We were supposed to be fishing the river but the Isle was up and coloured and with more rain forecast it was decided that the safe bet would be to move the match to Dillington. With my recent form here I wasn't too upset but would it continue? Again there was a good turnout with twelve hardy souls willing to battle the elements.
I drew peg 3 (where Andy was when he broke his pole) and on arriving at the pond it looked nice with a tinge of colour and fish topping. For company I had Rob Cox to my left and Martin Heard to my right although I couldn't really see him. When Andy was here he lost several chub in a weedbed at 14-16 metres so I decided not to set a waggler up. My plan of attack was to be the pole at 10 metres over groundbait, loosefeeding hemp and caster over the top with a back up chopped worm line at 10 metres to my left. I set up a 0.4 gram rig with 0.12mm bottom and the usual 18 B611, blue hydrolastic would hopefully tame any better fish that came along. I mixed up some Van Den Eynde Super Match and chopped some lobbies and was ready for the off.
Dillington - my most favourite place in the world! (at the moment)
The pond was calm and the weather was mild enough for both Rob and myself to remove our coats, had the forecasters got the weather wrong? On the whistle (or rather Rob shouting all in) I cupped in two balls of groundbait in front and some chopped worm and casters to my left. First chuck with double red maggot on the hook the float buried and a small perch was swung to hand, this was to be the sign to switch to caster as it had served me so well in previous matches. The next put in I had another small perch followed by a chub of around 12oz, more perch and another chub soon joined their brothers (or sisters) in the net. I was catching steady and some decent roach also put in an appearance, by the end of the first hour I had 16 fish (4 chub, 4 decent roach and the rest small perch and roach) for about 4lb. I was pleased enough with this especially as Martin had poked his head round the brolley to say he'd only had some small perch.
Then the rain started and never really stopped all day, at least the wind had not yet arrived. Hour two was steady with another 14 small fish and a slightly better rudd for around another 1lb. I reckoned if I could catch a pound an hour, on top of my good first hour, it would give me 8 or 9lbs which would be there or thereabouts. The occasional glance around the pond showed nobody really bagging, I could see Rob swinging in small perch regularly. Hour three and amongst the small roach and perch I started getting some nice roach although one good one came off at the net. I was bumping the odd fish but was pleased how things were progressing.
With two and a half hours to go the wind arrived and it was blowing the pole all over the place and trying to get decent presentation was nigh on impossible. It was a case of batten down the hatches and just try and keep adding the odd fish to the net. The fourth hour was quite hard with just the odd small perch and roach although at 1-2oz they were welcome and I was still on my pound an hour target. Going into the last hour I was soaked through (again!), Robin's brolley kept taking off and he eventually gave that up as bad job and packed it away. The wind had now reached gale like proportions.
I was still catching on caster although I'd had more small perch than ever before on it. I found I was getting most bites either on the drop or just after the bait had settled. During the last hour I had another rudd, a couple of small perch and three good roach, one which was around 12oz right on the whistle. I estimated my 58 fish must weigh around 8lbs or so, maybe a bit more as I had caught more than a pound each hour. I packed up quickly and loaded my sodden gear into my car. Butch Baker came along with scales and I asked if he'd bagged and he said that he had caught really well during the last three quarters of an hour. We walked up to Phil Denslow and he had 4lb 14oz, Dave Lawrence and Robin both weighed 3lb odd and I was pretty sure I had them beat.
It came to my turn and I was very pleased when my catch registered 10lb 3oz, but would it be enough?. Martin thought it would be but I'm never one to count my chickens especially as Martin is notorious for underestimating his weight (nearly as bad as me!). When he weighed 6lb+ I was relieved but there was still Butch to go and he'd had seven chub. When he pulled his net out I thought he'd done me but the needle stopped short on 9lb 8oz, that last gasp roach had won it for me. The other side had fished ok with most pegs weighing 4-5lb. Janders didn't bother weighing so yet another fiver made it's way into my pocket.
I picked up £70 for winning, Butch was second and Martin third, Barney and Graham Field won the two sections. I am really loving this venue as this was my sixth match win on the trot here and my seventh Dillington victory this year. The quest for the grand is agonisingly close with my yearly total currently standing at £973, just £27 to go. I have already beaten my best ever years total which stood at £961 and won more matches than ever before with ten victories. I have probably jinxed it now and will blank for the rest of the year!