After lots of rain I was really hoping the match would be transferred to Dillington and on my arrival at the pub it was. I'm currently leading the Crown league and after my recent good form at Dillington I was feeling quietly confident. Drawing peg 3 (where I was second in the Chris Patten match) did nothing to dent my confidence either. When we got to the pond I was very suprised to see it gin clear and if anything, lower than normal!
It was very cold and windy, we decided to leave the far side out as it normally has the wind blowing straight into it and hasn't fished that well in recent matches. Barney had drawn the pumphouse peg but there was a pleasure angler on it so he had to sit just along from Digger, who was on the point, on that far side. As is the law of sod, the far side was actually the only part of the pond which was a little sheltered with calm water. I set up the usual 0.6 float with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611 with blue hydro through the topkit. I mixed up some Sensas black roach and awaited the start. Rather worryingly I hadn't seen any fish top at all.
I commented to Martin Heard on peg two that with the pond having no colour in it that the roach might not show but perhaps the chub and bigger perch might. With the wind being so bad I decided to start at 10 metres and if the wind dropped go out to the usual 11.5. Robin shouted the all in and I cupped in two balls of groundbait on the shorter line and started with double red maggot. Now normally with maggot on the hook you get plagued by small perch which is my cue to switch to caster for the bigger roach.
I shipped out and started feeding maggot, caster and hemp over the top, the rig settled and I fully expected a bite straight away as per usual. When this didn't happen I wasn't too worried, I just thought that with the downturn in temperature that perhaps it would be a little harder than normal. A quick glance round the pond saw not a lot happening and Barney was still setting up, I shouted up to Martin and he hadn't had a bite either. After ten minutes still biteless, I was starting to worry, even worse I looked up to see Barney and then Digger net fish.
Even one of those tiny perch, which are normally a pain in the butt, would have done me now. Martin still hadn't caught and nor had Graham Field on peg 4, Barney and Digger were both bagging. I could see Robin Cox and Neil Dring catching the odd small perch, why couldn't I get one? Around an hour had passed and myself, Martin and Roger were all still fishless, then Neil caught a chub and I really thought I would blank. The wind was awful and it was a real struggle to hold the pole at times.
Then out of the blue the float disappeared and I hooked a decent fish which turned out to be a chub of around a pound, phew, blank avoided. Also I reckoned this put me ahead of half the anglers, I then started catching the odd small perch. I looked up and Roger was playing a chub, then another and then Martin had two in as many chucks and I was back to where I started near the bottom of the field. Martin had two more chub and I didn't know what to do. I toyed with the idea of scaling down but didn't want to run the risk of hooking a good fish and then losing it. I even thought about setting a feeder up but didn't as it's never really produced much at Dillington.
The only difference I could see was that Martin was fishing that little bit further out than me, so still on maggot I shipped out to 11.5 metres. It was really hard work and decent presentation was hard to achieve but I started catching the odd small perch. Then I had a chub shortly followed by its twin, I was back in the hunt. It also looked like Barney and Digger had slowed up, but by my reckoning I was still behind Martin and Roger. The chub I had landed had plenty of caster and maggot in their throats but no hemp so I stopped feeding it. I'm not really sure if this helped but I carried on catching the odd small perch and even had my first roach, albeit a small one.
I then hooked a decent fish and expecting a chub I was quite suprised when a perch surfaced, although at around a pound and half it was very welcome. Martin had his fifth chub and it was tight, I then had another decent stripy, this time about a pound in weight. Martin shouted down that he thought I was ahead of him, I wasn't so sure as he was catching a lot more small perch than I was. I cupped in some chopped worm at 10 metres hoping it would bring some more perch in but I never had a bite over it.
Back at 11.5 metres I was still getting the odd small perch and had another small roach and a slightly better one of around 4oz. Right near the end I did have a bite where I bumped what felt like a better fish. But apart from that I had only lost two small perch on the way in and was quite pleased with the way I'd fished. Robin shouted the all out and I was quite relieved as it was bloody cold. Roger was first to weigh and his three chub went 3lb 6oz, Martin put 6lb 7oz on the scales and I honestly didn't think I'd beaten that. My 21 fish (3 chub, 2 good perch, 3 roach and 13 small perch) went 6lb 13oz and I thought I might have half a chance of beating Digger.
At the results, Barney had weighed a fantastic 12lb odd to win and Digger had slightly less with 11lb plus and I sneaked into third place and picked up £20. The way the league is run each match is split into two sections and I was well chuffed when Robin told me I had won my section.
That's five section wins and two not so good results so far, you can drop your two worst results, so I need to keep doing well in the remaining few matches.
Well it's round five of the Hollowlegs league next week, hopefully on the river, weather permitting. Another good result would be nice......