Looking Back Over 2019 Part 5 of 10

Looking Back Over 2019 Part 5 of 10

I’ve decided to look back over 2019 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 41 Carp Fishing – 2019

With a hot week in the gardens this week, it was looking like a good weekend for fishing.  Ian arrived on Thursday night and had already bagged a nice 30.  By the time I arrived on Friday evening, there were a few anglers on and it was very obvious that if I wanted to stand a chance of bagging a few carp, I would need to double up with Ian.  If I blanked for the first few nights there was a good chance that Sunday night would produce.  By then the lake would be pretty empty.


I had studied the Lakebook on my home computer and I knew the spots I was looking for when I arrived.  I arrived just before 7 pm and got straight to work with the maker rod.  There had been a great deal of weed growth this year, I didn’t wish to spend too long thrashing the water this evening any fine-tuning.  This would be best done on Saturday at noontime well away from the carps feeding times.


These are small areas I haven’t mapped yet, you still get the full picture of the lake and where I hoped the fish would be or transit at some point over the weekend.  I just need to stop them there and get them to put their heads down.  This swim is full of features and can be very tricky, you can see why.


I baited up with my ground bait mixture of crushed hempCatalyst ground bait, hemp and a good load of the Catalyst particle syrup, I also spombed out a few of my boilie mixture.  Both rods were fished with a 15mm Catalyst wafter and a 12mm natural pop up which are perfectly balanced.


With the sun setting over the estate, it was time to relax with a bottle of ale and look for signs of carp.

My first take happened at just after 3 am and after a bit of a fight the fish was in the margins.  I had managed to keep it away from all our lines and I was just getting ready to next the fish and the hook pulled out. Joy!  These things happen from time to time, just to test you.

With the rod back out, I settled down in the to reflect on things and soon drifted back off to Dreamland.


I was awoken by a single beep and a kingfisher sitting on my rods, it was diving after the minnows.  I watched him for sometime before I decided to take some photographs and a short video for my vlog about my trip.  It was wonderful to watch and makes you realize it’s not all about fishing.


Around 11 am, I flicked the Deeper out and much to my amazement the Deeper had picked up a nice show of carp; just at the back of a weed bed.  This made me re-evaluate my tactics and moved my rods two wraps closer.


Within an hour, I had a take, it turned out to be a Tench.  It must have been one of the smaller fish in the above screenshot, but at least there was some action.  I gave it until 1430 and then baited up with more ground bait and boilies all set for the afternoon, evening, night, etc


The day drew to a close with another magnificent sunset, but not much carp activity.  I was still feeling very confident after seeing all those fish on the Deeper early on in the day.  This was clearly a holding area and with a nice amount of bait out there, they would surely feed at some point tonight.  Just before midnight, my right-hand rod was off and a long battle ensued, not helped by the fact I had been in a very deep sleep.  I was struggling to completely wake up.  The carp finally was in the net and I was greatly relieved.  I set about sorting out weighing and photographing the fish. Lucky for me, Ian was about to help, I just couldn’t fully wake up.


20lb Common

Photo done and fish returned.  I set about sorting both rods out, I managed to pick up the other line on the way in (this was also was very hard work).  I finally started getting my head together and got both rods back on the spot.  All I had to do was to write up the capture and get my head back down; this was going to be hard going, as by now I was fully awake.

Ian, unfortunately, lost a carp about an hour later as it kited under the tree’s to our right.  I was awoken in the morning by the Kingfisher on my rods fishing again, I never get bored of this and is just fantastic to watch.

Do I stay or do I go?

I can do another night, however, it’s going to be a hot one and those carp are not going to be in the mood for food, not until at least dark hours again.  It’s a shame I don’t live closer as I would surely head home for the day, return and set up again tonight.  I do believe I will be heading home this morning.


With some thought put into this decision and checking the diary, I felt it best to head home and come out another day,.  I was pretty tired and felt that I would not fish my best tonight – unless some sleep was had.  So, a day trip was planned the next day on the Estate Lake and a quick overnighter in the week, this would be a lot more beneficial and productive.

