You can’t stand still (food for thought)


If anyone tells you they have mastered lake of fishing; they’re lying.  It can change in the blink of an eye!

I personally think the biggest mistake anglers make, is once they perceive they’re at the top of their game and have cracked their chosen venue, they sit back on their hands and fail to keep the momentum going.  Then blame other factors for the inability to catch fish.  You have to work hard at fishing and keep one step ahead of the carp.  Never compare yourself to other anglers, as you will burn out.

Carp are living creatures and are more connected with nature than we will ever be.  This has been clearly proven lately by all the rubbish etc left on the beaches/parks after lockdown finished.  The human race is definitely the biggest problem this planet has.

Lakes evolve with the coming and going of each season and also global warming.  Nature has a way of adapting, it may take a few years, but it will recover.

Fish have learnt to move with these changes.  If as an angler you carry on fishing the same old spots each week, don’t you think they will wise up, there isn’t a big sign out there telling the carp where to feed, they do as they wish.

Fish are more connected with their body’s than we are and certainly know what’s good for them.  I’m sure some learn that if they eat boilies they will get caught and they will be returned to the water, so they just carry on.  However, there will be an equal number that doesn’t like the experience, will learn to be very wary and keep will away.  This is why it’s always worth fishing the swim, that exists on most lakes, called no carp something, that would always be my first port of call on a new lake.

There is always the hot swim, but is it because they are fished the most frequently and the law of averages dictates that more fish will come from that swim?  This doesn’t make it the best swim on the lake.  The best swim could easily be the overgrown one in the corner that’s not seen a fisherman’s bait for decades.  They are also one of my first ports of call on a new water.


There are so many factors which can influence carp; from weather with high pressure to low pressure constantly changing or long periods of the same.  This is something I personally feel is overlooked.  A constant high or low is perhaps something the carp can acclimatise to, just like we do.  If you move to a hot or cold country it’s horrible for a period of time, but you get used to it and it becomes enjoyable.  Well, perhaps carp can adjust quickly and relax.  Whereas ups and downs in the pressure could completely throw them off track.

Angler pressure, unless you are on the bank 24/7, you don’t really have any idea of what had been going on since your last trip – where people have fished, how much bait has been put out and the number of takes they have had.  This is more important than the number of fish landed, as it gives you a better indication of what is really going on in the swim. I understand it’s all about catching, but if they have landed 2 carp and also lost 4, the swim is producing takes, if you are only aware of the fish landed, that would be just 2 and influence your discussion making.

Water temperature can also play a key factor in fish most certainly and I believe it affected the lake I fish quite dramatically.  A couple of years back, there was a couple of big long heatwaves and I’m not convinced that the carp on the shallower part of the lake which is about 30 acres and on average 3ft deep, didn’t deal with the higher water temperatures.  They hid under all the margins where the overhanging trees are.  I don’t believe they fully recovered from this until this winter just gone.  Deeper waters are a completely different ball game and I’m sure at beyond a certain depth the variations in the temperature are less dramatic.  The carp may prefer this constant temperature rather than the dramatic changes.


Their food source and I’m not talking about bait the anglers put in!  I’m more interested in the natural side of the equation, you can never really tell how much anglers have put in.  Unless you watch and see them doing it, so it’s best to stick to the natural side of their food source e.g. blood worm beds.  How much natural food there is in the weed bed, crayfish, etc?  This is a very tricky one unless you can get out there and investigate or glean some information from other sources, you are realistically guessing.

Sanctuary area’s, are brilliant for the wellbeing of the carp and it gives them somewhere to hide.  They can easily be over created and give the carp the ability to feed and stay safely out of the angler way for years.  Making the exit points the primary swim, doesn’t help the situation as the carp will just stay there and not come out.  Wouldn’t you?.

Water levels will certainly change the dynamics of the carp’s behaviour and create more save havens as the levers drop extremely low or even the opposite when water levels are high.  This gives them more access to snaggy areas under overhanging tree or even swampy area’s.  You would be surprised how little water they need some times, just look at the depth of a 30 lber and add an inch or two on and it won’t be much deeper than your knee.


I hope I’ve not added to your issues about catching carp but helped you get more fish on the bank.

The many points of this article are to generate food for thought and not sit back a just keep going with the same old routine.  Adapt, tweak things, but never too much at the same time and keep going forward with your fishing.  Don’t look back and say it was much better than now, things have changed.  There is a bucket load of possibilities to take onto consideration and I’ve only touched on some of them.  You could go into way more detail.  Never forget to enjoy your fishing and why you got into it.  It’s not all about catching and especially under the current situation going on in the world, enjoy it, relax, unwind, be grateful and go catch your next PB.

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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