Magical Sandy - Dave Parkinson

On Friday April the 17th we rolled into the Yateley Sandhurst car park - myself and 9 friends from Essex had the lake booked for 48 hours for what had now become an annual social event.
On our arrival we bumped into Gaz Fareham who was just finishing his session. He filled us in on what had been out and it appeared that the lake was on form with plenty of fish being caught mainly on single hook baits. The weatherman was forecasting rain for the first 12 hours of our stay with the winds light and settling in no particular direction.
It didn’t really give you a lot to go on as far as swim choice was concerned, besides that the fish that had been caught had come from pretty much all over the lake which was good as it would hopefully give us all a chance of a bite or two.
With the draw done and a small sweepstake for the biggest fish to spice things up agreed on we headed off to our chosen swims. I had come out 8th in the draw and initially opted for a swim known as the “secret” but on having a quick chat with the lad packing up in the car park swim he informed me that he had seen fish showing at the opposite end of the lake in front of the bailiffs swim. As luck would have it nobody had picked the swim in the draw so I headed straight for the bailiffs. After what seemed like minutes after I arrived in my swim, the phone rang with a very pleased Fred on the other end informing me that he had just landed the first fish of the trip - a nice 22lb common from the Pipes Swim. He very quickly followed this up with another of 27lb casting single hook baits to showing fish. I had decided to start with the single Pineapple hook bait approach. I had a leadcore-leader chod rig on one of my rods from a previous trip to my new syndicate water and on placing the rig in the edge for inspection I was shocked at just how much the rig stood out on the bottom in the gin clear water.
You don’t get a much more pressured venue than sandy with a good turn over of decent anglers fishing it so you really do need to be trying your best to make sure everything is just spot on.
I opted for a clay, Safezone leader fished lead clip fashion and a 20lbs IQ combi link pop-up rig, with a size 10 Longshank. I was using the inner braid of the Hybrid Soft to tie to the IQ to complete the combi link.
I also add a fairly long piece of shrink tube to the hook to create a nice curve to the finished rig. I have received some good results using this rig recently with some very hard-fighting carp to over 42lb being firmly nailed in the bottom lip on every occasion. The IQ combined with the Clay Safezone Leader was also virtually impossible to see on the lake bed.
I was soon putting the net under my first fish of the weekend - a very angry 30lb 2oz common and shortly after this, Sprit came good with a 31lb mirror, followed by Kempy with a 36lb 2oz common. Another of the group, Jonesy, was also slipping the net under a few in the Car Park swim with his curved snowman rig proving to be there downfall.
As the weekend rolled on the action came thick and fast with fish being caught from all over the lake. The single hook bait approach was quickly exchanged for the fill it in approach as the fish were clearly hungry. By Sunday morning, as the weekend came to a close, we had amassed an impressive haul of 31 fish to 36lb, which included 5x30s.
Jonesy ended up top rod with 7 and kempy took the sweepstake with his 36lb 2oz common. A fantastic time was had by all and a return trip is already in the planning for next spring.
Cheers, Dave Parkinson