After banking that 39lb 8oz common I was completely on cloud 9 for a few hours. My mobile phone battery was in danger of going flat as the news filtered through to my mates back home and the congratulations came flooding in by text. As the lads started arriving ahead of our booking, I switched my phone off and recounted my bizarre story to them as they all arrived. They were all keen to get fishing and their presence brought me to my senses and I began to focus on the carp fishing again.
Peg 13 was free and following the display the carp put on the evening before I moved into this swim. When your on a session you have the luxury of being able to watch things unfold over a few days and as well as the carp that rolled and bubbled in this area in front of 13, the coots and other birdlife were regular visitors. I didn’t know what natural food was down there but all the signs were indicating a natural hotspot. It was also well away from any of the spots marked on the bailiffs maps that have been doing the rounds on the internet and that made it even more appealing.
I settled into my new peg in the afternoon, once again I put a zig rig out on one rod whilst the other two rigs went straight into the hot area the fish and birds seemed to like. I kept my simple tactics, a ccmoores odyssey xxx popup on both rods and a light scattering of 20 baits spread over and in between both hookbaits. The area the fish showed was quite big, maybe 20 yards square so my baiting was very light, the fish obviously liked the area for naturals so there was no need to try and fill it in.
Early evening the zig rig rod was away again!. I was just as surprised as the first time it went. I was standing next to the rods when the monkey climber pulled up and the delkim signalled a good run. My first instinct was to look at the area I’d cast to check for birds. All I saw was a big boil on the surface so I hit the rod and it took on a nice curve as the carp charged off up the lake as fast as it could. The fight was slow and it took a while to get the fish close in, a lighter than usual 10lb drennan double strength hooklength and a small size 10 esp big t raptor hook meant I had to play the fish on the light side but eventually I had it under the rod tip. It was another common, easily a twenty but quite small compared to the stunner I’d caught from peg 11. After circling and trying to get under a tree in the margins the fish finally gave up and rolled into the waiting net.
I sorted out my camera, scales and unhooking mat before lifting the fish out and onto the mat. I still can’t get over the carp taking a piece of yellow rig foam but there it was dangling from the edge of the carps mouth. I unhooked the fish and weighed it in at 22lb 8oz making it the biggest fish I’d ever caught on a zig rig. I got one of the lads to take a few pictures then slipped the fish back.
This was turning into a very good session. I didn’t bother putting the zig rig back out again, it was late evening anyway so I switched the rod to my normal popup rig and fished it in the margins over a handful of ccmoores odyssey xxx fishmeals. It stayed quiet after the zig rig common capture. It wasn’t until just after 4am the next morning when things kicked off again. My mate ian had taken gino’s place in peg 12 and at 4.10am he was into a fish. His common turned out to be a 28lb+ fish and whilst doing the photo’s for him one of my rods in the hot area was away!. I apologised to ian and went to deal with my own fish. One of the other lads finished his photos whilst I played in another heavy carp. The fish didn’t do much, it just wallowed all the way in and after a short fight I netted a big mirror carp. Ian’s mat was already on the floor between our swims so I just grabbed the scales and camera and got on with unhooking and weighing another big carp. Ian commented straight away that my mirror was bigger than the common he’d just put back and he confidently said it was another 30, I try not to guess but he looked to be right. Sure enough the scales gave 31lb 8oz, a pb mirror by just 6oz!. I got some decent photo's done before returning the fish. It was first light and I wanted to get the rods back out again as I was sure there was more to come.
The recast was good and I topped up the area with another 10 baits. I didn’t want a lot of bait out there, just odd ones the carp could pick up here and there before finding the hookbaits. A few hours passed when the other rod on the same area rattled off. This fish felt as big as the last one for the short time I had it on. The fish kited left and after a few minutes I felt that horrible grating feeling up the line that told me the fish had found a snag. There was little I could do and a few seconds later my main line was cut off on the gravel. A close inspection of the retrieved line revealed lots of abrasive marks and nicks in the mono. I use berkley big game mono in 15lb breaking strain and I have total faith in it, the snag that carp found must have been a bad one for my line to come out like this and I accepted that there was little I could do to prevent loosing this fish.
I removed the damaged mono and tied a new rig on. The rig went back to the same area in the hope of more action but none came that day or on the last night. The wind changed direction up towards the car park swim and I watched as the fish slowly made their way down to the other end of the lake were a few of my mates were waiting for them!.
That was it for me, my first yateley sandhurst session turned out to be an amazing experience. I did a double pb breaking both my common and mirror bests. I also managed a couple of carp on the zig rig too and I felt I was finally getting to grips with this rig. I’ve had no problems getting runs on the zig rig but I always seem to suffer missed runs with it and I’ve made a little progress on this sandhurst trip. I intend to write my thoughts on this rig at a later date when I’ve had a chance to try it on a few local north west waters just to reinforce the lesson I think I’ve learned!.
On a final note, yateley sandhurst is an amazing lake, its very picturesque, loads of big fish and very well run and I’ll definitely be going back for another go at these superb carp.