one spot and move on from there.  This is something I’ve not spoken about before, but if I’m doing more than one night I prefer to put all the rods on one spot and then move on from there.  Unless you are extremely familiar with the swim.  You can easily bait up two or three spots depending on the number of rods you can use and then realize (as you spend time in the swim), that you’ve got it wrong and need to move rods and there is unwanted bait in the swim, which is not ideal.

With that in mind, I spombed out 3 kilos of Catalyst boilies and fished both rods on 15mm Catalyst wafter.  As the evening progressed, it was becoming clear that some carp were passing closer in than the previous trip.  I’d probably found my second-rod spot, quite quickly, and would get the Deeper out to find out what my opportunity there were.

The first night was bleep-less, which was very unexpected after seeing all the carp showing pretty much everywhere, there was certainly less of this after last night.  I’m definitely thinking of moving one rod a lot closer this afternoon.

I popped out to get supplies just before 11.00 after I’d located a closer in feature which was about where I’d seen the fish showing last night.  I put about a kilo on that spot and put the rest of the bucket on the original spot from last week’s session.  If this fails tonight I will be very surprised, but you never know and that’s fishing.

This trip is turning into a real headbanger, with no action for the second night and the conditions couldn’t be better.  The carp certainly don’t feel that way, they are clearly about but just not on the bait.

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I’m going to have to put a lot of thought into what I do today – cut my losses and head home or stay.  This would be ironic after all the fuss I made about going as the conditions are perfect.  The pressure has now dropped to 997 mb, with lots of cloud cover and a good wind on the lake.  Compared to last week’s flat calm, roasting heatwave.

I will have to weigh up my opinions this morning.  At noontime, I headed off for a walkabout and came back revitalized.  After watching the carp showing this morning, not too far away, I felt that adjusting the range of one rod further out and switching back to the point of the bay.  It had produced me a couple of carp the last trip, so it must be a good option for the last night.  There’d been a couple of good heavy rain showers which will definitely revitalize the lake and hopefully switch them back on the feed over the next 24 hours.

I sat watching the lake and hoping it would pay off in the end, otherwise, I’d never hear that last of it from the family, and could you really blame them?  All that fuss to go in the perfect conditions and I blanked, that just couldn’t happen, could it?

I was staring out around 0500 thinking it’s not over yet.  The most productive time for the lakes at the moment is now.  I drifted off to sleep again and my dreams where interrupted by a belting take on the right-hand rod, which had been positioned in the bay to my right.  I was on the rod like a whippet and bent into a Airfield Lake carp at last!  It was kiting right, which is not a great issue, as long as you keep a tight line to the fish, as it will just run out of water and head back out into open. I played it towards the net, once played out, it slipped into the Nsr 50 and I was very happy.

17lb 11oz Common

With the rod back on the spot, it was time for a brew and the possibility of another carp (if I’m lucky), as there is a good could of hours feeding time to go.

The next take was at 0740.  Unfortunately, I didn’t fair so well with this one.  It managed to gain ground and find a nice snag to get its head into and then came the inevitable.  After a new rig was made, the bait was back on spot.  With only an hour to go, it was going to be tricky, to get another one.

It certainly looks like I had had my two chances this morning and I’m happy with that.  It could of so easily been a blank trip.

next trip

Trip 34 Crucian Fishing – 2020

Location – Icehouse Lake

Hours Fished – 5 hours

I’m back out after the Crucians for a few hours this evening.  I’ve picked another swim on the lake and will eventually pin point their favourite spots.  There is actually another angler on the lake, it will be interesting to see how he gets on and what he is after or just out for the pleasure.

I’ve one rod float fishing it has a small piece of sweetcorn on and the other with a 8mm pellet (just out of interest to see what may come along).  I under arm flicked this along the margins to my right with a ball of method ready pellets squeezed around the hook.

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Both spots have a scattering of pellets and a bit of corn to feed the swim.

The first two hours were uneventful with only a few knocks, but there had been a few fizz ups which were promising.  I thought I would check out the other swims and make a move for the last few hours.  However, after looking about, I felt I was better placed where I was and disided to say in the same swim.

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The downside of fishing light tackle when a carp picks up the bait, you get smashed up.

Despite my best efforts and hard work it was a blank, hopefully back next week for another go.

next trip

Trip 35 Carp Fishing – 2020

Location – Airfield Lake

Hours Fished – 64 hours

I now have the opportunity to fish Wednesday till Saturday, the wife has been furloughed, so she is the substitute teacher.  I’m planning on taking full advantage of this over the next 3 weeks, when possible.