Until next time

Trip 42 Carp Fishing – 2019

With the Summer holidays getting ever closer, I’m trying my best to fit as many trips in as possible.  Once the kids are off school I’m pretty limited for time, however, it’s nice to have a break and spend time with the family.


Today, I’m back on the Estate Lake and it’s looking stunning.  I have been away from here for far too long.  I may just have to chance another evening and see how the mossies are!  I have purchased a product which claims it works.  We shall see.  I have tried pretty much everything, even a few urban myths.  I personally believe it down to the luck of the individual person and age, they never really bothered me before.


My approach to this trip is small bags and paste wrapped around the hook bait.  These will be placed in gaps in the weed which are not too far out.  There are stacks of fish about, I just need to get them to put their heads down.  I’ve put out a few tiny balls of the crushed hemp mixture and will give it a couple of hours, I will then move to another spot I’ve already baited up.


I’m sure some of you are thinking ‘why don’t you use floaters?’.  I have tried and failed, so far they are just not interested.  However, every time I come down or pop in, I put a few pouches out and maybe, one day in the future, it will happen.


As you can see, I’ve moved swim opposite to where I was fishing.  I’m pretty confident that the carp use these margins to transit past the island.  All I have done is just lowered a couple of bags out.  I did pop over here first thing and drop a few hemp balls out.

It was less than an hour before the left rod burst into life and with such a tiny swim, I had to negotiate the overhanging tree above me.  Both sides have overhanging vegetation, but all held together and a lovely mirror was in the net.


13lb 12oz Mirror

Not the biggest but another carp on the list from here and maybe a chance of another bite in the last hour from the next swim.


With only 10 minutes before I needed to head home, it was looking like just the one fish.  I am not going to sniff at this as because you can’t help which fish picks your bait up.  It has been an enjoyable few hours and am looking forward to my next day trip.  I need to also brave an evening.

Until next time

Trip 43 Carp Fishing – 2019

After the success of my last trip on the Estate Lake and still full of confidence, it was worth another go.  The more time I spend here, the better understanding I will get.


With the mozzie issue last time, I have come down straight after the school pickup, with the youngest.


Who is quite happy with her tablet, some water, and food.  I’m hoping to catch early on and avoid the mozzies.  I think we will be fine until 1930 ish, which will give me 3 hrs and save my wife coming to collect her.

I have picked this swim, I feel it is an ideal spot and after catching one the other day, it felt perfect for a short trip.


The same tactic as before; 15mm Catalyst wafter with a small natural dumble one cut in half and a pva bag filled with Betafin & Catalyst pellet (a load of food dip poured into the bucket and let them soak for weeks).

There were clearly lots of carp in the weed.  I just hope they would venture out and feed before I need to be off.  Due to the nature of the lake and it’s very undisturbed, I felt it best to fish until 1930 and then head off.  This is better for everyone including the carp as when my wife and eldest collect her; despite their best efforts, the carp will feel the disturbance.  At the moment my youngest is making no noise and I’m sitting on my bucket or creeping about, perfect conditions and no point in changing it


I was getting pretty confident as the carp were getting a lot closer to my spot and just needed them to get there heads down.  I just ran out of time.  I promised the wife, I would be home by 2000, so I had to reel in at 1930.  This meant we had been fishing for 3 hrs.  This was plenty of time for my daughter who was brilliant and very well behaved.

Until next time

Trip 44 Carp Fishing – 2019

The school holidays are less than a week away and the weather conditions are looking perfect for a change, a dip in the pressure and light rain showers, it’s worth being on the bank.


With the wind pushing up from the south, I had in mind a couple of swims and after looking at them all I opted for this one.  It’s well away from any other anglers – unless some set up very late, fingers crossed on that one.


