My Adventure for 2021 (On The New Pit Part 1)


Tackling a new water is a real buzz for me. I’ve waited a long time for this one, but the timing didn’t quite go to plan. I was offered a ticket in the middle of a global pandemic, your wife is in the travel industry, times are hard and the future is unpredictable. But this opportunity would not come around again. So, we made the choice to join. I looked forward to my induction day on the first weekend of January 2021 and the plan was to fish 3 night’s straight after that day. Unfortunately, lockdown happened and I had to wait for a few months as I didn’t class it as local to me. Time passed by fishing on my local club lake, the time came when we could all get out again and travel further afield. As the induction was done and nights where on the card’s.

The real issue I had was my approach to new venues. I like to fish hard and as much as possible in every swim so I can get in to and build up a picture of the lake in my head. My concern now is that the lake is very hard and it could take some time to get the right combination of tactics to bag myself a carp. If there was another lockdown, would I be wasting my time or would it be best to forget about the first year on that water and head over to the Airfield lake? I would feel at home there and I would be full of confidence. Not that I wouldn’t on the Roach pit because that’s not how I work. There’s also the two weeks closure when the carp spawn to take into account. Also, when my wife goes back to work in the office, this will throw my fishing routine out as well. At the moment her work days change from week to week. Which has the knock on effect of which day’s I can fish. But this is a real must for us as a family, it will be a clear sign the things are changing in the world and getting back to normality, financial stability will not be far away.


I decided that getting on the lake straight away and fishing Sunday to Tuesdays or even Wednesday am was the best way forwards. Simply because once the rush of lockdown being eased was over, there would clearly be a lot less anglers on the lake on those days of the week. Giving me the opportunity to look around more, move swim more. I never like to make to much disturbance when the lake is full of anglers. New members who do that, generally don’t go down well. So, being by myself or with only a few people on will help me gain more knowledge of each swim faster and the prospects of being able to move swim more during the week day’s would be a great help. When the wife is back in the office sometime before 21st June, I will have to change my days around again, which could mean weekend fishing, I just don’t know yet.

My first few trips to a new lake always make me feel like you have to be on your best behaviour – the last thing you want to do is upset the members on your first day.  I decided, that as the closer to the 29th March got, night fishing would be back on.  So, I thought it would be nice to turn up for the 8 am draw and meet some of the members.  There where only 9 anglers down to fish the first night and the draw went very well and my first two night’s on the water were soon over.


My second trip was supposed to be 3 nights, but I just wasn’t feeling the love.  I’m getting old and my body doesn’t like walking up and down steps into swims, my knees just ain’t happy (or my hips for that matter) and getting in and out of a boat and onto a platform was hard work for me.  Your brain asks your body to put you foot somewhere and there is a likelihood that it won’t happen quick enough and a big splash follows etc!

I made a school boy error and forgot that someone had told me about the main car park and the entrance into the lake, not to overload my barrow.  I hurt my ankle on some tree roots and only managed one night.

Teething problems I feel, as I get to grips with the place and understand my limitations/opinions, it’s all going to start getting better.  The lake is stunning and perfect, its all about me and my falling about body!

My third trip was a couple of weeks later, after I had spent a couple of nights on the Airfield Lake.  This felt like fishing had reset itself and I returned back to the new water full of enthusiasm and determination.  I had also reduced my kit down even more and understood where I went wrong.  I set up in the hope of doing three nights.

I managed to catch the first of many tench to come, there is a fair few about and I even got to see my first carp showing during daylight hours and not too far away from where I was fishing.  Alas, no such luck yet.  The wind had been pushing from the North and did for the coming weeks.

My next outing was only one night as it was like fishing the Baltic sea and a bitter north wind that just wasn’t moving.


My next session, I couldn’t get in the car parks as it was so busy.  Another school boy error, I should of learnt to arrive later in the afternoon on Sunday (about 4pm is best), but the forecast was heavy rain then and I was hoping my luck would be in my favour.  It sort of was, I headed over to the Airfield Lake and got in the perfect swim.  I really didn’t fancy getting soaking wet and blown away in the 40mph winds!

With family stuff planned, I could only fish weekends until mid June and I was hoping that Covid would be better and less furloughed people would mean less anglers on the bank.  Hopefully summer holidays would be in full swing and I would stand a better chance of getting into a good swim.

June started with a lovely week away in Wales and I was all set for a couple of nights on the lake, the weather was pretty good and the carp had yet to spawn.  It’s also looking like there may be less people about on the lake Sunday and Monday’s.  We shall see how long this last and I’m hoping to get another trip in before they spawn and the lake is closed.  This is a much better way of running things, rather than having a closed season.  Just too many opportunities these days when the lakes are closed which was highlighted over the lockdown periods.


Unfortunately, I only managed one trip before they spawned and the lake is now closed until 3 weeks after they finish spawning, to give them a few weeks to recover without any pressure.  We are able to walk around, which is something I’m hopefully going to get the chance to do.  I’ve decided that with the lack of holidays last year, I will not fish in August and just have fun with the kids in between working and then set about hard fishing in September.  August has never been the best month for me and catching carp.

I will be back with part 2 later on in the year and hopefully by then bagged myself a couple of beauty’s!

Until next time


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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