After getting my gardening job’s done, I was back home, the tackle was in the car and I was on my way.  After a long conversation with a fellow member, I was up to date with the lake and could formulate a plan on the way there.  I headed straight for the car park I was interested in and there were still only 2 cars in it.  I dropped my bivvy off in my first choice and popped around to another swim occupied by another member.  I stood talking to him watching carp topping all over the area where I was thinking about fishing – think my mind was made up.

It was the same swim as last week and if you remember, the carp were doing the same thing.  This time I was going to fish both rods a lot closer to my bank and move one rod about as before.  I may leave that until the last night, this time.

I’ve gone back to the Classic Corn mixed with Maize and micro pellets soaked in CSL for a few days.  I’m feeling the carp are on more natural baits at the moment.

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Other than a couple of bleeps in the night, it was uneventful and feeding time was nearly over.  There was the odd heavy shower overnight and today was going to be much of the same.

Just before 10.00, the left-hand rod was away, it was attached with a very hard fighting carp.  It was determined to get under the overhanging trees to my left.  Luckily, there’s a lot of depth there and I gained line until the fish was in front of me (and a bit more under control).  It hadn’t given up and was still focused on that margin as a way to escape.  I wasn’t having it and finally took control of the fight – I slipped the fish into the Nsr.

16lb 12oz Common

When the rod was back on the spot, it was time for another brew.  I was well chuffed with that result.

Just after noon, the right-hand rod burst into life, and a torpedo headed out into open water.  It managed to pick up the other line on its way by (which was quickly sorted), before the fish headed for that tree!  It must’ve covered a 100 yards, very quickly, and once out of danger from the tree, it was off into open water.  It promptly picked up the other line again.  There was just no option at this point, as I was up to my thighs in the lake, so it was impossible to sort the lines out.  I just slowly carried on playing the carp towards the Nsr50 and soon it was safely in there.

19lb 11oz Common

Very happy with that.  It has been a long time since I’ve had a pick up during the day, it was looking promising.

With all the rain this afternoon, I’ve only just managed to bait up and it’s just gone 7 pm.  You never know, it could make all the difference.  Time for some soup and bread – living it up this week!

It certainly poured down

The night passed by again with no action and I’m waiting for the day time bites.  This has certainly made my mind up for the last night.  I will be putting the rods back on the original tree line spots.  I need to be gone by 9 am tomorrow morning, which is certainly before day time feeding hours.

After the rain had past over, I got both rods on the tree line for the afternoon and evening, hoping for an early evening run.  This run finally happened just after 10 pm, to the right-hand rod, and after a very uneventful fight the fish was in the net.

15lb 11oz Common

That will do me and plenty of time for another few (if I’m lucky).  The rod was back on the spot and after writing my blog update, I thought it best to get my head down.

I was very confident of another take between 6 am/8 am.  However, that was not that case, despite seeing carp on the tree line.  It was soon pack up time and back home for some family time at the weekend.

next trip

Trip 36 Carp Fishing – 2020

Location – Airfield Lake

Hours Fished – 68 hours

I was determined to fish another swim this trip.  I need to understand how the carp behave on this particular part of the lake.  I was hoping as Meadow Lake had opened up on the 16th June, the anglers would be more spread out over the whole complex and for the first week more focused on the opening of Meadow.

I arrived just before noon and much to my surprise there was only one car on the whole complex and it was in the car park for the bottom lake.  I knew who it was and where he would be, so with this bit of information, I had plenty of options.  I’d been looking at the weather and it was due to swing around to the S/W but not very strong.  I fancied the wind ward bank, as the pressure was going to be steady

I settled for a swim I’d not fished before, but one rod is on an area I’d previously caught from on my second trip this year.  Oddly, not had the chance to get back in there.

The left hand rod was along the margins off the side of the last point swim, which was leading into a bay that the carp just love.  However, there’s 5 or 6 concrete blocks the carp find every time you get a take.  It’s best as a day swim and has produced very well over the years.

The right hand rod is over a 6ft bar dropping down to 8ft of water, which just has to be the perfect area.

I’ve slightly changed my approach to baiting up on this lake.  I wasn’t going to do it until 8 pm, so I just flicked a couple of ronnie rigs on the spot.  Both baited with a 15mm Cork Wafter and a 12mm Pink pop up (both are from the Catalyst range).  I would bait the swim at 8pm with a mixture of chopped Catalyst boilies and hemp, all soaked in the Catalyst food dip since first thing Monday morning.  I like to prep my freebies a few day’s in advance, so they can soak in the extra goodness from the food dip and also to start breaking down.

