Monday, October 30, 2006

River Isle - Hollowlegs League - 29th October 2006

Felt a little rough this morning as I'd been to Dunner's wedding reception the night before. When I got to the draw I was greeted by several other rather sickly looking individuals who had also been there. Andy not only looked rough but the clutch had gone on his van so he was not in the best of moods. As I've mentioned previously this is a league I've never won and would really like to, my win in the first match had got me off to a great start but could I keep it going?

Pete Lonton announced the draw and Andy pulled out peg 126 at Isle Brewers which is not only a good peg but a golden peg on the day, I went next and the result for me was peg 123, not good. This peg is on the fence at Isle Brewers and I've drawn it several times in the past and my top weight has only been 4lb odd. Still I'd have to make the best of it and try and get good section points. The Isle Brewers stretch is mainly roach fishing and some good weights are possible, the trouble is where there are roach there are usually pike and these can be a pain when the rivers low and clear.

When I got there it looked nice and there were lots of very small fish topping, I set up the usual 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo which had a size 18 Kamasan B611 to 0.12mm bottom. Also with the river being low and clear I thought the pole might spook the fish in the fairly shallow water so I set up a small balsa waggler, again with a B611 at the business end. Started on the pole feeding hemp, caster and bronze maggots and had a 4oz roach straight away on double bronze. Thoughts of bagging soon disappeared as no more bites were forthcoming and it was time to try the waggler.

Maggot just produced a couple of very small roach and the usual minnows so I switched to caster and this produced a couple of slightly better roach. After an hour I had eight fish (roach and chublets) for about a 1lb or so. I now realised that any chance of money was slipping away but if I could catch a pound an hour this would give me 5-6lb and in previous matches this sort of weight was worth good section points.

Hour two was very slow and I'd get a couple of fish on the waggler and then switch to the pole and get the odd fish. I felt there were quite a few fish in the swim but I was chasing them all over the place. Back on the waggler I had a couple of net roach on the caster but from well down the swim. I then hooked a better fish which after some hairy moments with the weed I netted, at a pound and a half this chub was very welcome. So after around three hours I probably had 4lb which wasn't too bad.

Max wandered up from peg 124 and after catching a fish a chuck the pike moved in and he now couldn't buy a bite, he said the pike were even having a go at his keepnet! I missed several bites while he was there and he called me a wanker before going back to his peg. I hadn't had any pike problems which quite suprised me as I have here in the past. I was still getting the odd roach and chublet but it was hard work and I was missing quite a few bites and had bumped several fish.

With an hour to go I had another chub, this one about a pound, I started to think if I could get another one I might have an outside chance of winning the section. With the clocks going back the night before I also thought that as the light stared to fade the roach might get their heads down. A couple of times a decent fish had rolled on the far side and I reckoned it might be the chub I needed. On went double caster and I shipped the pole over but it wasn't to be and I never had a bite.

I spent the last quarter of an hour on the waggler and had my first dace and a couple more roach, Max had packed up and walked past with the scales to weigh in Graham Field in the weirpool (peg 117), I fancied that peg and was suprised when Max reported that Graham had only weighed 2lb 2oz. My 36 fish weighed 5lb 10oz which I was quite pleased with and when Max only weighed 1lb 10oz I started to think I could get good points. After packing up and loading my car the pegs below the bridge started filtering back and all my hopes of a decent placing faded away. Digger weighed 10lb 9oz from 133, Martin Heard had 6lb odd from 129, Pete Lonton had 5lb 15oz and Andy beat me by 2oz, which put me 5th at Isle Brewers! Andy's day got slightly better when he took a pound off me.

My thoughts turned to the fish I'd bumped as another half a pound would have given me three points instead of the five I got. But then the anglers below the bridge had pike trouble with Andy having trashed fifteen rigs because of them! Back at the results and the river had fished well again, Neil Dring won with over 16lb from the big bend at Ashford, Barney Crockett was second with 12lb 5oz of chub from peg 24 and Digger was third. Martin won our section and Les Braunton who had finally sobered up won the top section with 10lb 3oz from peg 28. I did beat Janders for yet another fiver.

