The area local to sandhurst had been suffering from forest fires in the run up to this session and a few of the lads got caught out with certain roads being closed on the way down. Fortunately for me my trusty Sat Nav took me round the M25 and despite being behind most of the guys on the way down, I actually arrived earlier than they did!.
My early arrival gave me some time to have a look around and my first impression was that the fish were holed up in front of the famous pipe swim but this was a shared trip between a group of friends and we were drawing for swims, whoever picked out No 1 in the draw got first choice of swim and so on. I’ve never had much luck when it comes to drawing for swims and I’m certainly consistent with it!, I came out 13th out of 14 and needless to say I didn’t stand a chance of getting anywhere near the pipe swim or any of the adjacent swims!. I actually chose peg 9 on the road bank, I was familiar with this swim having fished it the previous year, peg 9 is actually directly opposite the pipes and there is a large hole in the middle of the lake which is directly between the two swims, by fishing onto the edge of the hole at long range I was hoping to pick off the odd carp that might drift into this area during the weekend.
When visiting day ticket carp waters most anglers I know seem to take the kitchen sink when it comes to bait. Several different flavours of Boilie, Hemp, Pellets, particles, you name it, they take it. Much to my fishing neighbours surprise I had with me 3 handfuls of Tiger Nuts and some Yellow Foam!. I get the impression he thought I was mad bringing so little but I know sandhurst is a pressured water so I chose to avoid boilies altogether and stick to alternatives. As I was going to be fishing mainly at medium or long range I knew it was going to be a case of PVA mesh bags so I really didn’t need a lot of bait, I’ve learned from experience that most of it ends up going to waste so I took just enough to do the job.
I sent two rods out at range to the edge of the hole, both baited with tiger nuts with a small PVA Mesh bag attached to help avoid tangles. (You can see how I prepare and rig my tiger nuts Here). The third rod I fished on a zig rig baited with yellow foam. This rig has worked for me previously at sandhurst and with 3 rods in use I thought it was worth a try despite the weather not being warm.
I’d only been fishing for 4 or 5 hours when the left hand Delkim signalled a screamer, at the same time mine went my neighbours in peg 10 went as well and we both found ourselves playing carp at the same time. Last year I’d had 5 runs from peg 9 but landed only one of them and I’d not taken into account a snag in the water at around 70 yards range. As I played my fish in it found the snag and I ended up loosing it, to top this off my neighbour lost his on the same snag!. I wasn’t happy and I was kicking myself for making such a stupid error. Even though it had been a year since I’d fished there and only once before in that swim, I’d had a big enough lesson last time and I really should have done things differently. After that loss I pulled the other rod back in and re-rigged both rods with drop off leads instead of my usual inline leads. By loosing the lead on the take and playing any fish with the rod held high I would hopefully avoid the snag again. It had worked last year and I was sure it would again.
My drop off rigs were made using a Safety Lead Clip with the Tail Rubber completely removed, I simply PVA’d the back of the clip to make sure the lead wasn’t lost on the cast. I put both rods out to the edge of the hole again and sat back to wait. I had nothing during the first night and next morning I got to sit and watch two of my mates in the first and second pipes have run after run, the pair of them were racking up carp at quite a rate and all I could do was sit and watch. It was obvious the fish were in front of them and they both filled their boots.
Saturday afternoon we had a break and our annual BBQ in the car park, it was a weekend social after all. On one of these trips previously I was a bit under the weather and felt sick but I had no trouble this time and I put away several burgers, sausages and chicken kebabs during the afternoon, if the carp weren’t going to eat I certainly was!.
Once the BBQ was over we headed back to our swims and once again I put two Rods to the edge of the hole with the third on a zig at shorter range. Saturday evening continued the same as Saturday morning and I had to sit and watch the guys in the pipes swims catch yet more fish. I headed for the Sleeping Bag when it got dark and I slept until one of the rods on the edge of the hole signalled a run, there was no single bleeps or indication of what was to come, I woke to an absolute screamer!. I hit the rod and sure enough I finally had a carp hooked up. I knew the drill this time, I stepped backwards and up the bank to give me more height and I held the rod high above my head with the butt resting on my shoulder instead of my groin. This worked and despite being so far out I could clearly see by the far bank street lights that the fish was up near the surface. I cleared the snag no problem and kept the fish coming towards me, this carp put up a good fight in the margins and it was a good 15 minutes before I finally slipped the Landing Net under my prize.
I peeled back the mesh to see a nice mirror, it certainly looked over 25lb but I doubted it would make 30+, I left the fish in the net and set up the Unhooking Mat and camera ready for the weighing and photographing procedure. When I was ready I retrieved the fish, unhooked it and Weighed it. The mirror went 27lb exactly, not my biggest sandhurst carp by any means but I was happy enough, I took a few photos and returned my prize to the water. Recasting in the dark wasn’t too bad because I had street lights opposite and I was using these as far bank markers.
After getting the rod back out I checked my watch and it was 4.00am. I turned in again only to be woken by my neighbour Ian a few hours later, like me, he had to sit and watch the two guys in the pipes catching whilst his rods stayed quiet but he’d finally nabbed one early on Sunday morning and I went to Photograph a 30lb+ common for him, an excellent result indeed!.
No more carp came my way despite me staying until early afternoon on Sunday, eventually I called it a day and headed for home. I was happy to have caught one in the end, coming out of the draw second to last is getting to be a bit of a habit for me but despite this I’ve still yet to blank when fishing sandhurst, I’ve had quite a few bad draws now and my bad luck can’t continue forever, sooner or later its going to be me sat on the fish and bagging up instead of scratching round for the odd straggler so roll on next time and some better luck!.