That look’s perfect.  Let’s hope the birds keep away this week.

The afternoon and evening was very pleasant and relaxing.  I was hoping for an early session take, but alas it didn’t happen and the night continued to be the same.  When I awoke in the morning, it was a completely different day to that was forecast.  The gentle patter of rain awoke me and I was welcomed to an overcast and misty morning.

I checked the forecast; there was rain for most of the day.  This was not forecast at all.  I wish I’d brought the over wrap, it gives me a bit more room and the extra space certainly helps on very wet day.

It rained from early doors until just before 4pm, so I quickly refreshed my rods with new hook baits and hoped for an early evening take.

It was a pleasant evening but still no takes.  I topped up the swim (the Tufted Duck’s had be helping themselves on and off through the day) and just before 8 pm the rain arrived again, but it was only light drizzle.  I woke sometime in the night with it absolutely belting down and carried on for a fair few hours.  When it did ease off, you could hear the odd carp crashing out.  Just before 4 am, the right hand rod belted off and I was attached to a very wild Airfield Common around the 8lb/10lb mark.

A welcome blank saver.  This heavy rain, which had come back again, was clearly not helping.  With the rod back out, the rain was still due to pour down for a few more hours.

I thought it best to get my head down, it hadn’t been the best night kip.  It’s always good to keep your head in the game and not be worn out, this does you no favours in my opinion.  It’s just like being at work, you don’t perform your best when your half asleep.  The rain finally stopped at just after 10 am and the conditions were looking pretty good for the day – we’ll just have to see how the fish react to the change in weather.

The sun came out.  It’s certainly nice to dry the kit out, go for a walk, stretch my legs and put some thought into my last night.  I felt the margins were just not going to happen.  I’d seen carp showing further out and that’s where I’d heard them overnight.  It’s worth putting a bait out there this afternoon in anticipation.  However, it was hard going to get the spomb out there, the wind had picked up a lot and there was a good cross wind.  It slowly swung round into my face and my confidence was lifting all the time.

I rearranged the rods set up and sat back waiting for some action.

That was another incredibly peaceful night on the buzzer front.  The carp are clearly on naturals, as they where going wild again last night, crashing about, but one fish is better than a blank.

next trip

Trip 37 Carp Fishing – 2020

Location – Airfield Lake

Hours Fished – 67 hours

With the weather forecast to be 29+ degrees, I very nearly didn’t come this week.  But the wife is going back to work and homeschooling is coming back my way again, so I thought I better make the most of it.  There was a good breeze forecast, which in the right swim would be lovely.

My swim choice was going to be completely based on the wind and shade, this narrowed it down somewhat.  I had 6 swims in mind and after a good look about (one was already occupied, but the rest were free) I finally settled on what I thought was my best option.  It felt pretty good as the wind was pushing down the lake towards me.  I got the Deeper out as I was looking for a particular area.

The far side of the bar was very smooth and was an ideal spot.

The other area was deeper and very smooth at the entrance to a small bay.

I had spotted carp in this area on and off over the years, but I’m not sure if anyone has fished it before.

I baited both areas with just over a kilo each and was fishing my ever faithful ronnie rig, with a 15mm Catalyst cork wafter and a 12mm pink pop up on.

The traps were set and it was just time to sit back and relax in the lovely cool breeze.

What a lovely sunset that was last night and it was also going to be a very warm night.  The night past without a single bleep.  I was up early watching the lake and there were a few carp showing not far off the spot, hopefully this is a good sign.

The weather is due to change a lot over tonight, which is why I arrived yesterday, but that’s fishing for you – effort equals reward.  There’s going to be a nice fresh breeze today, which will certainly help.

Around 13.00, it was time for my daily walkabout.  I like to clear my mind and see what else is going on, number of anglers, conditions, etc.  I don’t tend to talk to everyone, its just nice to get out the swim and stretch my legs (also it rests the swim for a bit), by 14.30 the bait was back out again.

The rain and thunderstorms are not to far away,  it’s time to get some shut eye before the storm arrives.  It never did!  There was a point when the wind picked up and was very gusty, we much have been right on the end.  I was fast off and dreaming away when the left rod absolutely belting off, the bivvy door was down so when I got out (at 17.25), it was a bit bright for my eyes for the first few minutes I was playing the fish.  It was nicely under control in the open water and it put in a good account of itself.  There was no real drama, which is nice and it was soon on the Nsr50.

