Heavy overnight rain meant the river was in perfect condition with a tinge of colour, the trouble was it was still raining! I drew peg 82 at Ashford which has seen some decent nets of roach, the peg is opposite a mill pool and is very shallow apart from a deeper hole to the left of the peg underneath an overhanging tree.
It was still raining hard and I was praying it would stop or this match could be a washout. I set up two 1.5 gram Drennan Carbos, one for the deep hole and another for the shallower areas of the peg. Both had 0.12 mm bottoms and size 18 B611's. On the whistle I started on the deeper rig with caster on the hook, feeding hemp and caster and fully expected to catch roach straight away. When this didn't happen I started to fear the worst yet again. After half an hour I had my first bite and netted a chub around a pound and a quarter, I had two slightly smaller ones in quick succession and started to feel a decent weight was on the cards.
The next bite saw me hook a good chub around the 3lb mark, I did all the hard work and unshipped to my top three and as I was bringing it across the flow the poxy hook came out. I missed a couple of bites and bumped a decent fish and all of a sudden it was going horribly wrong. I had my fourth chub which was about a pound but I was still cursing that lost chub. It was still raining and the river was getting more coloured by the minute and to make matters worse my bites stopped.
Martyn Brooks came up from peg 83 to see what was happening, he'd had a few small chublets but with the river rising he now couldn't buy a bite either. While he was there I lifted my rig up and there was a good fish on! I shipped back but the chub surged off and snapped me!!!! Great, I should have had double figures in the net and I knew those lost fish would cost me. At around 12 'o' clock the rain finally stopped but the damage had been done and the river continued to rise and get dirtier. The deep hole, which had been a nice slack was starting to boil up and with no more bites I picked up the shallower rig and tried in any other likely looking slacks. The trouble was that there was so much crap coming down the river the rig would only be in for a minute before leaves or debris obscured the hookbait. I tried worm and maggot but couldn't buy a bite, where had those roach gone?
By now the river had risen by two feet and was chocolate in colour and we were just going through the motions. Big Frank came down from peg 80 and he'd only had a few small fish and reported Martin Heard on peg 79 had caught a small chub and a roach. The only fishable spot in my swim was across where the mill pool stream entered the main river and here the water was much cleaner. So I went across at 11.5 metres with the shallow rig and no bites here either.
With an hour to go I was ready for the end when the float dipped, another leaf? no and a fish was on and I netted a roach of 8oz or so. Here we go I thought but that was the last of the action. Frank and Martyn had already packed up so while I was doing the same they picked up my scales (yes I had them again!) and walked up to weigh Heardy in. He had 2lb 8oz and Frank a level pound, my fish went 4lb 15oz and I was really rueing those early lost fish. Martyn Brooks weighed 1lb 7oz and then I walked down to weigh in Janders who had drawn hot peg 85 for the fourth time, he had four chub for 9lb 8oz and after handing over another pound I told him he would frame with that.
Back at the results and Justin Charles had won from peg 124 with four chub for 11lb 10oz, Janders was second and I was suprised to learn I was joint third with Neil Dring and we picked up £25 each although I was left to wonder what might have been. Still at least I had broken the grand again (for the second year running) and my total now stands at £1020. The best news of the day being that for the league points I had won my section so after three matches I well up there with Justin on two points. You can drop two matches and I have one bad result already and can only afford one more.
Next week we are having a sweep on Ilminster Canal, one of my favourite venues although I've never actually picked up any money there since I was a junior!!!!