Having fished and caught out of this swim numerous times, there was no need for the marker float.  I simply leaded about; to check on the weed growth and settled on an area with a lot less.  It’s surprising how much weed growth is about this year.  I didn’t find the perfect clear spot that is normal about on the Plateaux.  I have fed the swim a mixture of crushed hemp, 12mm Catalyst boilies and Catalyst pellets and I’m fishing a pop over the top on both rods to combat the weed.  I feel the Deeper is going to come in very handy if the weed continues to grow.

After having a few liners early on and after dark, I was getting very confident and finally drifted off to sleep.  Until just after midnight the left-hand rod was screaming away and a lump was certainly attached.  You can just tell.  It was kiting right, which is not good in this swim as it involves the big overhanging tree.  No sooner had I realized this my rod tip was stuck under the water and as deep as possible and I just pumped until I felt my leader knot go through the tip eye.  I knew then that fish had passed under the tree finally.  With the fish safely away from that, it was time to sit back relax and play the fish out.  This didn’t take too long and in the moonlight, the carp rolled into the Nsr, I could see the big outline of a good size carp.


32lb 7oz Common

I was very happy and even though I had had this fish before, it’s still a joy and I was really, please.

I quickly redid another PVA bag filled with Catalyst & Betafin pellet and got the bait back on the spot.

The next take came on the same rod, not really sure when that was and unfortunately the hook pulled.  I soon had the rod back out and got my head down again until some heavy rain arrived (just before first light) which soon changed into a light drizzle.  The next take came just before 6 am and on the same rod.  A similar fight as before, but clearly no as big.

It was soon in the Nsr and tipped the scales 20lb 4ozs.


Not a bad result and time to pack up.  The first wet one for some time.

Until next time

Trip 45 Carp Fishing – 2019

With the weather conditions still spot on, I had to squeeze another night in.  The pressure was low and there was a good bit of wind & rain along with a nice southerly breeze.  The downside was it was the weekend and the pressure was back on the lake.

My swim choice was pretty limited by the time I arrived and soon settled on the swim which had given me 3 runs the other week, struck into thin air.  Nice.


I was quite lucky and there was a break in the weather ish, just light rain.  I set the bivvy up first, then set about the rods and other bits.  After leading about over the same spot as last time and with the strong wind blowing this side of the lake, it would be pretty settled and hopefully, the carp would head over this way.  In general, I’m not too far away from where I was fishing the last time and may benefit from the other angler pressure.


I’ve spombed out a good load of bait over a small area and flicked a Ronnie rig set up (with a small bag on each filled with Betafin and Catalyst pellets), a Catalyst wafter with a Catalyst pop snowman style.  Both rods are in the same area, just 1 wrapped differently.  I find this method very productive.


The first take happened around 4am and in a lull in the rain, which is always a bonus.  A pretty undramatic fight insured for a fair time under the rod tip, there was no way this fish was coming up to the top any time soon.  I just had to perch on the edge of the gravel swim with my toes in the water taking my time and play the carp out.  At first, when I first picked the rod up, I didn’t think it was that big but as time drew on, it was clear I had an upper 20 or another low 30.


27lb 12oz Common

Perfect, I was well happy.  As dawn was fast approaching and to stand any chance of getting any more sleep, the rod was soon back in the water and my head on the pillow.


The rain faded away, the cloud disappeared and the sun shone again.  This may probably the last bit of rain for a few weeks, but very well needed.  It’s not far off packing up time and I’m happy with the result.  It’s also the first carp I’ve had in the dark, in this swim.  All the previous ones have been in daylight hours.  Time to get things sorted out and head for home.

Type error on the weight

Until next time

Trip 46 Carp Fishing – 2019

With the school holidays around the corner, I just have to take every opportunity that I can.

When I arrived, there were two other anglers fishing.  When I spoke to them they were off within the hour and I really fancied those swims.  It’s funny but I don’t like jumping in behind people – if I had arrived 2 hrs later I would have never known and probably gone in one over them.

