Trying To Fish Light!

For many years I’ve been trying to fish with less kit, this has been a hard task at times especially when the car can be parked so close by. This makes it quite easier to do a couple of trips to and from the swim. Also, being lucky enough to fish secure locations helps a great deal. When I was younger, the barrow was sky high with kit and I would sling a rucksack on your back, but with age, this is becoming harder. I fished a stretch of the Hampshire Avon about 10 year’s back where you could fish night’s, use three rods and stay for a few days. I now can’t imagine how on earth I carried all that kit in one go. There was no going back to the car and getting the rest of the stuff after walking over a mile. You couldn’t just leave your stuff there as the cows would have probably trashed it and there was no where to stash it safely, because it was so open.

My gear was trimmed down, but I could carry so much more, there was no opportunity to barrow it, so I just hauled it all in one go. But then I moved on to the lakes again after the carp and the ability to park close by. The tackle levels grew again, which was fine for a few years until I needed to start doing two trips backwards and forwards to the car. Again, it was ok at the time, except when it was raining. A couple of the swims on the lake, you could load the car directly from the bivvy, which is great, but also encourages you to take yet more kit and moving swims soon became a thing of the past. In conjunction with age (no doubt), the thought process that the carp aren’t far away and with the knowledge that moving swim doesn’t always pay off – unless they are really going for it (that’s for another article).

A few year’s ago, I started to limited the size of the bag (carryall) I took and simplify what I took to only what could fit in the bag. This sort of worked for a time, but extra kit would creep back and an extra bag would end up on the barrow at some point. Then another cut back would be needed. One issue that needs to be taken into account; the older I get, the more comfortable I like to be. Gone are the day’s of fishing under a brolly all year around. I finally realised that being comfortable made me a better angler, simply because if I’m tired or cold I just don’t fish as well as I would do if I’m warm and well rested.

Comfort is a real must these days for me. I like to use a bivvy with an overwrap that extends the size of the bivvy enough to sit on a day chair and where possible I use a small two man bivvy in the winter. This makes fishing in these months a lot more productive, as I’m enjoying my time and not stuck under a brolly freezing cold – probably an age thing again!

This year with joining a new syndicate I had to really focused my mind on reducing my tackle down a lot more than I had done in the past year’s. I needed the opportunity to be able to move swim and do only one trip to and from the car.

This lead me to many months of trying to get the right balance between what I used and what was there for that ‘just in case’ moment. For instance, how many spombs do you need? For me, it can be all sizes, as I like to be prepared and there’s always that unfortunate chance you may lose one. I know is rare and you can leave any spares in a bag in the car tucked away out of sight. My spare kit bag on the car was born. I know I can’t get too carried away and end up with a larger carry all full of kit.

I started to break down how much of every bit of tackle that I take and I use regular. I then reduced the volume of each item, e.g. how much end tackle do you need? Leads are another thing I take to much of and spares can easily be in my car bag.

My tackle box was broken down into three separate boxes (bags), which for me makes it easier to use on the bank. I really only need the baiting up bag out, this makes packing up and moving swims a lot faster.

This just contains the essential items that I need to bait up and keeps things simple.

This bag contains the remaining essential items, plus my head touch and a battery pack changer and cables .

I deliberately reduced the quantity really low and had a lot stored in the car for a few weeks. I filtered out a lot more and surprisingly never needed anything, so, reduced down the bag in the car to a small one. I rarely need and could leave at home (and probably will do at some point). I don’t carry a rig board anymore, as I haven’t used one for years. I like to make a fresh rig when needed and I sharpen my hooks each time I bait up. I found that my rig board just got in the way and were always filled up with the wrong sort of rig that I needed at the time.

Hook baits were another thing I carry to many of and just don’t use them. Why would you, when you know that you have upmost confidence in what you are catching on? It would be different if you were on a new water or day ticket water.

I now only carry what I’m using and a couple of pots in the car just in case. Which, I’ve yet to get out. This all really goes to show, we carry way to much kit.

There is no way around the big items, such as bedchair, bivvy, sleeping bag, metal ware, rods and landing nets, which I carry two of due to fish care and that’s another blog all together. You can fit the the odd bit of tackle in bags and beds.

I like to use a fold away chair on my bedchair as my back can’t take sitting on the bed all day without it, this easily fits in the bedchair.

My cooking kit is kept in a Ridgemonkey bucket including all the food I’m going to eat.

If it doesn’t fit in then I don’t take it. I keep extra food (if needed) in the car. I’ve found a very good food company that make self life nice meals that can be stored with out the need freezing them, this simplifies things a lot. I like my noodles a lot, at one time I was into cooking some amazing meals on the bank, but these day’s I just can’t be bothered for a few night’s fishing. If I’m going for longer (as I do a couple of times each year), I have no other option than to bring a cool box, I’ve even started to drink black coffee to save on the weight of the milk, bit extreme but it all adds up.

Bait wise I only bring down to the swim what I’m going to use and if necessary I can go back to the car or pop by when its time to head to the toilet.

I have a barrow with a small bag, if there was the option for more panniers, I would simply overload it. It’s like a shed – the bigger the shed the more stuff you put in it, but if you had a smaller shed it would still be full up, but a lot less junk would be stored there.

Looking from the outside, it still looks like I carry way too much kit and I’m always looking at ways to reduce the amount of stuff I need. I’ve found that I don’t need the bag in the car after all, as I’ve never been to get anything from it. Which certainly goes to show that we all bring to much to the lake.

I hope this was helpful to your fishing.

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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