Sandmartin, Bluebell Lakes

One of the least fished lakes on the Bluebells complex, but what does highly-rated angler Lee Crampton think of it?

Sandmartin, a jewel in the crown.

The most captivating, distinct and enriched waters on the Bluebell complex.


Big Fish Potential

Fish Condition

On Site Facilities

Swim Comfort

Value For Money

Key Details

Day ticket, syndicate or holiday booking: Day ticket
Realistic catch rate: 1 fish a session
How much: Day ticket £15, night ticket up to £37.50 for 4 rods
Best swim(s): There are no best swims but the bank near the concrete platform can be very productive
How do I get a ticket: No booking required. Purchase tickets in shop before session
Skill level to catch: Experienced
How busy is it: One of the quieter lakes on the complex
Location: Tansor, Oundle, Peterborough, PE8 5HP
Can you drive to the swims: Some
Best method: Boilie fishing and zigs
On site facilities: Shop, toilet, showers
Best bait: Fishmeal boilies
Nearest tackle shop: On site
Ideal fishing range: Up to 30yrd
Average size: 25lb
Max realistic size: 40lb plus

Sandmartin, Bluebell

Everyone knows Bluebell Lakes in Tansor, near Peterborough. It’s arguably one of the most popular fisheries within the UK, but there is one particular water on the complex that I feel continually gets disregarded.

All of the anglers that visit appear to make a beeline for one of the usual suspects, namely Swan Lake, Kingfisher or Mallard. They drive straight past what I would consider to be one of the more captivating, distinct and enriched waters on the complex – Sandmartin.


Sandmartin seems to produce day and night, high or low pressure.

Lee Crampton

Check out some of the amazing fishing Sandmartin offers in this film below by Youtube blogger – Carpking 71.

Admittedly, Sandmartin doesn’t hold the volume of stock as the other waters, neither does it have the biggest fish in the complex with the lake record being a low 40 common.

However, what it does deliver in return is a crystal clear, extremely rich, feature filled water with every swim presenting something different.

It’s not an easy water by any stretch of the imagination and you need to carefully consider your tactics and approach them with caution. But providing you comply with a few fundamental rules that Sandmartin seems to dictate, you always stand a chance of encountering one of the many jewels that reside in this character filled, yet forgotten lake.

Most swims around Sandmartin provide your very own, personal section of water and you can often find your own little bit of paradise.

sandmartin rig tips
Lee’s rig for Sandmartin

What’s The Bottom Like?

With gin clear water, deep margins, large weed beds, pronounced gravel bars and choddy but presentable areas across the whole lake, you are never short of options.

Consequently, early in the Spring, single bright hook baits can work extremely well and can be roved around the pond without worrying about presentation. Fruity pop-ups such as a yellow or a pink cast to showing fish will always stand a good chance presented on a chod, hinged stiff rig or Ronnie presentation.

Zig-rigs at this time of year can be productive too, you will often notice bubblers and shapes just under the surface and so a zig-rig can be a great method. Just a sliver or black or yellow foam is enough.

As it gets warmer, the fish do start to turn to bait and so it is time to switch onto the boilies. Any good quality bait will work, although I know they love a fishmeal – Pacific Tuna being one that has worked well for me in the past. Both spreading baits via a throwing stick or catty work well, it just depends on the distance you fish. Like I said, the fish get caught on a range of tactics so experimenting can help.

Depths are fairly consistent, it drops down quite quickly to 12ft to 13ft of water, and if you search for it, depths of 16ft can be found in places.

Try Solid Bags

Due to the relatively clear nature of the bottom, solid PVA bags in the middle area works very well. The fish will often show in the deeps and so a solid bag can score. It is just enough of a mouthful to entice a bite. My mix is kept nice and simple, comprising the CC Moore Bloodworm Bag Mix, plus matching liquid. Due to the rich, silty nature, the bloodworm helps to mimic the natural food in the lake. I also experiment a bit with the hook baits, again to match the offerings.

Other Species

Across all the lakes at Bluebell, it is probably one of the most prolific for specimen species, not that I’ve seen anyone target anything other than carp.

Sandmartin contains a huge head of Tench, weighing an average of 6 to 7lb, which spend most of the day in the warmer months patrolling the margins. Biggest I’ve seen out is just over 9lb but I’m sure there is a double or two floating around. If you are targeting the Tench then you need to keep close, and keep quiet.

I’ve had Bream out to 12lb+ and countless doubles, but the average weight is more like 8 to 9lb. Bream can be caught all over but predominately towards the middle.

There are some huge Roach, Rudd and Perch. I’ve caught Roach to over 1.5lb, seen Perch to nearly 3lb on the bank, and caught Pike to over 20lb when they’ve taken my boilie – but I doubt I’ve touched the sides of the true specimens that reside in Sandmartin.

Carp can, and do, get caught all over the lake due to its various and widespread features.

They absolutely love a floater when the rays are on their backs and they constantly patrol the margins. But, they do get caught in the middle, and everywhere in-between.

Location is less of a concern on Sandmartin, and so are weather conditions. Unlike Swan on the Bluebell complex for example, where you have to catch it just right on a low pressure. Sandmartin seems to produce day and night, high or low pressure.  It’s a law to its own, and you always stand a chance providing you keep your wits and fish with minimal disturbance.

Sandmartin Rules

Catch & release only?: Yes!
Are there swim boundaries: You must stick to your swim
Are mats provided?: No
Are bait boats allowed?: No
Are boats allowed?: No
Bait rules: No maggots, nuts, chickpeas or trout pellets
Hook pattern rules: Barbless only
Fish care rules: Unhooking mats compulsory
Parking rules: In parking areas only
Rig rules: No braid
Can I use spods/spombs?: Yes
How many rods?: Three
Are dogs allowed?: Yes under control
Is there an age limit?: Under 16's accompanied by an adult
Can I use particles: As above

You’ll need these for your trip to Sandmartin!


A real box of chocolates and a lake that I always love fishing.

Lee Crampton

Lee is a well-respected carp angler and has a knack for tempting the biggest fish in the lake. He pays particular attention to rigs and you will often see some very interesting presentations in his armoury.

Lee Crampton | 20th April 2020


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