I made use of the extra time and had a good look about, I didn’t see much at all.  The anglers in the swims where very fourth coming with how they had gotten on.  In fact, everyone is happy to share information on this syndicate and happy to pass on locations where the fish have been showing, etc.  They are all a great bunch, all happy to help each other and this is how it should be.


Well, I just had a feeling about this swim and really fancied fishing it.  Armed with the Deeper and my marker rod, I had a play about.

There are certainly a few fish about and with me being in two minds what to do, a nice lump stuck its head out on the far tree line.  Okay, I better pitch up here.  I wasn’t going to be casting anywhere near that far out, but it gave me confidence that there are better fish about in this part of the lake.  Oddly, it’s opposite nearly to where I fished on Friday night.


With a couple of nice spots found, the spomb was being blasted out and a nice load of Hemp, Tiger’s, Catalyst, Smokey boilIes were out there.  Using the same tactics as before, no point in ever-changing anything that’s working well.

I then set about getting the bivvy up and as I hadn’t managed to dry it out from Friday night’s trip, it was going to be fun.  All sorted, the coffee was on it and was time to sit back and enjoy the wonders of nature.


Morning arrived – no fish or no bleeps in the night, it came as a shock.  These things happen, these fish feed in the day time.  A nice overcast morning was forecast and I’m the only angler on here at the moment, I’m still very hopeful of the last few hours.

It was not to be, this time

Until next time

Trip 47 Carp Fishing – 2019

With the heatwave over and we had a free weekend, I was down the lake just after 9 am with my two daughters.  We pitched up next to Ian under the big willow, there was no way I was sitting out in the direct sunlight.  There is an age thing where you become much more sensible and less concerned about catching at every cost; e.g baking yourself.


We swapped over sides this trip and I was on the tree-lined side of the swim but was keeping well away in the night.  In the daylight hours, I was going to try the small bay to my right, there is always fish in there.  It’s a case of can you get them down on your bait or will they just relax in the upper levels all day?

I found a lovely gravel spot at the back of a hump, opposite to the channel which leads into the sanctuary area.  I placed the other rod on a silty area a few yards away and spombed out a good load of my mixture of SmokeyCatalystHemp, Tiger’s, etc.


With the sun setting, the wife had collected the kids, so I settled down and watched the carp showing themselves finally.  We were both extremely confident a bite would come to one of use tonight if not both.  Despite the show of fish, it was clearly not happening, not a single bleep to either one of us.  It was time to get the thinking hats on.  The weather conditions were spot on and a nice breeze pushed through the day.  I opted to put a bait on the right-hand bush.


There would be a good chance of a tench, but hopefully, the carp would push them off first.n  The other rod was left near the channel, but I had changed over to a bottom bait.  We shall see what the day brings.


With still no joy to myself or Ian, it was turning out to be another hard weekend fishing.  There was plenty of carp, but they were not interested in getting their heads down.  After watching the carp for a few hours moving in and out of the small bay to my right, I decided that I need to place a bait in the far corner of the tree line, to give me some chance of landing anything that decided to pick my bait up.  I recast the other rod, as I had opted for smaller hook baits, as a change in tactics.  If the carp were not really in the mood for feeding, smaller offerings were going to be better.  As there had been no forthcoming action, we both decided that any inclusion of bait into the swim would be detrimental.  Only worth bothering if we had a few fish over the Saturday night, fingers crossed this will pay off.


That turned out to be another blank night for me.  Ian, on the other hand, lost one at the net – we all know (full well) that sinking feeling.  The swim was full of carp as before but we just could not get a pickup, but that’s fishing sometimes.  You try every trick in the book and they just will not play ball.

But I’m never going to complain too much, as a few days on the bank you should never complain about.

Until next time

Trip 48 Carp Fishing – 2019

With a couple of hours spare this evening, I popped down the Estate Lake for a few hours.  I will drop in the margins a small bag for a few hours.


The carp were clearly not interested in bait at all, just kicking around the upper levels.


