After rain of biblical proportions for most of the week, this weeks match was never going to be on the river, in fact with widespread flooding I wasn’t sure there would be a match at all! On waking up the weather didn’t look too bad outside and the drive to Ilminster was okay although there was a lot of water about. I got in the pub and Pete announced todays match wouldn’t count towards the V.E.S. League and we’d just have a knock up out the pond, I really fancied going down the canal but apparently the path was flooded which ruled that out as an option. I was hoping for one of the pegs on the near side but pulled out peg 8 on the opposite bank.
On arriving at the pond, it was a horrible chocolate colour and up quite a bit too, there wasn’t much moving but I quite fancied it as it normally fishes better when coloured. I had Steve Parker on peg 6 and Rob was on peg 4. I mixed up some Van Den Eynde Supercup and set up a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach float with 0.10mm bottom and size 18 B611 as I was hoping to fish caster if they would have it. I plumbed up at 10 metres as I could control the pole at this length with the wind blowing into my bank. It was a bit of a rush to set up and I wasn’t quite ready when Rob blew for the start.
I was carefully cupping in two balls of groundbait when Justin, across on peg 17, boshed in ten balls by hand! I baited up with a single red maggot and laid the rig in over my baited area and I fully expected to catch quite quickly but when no bites were forthcoming in the first ten minutes, I knew it was going to be hard, either that or all the fish were buried under Justin’s groundbait! After an hour nobody had caught or even had a bite and a single fish could be worth some dosh today. Then Rob had a small roach to put him in the driving seat and then it started raining – great! I stuck the pole between my legs while I put my coat on and covered up my bait, the float was actually out of the water and when I had sorted myself out, there was a small roach on and the blank was avoided!
Thinking the fish might be up in the water I shallowed the rig up to half depth but this didn’t work and then Rob had a second fish to go into the lead again. I had dead reeds on either side of me so with nothing to lose I plumbed up on both sides and tried here as well, I had a tiny roach but the float never moved so I’d had two fish and not seen a bite yet! Next put in I had a damaged pinkie and felt there might be a few small fish about but then managed to get tangled round a reed and the rig ended up in a terrible mess. It took me ages to sort out and while I was messing about, Rob had another small roach. I decided to go as fine as I could, so tied on a size 22 hook to 0.06mm bottom and went back over my groundbait line at 10 metres.
I had another roach where I hadn’t even seen the bite, so I added another two number tens to the bulk to dot the float right down. This seemed to work and my next fish was a better roach of about 3-4oz which I netted. I got to five fish but then the next three came off! Steve had finally got off the mark with a couple of roach and I’d seen both Justin and Pete net fish opposite me. I was fishing double pinkie and the bites were very shy and most of the time the rig just wouldn’t quite settle properly, in fact the float only actually went under twice all day. There were some big fish topping in the middle (as always) and I saw both Pete and Justin set feeders up to try for them but neither had a bite on the tip.
I got to about eight fish, when Steve netted what looked like a half decent fish and I thought he might now be ahead of me, Rob had slowed up but I’d seen Pete net another fish on peg 18. With about an hour left, it was obvious this was going to be a low weight affair but in some perverse way, I was actually quite enjoying it! I added a couple more tiny roach plus another couple of 3oz fish and also lost another while shipping back. With about ten minutes left I saw Pete net a good roach and I thought he would win it today, with five minutes to go I had another of 4oz and that was the last of my action. I ended up with 14 roach and wasn’t sure I had a pound!
It didn’t take long to pack up and Rob was soon on his way with the scales, Steve had three fish for 5oz and I hoped I’d beaten that, my fish went 1lb 5oz and Rob had four fish for 3oz so at least I had a brown envelope of some description headed my way. We loaded the cars and drove over to weigh the others, Justin had 10oz and then it was Pete’s turn, he only had three roach but they were decent ones and he weighed a level pound which meant I’d won again! I picked up £40 and had quite enjoyed working for those little fish, even if it had been a bit of a struggle.
1 – Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) – 1lb 5oz
2 – Pete Lonton (Ilminster) – 1lb
3 – Justin Charles (Ilminster) – 10oz
Well hopefully we can get back on the river for next weeks match but as I write this it’s raining and blowing hard outside so I won’t hold my breath!