Scott Russell from Yeovil Angling Centre told me about this match, apparently after a drop off in sport the fish had returned with a vengence and there were loads of quality roach to be caught on the pole line. So any early start (for me!) and after meeting Scott at the shop and picking up two pints of casters and a pint of maggot it was off to Sherborne.
I was a little apprehensive as 90 mile an hour winds and rain were forecast, at the draw there were several 'name' anglers including Alex Murray and Steve Jackson. After paying my pools I drew peg 18 which meant very little to me except a fairly long walk. Jacko had drawn one of the end pegs, number 16, two up from me. I mixed up some groundbait, a fifty-fifty mix of Van Den Eynde Supermatch and Supercup and set up two rigs, one of 0.6 grams and another of 0.75 grams, both rigs had 0.12mm bottoms and size 18 Kamasan B611's.
This lake used to produce big weights of bream and tench although they arn't as prolific now, Scotty reckoned quite a few people would go for these big fish and although a few would show, the safe bet would be to fish for silvers and a 30-40lb winning weight would be possible with these. The weather was wet but the wind wasn't too bad, yet. On the all-in I cupped in two balls at 6 metres and four balls at 11.5 metres, I was hoping to catch at 6 metres, especially if the wind got too strong.
First put in on double red maggot and the float sunk from view and a lovely 10oz roach was swung in, a smaller sample followed next chuck and a switch to caster saw two more in the net. In my mind I thought that if I could catch roach that went four to the pound, 160 would give me around 40lb. This train of thought soon stopped when after bumping a fish I couldn't get a bite at 6 metres. I went out to my further line and had a couple of fish but it was hard work in the strengthening wind.
I went back to the shorter line, still feeding caster but it was still slow, I added a section and started fishing a metre past my feed and this was much better. I was catching roach of all sizes, mainly 1-3oz with the odd better specimen of 8-10oz. After an hour I reached 30 fish and wasn't too far off my target. Jacko walked up and asked how I was getting on, I told him and he replied he'd only had 4 fish and the chap on 17 was also struggling. I couldn't really see how they were getting on to my left so I got my head down and carried on.
After two hours my catch rate had improved slightly and I was on around 65 fish. I did suffer spells of missed bites/bumped fish and found if I left the hook point showing instead of burying it in the caster, this improved things. Swopping between 6 and 7 metres I kept catching for the third hour and got up to 100 fish, I was still getting lots of small roach but I'd also included a decent hybrid and a 8oz perch plus several good roach.
The rain actually stopped for a bit and I had a good spell with another hybrid, some more perch, a rudd and half pound skimmer plus the usual roach. I had a couple drop off swinging them in and on one occasion this resulted in a bit of a birds nest which took some sorting out. Once I resumed fishing I was still getting a bite a chuck but they were all small fish about an ounce apiece. I was up to 120 fish after hour number four so that tangle had cost me some fish although I was still on my target.
Halfway through hour number five and the wind was hideous and several bait boxes (not mine) came floating past and my keepnet tried taking off! I was still catching although the stamp fish from earlier were noticeable in their absence. At the end of the five and a half hours I had exceeded my target of 30 fish an hour with 167 fish. After packing up Jacko walked up and asked how I'd done, I said I really didn't know but secretly I reckoned I must have around 25-30lb, perhaps more.
The scales arrived and Jacko weighed 19lb and I was sure I'd beaten that, especially after his slow start. The chap on 17 weighed 13lb plus, it was then my turn and I was disappointed when the needle stopped at 22lb 4oz although there were a lot of small fish in my net. Scott Russell had done it dead right fishing the 4 metre whip and catching over 300 hundred fish for 33lb+. I still thought I might be in with a chance of my six peg section (worth £50) but the last peg in the section weighed three bream and two tench for 29lb something. Alex Murray won on the day with twenty odd pounds of roach and three bream on the feeder for 36lb, Scotty was 2nd.
Still, quite a good day with loads of fish. If I were to fish it again I think I would definately fish the whip with maggot catching anything instead of fishing the caster for the better fish which didn't really sort them out. We're supposed to be on the Isle tomorrow but after all the rain we've had, I'm hoping it will be on Dillington, although my run there has to end sometime. Wish me luck.