Trip 54 Carp Fishing – 2021

With it being half term week and the family is away for a few days, I headed off to West Stow County Park, near Thetford for a few days fishing with Rob. I’ve not managed to see him for over 4 years, what with family stuff and covid19. The trip nearly finished before it began, my wife called when I was 3/4’s of the way here, saying the youngest had tested positive on a lateral flow test, but she and the eldest hadn’t. A quick call to Rob and he turned around and picked up a lateral flow test from his house. When I arrived this was my first job. Luckily, I tested negative as well, in hindsight, I probably should have done one before I left home.

We both arrived at the same time, after sorting out the test, I got the kit on the barrow and headed off to the area Rob had suggested we look at first. Which was at the far end of the lake, I have made my mind up, I need an electric barrow.

Rob kindly gave me the choice of swim and I went for the last swim on this side of the lake. It gave me the opportunity to fish the entrance to a bay area as well as an entrance to the channel. This leads into the back of the island in front of me, then into the open water on the far bank swim. The third rod was going to be positioned off the island and at the bottom of the marginal shelf.

My swim

I was fishing a mixture of SF hook baits on each rod, over a bed of pellets, Classic Corn and Catalyst boilies. I didn’t bait up too much, there’d been some fishing here over Friday/Saturday night and the coots were still picking up hook baits. But with the pressure steadily dropping and a change in the wind/weather conditions, it was certainly looking very promising.

Stunning Sunset

The day was drawing to a close and we sat eating chili and rice (that Rob’s wife had kindly made), chatting away.

Sometime in the night, the geese turned up and it felt like I had been up most of the night. The joy of wildlife, sometimes it does get a bit frustrating! On the plus side, the carp were also crashing about down here as well. As of 7 am, I’m still waiting for a pickup, this is frustrating as well. After getting up early yesterday, I’m feeling the effects and need my early morning coffee boost. All I need to work out today is, when its best to bait up and how much more bait to get out there? 


With the wind picking up and the real prospects of an afternoon or early evening bite, I put on new hook baits and had the rods back out by noon.

Stunning view

The day past and the only activity was me catching a Coot! Lucky it wasn’t hooked, just the line wrapped around its leg, it was soon sorted and set free, the rod was back out again, all set for the night.

Rod shot

The second morning arrived and still with no bites but definitely carp were in the swim or at least they are certainly very close. Unfortunately, with it being dark, I simply can’t tell if they are my side of the gap or down the channel more, but they are near. I’ve simply got to adjust something in the hope of tempting them

Looking over towards my swim

I walked to the other side and trickled a small amount of 12mm Catalyst boilies about in between the gap. When I got back, fresh rigs were put on, all this was done before noon and with any luck, tonight will be the one.

Unfortunately, Rob lost a nice carp about 4 pm today, off the side of the island. We had spotted carp along there earlier this morning.


The conditions overnight were perfect – a nice wind pushing hard down into my corner. Another angler had set up in the opposite bay to me, so there was no real place for them to get pushed away from me or him. They were still clearly down here.

It’s a real headbang as to why I haven’t caught anything yet. I would love more time on here to crack this nut. With that in mind, I think I’m going to try and come back next February half term and have another go. It’s a shame it’s so far away, I would be tempted with another trip this year, it’s such lovely water, I would come back next week if I could.

Both Rob and I believe they are on naturals. There’s been a big hatch of Alder fly, they climb up the stems of the reeds when they hatch, and there are plenty of reeds around the lake. Especially around the corner of where I’m fishing. The carp have been moving in and out, not really interested in boilies.

I’m heading straight from here to do 4 nights on Mockbegger before it closes 5 days time (at the end of October). It will also, no doubt, be my last trip for the year with Ian, we have planned a social few nights on the bank.

I need to be gone from here by 10am to give me 3 hours to get home, an hour to restock, and have a shower. I’d better do another covid19 test. I can then get to the lake with plenty of time to set up before dark. Single hook baits and a few spombs the first night I feel. You will get the low down on my next blog.

Just after 8am, the left rod into the gap burst into life and a battle ensued. After a near-miss, with the middle rod, a nice mirror was in the net and boy was I over the moon.

21lb 9oz mirror

I’d worked extremely hard for the fish and was well happy. I think the hardest part was knowing they were here and the constant crashing at night. They simply wouldn’t pick baits up.

I’ve had a good time, we managed two takes between us and unfortunately, Rob lost a real lump. It would’ve been a real joy to see him land it. But these things happen. It’s been way too long since I have been here and I’m sure I will be back soon.

Until next time






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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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