Me and Andy got to the draw and the good news was that due to the awful weather the match was to be at Dillington. The bad news was that the weather forecast predicted more of the same, storms, heavy rain and thunder and lightning, oh deep joy. After paying our pools it was time to draw, I stuck my hand in the bag and pulled out peg 7 which was the same peg I was at last time, although numbered differently.
Got to the pond and it was very coloured and there weren't as many fish topping as normal, was this a bad omen? To my right I had Justin for company and on the left was Robin's lad, Leighton. My mate Andy was opposite me on peg one on the point. I set up the usual 3AAA waggler with the bulk around the float and three spread number ten Preston Stotz down the line culminating in a 0.12mm bottom to a size 18 Kamasan B611. For my chopped worm line I used the same rig as last time, a 0.6 gram rig with a bulk and two droppers again ending in a size 18 B611. My elastic was blue hydro which I hoped would be soft enough for the roach but man enough for any bonus fish that happened along.
I intended to feed chopped worm and caster on the pole line, ten metres to my left towards Leighton and spray maggots, casters and hemp over the waggler, hopefully catching some better fish on the caster. As we awaited the whistle for the all in the sky overhead was looking very ominously black. The whistle went and I cupped in some chopped worm and caster on the pole line while Justin balled it with groundbait over his. We both started on the waggler but it soon became apparent we were going to struggle to catch on it. The gusty wind was a nightmare and there must have been quite a tow on the water as the float was being dragged to the left, Justin managed a rudd but that was it. After half an hour he was on the pole and catching small perch, I stuck at it for another ten minutes before switching to the pole.
First put in I missed a bite before catching a small perch on double red maggot. I slipped a caster on and had a decent roach next chuck, both me and Justin were catching well, mainly roach with the odd small perch. Nobody else seemed to be doing a lot apart from Martin Heard on peg 5 who'd had a good perch. About now the heavens opened and at times the rain was so heavy I could hardly make out Andy across the pond. I don't fish under a brolley and I was glad I didn't as several people around the pond were clinging onto theirs in the strong gusts of wind.
Halfway through the six hour match, I'd had 35 fish and was still catching well on caster. Justin was still catching well but Martin had gone quiet apart from a couple of decent eels. I reckoned that if I could catch eighty fish (averaging out at 2oz a piece) I would have 10lb which would be enough to frame. Every now and again the rain would stop, the sun would come out and it was really quite nice. The trouble was these spells wouldn't last long before it pissed down again.
From what I could gather the chub weren't feeding which was probably down to the colour and people were catching roach, perch and the odd eel. The battle between me and Justin still raged and was turning into a right head to head. I would have spells of three or four fish before it went quiet and it was Justins turn. To me it looked like the average stamp of his fish was bigger and I was sure he was ahead. By now I was feeding hemp along with caster and apart from my initial chopped worm feed I hadn't put anymore in. I was wondering whether Justins groundbait approach combined with fishing a shorter line had given him the edge.
I was still catching roach averaging 3-4oz along with the odd better specimen, I did catch a small 3oz eel which was stuffed full of worm. I was missing the odd bite and had several fish come off as I was shipping back but on the whole I was pretty pleased with how my match was going. With an hour and a half left I caught a small tench of around 4oz which was nice as it was my first from here, then Justin caught one followed shortly after by Robin who also netted one. In my three years of fishing Dillington I'd only ever seen one tench caught and then three come out at once, strange. Ilminster Angling Club had stocked around a thousand but they rarely show, there are also a similar number of crucian carp but again I've only ever seen one.
With half an hour to go I realised my Drennan Drenchwear was living upto it's name and I was indeed drenched. When the whistle went I had fallen just short of my target ending with 77 fish (mainly roach with around a dozen perch, that eel and of course that sweet little tench). I guessed I must have had around 10lbs but was convinced Justin had done me. Andy wandered around with the scales and Robin commented that it would be close between the two of us. When Justin weighed 12lb 5oz I thought that was that but when I pulled my net out I realised Robin could be right. My net rather pleasingly pulled the scales round to 13lb 12oz and I was pretty sure nobody else would be near that.
That was how it turned out with myself and Justin occupying the first two places and Martin taking 3rd with 8lb+. The rest of the weights were all pretty close with both Andy and Barney winning their sections with 5lb+. My nemesis Janders should have won his section but a big eel made a successful bid for freedom when he came to weigh in! As he paid me yet another £5 side bet I didn't laugh (too much!), never mind John I'm sure you'll get your revenge on the river next week. I also took the £1 side bet off Andy which took my mind off my dampness. The £60 winnings took my yearly total to £801, I would so love to top the grand mark for the first time ever but I'm aware fishing can be a funny old game.
That's now my fifth Dillington victory and my sixth Ilminster win on the trot, here's hoping the rivers flooded next week so we can get back here! I must also apologise at this point as I'd taken a camera to get a few snaps but with the weather being so bloody awful nobody was really in the mood for posing! I'll try and get some next week to brighten my reports up a bit.