In this league six from the seven matches count so with only two gone I could not afford any more slip ups, things arn't looking good. We're back on the river for a sweep next week so maybe I can get back to winning ways then, still need to win £27 for that elusive grand.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dillington Pond - Crown League - 22nd October 2006

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!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sutton Bingham Reservoir - Teams of six Wateraid Match - 21st October 2006

This was the first match of a double header for me this weekend and a venue I only fish a couple of times a year. The reservoir is mainly trout fishing but open to coarse fishing a few times a year to enable the owners, Wessex Water, to remove some of the huge stocks of carp and roach. Teams from the water industries enter with the entry fee going to Wateraid. My team, the Environment Agency South West, consisted of myself, Ben Evans, Steve Woods, Damian Mason, Rich Dearnley and Danny Williamson and we were up against teams from Wessex Water, Bristol Water and Bournemouth Water.

I drew the shortest walk in 'A' section and the reservoir, although low, looked nice with quite a few small fish topping. My plan was to fish the waggler with sweetcorn on the hook while feeding corn and maggot along with regular balls of groundbait. I was hoping to sort out the better roach and the carp. Lots of anglers were setting up whips as they had caught big bags of roach in practice. I mixed up some Sensa Magic groundbait and when the all in was called I balled in six jaffas and cast my 3AAA Drennan waggler over the top, at the business end I had a size 18 Gamakatsu barbless carp hook.

Sutton Bingham Reservoir

With corn on the hook I was getting loads of indications and getting the odd better roach of around 4oz, I could see the anglers on my right all catching a fish every chuck. Although they were well ahead I was hoping that when the carp moved in I would be able to overtake them. I was also feeding some Sensas pellets hoping this would draw the carp in. After a hour I had around 20 roach for around 4lb or so and then had my first carp, a fish of around 3-4lb. I reckoned I now shouldn't be too far behind the whip anglers.

It was quite windy and we were having some torrential downpours quite regularly but the wind wasn't too much of a problem, yet! I was still catching roach, including the odd fish of 8-10oz but was missing loads of fish and pricking too many and every time I looked around the whip anglers were swinging in fish. With no more carp I was beginning to think I'd got it horribly wrong. I changed my hook to a 14 Mustad Stillwater Power barbless and I started to hit more bites but still not setting the world alight.

The lull before the storm!

We were still having the odd shower but the wind had now turned up a notch and was trying to blow my keepnet out of the water. I had another carp but this time of only 8oz and was having a nightmare, besides making regular trips to lay my keepnet out again, I was also hooking the keepnet, hooking the bottom and having to untangle the line from around the rodtip. To top all this my catch rate was still poor and I was being battered by my right hand neighbours.

The anglers on the left hand band seemed to be quite sheltered and I was starting to wish I was there or anywhere else but here really. I had now put a large rock on the bottom of the keepnet and this worked for a while. The wind was whipping up a tow and dragging my float along at quite a rate of knots and this obviously wasn't aiding presentation. I then hooked a good fish, excellent had the carp arrived?, no they hadn't and I landed a 3lb trout after some aerobatics. Of course they don't count and I went on to land two more of a similar size in quick succession, I was now sure this wasn't too be my day.

Two of my colleagues from the EA turned up, Paula Sage and Chris Stratton, to do a licence check, Paula asked how I was getting on, after a few expletives she left to check the next angler. The rock on the keepnet thing had stopped working so I put a bankstick through the ring on the bottom of the net (why hadn't I done this five hours ago?) and this at least kept the net in the water. I was know looking forward to the all out, with half an hour to go bites on corn were quite hard to come by, so I started fishing maggot and was getting a fish (albeit smaller) every chuck. I was wishing I'd done this from the start but I still don't think I would have been able to compete with the whip.

With ten minutes to go the insert on my waggler snapped off, I really couldn't be bothered to change the float so soldiered on to the whistle. I ended with 83 fish (2 carp and the rest roach) for 16lb 10oz, the two anglers on my right weighed 33lb+ and 51lb+ (which won on the day individually) so I had been right royally spanked! The only saving grace was I beat the Wessex Water guy in my section.

After packing up we went back to the fishing lodge where Wessex had kindly laid on soup, rolls, pork pies, crisps and chocolate cake which for me was the best bit of the day. Our team had done quite well with Danny, Damian and Rich all winning their sections (getting 4 points each), Rich was 2nd overall with 40lb odd. I had 2 points as did Steve and Ben came back with 1. It wasn't to be though and we finished 2nd with 17 points behind Bristol Water with an excellent 20 points out of a possible 24. We picked up £12 (£2 each) for our 2nd place. Although the real winner on the day was Wateraid who we raised £400 for.

So my quest for the grand continues and todays £2 takes my winnings to £903, so £97 to go. Will tomorrows match help me knock a hole in it?, we're supposed to be on the Isle but as I write the rain is running down the window so we'll have to see. Also it's supposed to be even windier tomorrow - oh goody!