It was lovely to be back out on the lake, it is so picturesque.

Until next time

Trip 49 Carp Fishing – 2019

I have been lucky this weekend and have been given the opportunity by the family to get out on the bank again. So, I’m thanking them for that.


Ian and I fancied a change of scenery this weekend and headed over to the Airfield Lake. We had not been here for some time and this swim has a great view of 3/4 of the big lake.  This would give us a chance to see where the carp are; generally everywhere this time of year.  It’s tracking down the bigger fish which is a real issue and they generally don’t show themselves until after dark.


As I know this swim very well, it wasn’t an issue I arrived after Ian – by some 10 hrs.  I was only planning on putting out a small bag on each rod with a 15 mm Catalyst wafter on and then putting 3 small spombs over each area to start with.  I would then move on from there over the course of the next few nights.


After a few hours of playing around with the Deeper, I finally settled for a nice spot in 6ft of water and the other rod was just off the tree-lined margins of the island to my left.  I often see carp along there.  It was only 3.5ft deep, so I wasn’t going to put too much bait out, just in case the swan came along.  I was sticking to the Catalyst wafter.

Finally, the afternoon heat cooled down.  It wasn’t even forecasted or very pleasant, we were both glad when the evening arrived.


Morning arrived with a screaming run for Ian and it was soon safely in the net.  We quickly realized being about 8 lb, it was not the biggest ever caught, but it was a carp.  This should always boost your confidence as it shows there are fish in the area and they’ve started feeding.


Still, no fish for me but the day is looking a lot better, there is a gentle fresh breeze and plenty of cloud cover.  Hopefully, I will be in with a chance of a carp in daylight hours.

The carp are certainly very active and crashing about everywhere.  As the weather is holding, with no sunshine and still a good breeze across the lake towards, all I’ve altered is moving the left-hand rod to the point of the island.  This is where there were a few fish topping first thing this morning.  I’ve put a small bit of plastic corn on each wafter to make them a bit more visible, in the hope an inquisitive carp takes a look.

Well, the third night passed us by again without a bleep.  This lake is turning into a real headbanger – this was once one of the most productive areas.  I can’t really see why the fish would keep away.  There is probably 4 acres of water out there, with a mass of features.  This may be the issue.  But this trip, I made a point of fishing similar features but in different areas where we still seeing fish crashing about in front of us.


I’m not sure when I will be back as I have family plans for the next month.  This will only give a couple of quick overnighters and I was thinking its time to try the Estate Lake again, we shall see where we end up.

Until next time

Trip 50 Carp Fishing – 2019

After the disaster of 3 nights blanking over the weekend and Mondays being my dedicated day for fishing, it was a hard push to motivate myself.  But after a night at home, I was full of the fighting spirit again and my plan was to fish the Estate Lake.


Having in mind the stealthy approach, I decided my baiting pole would be the best method.  It would certainly cause less disturbance when casting PVA bags into the weed.

I poled one bait out to the clear area where I had been fishing on my short evening trips.  I was using a large PVA bag filled with Betafin & Catalyst + Smokey Jack pellets.  These were filled with Catalyst syrup, an 18mm wafter and a 12mm Catalyst pop on.  The hooks I’m using are size 4 turning point hooks to combat the weed.  I like to balance the bait with the size of the hook.

I repeat this process with the other rod.  I was also loading up the bait spoon with a load of my standard feed mixture.  This was all I was going to do until I had a carp, the other rod was placed on a hole in the weed where I’d previously fished.


All I planned doing now was to sit back, watch and wait.

As 9pm drew ever close, I had been here for nearly 12 hrs with no action.  I was pretty surprised at this as I stayed tucked away under the bivvy watching through the mozzie panels.  I was hoping this approach would lead them into thinking there was no one on the lake.  Let’s hope night time brings me some luck.


Well, the night passed by with no signs of carp, no crashing, they just melted away as always.

Until next time

Part 6 of 10 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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