Memories of an old fisherman


I put this together over lockdown 2020

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As there isn’t a lot to write about at the moment and I don’t feel like posting future plans (as we just don’t really know when we are going to be released from lockdown at the moment).  After posting lots of photographs on Instagram and Facebook, I thought it would be nice to break them down into 10 parts and add a few words to explain my adventures over the past 39 years of fishing.  In doing this, I have discovered that unfortunately, I have lost or misplaced a large proportion of my carp captures.
In The Begining
This was my very first landed carp.  I had hooked a few before but was ill-equipped to land them; between myself and the tackle!  Back then, I was happy to catch anything that came along, if memory serves me correctly I had had a nice pike on that day as well.  I had been fishing the river which was close by and riding there on my pushbike, I then progressed to doing nights on the lakes and have never stopped since 1981.

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Then I moved on to Weybread Middle Pit for a year or two.

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Then back to Barham Pits for a year, until they, unfortunately, had a fish kill over the closed season and that was it.

It was then I ended up on Weybread again and stuck there until I moved down south in 1996.

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I did fish the odd place in between for a short period of time but it never gave me the searching for the ‘unknown’ feeling, I’d become accustomed to.

                                                 Bexford Lake

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                                   Thorpeness Mere

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My old setups and how far we have moved on since the 80’s.

This was in the 90’s on Weybread Bottle Pit with a wave lock brolly and a nash overwrap.  It also had a full-on double burner and grill, wooden bivvy table (not a modern invention!), the bedchair was one of the first comfortable adjustable Fox ones and the small screen in the middle is my TV.  Even back then I would pass the time away by watching stuff and reading books

KJB rod pod and Shimano bait runners, optonics and Fox Swingers, which had made so they would light upon a take (again, not a modern invention).

Winter fishing was fun.  Wave lock brolly, Nash canvas bivvy, which was an awesome bit of kit.  If you are wondering where the rods are, they are down the bottom as per the photo above and you had to tun for your rods – well walk.  If you fished any swims along the high bank opposite (unless it was the two with a walkway out into the lake), you bivvy up at the top and needed 20m extension leads for your sounder box.

Way back in the beginning – 1984 Weybread Pits, before I couldn’t afford much, I would sleep on the floor in a sail bag and a sheet over, the plastic held down by whatever I could find I used.  Luckily no photographs of them.  I never used a brolly unless it rained and you had to put a bin bag over the end, to stop yourself getting wet.  You will note the non matching rods, which was the norm for the first few years.

Getting a bit more modern, matching rods, buzzer, and reels camped out for a week on Barham D pit – somethings never change.  I even did week seasons; once I had a carp and I was Tench fishing!  I’ve come to the conclusion that I love being outside as much as possible.

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And my up to date set up Aqua M3 Compact, Fox flatline Bedcahire, and a 5 season sleeping bag, out in all weather over the Winter months.  I must say, I have noticed that there are less times where the lakes freeze up.  We have certainly moved on and for the better, I personally feel.

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Then I moved down to the Southampton area and first started on Nutsey lake and then moved on to lots of other over the coming years.


These are a few carp captures from the first lake I fished when I moved down South.

Nutsey

Embley

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                                                              Awbridge
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                                  Broadlands
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               Hatchets Pond
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                                                       Butlocks
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                                                            Peewit
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                                              Rookesbury
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This was back in 1997 when DSLR ‘s where not available to me and would have clearly cost too much.  It was always excellent to take the film into Boots and wait a few days before you could look at them.  Hopefully, they turned out good but not always as I was still learning, practice makes perfect and in the end, I got there.

Peewit Lake

I fished this lake twice over the years – with a large gap in between.  I’ve no photos of the first time around, but the lake was absolutely stunning. It still was when I arrived back the second time – until the big cut back, which was quite dramatic and put a lot of anglers off.  But not me!  This was quite fortunate as the carp didn’t know any different, it was great fishing there.  You could walk around, place your bait on the perfect spot and walk back to your rods.

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The vegetation started to grow back and the anglers returned.  I moved on to Kingham next door.  Unfortunately, it got a bit silly with one angler arrive early and stick their bucket and chairs in swim to reserve swims for his mate’s, who would arrive 3 or 4 hrs later. This was the time that I headed off to fish a lovely syndicate on the Hampshire Avon for 6 years, where I hardly ever came across another angler.

The Ressy

I first joined here about 1999 and stayed a member until last year.  I only ever fished it properly over a winter in between the interim syndicate starting and the full-on syndicate where I’m currently a member of.  I only ever fished there as a place to get away from the crowds.  It was situated up a 1/2 mile path through a wood, which could get very muddy, this put anglers off.  It was very easy in the beginning but unfortunately, it had a fish kill and the restocked carp behaved completely differently.

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It was full of lilly pads and a large reed bed at one end with a dam wall and was just so peaceful and tranquil fishing there.

Petersfield Heath Lake

This lake is situated on the edge of the town and is also a boating lake.  It’s 4 ft deep most of the way out, in the middle on the depths of winter and as the levels drop, you have to stick your rod tips down and into the slit to completely avoid the boats and the swimmers, ducks, etc picking up your line as they go by.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a single photograph of any carp that I had, I’ve lost them.

As you can see, the water level could drop right down, and instead of bivvying up on the bank, you could set up in the margins.  There where plenty of deeper channels about and I had 5 20s from where the furthest duck was in the below photo.

When I  fished here, there was a good head of carp to the upper 30’s and plenty of bream to keep occupied.  You could sit on the park benches and watch the world go by, get yourself an ice cream from the shop.  Unfortunately, there was a fish kill some years ago, but I believe it’s getting back to its former glory.

Sinah Warren

This lake is situated by the seaside and separates a golf course from the seashore.  At night you can fall asleep listening to the waves crashing on the shore.


It became very hard going each Summer, the water level drops and numerous bars start to pop out the water.  Range fishing becomes impossible.  The Winter’s where rock hard, so this only left you a small opportunity to bag yourself a lump.  It was open over the old closed season which drew anglers to the lake.  It became extremely busy in this period, but I enjoyed my time a lot.
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Westhampnet Lake

I had to wait a fair few years to get on this syndicate, the wait was good for me as I was fishing another lake whilst waiting.  However, the years waiting was not good for the old syndicate as it was closed down when RMC took the lake back.

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23lb 08oz024.080025.012026.08029.6


It was a odd lake to fish, it’s situated next to the A27.  It has a long supporting wall, which had a few swims that were just about big enough for a brolly and your rods.
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In the last few years I’ve been on a wonderful syndicate been Ringwood, with only 100 members and 3 carp lakes and 8 miles of the Hampshire Avon to fish.

So I thought I would nice to share some pictures of a few lumps I’ve caught over the past 5 years on these waters, and there are a few repeats captures.  I don’t worry about these, these days, as I just love being on the bank and catching carp regardless.  I’ve gone back to the reason why I started fishing, just to catch, have fun and be on the bank in the fresh air, which is very potent at the moment.  At the back end of 2019, I started to fish the original club I joined back in 1997 and one of their lakes is about 10 mins away from my house and it’s brilliant fun over the Winter months.  I’m looking forward to going after some carp with a float rod and a worm, just dropping off the pads.
I feel I’ve come full circle now and am a lot happier in my fishing.  There was a period of time where I only fished a section of the River Avon on a private syndicate for 7 years.  This was because anglers were just not thoughtful towards each other anymore, but I can safely say that I was very lucky in finding my current water and will be there for as long as possible.

Until Next Time

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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