I was really looking forward to getting back to what is possibly my favourite venue, Dillington pond. At the draw there was a fairly good turnout of 11 anglers including two new faces, Steve Parker and Terry Morgan. Also at the draw was Richard White, a good friend who I hadn't seen for ages. I drew peg 7 and had Neil Dring for company on my right and Martin Heard on my left next to the willow.
There wasn't much time to go before the start so I mixed up some Sensas Roach groundbait and set my rigs up. On the pole I had a Drennan 4 x 14 roach float with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 Kamasan B611 with blue hydro through the top two. I also set up a waggler rod with a 2AAA Drennan insert peacock with spread shot down the line and 0.12 mm bottom and another 18 B611. On the whistle I cupped in two balls of groundbait at 10 metres to my left and right before starting on the waggler.
I had double red maggot on the hook and was loosefeeding maggot, hemp and caster. After half an hour I had only had one indication so decided to try my left hand pole line. Looking around the pond I could see quite a few small fish being caught and Steve Parker on peg 3 had netted a couple of fish. First put in with caster on the hook I bumped a fish before I started catching small roach along with the odd perch. After an hour 'Big' Frank Woodard shouted across from peg 9 to enquire how many I had and I replied 10, he'd had 20 odd, so I was a long way behind at this early stage.
The second hour was better and by switching between my two lines I got to 40 fish and overtook Frank who was now struggling, Martin on my left was catching loads of tiny rudd but was moaning that he couldn't catch any quality. Things then slowed for me going into hour three although I was still catching the odd small roach and I even had a little hybrid and an eel of 4oz or so. Nobody seemed to be bagging and this was confirmed when Robin Cox wandered around from peg 2, he reported that Dave Lawrence on the bush peg (1) was having similar problems to Martin and couldn't get through the hoards of tiny rudd. He said Steve (Parker) had caught two decent perch and a couple of eels and by my reckoning was in the lead.
With an hour to go very little was being caught and Janders two pegs to my right had even chucked a feeder out but didn't catch on it. I tried single red maggot and had a roach and a small perch but bites were very few and far between. Neil had caught a couple of eels but I felt I still just about had my nose in front of him. Graham Field on peg 4 was fishing the whip and seemed to be struggling. Last year this tactic had won him a lot of money but didn't seem to be working for him today.
The whistle sounded for the all out, immediately followed by a cry of 'fish on' by Neil and he netted a decent eel soon after and I reckoned that fish had done me. I ended with 55 fish and thought I might have three pound. After packing up I went to watch the weigh in, Dave Lawrence weighed 3lb 2oz from peg 1, Rob had struggled to weigh 1lb 4oz and then Steve's fish weighed 5lb 9oz and I couldn't see that being beaten. Graham weighed 2lb 10oz and Janders 14oz (so at least my pound was safe). Neil weighed 4lb 5oz and I didn't think I had that, then it was my turn and the needle fell agonisingly short and settled on 4lb 4oz - bugger!
Top weight from the remaining pegs was Martin with well over 100 tiny fish for 3lb 14oz so I finished 3rd and picked up £20 plus the nugget from Janders. I also secured the all important single point by winning my section, so a good start to the league. I really enjoy fishing here as it is a fair venue and you never know where the winner is coming from. I must also say thanks to Janders for sponsoring the league this year - cheers mate.
1 - Steve Parker (Ilton) - 5lb 9oz
2 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 4lb 5oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 4lb 4oz
Sections (by default)
A - Dave Lawrence (Chard Remains) - 3lb 2oz
B - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 3lb 14oz