It was our first time on this fishery and we were all set for a three day, two night session on the Sandhurst Lake, part of RMC Angling's Nutrabait Yateley Complex. Laden with a mixture of baits, groundbaits and tackle, we had come armed for every eventuality.
The three of us chose to fish three adjoining pegs on the furthest side of the lake which seemed a mistake at the time due to the amount of tackle that we had to haul over the banking, but all was not to be in vain.
First things first, lets get settled and bivvy up. The ground was reasonably level and we were sheltered from the elements by the dense trees behind us. It was fine when we arrived but the forecast for the weekend was worsening.
It wasn't long before cursing and swearing was coming from Stu's peg, the bivvy didn't want to go up, the poles were getting tangled in the undergrowth and the urgency to get the rods out was only adding to his frustration. It's so easy a five year old can do it "Get me a five year old!"
We had already agreed, I was going to go all out for the big Carp that the water held, Stu was going for the Carp and Bream and David (aka Little Willie), was going after anything that swims.
I chose to use a twin rod set-up consisting of a 2 1/2lb test curve and a 2 1/4lb test curve rod coupled with luncheon meat on one and hair rigged sweetcorn on the other, both legered. Main line was 12BS on both with 15LB Kryston Silkworm hooklengths.
Stu decided on similar rods with stringed boilies on one and sweetcorn on the other, the first legered with a running lead, the second with a method feeder. A third heavy feeder rod was set-up the same way. Little Willie decided to fish float with a mix of worm and maggot just over a ledge about 12 feet out.
I launched a plumb out and started to check the depth. It was around four feet deep in most places with quite a bit of weed, some just on the bottom but several large weed beds reaching some 12inches from the surface. The bottom was a mixture of silt and gravel beds amongst the weed.
After playing around with the plumb I soon found the clear areas and the ones to avoid and several large balls of ground-bait laced with corn, maize and hempseed went out to them. There was no fear of disturbing the swims too much as we were to be here for a while and hopefully the ground-bait would hold the fish as they patrolled around. That was the theory anyway!
Casting out into those areas, rods into their rests and buzzers set, I made myself comfortable and sat and waited. And waited, and waited, and waited. Wound in, checked the baits, refreshed them, re-cast, more ground-bait, loose feed and still waited. It was getting dark, eight hours passed and not a touch. Stu was the same and Little Willie had fallen asleep in the back of his bivvy!
Is this to be it, we asked. The theory was not turning out to be the same in practice.
Several hours later, the sun was rising over the trees in front of us, it was now 6.00am Saturday morning and still not a bite, nor even a hint of a touch and despondency was setting in. The coffee was on the stove, breakfast was a couple of Mars bars, and we sat and talked about our methods.
All of a sudden, Stu's feeder rod was wrenched from it's rest, the reel was screaming as line was being ripped from it. There was no need to strike, the fish was well and truly hooked and didn't we know it. It was off to the other side of the lake with no stopping it. It was at this point that he informed me that he only had 4lb BS line on that reel as he was chasing the Tench or Bream with it, not the Carp that was on the end!
A good twenty minutes later and a Mirror Carp of 18lb came to the awaiting net. A magnificent fish and not a mark on it. Quite a feat on such light tackle.
I went back to my peg with a feeling of growing despair. This was to be short lived. Thirty minutes later the right buzzer twitched, twitched again then let out a piercing scream as the line was being torn through the rings. I struck into what was to be a hard fighting Mirror, this one being 19lb in weight!
What a morning, two Carp both close to the magical twenty mark.
Several hours passed before the next bite, again to Stu. This time a Mirror of 14lb 12oz falling to method feeder and drilled Carp Pellet on a hair rig. Little Willie had had a few roach by then.
The hours whiled away, we tried every method known to us from floating dog biscuits, bread and mixer, to popped-up sweetcorn, boilies, mixer, even the humble maggot; but not a touch.
The night wore on, darkness fell and by this time we had to get some sleep so we reeled in and called it a day, hoping for a better start in the morning.
Dawn, and the sun was rising, a few fish were topping but they appeared to be from the large head of roach that are seldom fished for. It was now Sunday and the Tench and Bream still hadn't shown but the night had been cold and unsettled with strong winds. The Carp seemed to be few and far between.
Breakfast was warming on the two ring stove that we had brought with us, bacon sandwiches alfresco. We again discussed methods, ideas, anything that might bring a fish or two.
Shortly after, Stu was once again into a Carp albeit quite a bit smaller this time weighing in at a 'mere' 81/2lb. This time to method feeder and sweet corn.
Not long after, a Tench of 4 1/4lb also fell to his charms.
It was now 1.00pm and we had decided to call it a day, we had a long drive ahead of us and tiredness was setting in. All said and done we had had a few very good fish between us, all in excellent condition.
I was putting the bivvy down when one of my buzzers blipped, had I disturbed it, I thought?
It happened again followed by a scream as the line was pulled steadily through the rings, I lifted the rod and pulled into what appeared to be a large Bream. There was a weight on the end but no resistance as such, just a slight tugging. It must be a Bream we all thought, but a big one at that.
It came towards the awaiting net and we caught a glimpse of a Mirror Carp, larger than the previous and weighing in at 20lb 8oz. A 'twenty' and I was about to wind the rods in!
All in all we had five Carp for 80lb 12oz plus a Tench and nine Roach, Click Here to see the photo's.
Shall we go back? Most definitely.
The 'Match Lake' produced a 34lb monster Carp on the Saturday night, and a 43lb Catfish a week previous!