How it all started

I just about remember my dad giving me some rods, reels and tackle when I was about 7 or 8 years old. At the time they had a boat on the Norfolk Broads. I also remember my Auntie Jenny helping me out with a huge tangle, but we still netted this enormous bream, which I’m sure probably was less than a pounds but it was a monster to me. Never the less, the seed was sown. The next recollection I have, is when I used to cycle to my local river on my bike and fish for anything that came along Perch, Pike, Dace, Roach and Bream. In those days, I was happy anything of any size. Another pivotal moment was a day’s fishing on Lldidrode Wells Park lake after bream, these huge fish kept rolling and crashing about. Yep, you guessed it, they where carp. I managed to hook one and I tried so hard to get it on my small panned net, but it was way too big. I even tried to guide it into my keep net, not a chance and the line finally gave in and I lost it. This encounter, really sparked my fascination with carp, but unfortunately at the time, I just didn’t have the tackle or the knowledge and it would have to wait.

I then started working and was able to travel further afield. I started fishing lakes, discovered night fishing and the magic of June 16th – the start of the fishing season.

Over the next 3 years, with the help of my wages and a friendly carp angler call Ian, I started to venture into carp fishing in about 1983. I managed a few smaller fish and then an 18lber, which a carp angler with all the kit, helped me net and weight it. This was a great help. I never realized that this poor guy had probably been bivvyed up all weekend, some young lad comes along and landed one a few swims away. An 18lber back in 1982 was an absolutely monster.

That is how it all started for the carp, on a lake called Barham Pits in Suffolk. I then moved to Weybread pits with a group of fellow carp anglers in 1984 and that’s when it really became the obsession that it’s still is today, over 40 years later, from those humble beginnings on the Broads and Rivers. I’ve lost count of where and how many lakes I’ve fished. The ones that stick on my mind are Walthamstow, Kingsmead, Sinah Warren, Nutsey, Petersfield Heath, Vinitrose, Ivy, Runcton, Rockford and today with my current syndicate.

I’ve fished a lot of club waters around Hampshire area and these days I’m happy to sit in pleasant surroundings enjoying nature and the wildlife life over the hustle and bustle of busier waters. I’m older and wiser, and enjoy my fishing much more these days. It got all to crazy 15 year’s back and I very nearly gave up, but instead have spent 7 year’s fishing on the Hampshire Avon after Chub, Barbel and Pike and not having to put up with the total lack of empathy and respect for fellow anglers.

I probably only came across 10 other anglers in the 7 years I fished that syndicate. If it wasn’t for a chance meeting with an old friend in a tackle shop, I wouldn’t be on my syndicate that I’ve been on for seven years and will be forever hopefully, unless I managed to find something else that’s very similar in all aspects. I really enjoy fishing for the unknown these days, it’s certainly harder and is less spectacular than your average fishing. However, this is where I’m more comfortable, away from the hustle and bustle, constant comings and goings of busy lakes isn’t for me anymore. I’m happy catching any size carp and remembering the joy of fishing. It’s less of an obsession with the biggest carp only syndrome, no disrespect to those anglers, but my time is done there – for the time being, as you never know what’s around the corner. I suppose I’m targeting the unknown monster is actually very similar, but without the pressure. Which is why I like to stay away from X amount of people hunting the same fish and constantly obsessed with it. I’m sure most people on my syndicate are all after that unknown monster, but no one ever mentions it. We all hope one day it will come our way, but we are not bothered if it doesn’t, we just go fishing and any carp is a capture and 1 on the bank.

I can see myself fishing until I physically can’t get down the lake by myself and then hopefully I will get dropped off as I did when it all started – still after the carp and other species.

That’s my story



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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