Monday, October 16, 2006

River Isle - Hollowlegs League - 15th October 2006

Was up fairly early and raring to go, everything was going fine until the poxy cashpoint machine ate my card, after faffing about for ages I finally got to the Crown in Ilminster only slightly late. Luckily people were still finishing breakfast so I had time for a cup of coffee. This was to be the first match of the Hollowlegs (formally Hotpoint) league, I would dearly love to win this league, I've come close a few times but in twenty odd years I've never actually done it.

There was a good turnout with twenty one anglers hoping for a good day, after last weeks disappointing match I was hoping for a decent draw. I stuck my hand in the bucket and peg 14 attached itself to my sticky mitt. This peg, known as the tank traps because of some ancient concrete mini pyramids at the back of the swim, can be very good although I'd never actually won a match off it.

Got to the peg and it looked nice although the river was still low and clear, set up the usual 1.5 gramme Drennan Carbo with 0.12mm bottom and B611 hook. I decided to use white Hydrolastic because some big chub do reside here. Hopefully the main catching area should be towards the traps but to the left there is a bit off a hole just to the left of the main flow from a small weir. In previous matches I'd also caught quite a few fish from here. Ilminster AA allow trout to count in their matches and this peg is usually good for a few.

The match kicked off at 10:30 and I slipped a caster on and shipped out and fed some bronze maggots, casters and hemp, the float buried straight away and a small chublet was swung to hand, next put in was a carbon copy and the one after that, I was bagging! I was catching small chublets, dace and the odd minnow. I'd started at 10 metres out in front of me, deciding not to go too close to the traps until sport slowed, my reasoning being that this left a safe haven for the fish to retreat to.

After the first hour I had caught 32 fish and I worked out that averaging out at 2oz apiece I already had 4lb in the net, another four and a half hours like this and twenty pounds plus was on the cards. Realistically I knew I could expect some quiet spells, with this in mind I kept firing some bait upstream to my left to give me another option. After the second hour I had moved to 51 fish (all dace and chublets) but sport was slowing, decided to give my swim a rest and try 11.5 metres to my left, again I caught straight away and carried on putting the odd fish in the net.

This was to be the pattern for the rest of the day, a couple of fish from one swim before resting it and fishing the other. After three hours I was still catching quite well but not to the extent of that first hour. At this point Pete Lonton (Ilminster AA's chairman) wandered up, he was on peg 24 and had only caught one perch, while he was with me I had a trout around a pound, a chub of 8oz or so, another trout of a similar size and a small rudd, all from the left hand side.

An hour and a half before the end I had reached 80 fish and reckoned on having around 10lb possibly a bit more. I then hooked a decent fish from the swim in front, which turned out to be a chub around the pound mark only for the hook to pull out at the net! I was getting less bites now but the fish were of a larger size with some of the dace pushing half a pound, I also had my first roach. The match organiser, Justin Charles was on peg 15 (the swimming pool) and came up, he was struggling and only had a handful of chublets, while he was behind me I had a real purple patch and netted several fish including a pound chub. He didn't stay long and walked off muttering something about me being a jammy sod.

After Justin's departure I had another decent chub and a quality roach, I was now on 91 fish (plus minnows) with half an hour to go. Things then slowed right up and despite trying against the tank traps which only produced two small chublets, the only place I could get a bite was the swim to my left. This produced only the odd small chublet and on the whistle I had caught exactly 100 fish. At eight fish to the pound this would give me 12lb and I thought I might have 14lb to 15lbs which I thought would give me chance of framing. I was really pleased with my match and apart from losing that chub I'd only missed/bumped a few fish.

Justin came up with the scales and when I pulled my net out I realised I might have more than I thought, the needle settled on 18lb 5oz and I was well chuffed. My thoughts turned to that chub with which I would have been on around the twenty pound mark. The other three pegs in my area hadn't fished that well with 3lb odd being next best. Got back to the Crown and as other anglers filtered back I began to realise I might have won it. My mate Andy weighed 2lb 2oz but had lost two beasts, so that was another 'squid', cheers mate! Janders weighed 8lb 1oz from the Donyatt stretch and won his section but still had to cough up a fiver to me (that's six on the trot now John!).

The results were read out and I had won, the £100 was very welcome but more importantly I'd got one section point and had started this league well. Rob (who was second last week) was second again with 11lb+ and the crafty cockney Frank was third with 9lb 9oz. Butch Baker won the other section with over 9lb so the river had fished pretty well with only one blank being recorded.

