I was at a bit of a loss how to approach this match as I can't seem to compete on the whip and targeting big fish is too much of a gamble. The trouble with the whip is that during the daytime matches the whip line fades as the match goes on, some people have been fishing the pole slightly further out to carry on catching but this hasn't really worked for me. As I had quite a bit of worm left from Hainsey's last weekend I decided to use this up, although chopped worm has been a bit of a non starter lately!
There were ten of us fishing and I pulled out peg 3, the level was lower than last match and as I was taking my kit to my peg, I noticed an open wasps nest behind my peg - great!, I hate wasps with a passion. I had plenty of room and the next angler along was Alvin on peg 5, I've had a real problem beating him lately and he was keen to place a £1 side bet, which I accepted as I had some loose change in my pocket. I mixed up some groundbait and set up two rigs, the usual 4 metre whip rig and a 0.5gram Drennan Roach for fishing the choppie at 10 metres.
With Robin not fishing today, it was down to me to yell the all in, which I did at 10:00. I cupped in a generous helping of chopped worm and caster on my long line before starting on the whip. I started catching roach and perch quite well without really bagging but was missing/bumping far too many. Everybody seemed to be catching well although at this early stage I think Alvin was a little ahead of me. At the end of the first hour I had 31 fish including a couple of better fish that I netted to be on the safe side. I kept trying caster and had a few fish but was missing some cracking bites. I also potted out some more choppie after an hour and a half.
I tried hooking the caster like a maggot and this helped to a degree, then out of the blue I hooked a lump which tore off and snapped 0.12mm like cotton! I guess it was either a chub or big perch. A few more roach and some nice rudd followed before I hooked another big fish, this time I stopped the initial run but then it went again and snapped me. Big fish 2 - Jamie 0. I ended the second hour with just under 60 fish, including two eels and I was still getting plenty of bites.
Leighton across on peg 21 shouted across to see how I was getting on, I told him and he said he'd had a perch of a pound and a half, so I reckoned he was up with the leaders. I tried hemp on the hook and had a couple of roach but they were no bigger than the caster or maggot fish. During hour three the whip line definitely started to slow down and from comments around the pond, it seemed to be the same for everyone. Alvin still seemed to be catching ok though and from what I could see Heardy was still swinging in fish regularly.
I struggled on, catching fish (and swiping at wasps!) in bursts but with two hours to go it almost completely died and I decided to try my worm line. I put on a worm head and shipped out, feeding casters over the top, I also kept feeding my whip line with the odd nugget of groundbait. I didn't have to wait long for my first bite, which turned out to be a tiny perch!, not the result I'd hoped for. I tried again and the next bite saw some elastic come out and I was soon netting a 6oz eel. Moses on the bottom bank had also landed a couple of eels and with Graham Bulgin catching fish quite well, it was still too close to even hazard a guess as to who might be winning.
I had two more eels of a similar size and another small perch but was having to wait longer and longer for indications. I had eel number six (including the two from the whip line) and it was stuffed full of worm, so I decided to put some more in and go back on the whip for half an hour to let it settle. I'd been feeding the whip line religiously but I only had one more roach off it so I was back out at 10 metres with forty minutes to go. I felt if I could get a couple more eels I might be there or thereabouts. Alvin seemed to be getting odd fish and I was sure he'd beaten me. I did manage one more eel and missed a couple more bites to end with 93 fish.
I really hadn't got a clue who'd done what, I thought I had 6-7lb but felt both Alvin and Martin had more, also Malcolm and Roger had been catching well apparently and then Moses had several eels as well. I was first to weigh and my fish went 8lb 10oz, then Graham weighed Alvin in and shouted over that there was two ounces in it! Thankfully his weight was called out at 8lb 8oz - phew! The other section was being weighed and Martin asked what I'd had, I told him and he said I'd win with that but I wasn't so sure. Graham Bulgin had 5lb 14oz in my section and I shouted across to ask Martin's weight and he said 8lb 2oz - so far, so good. Leighton had 7lb 12oz from peg 21 in the other section and all the weights were incredibly close and I was sure someone would pip me.
Malcolm then had 8lb 1oz and Roger 8lb 4oz so I'd topped the section and taken a £1 off Alvin (at last!). With Steve Parker only weighing 1lb 13oz in the other section, that just left Richard and Moses who weighed 6lb 6oz and 7lb 12oz respectively and I'd won! It had been incredibly tight with 1lb 10oz separating the top seven weights and a decent fish would have swung it for several anglers. Still I fished a tidy match and was glad those two lost lumps hadn't cost me, Leighton said he'd been done by three as well. I picked up £50 for winning my third match of the year (my second at Dillington) and the only downside of today was Man U beating Chelsea 3-1 in the community shield.
1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 8lb 10oz
2 - Alvin Jones (Enterprise Angling) - 8lb 8oz
3 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 8lb 4oz
A - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 8lb 1oz
B - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 8lb 2oz
After seven matches and dropping the worst result, Martin Heard leads with 10 points followed by Alvin Jones on 11 and Moses Holbrook on 15 (I'm way down on 22 after missing two matches).
Hopefully I'll be able to fish at Summerhayes on Thursday night, I bet Alvin gets his pound back then!