As there was nothing on last Sunday (Xmas Eve), I should have been raring to go for this one, but a stinking cold and the fact lots of heavy rain had put paid to us fishing on the Isle (where the match should have been held) had rather put an end to that. I got to the Crown and there was rather diminished field of only five pairs as some anglers had pulled out due to the river being in spate. Also my partner was supposed to be Justin Charles but he'd cut the top off his finger so I was now fishing with Mark Hollister, a really good angler, but he'd never fished Dillington before. I gave him all the info I could and then it was time for the draw.
I went first and drew peg two which was in the trees two up from the stream and Hollister drew peg twenty by the fence, both really good pegs and I felt we were in with a chance. The pond was very coloured and for company I had Barney to my right (by the stream) and Neil Dring to my left. After my recent good form here I had much good natured banter from both of them whilst setting up. Once again the forecast wasn't very favourable so we all prepared to batten down the hatches. I mixed up some black Sensas Roach groundbait and set up the usual o.4 gram rig with 0.12 mm bottom and 18 B611. One good little trick I use is to slip some black silicon over the float bristle as the pond very often has 'white water' due to the light reflection and red/orange bristles can be a nightmare to see.
On the whistle I cupped in two balls at 11.5 metres before shipping out with double red maggot on the hook and loose feeding caster, hemp and maggots over the top. First put in the float sank from view and I swung a 2oz rudd to hand, next chuck I had a small perch and I took this as a sign to switch to caster. I had another perch before bumping a better roach. I had a couple of better roach around 4oz and I netted each one to be on the safe side. After the first hour I had twelve fish, mostly small roach and perch with three or four of those better ones for around a pound or so. I was fairly happy with this as Barney had only had small perch and I couldn't see a lot else happening around the pond.
Hour two was much the same with everybody struggling to hold their poles in the strong wind, I carried on catching small fish with the odd better fish amongst them and had around another dozen fish all on caster. I'd also seen Mark net a couple of fish so it looked like he was doing alright as well. It had also started raining and was turning in to a right miserable day. I could see Barney still catching small perch and Neil was also catching odd fish. Across the pond it looked like they were more affected by the wind and struggling.
I caught quite steadily during the third hour and even added a bonus half pound perch to the net. I was getting a lot of small roach, even on caster, which was ok because they still weigh more than those tiny perch. I tried double caster and had a couple of better roach but had to wait ages for the bites. I still felt I was ahead of Barney and Neil although I couldn't really see how the other two anglers in my section (Alan Dunn and Bruce Hunt) were doing. Mark also seemed like he was doing well in his section.
With two hours to go I was still catching the odd better roach but was now having to chase them around a bit by coming a section closer or trying to the right or left of the feed. I was also swapping between single and double caster and had a small eel on double. I was still maintaining my twelve fish an hour catch rate and thought this would give me between six and seven pounds and hopefully my aim of top two in the section.
Coming into the last hour the rain had worsened and with my cold I was looking forward to the match ending. With half an hour to go I heard Martin Heard shout something and looked up to Digger, in Mark's section, land a decent bream, Digger was Barney's partner so I needed to make sure there was daylight between me and him. As so often happens with the light fading the roach start to feed and I had a nice little run of four fish all on caster before the all out was called. I ended with 62 fish, a little over my target and reckoned on having 6-7lbs.
Neil had the scales and we walked up to weigh Bruce Hunt in, he had a lot of small fish plus a chub and three good roach for 6lb 6oz followed by Dunner with a similar net of fish for 4lb 15oz, I was pretty sure I had that and when Neil weighed 3lb odd I fancied winning the section. My fish went 8lb 1oz for the section win as Barney had just under 3lb. It now remained to see how Mark had fared, Digger, as expected, won that section with 6lb 9oz but Mark was second with 5lb 2oz so we won it with 3 points and picked up £40 each. I was also top weight on the day although there was no prize for that. Martin Heard and Bruce Hunt came second with 5 points.
So again my good run here continues, in the last nine matches I have won eight and come second in the other and in total this year I have won 13 matches (9 of the victories at Dillington), I really hope this continues into 2007. My quest to top the grand was also successful and in the end I flew past it with my final total coming to £1216. How on earth am I going to match that next year?
Anyway, for anybody who has been following this drivel, post a comment and let me know if there is anything I can do to improve my blog (more photos probably..!). Also I will take this opportunity to wish you all 'Happy New Year' and 'Tight Lines' and see you in the New Year.