After a few blazing hot days, the forecast was the same today so I got to the draw armed with a big bottle of water and plenty of suncream. When the draw was announced I was quite near the back of the queue and when it came to my turn, Les said that there were still three of the hot corner pegs left. When I drew one of them, peg 11, I had mixed feelings as I fished it in a match a few weeks back and never saw a carp. Still thinking I might not see a corner peg for the rest of the series, I played my joker. Basically this means whatever points you score they are doubled.
I got to my peg and amongst the extensive lily pads there were black shapes everywhere! The peg is also one of the few without any tree cover so it was going to be very hot. With large beds of lilies to the right and left there was only a small channel of clear water which could make landing fish pretty problematic. I decided I would fish at 11 metres towards the edge of the lilies to my right where I could hopefully guide the fish away from the pads and play them out in open water before trying to net them in the channel.
I set up two rigs one for fishing up in the water and another for fishing corn in towards the corner. Both were small Trabucco floats with 0.14 mm bottom and size 21 Fox Carp Match hooks, with white hydro in one and black in the other. On the whistle I cupped in corn, hemp and maggot on my inside line before slipping on a Sonubaits S-Pellet and starting at 11 metres, up in the water, while firing out half a dozen 4 mm pellets every few minutes. After around ten minutes and a few indications, the float went and after a healthy scrap I successfully netted a carp around 2lbs. It was 1-0 to me, this was going to be easy!
I then saw a carp under a lily to my right so I dropped the rig in front of it and it grabbed the bait, it tore off and found the sanctuary of the lilies and the score was now 1-1. I hoped this wasn't how the day would continue. After tying on another hook I decided I wouldn't go into the lions den unless I really had to. Two more carp of similar size followed before another carp showed itself in the lilies to my left. I dropped the rig in again and a carbon copy of the earlier disaster followed and after the first hour the score was 3-2 to me.
Les opposite on peg 10 had only had one fish and from what I could see nobody was running away with it. Hour two was slightly better and I added another four carp. Butch Baker's boy came round to see how people were getting on and when he reached me I asked how the other corner peg, number one, was doing and he replied Mike had landed 4 carp and a tench so it was quite close. The other corner, peg 20, wasn't drawn, while he was watching me I landed another carp to take me to seven. Les had by now added a few more but I reckoned I still had my nose in front. 'Dangerous' for that is what they call the lad (don't ask me why!) moved on to talk to Roy Fowler on my left and while he was there I landed number eight.
I then hooked a right lump and as it was tearing through the lilies I really didn't think I had much chance of winning this battle. Slowly but surely though I started to win the battle and after more than a few hairy moments I slipped the net under a sizeable common. All big carp have to be weighed and returned straight away so I quickly walked round for Les to the necessary. The fish weighed 11lb 4oz and was a very welcome bonus. Two more carp around the 2lb mark followed to finish off the third hour and take my tally to eleven. Hour four was steady and I landed another three carp. I reckoned I was still ahead of Les although there was a lot of splashing coming from Tommy Lee on peg 14.
Hour five and the heat was very uncomfortable and my maggots had died ages ago, I was still fishing at 11 metres but bites were few and far between. I kept trying close to the lilies to my left and also dropping the bait in front of cruising fish but I only added one more carp although I did lose two. I started to feel things were slipping away from me although Les's bites had dried up now as well. I decided to go into the lions den of lilies to my right where loads of fish had been showing themselves. I quickly landed carp number 16 before hooking a good fish around 5-6lb and I'd done all the hard work and it was nearly ready for netting when it got wrapped around a previously unseen lily stalk in front of me. I could see the fish so tried getting the net under it when the poxy hook pulled out! I did manage one more to finish on 17 carp.
I quickly packed up and finished off my water, I was quietly pleased with how my match had gone with the final score being 17-7 to me. As I walked back to the car with some of my kit I stopped to ask how Tommy had got on and he said he'd had 19 carp and people were saying his fish were averaging 3-4lb compared to my 2lb a fish and I was convinced that he'd done me and that the late lost fish had cost me. The weigh in started at peg one and Mike Thomas weighed 29lb 2oz and was the early leader despite a scare from Chris Haines on peg four with 28lb. Some anglers had really struggled, weighing ounces, and Mike remained in the lead until we got to Les on peg ten who stuck 30lb 14oz on the scales.
Then it was my turn and after two weighs (and my 11lb 4oz bonus) my weight was confirmed as 50lb 4oz, my biggest Perry St weight ever, but would it be enough? We got to Tommy and after two weighs I knew it would be close but after his two nets were tallied up, his total came to 49lb 14oz. I had done it! only my second ever victory at this venue and my second win this year. I picked up £90 plus a £1 off Janders who had struggled and also 40 points (20 x2) to rocket me up the league leaderboard. I just need two more good results now.
Next week it's the first match of the Ilminster Summer League at Dillington (one of my favourite venues) so wish me luck.