My quest to break the grand is still on course with my winnings for the year so far totally £901, £99 to go. I've got a double header next weekend with a teams of six charity match on Sutton Bingham reservoir with proceeds going to Wateraid on the Saturday and round two of the Crown league on the Sunday. The trouble is I know I must be due a sticky patch soon, will it be next weekend?

Monday, October 09, 2006

River Isle - Crown League - 8th October 2006

I was really looking forward to this one, the first proper match of the river season. Also quite a bit of rain in the week and I was hoping there would be a nice tinge of colour to the river. Got to the Crown pub (the leagues sponsers) and had quite a shock as there were thirteen eager anglers waiting to draw. Usually we get a turnout of around eight to ten.

The pegs were spread out over most of the river utilising the best pegs. I drew peg 125 which is just above Isle Brewers bridge, later in the year you would run to this peg as massive shoals of roach move here to spawn. It framed every match at the end of last season with weights between 12lbs and 22lbs. I was still optimistic and thought I'd be in for a good day. My second shock of the day came when, after reaching my peg, I was greeted by a low, gin clear river! Barney Crockett arrived on the peg upstream and expressed his suprise, he'd walked the river yesterday and it was a foot up and coloured.

I set up a Drennan carbo rig for the pole with 0.10mm bottom and the usual size 18 B611 and a small balsa waggler shotted with the bulk around the float and just two number 10 Preston Stotz down the line, again ending with an 18 B611. Plumbing up I could only find a depth of around a foot all over the swim and I could see the bottom (and no fish!) right through the swim. On the whistle I started on the pole feeding maggots, casters and hemp and firing the odd half a dozen right down to the bridge to hopefully bring some fish up. I looked up just as Barney netted a decent roach first cast.

After snagging on weeds a few times I switched from maggot to caster and although this solved the problem of snagging I still hadn't had a bite. I tried at 9 metres to my left fairly tight to my bank where there was a little bit of a hole in the weed and the float went straight under and as a result a 2oz dace was deposited in my keepnet. I should also point out the wind was atrocious and I was sat on top of a high bank with only one ring of my keepnet in the water, which the wind kept trying to blow onto the bank! I was still getting bites to my left and had now caught six fish (dace, chublets, roach and minnows). Barney had landed some more roach and had just added a decent chub, my bites then stopped.

After an hour I had only ounces in the net and after my recent purple patch I was now back to earth with a huge bump! I switched to my right and had some tiny chublets before this too died. This was to be the pattern for the day, a couple of fish from one spot before it drying up and having to fish another area. I wondered if the pole was spooking the fish. I also had a pike take a fish which didn't help in the shallow water. Barney was also now struggling and I was slowly, and I mean slowly, catching up the deficit created by his bonus chub.

With an hour to go I had around twenty fish for a pound and a half but couldn't buy a bite anywhere. I decided to spend the last hour on the waggler, after shallowing up to six inches which was the only depth the float would run through without dragging under, I had four fish in as many chucks. Should I have fished the waggler from the start? The trouble was the wind was making things difficult and a couple of times I had to set up again after the wind had blown the line into the nearside reeds. During this last hour I had around ten fish to take my total tally to thirty and around 2lb.

Barney walked down to weigh me in and my haul took the scales around to a massive 2lb 2oz, Barney weighed 3lb 4oz, most of which he caught in the first hour. Leighton Cox below the bridge weighed 5lb+ and Rob on peg 128 had 7lb 5oz. On arriving at his peg Rob was confronted with a dead calf right where he had to sit. Undeterred he tried kicking it to move it, this was unsuccessful so holding his breath he grabbed the back legs, at which point all the skin came off in his hands! He eventually managed to throw it in the river although he said every time the wind changed direction the stench was unbearable. Still all the maggots probably served as a useful groundbait as he finished 2nd on the day.

Roger Russell won with a fantastic 19lb+ catch of chub and roach from the big bend swim at Ashford, Rob was 2nd and Neil Dring was 3rd with 5lb odd. The two sections were won by father and son duo Robin and Leighton Cox. The river didn't fish that well but I was still well down, not a good start to my river campaign. The only good news being I took yet another fiver off of Janders.

Next week is the first match of the Hollowlegs league, again on the river, so perhaps I can get back on track then. Also as you may have noticed there was no mention of my mate Andy, he fished down the Resi and was 2nd with 21lbs of bream, so I thought I'd better give him a mention. Still no more photos either, I promise I'll rectify this soon.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Dillington Pond - 1st October 2006

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.