18lb 10z Common

The bait was back on the spot and a much cooler day was forecast.  It was going to be quite pleasant on the bank.

Gutted

Just lost what felt like a nice fish on the right hand rod.  I was starting to think it was never going to go off.

I rebaited my swim just after 1430, had a good tidy up and would pack most of the stuff down this evening ready for the off first thing tomorrow morning.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy the wife is back to work, as this is best for the family all round and with homeschooling is only going until the summer holidays.  But this was my last 3 nighter for a while.  I may be able to adjust my arrivals days again, as things change and move on.  You should always try and be able to adapt with minimal fuss.

The last night passed by with lots of heavy rain storms and not a bleep.  With the change of conditions was a shock, but something I will note for the future and in hindsight I may try the shallower lake, they may well be where they head to in these conditions.  I’m very happy with the carp, as it has continuing my run of luck and keeps me positive that I’m doing it all right – effort equals reward and the big fish are not too far away.

next trip

Trip 38 Carp Fishing – 2020

Location – Airfield Lake

Hours Fished – 68 hours

This week my wife is back working in the front room and I was gardening for a few hours each day (and then finishing the homeschooling).  I was surprised that we had done so well by Thursday morning that the wife suggested that I go fishing Thursday night, instead of Friday lunchtime time!  Not knowing if every week would turn out like this, I jumped at the opportunity as the weather was looking pretty good, let’s hope the weatherman is right this time.

I arrived just after 2 pm and after a discussion on the way down with Ian, I felt that it was time for a social, with the opportunity to fish one lake each.  This did make a lot of sense.  I’d been watching the Middle Lake for some time and was waiting for the right opportunity to get on it and this hopefully was it.

I opted for a swim where I’d done well from before and set about baiting an area up.  I planned on fishing both rods there the first night and seeing how things progressed.

I baited an area off the tip of a point with plenty of chopped up boilies, particles and fished a 15mm Catalyst wafter with a 12mm pink pop up.

There was a lovely moon out

The night passed by with only a couple of bleeps, unfortunately, Ian lost a carp, which is not a helpful start to the session.

I was up early and the morning was lovely.  I’d spotted a carp showing, so I quickly switched over to a bag and dumped a bit on its head.

Just after 8am the other rod ripped off, to what felt like a nice fish, and after a couple of close calls, with the overhanging tree along the margins, I was relieved to get the fish in the Nsr50.

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21lb 4oz Common

Well happy with that.  Hopefully, plenty more to come my way.  The rod was back on the spot and it was time for a brew and enjoy the sunshine.  The afternoon turned into a rainy one and it continued through the everning.  As my bivvy was facing that way, I was in for a ‘interesting time’  but there was no real option, unless I wanted to face a tree.

I moved one if the rods to the right hand margin and was pretty confident it would go off early.  However, to my surprise it didn’t!  The other rod was left on the spot which produced this morning and I was very confident that would go off again.

The rain arrived just after 6pm and was due to carry on until midnight (and get heavier).  It was going to blow in my door and at some point the door  needed to be closed as the evening progressed.

I was surprised that the margin rod didn’t go off over the course of the day.  The rain and the wind arrived, as I had set up knowing the wind was due to come straight into my bivvy door.  I spent the next 12 hours tucked away inside watching Netflix and trying to sleep as the wind rattled the tent all night long.  Morning arrived and the wind was more bearable, the rain had finished and the start of an overcast day was upon me.  Boy, did the conditions feel perfect.  Let’s hope the carp play ball.  They had started to crash about 5 am, after they had been silent all night.

Ian shouted out about 1pm ‘any chance of a hand?’, ‘as I’ve got a nice lump on!’  When I got over there, the carp was plowing up and down the margins without any signs of giving up.  It certainly looks (and according to Ian felt) like a lump, it just kept on fighting, but after this adventure, it slipped into his net and we could both breathe a sigh of relief.

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4 am Sunday morning, the bobbin dropped to the floor with a massive drop back and I had to reel like mad to catch up with the fish who was kiting right towards the overhanging tree.  I applied side strain and unfortunately, it was followed by a hook pull.  I recast that rod and got back into bed, I lay there thinking about what happened and dropped back off back to sleep.  The wind had picked up overnight and I was suffering from lack of sleep.  This is never good in my book for fishing, you need to be 100% on it.

0530 the same rod belted off again and this time I had a better hook hold.  Despite its best efforts to find a snag, the fish failed and was eventually in the Nsr50.  The smaller fish give you the complete run around in here.

