Marcus pays his first visit to the renowned Yateley day-ticket water.
I had never fished on Sandhurst Lake before, but having read about it on so many occasions, I was itching to have a go. The Lake has superb winter form and I had seen a few fish in the papers, so I booked on for a two-night trip during the week.
It was fairly busy, but after a quick walk around I settled on peg 3, a swim at the car park end. The wind was coming in nicely and it looked good for it, that’s for sure, although I hadn’t seen anything. I spent a good two hours leading around, looking for a nice area to fish. There were the known spots, in particular a deeper and silty hole, but when I had a feel around there it all felt dirty and always went down with a soft drop. Eventually I landed on an area that felt hard and clean. It was in slightly shallower water, but it felt too good to not fish. I got everything marked up and a few rigs tied. By the time I had everything ready, it was dark, but I got them out bang on the money and put 15 Spombs on top of the area. The mix consisted of mainly Manilla boilie crumb, some sweetcorn, a handful of maggots and a good dosage of Cloudy Manilla Liquid. It had loads of smell and attraction, but was very minimal in terms of food content.
It didn’t take too long to get the first bite, quickly followed by the second. I got everything sorted, got the fish back safely and put the rods back out to the spots. A few Spombs to top it up and I drifted off to sleep in anticipation.
Early the next morning, not long before the light arrived, the left-hand rod was away. This time I knew it was a bigger fish and took my time playing it in. The Lake has a fantastic stock – some 10 fish over 40lb in fact – so there was every chance it could have been a really big one. It wasn’t one of the Lake’s biggies, but a lovely mid-twenty mirror. I was standing over the net admiring my prize when the other rod was away. After another spirited fight, I had a large looking common in the net. She ended up weighing 28lb 6oz and was a lovely looking fish. Both had incredible colours to them and, having already had four bites in January, I was totally ecstatic, but exhausted too. I had a few hours kip before getting everything ready in the afternoon for the night ahead.
With two fresh rigs back on the spot and another top up of bait, I sat back super-confident and hopeful of a real big one. The same thing happened again, and I had a couple of bites in quick succession late evening, a nice 20lb mirror followed by an immaculate 26lb common. We got a couple of shots done and the fish went back perfectly. I was amazed that, despite all the action, I was still yet to see or even hear a carp show. Still, I wasn’t complaining and I got everything back out sweet before getting my head down.
The second bite time arrived like clockwork and around 6am the left-hander was away. It didn’t feel huge, but boy did it scrap. It ended up being a lovely mirror of around 16lb. It had incredible colours and it wasn’t the only bite of the spell. The other rod was away and once again I had a chestnut brown coloured mirror in the net, this one being a bit bigger at 21lb. It was the last bite of the trip and a lovely way to end my first session on Sandhurst. I literally can’t wait to go back and have another go, as it really is a lovely place.