I knew the fishing was going to be a struggle, the air pressure had been continually rising all week and we were greeted by a flat calm lake that didn’t exactly look inspiring. I spent a fair few hours walking round the lake looking for carp but very little showed. The odd carp I did see were up in front of the car park peg and I had no chance of getting near them as the lake was busy.
Having spent most of the day looking for carp I resigned myself to picking a swim from the best of the rest as it was getting late. The swim I chose was peg 13, I’d fished this swim on my first sandhurst carp trip back in may and caught a thirty from it. The wind was pushing down the lake towards peg 19 so I had a hunch that 13 might be worth a look. I got my rods set up and cast my rigs to the same area I’d caught from last time. On my previous trip I’d witnessed an amazing display from the sandhurst carp as they topped and rolled in this area so it seemed logical to fall back on my limited experience from the last session.
The night passed uneventfully and I was disappointed not to have some kind of action at first light. I left the rods out until 9.00am whilst I had some breakfast then wound in and went for a long walk around. Other anglers would be going home during the day as the lake was exclusively booked for the weekend so I wanted to get an idea of where I was going to fish later on.
After 2 hours of walking round I knew the fish were up at the car park end and if I drew well I’d get on them and be in with a chance. I returned to my swim at 11.00am so I could cast out my rigs again. The previous day only 2 fish had been caught and both came within 10 minutes of each other just after midday. With two carp coming out so close together time wise I thought this might be some kind of small feeding period so I wanted my baits out through this time of day just in case.
I’m so glad I did get the rigs back out. At 11.45am one of my snowman hookbaits was picked up, I was watching the water at the time and hadn’t seen anything when right out of the blue one of my delkims burst into life and the line peeled off the spool at a good rate of knots!. After my initial bemusement I quickly slipped into routine and hit the rod. Sure enough it arched over and after no movement for a few seconds I eventually felt a kick on the end from what felt like a decent fish. The fight was a bit of a stalemate for 5 minutes or so, the carp took no line but neither did I make any back. The fish wasn’t snagged, it was just a heavy weight on the end of the line and eventually the steady pressure had it moving towards me.
I’d hooked the fish about 50 yards out and once I’d managed to get it moving it came into the margins quite quickly, again the carp never took any line and looking at it in the clear water I could see it was a nice fat mirror that looked to be around mid twenties. I was a little nervous when the fish was under the rod tip but I needn’t have worried as the fish was well nailed in the bottom lip and I could clearly see this as the fish slowly rolled into the waiting net.
I must admit I was delighted to see that fish netted, I hadn’t been fishing much over the last few months and when I sat and reflected, I realised it was my first decent fish since I’d caught a 22lb 4oz mirror from a no publicity Cheshire carp water back in mid June!. I left the carp in the water whilst I got on with the business of weighing and photographing my fish. I put the unhooking mat on the road behind my swim and set up the tripod and camera ready for a smooth photographing session. I weighed the mirror at 26lb even, a nice fat fish that was in reasonable condition. My mates Steve and Gino were on hand and with their help I had the weighing and pictures done in no time. I released the fish back to the lake and watched with a big smile on my face as it drifted out of sight.
The lads were due at the lake just before 2pm and not long after I’d released my carp, the first of them arrived to have a look around the lake. I recounted my capture to them as they arrived and filled them all in on where I thought the fish were. Once everyone was present we had a draw for swims for the rest of the weekend. I was actually relieved to have caught as I came out second to last in the draw. Not only was the car park end of the lake stitched, I’d lost peg 13 as well and I was left with little choice but to pick from a handful of no hoper pegs!.
I opted for peg 19, this peg gave me a big view of the lake and at least 3 swims either side of me were empty. I was hoping the lack of pressure might see a few fish move into the area but they didn’t!. I had to sit and watch carp show up at the car park end and the lads up there managed to catch a few fish over the weekend. For me, my catching was over and I had to make do with the barbeque on Saturday and the fireworks that went on each evening. Despite looking hard I didn’t see a single fish up my end of the lake and I blanked the rest of the trip.
At the end of the day you pay your money and you take your chance, the draw had been unkind to me on this yateley trip and I accepted that I was very lucky to have caught my 26lb mirror when I did!. If I hadn’t insisted on fishing through that potential feeding period in the middle of the day I would certainly have blanked the whole trip.