I felt highly priviliged to receive an invite to this match again, the venue for this year was Chard resi where the bream and roach fishing can be very good. I quite fancied a draw on the dam wall as this would mean a nice short walk, also the weather forecast was awful with 80-90 mph winds and heavy rain predicted. True to form I drew peg 50 which although an end peg is the longest walk at the venue. My bad mood wasn't helped when I was told that the peg didn't have much form for bream but I could expect some nice roach (which was handy when it was going to be so windy that the pole wasn't an option!).
After many trips with my gear I eventually reached my peg, one of the nice things about this match is that you get to see some faces you haven't seen for ages. On my right I had Butch Baker and to his right was Steve Chant so it should be a fun day despite the weather. Because of the forecast winds we were only going to fish three and a half hours and because of my mammoth walk I didn't have long to set up. I quickly mixed up some Sensas Bream 3000 and added some fishmeal and then set up my brand new Drennan feeder rod (I'd had it for over a year and this was it's first outing!). The business end had a Drennan groundbait feeder along with 0.12 mm bottom to a size 16 Kamazan B611.
I staked my keepnet out and put in a marker bankstick and just had time for a cup of coffee before the all in. I baited up with two red maggots and filled the feeder with casters and plugged both ends before casting out about thirty yards in line with my far bank marker (a bird hide). I lined the tip up with my bank stick and waited, the waves were making the tip bounce around and I reckoned bites would be hard to spot. I didn't leave the feeder in long and wound in to recast to get some feed out there.
After about ten minutes the tip moved a couple of inches and stayed put, I struck and this was definately no roach, after the typical nod-nodding of a bream fight I netted a slab of about 5lbs, thankyou very much and the pressure was now off. Next put in I had a skimmer of around half a pound and as both Butch and Steve were still blanking I was very pleased with my progress. I wound in a couple of times with the maggots ragged out without even seeing a bite but I think the culprits were roach as I had a couple of small ones. Another bream of a similar size also graced my net before the end of the first hour and I started to think a good weight could be on the cards.
Things then went a little quiet apart from some small taps on the tip (roach again I suspect) although I did manage a roach of around 10oz. Steve had caught a couple of small roach and from what he could see not a lot was happening. Then after a decent pull round I had bream number three and on the next cast I hooked a good fish which seemed to be pulling a bit harder, then everything went solid, bugger! it had snagged me. I let the line go slack in the hope it would swim away from the snag but when I lifted the rod the line was slack and reeled in to find the hooklength had gone. Was it all about to go pearshaped? I tied on another hook and was expecting a wait before the next bite. I chucked out again and the tip had hardly settled before going round and I was soon netting my fourth bream.
I felt there were a few there now but then of course I went ages without a proper fish, I did manage a couple more tiny roach. Chanter had phoned around a few people and said that the dam wall wasn't really fishing and the best he's heard was Alan 'Picky' Gage on the other end peg on our bank who'd had two bream. With about half an hour to go I had my fifth bream, Butch had now got off the mark with a small roach and Steve also latched into a bream. There was no more action for me although Butch lost one on the whistle.
I quickly packed up, pleased with how my new rod had performed and started taking my kit back, Steve reckoned I'd won easily but I've been had like that before. The organiser Les walked up to weigh me in and my 11 fish (5 bream, 1 skimmer, 1 decent roach and 4 small ones) weighed 27lb 10oz and I was well chuffed with that. I was even more chuffed to learn I was the top weight.
We went back to the Cotley Inn for the results and an excellent meal, I picked up £65 but like everybody who won money I put some back to go to a cancer charity. I also had a pound off Janders but I kept that! I was also now the proud owner (for a year) of the Chris Patten trophy which was made by the engineering firm Chris used to work for. Phil Radford once again did an excellent job with the raffle and I even won a bottle of wine. There were some fantastic prizes donated by loads of people and the total raised for charity this year was over £414, which is amazing considering there were around half the people from last year.
I would at this point like to thank the organisers Baz Morgan and Les Braunton who once again did an amazing job and a big thankyou to the sponsers; Somerset Angling, M5 Angling, Yeovil and District Angling Centre, Weston Angling Centre and Baz Angling. And thanks must also go to all the anglers who made the day such a success.
1 - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 27lb 10oz
2 - Rob Stark (Weston) - 15lb 6oz
3 - Baz Morgan (Langport) - 12lb 7oz
4 - Steve Bishop (Chard) - 11lb 2oz
5 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 10lb 6oz
6 - Alan Dunn (Chard) - 10lb 4oz
6 - Les Braunton (Chard) - 10lb 4oz
Next week is Ilminster's Xmas Fayre so another good result would be nice, here's hoping.