With torrential rain again on the Saturday I knew we'd be on the pond again despite my best efforts to get Robin to put a section on the canal. There were only nine of us fishing and for once I managed to avoid the side with the wind blowing straight into it. I drew peg 17 where Martin Heard had framed from in the last two matches so I knew it was a good area. It was also a golden peg and worth an extra £39 if I won off it, although I didn't think this likely as I haven't won a match here for a couple of seasons.
I was determined to go all out for small fish again as this seems to be the only way to frame, Scotty Russell had other ideas though and despite winning the last two matches with small fish he was going to fish the feeder out in the middle for big fish. Bless him he even let me have his roach groundbait that Ashley had lovingly mixed up for him that morning. I set up a four metre whip with a little Image waggler and size 20 B611 to 0.10mm bottom. I also set up a short pole with a Drennan Squatt float but I won't go into any detail as I never even picked it up during the match. I had Ashley Tomkins on the next peg and he would be a good barometer of how I was getting on as he's a very good small fish angler.
On the whistle I flicked the rig out followed by a nugget of groundbait and half a dozen pinkies. The rig settled and it wasn't long before I was swinging in a small roach. I was catching quite well and set my sights on 40 fish an hour which would give me 200 fish by the end of the match. I got to 38 fish when Ash asked how many I'd had, I told him and asked how he was getting on, he said he'd had 50 fish, great! I was already behind. I kept trying caster but the fish didn't seem to be any bigger than the maggot fish. The end of the first hour arrived and I had 42 fish, which was slightly ahead of target although I could see Ashley, Martin and Roger Russell on my right all catching well.
As for Scotty's feeder plan, he'd had a couple of roach but no big fish as yet. In amongst the roach I was getting the odd perch which were a better stamp. I started to get the odd better roach on caster too, but they wouldn't stay on it and I would only get a couple before having to revert to maggot. The second hour was slightly slower and I had around 36 fish. I was feeding pinkies one cast and then half a dozen casters next chuck, I was also feeding a small ball of groundbait every quarter of an hour or so. Ash kept asking for regular updates when he reached 100 fish then 150 etc, etc and was steadily pulling away from me as was Martin on the opposite bank. Roger still seemed to be catching well and I kept plugging away hoping I might be able to nick third place.
In a bid to try and catch up I was spending more and more time on the caster and I did have a couple of netter roach and a decent perch. I was quite enjoying it but with a hour to go I knew I'd be short of my 200 fish target. I kept having bursts of fish on caster but I thought I'd be a long way behind Ash and Martin who both now had 215 fish. Scotty still hadn't caught his elusive bream. The end of the match was sounded by Robin blowing a whistle and I ended with 175 fish, as I had 93 for 4lb 2oz last week I thought I might have around 7-8lb. Ash ended with 266 fish and Martin 280 so I knew first and second places had gone.
I packed up and we went to weigh Ashley in, his fish went 10lb 12oz and I was sure I was nowhere near that, Scotty reckoned I'd beaten him though! I took my net out and the scales pulled round to 11lb 2oz, which really surprised me so those caster fish really made a difference. Roger weighed 7lb 1oz and Scotty's bream plan failed miserably and he didn't bother weighing, Graham Bulgin had a level 4lb. The big question now was if I'd actually won it? It wasn't to be though as Martin continued his good form for yet another win, this time with 11lb 14oz. I'd missed out on the golden peg by 12oz and my mind turned to all the missed bites/bumped fish but then everybody had suffered the same. The next best weight in Martin's section was Neil Dring with 6lb 13oz so I finished up second and picked up £35 and felt I'd fished a tidy match.
League wise with both Martin and me winning our respective sections, we are locked at the top of the leader board with 3 points although he slightly has the edge with his back up score being a two pointer compared to my three. I feel a little more confident out here now and beating Ash off the next peg was a real scalp. Next week is the Xmas Fayre and I would dearly love it to be on the river although I'm not holding my breath!
1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 11lb 14oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 11lb 2oz
3 - Ashley Tomkins (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) - 10lb 12oz
4 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 7lb 1oz
5 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 6lb 13oz
Once again I apologise for the lack of photos but my computer is still away being looked at.