Yateley Sandhurst Session Pt1
The north west carp scene is pretty much a circus these days. There aren’t enough waters or big carp to go around and this makes carp fishing very difficult if you’re a short session angler. To compensate for the lack of big carp in the region I used to make two or three trips a year to a southern day ticket water. For around 8 years this used to be linear fisheries in oxford. Unfortunately linear grew and grew and it became more of a circus down there than it did on my local north west club waters. Not only did linear end up full of idiots, they became extremely greedy too, when I first started going there it was £8 for a 24 hour session, the last time I went it was well over £20 and I know today that its now even higher!.
I actually decided 3 years ago that I wouldn’t do another day ticket water because I simply don’t agree with the stupid prices these day ticket carp fisheries charge nowadays. Things change and 3 years on I was talked into having a session on yateley day ticket water sandhurst lake. The good thing about sandhurst was that the lake could be booked for exclusive use and so a group of my mates got together and booked a weekend on there. We actually ended up having to pay a bit more each but this was considered to be worthwhile as it kept the lake to just ourselves and ensured there would be no ‘day ticket’ type anglers on the water. You know the sort, captain pugwash who thinks he can fish anywhere he wants because he's got a bait boat or the idiot with the beginners guide to spodding who insists on ruining your chances as well as his own!.
The trip was a bit of a holiday for me so on top of the weekend I booked a day ticket for a further two nights from cemex angling, I had four days and nights fishing on the water, hopefully enough time to get on some fish and catch a few of them.
At 225 miles it was a long journey and the sat nav came in extremely handy, sometimes I’d be lost without this little gadget and it certainly made my trip to yateley very easy. Having found the lake without any difficulties I drove on to yateley angling centre were my fishing partner gino was able to pick up the day tickets he’d booked through the shop. We grabbed some fish and chips from the chippy near the shop then went and sat in the car park area so we could scan the lake whilst eating them.
The wind was pushing away from the popular ‘car park’ peg and down towards peg 19 on the far bank. It was an easterly wind and the temperature was well over 25 degrees, not exactly brilliant fishing conditions but the lake had been fishing well so we were hopeful of catching.
We did a lap of the lake to try and locate the carp. This wasn’t too difficult and we found them on the end of the wind, there seemed to be quite a few fish down near the second car park so I opted for peg 16 as it covered the fish and gave me a few more options than the corner peg on the left (17). My carp tactics for this trip were the same as always, I like to keep things simple so I just used my standard Carp Rig and cast a small pva mesh bag to were the carp where showing. I scattered 10-15 boilies around the area just to make sure they found the odd bait then waited for them to find one of my ccmoore odyssey xxx hook baits.
The first day and night passed by with no runs for me. My mate gino had dropped in a few pegs down from me in 14 and during the second day he spotted carp showing in front of peg 12 and moved onto them. He was rewarded with a mid twenty mirror and being a true gent he came down to my swim and tipped me off, he suggested I move into peg 11 next door as it would put us both on the fish. I wasn’t sure, I opted to stay where I was for the time being as there were fish in the area but the second time he came back and urged me to move I decided to do it. I’m not sure why I chose to move, after all, I was already on fish but moving would make a social easier and it would mean a decent fried breakfast so I went.
Someone moved straight into my swim after I’d vacated it and an hour later they landed a 31lb common!. To say I was annoyed was an understatement!. If only I’d stayed in my swim I might have had that fish myself and top of my shopping list was realising my dream of catching a 30lb common. I wasn’t happy at all and having moved to peg 11 I was less than impressed with the swim and I wondered why the hell I’d moved. Gino on the other hand knew exactly what he’d seen in the area, he banked another two mid twenties in a short space of time and this gave me hope that I’d at least manage to get myself off the mark at some point during the trip.
I’ve been playing about with zig rigs for a long time but I’ve never had much faith in them, I’m not sure why, I know they work, back in 1989 my first ever double came to the old anchored surface crust so I knew there was mileage in the zig rig. There were fish cruising round in the sunshine so I opted to fish the zig rig. A small piece of yellow foam hair rigged on a size 10 esp raptor hook, this was fished on a 10lb drennan double strength hooklink and fished three feet up in about four and a half feet of water.
I sat chatting with gino during the evening of day two, there was an angler in peg 13 and during the evening we were treated to a superb display from the carp, they were lunking out and rolling like mad in front of peg 13 and the guy fishing there was only a day angler. I’d already prepared myself to move in the dark such was the display of big carp in front of his peg. It was late evening and whilst I was sorting my gear the zig rig rod was away. I couldn’t believe it, a small piece of yellow foam and a carp had taken it literally in half light conditions!. I played the fish in slowly with just a 10lb drennan double strength hooklink I didn’t want to risk loosing it. Everything went well and I landed my first sandhurst carp. The fish turned out to be a nice mirror that fell short of the 20lb mark, probably a small fish for the water but at 19lb 4oz I was more than happy to be off the mark with my first sandhurst carp.
That first carp settled me and I decided not to move into peg 13 in the dark, it was Friday the next day, other anglers would be going home and nobody else would arrive if they had to be off for our booking by 4pm so I stayed in peg 11 for the night. I switched the zig rig back to a standard carp rig and having cast out all 3 rods out I settled down for the night.
The night was quiet until 4am when the left hand delkim ripped off. I was out of the sleeping bag and on the rod in a flash, the fish felt quite heavy and from the moment I hooked it, it tried to ‘roll’ me repeatedly. I’d already lost a couple of big north west carp at the net when the carp had rolled over and I’d lost the fish to a hook pull so my heart was in my mouth during the fight with this carp. I kept a steady pressure on and every time it rolled I’d drop the rod tip a little to compensate. The hook held firm and after 10 minutes or so I managed to bundle the fish into the waiting net. I had a quick look at it in the water, it was a common, quite a long fish that looked quite broad across the back. I didn’t want to think about the 30lb barrier, I thought it might be close but I’d been after a 30lb common for so long I just shut the thought out of my mind. Gino was on hand to help and having got the camera gear and the weighing scales ready I carried the fish to the mat. I knew it felt heavy but I wasn’t ready for what followed!. Gino hoisted up the scales and read out the weight, 39lb 8oz!. I thought he was joking, I asked him again and he said the same. ‘You try lifting it, it’s effing massive’ he said. I did and sure enough it weighed in at 39.08!. I was quite shell shocked and it was only when the pictures were being done that I realised just how massive this carp was. It was a real stunner with not a mark on it.
I’d simply blown away the walton hall park common that was my previous pb common at 27lb 4oz!. The events around the capture were bizarre, moving swims, seeing another angler catch from my vacated swim, seeing so many fish in another peg and wanting to move in the dark, catching that 19lb 4oz mirror on the zig rig and staying in peg 11. If I’d actually moved I’d never have caught this stunning fish and I feel that sometimes in life, things are meant to be and it certainly looked like my name was on that fish. I felt incredibly lucky to have caught it and I’m in debt to gino who twice tried to talk me into moving swims when he could have kept the area to himself.
My first yateley sandhurst session was already a memorable one, I stayed in peg 11 for most of the next day and when the other lads turned up on Friday afternoon we drew for choice of swims for the weekend. It was then that I opted to move into peg 13, unlucky for some maybe but it wasn’t for me and I’ll finish the story of my first yateley sandhurst trip next week!.