12lb 1oz Common

Very happy with that after the hook pull and the balance of life restored.

I quickly got the bait back out there, as I was very confident of another take (if I was lucky).

Eventually, the wind abated and the sky cleared.  The sunshine came out in time to dry things off a bit but there was no more action on the carp front.  This was much to my surprise.  Ian had no more carp overnight, but we had a good social, keeping the correct distance apart but we did put the world to rights.  We discussed how the lake had evolved over the years, how the carp have changed their feeding patterns and their spots over the past couple of season’s.  This year it’s been producing well for the both of us and long may it continue.  Why would you complain? 64 acres and only 4 anglers on the complex on at stormy Saturday nights (when the wind is pushing hard from the southwest).

It’s just magical

Next Trip

Trip 39 Carp Fishing – 2020

Location – Airfield Lake

Hours Fished – 67 hours

With another opportunity to do another 3 nights on the bank and the weather conditions are looking favorable – I had to grab the chance.  I’m sure the hot weather isn’t far away and I would be roasting again soon.

The wind was due to swing around to the northwest and if I’m lucky, it may push the carp out of the sanctuary area.  You have to try, you can’t sit on your laurels on the same old spots each week.

Ian arrived first and gave me a call, we discussed the options; I’d been looking at the weather and thinking that there were a couple of areas that looked interesting.  He  informed me that he’d spotted a few fish showing when he arrived and it looked pretty good.  The decision was made and as long as the swim was free when I arrived.  Perhaps my luck was changing as it was!

My plan was to pile in 4 kilos of 12mm Catalyst boilies straight away and about 10 spombs of hemp, this was going on a deeper area of the lake which was a bit silty.  I’d discovered on the Deeper lakebook.  Both rods would be fished in the area with a snowman set up on a Ronnie rig, a 15mm Catalyst wafter and a 12mm Catalyst pink pop up.

As the afternoon progressed the conditions got even better; there was a good blow on the lake with light drizzle.  I was feeling quite confident.  Realistically, I was not expecting a bite the first night, but hopefully during daylight hours tomorrow.

The morning arrived and the wind had swung round to the N/W, despite seeing carp showing (and hearing them) overnight, we both failed to get a take on the first night.  This is becoming the norm here.

I put on new PVA bags just after noontime – this is a method I’d previously done very well on here and I was interested to see if it was still a good method. I will be putting out a few spombs of hemp later on this evening, but I was planning on keeping things peaceful as possible.

My first take arrived just after 0315 on the second morning – only a small fish that didn’t cause me any issues, which is always a stroke of luck.

Airfield Lake infamous 10 pounders!

I was also blessed with a stunning sunrise to watch as I was making up another bag.

With the bait back out there and watching the sunrise, I wrote up my blog – it’s truly humbling to watch.  The nightjars buzz away as they do on the heath above the lake, you forget about all the problems in the world.

Not sure if I dropped off fully, but just before 6 am, the same rod was off again.  This time it was a harder fight and at one point it was off down the left-hand margin, but once I gained control it was simply playing the carp out under the rod tip until it was ready for the net.

19lb 5oz Common

With the mist blowing gently across the lake, it was perfect.

An idyllic place to spend a few nights fishing.

With another bag on the spot and the sun blasting down on the bivvy, it was brew and blog time.

The other rod ripped off just before 8 am and after quite a long fight (and a good few rods lengths off the bank), the hook pulled.  You just have to expect as part of fishing on the Airfield Lake and move on.  It was brew time once the rod was back on its spot.  There was a steady breeze from the North onto my face and the sun was blasting down.  I’m not sure if I will get anymore takes until later this afternoon, this is when its due to cloud over (or even tomorrow morning); we shall see if the luck changes.

With no further action, by noon it was extremely hot and felt like the best time to bait up for the last night.  I simply topped up the swim with the rest of the hemp and about a kilo of boilies, I chucked a couple of fresh bags out on to the baited area – clearly no need to charge anything tonight.

Much to my shock I had no takes overnight, despite being quite close to where Ian managed a couple – including this lovely mirror.

It does go to show that you can be close to the fish, but sometimes that’s not going to produce a take.

It was certainly going to be a hot one and with the mist rolling over the water, I enjoyed the last few hours watching the water and having a couple of brews.   8 am arrived and it was pack up time, all the kit had dried out nicely, which is a help.

next trip

Part 5 of 6 will follow in a couple of weeks

Until then Richard

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UK Fishing Blogs

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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