After quite a bit of rain on the Saturday I was hoping the river would be carrying a bit of extra pace and some colour but as I went over the river at Hort Bridge was surprised to see it still low and clear! There were 11 of us at the draw and Robin had put some interesting pegs in, including much fancied pegs 25 and 50. There were also several in I didn't want, mainly 38 and 39 because of the mammoth walks.
When the draw was announced I decided to hang back and wait until those two pegs had gone, this worked to a certain degree but the two new pegs (25 and 50) both went as well. With only two balls remaining I went for it and pulled out peg 48 at Ilford - gutted. I've only fished the peg twice before, the last time I blanked and the time before that was when I was a junior (a long time ago!) and caught a small chub, so I didn't have high hopes. Malcolm Levy did catch a chub off it last year, so lets hope it still lived there!
I got to the river and passed Tony Newman on the much fancied peg 50 and Leighton Cox on 49 (another peg that just throws up the odd chub or two) and on arrival at mine, it looked quite fishy with plenty of cover on the far bank. I set up a 1.5 Drennan Carbo (surprise, surprise!) with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 coupled with a fairly tight black hydro as if I hooked the resident chub I wanted to get it out. I plumbed up and had a decent depth of around 2-3ft over most the swim. 10:15 soon arrived and in his wisdom, Robin had decided we would fish six hours today!
I baited up with a single caster and after ten minutes of running the float through with no indication I knew I wasn't going to catch today. You usually get a mug chublet or dace or at the very least minnow bites but nothing!! Along with feeding above me I was also firing the odd morsal downstream to hopefully bring some fish up (ha, ha). I tried maggot and caster in all the likely looking spots but never had a touch after two hours so it was time for a walk.
I popped down to see Leighton who had caught a couple of minnows but also had a pike in his swim, next up was Tony on the much fancied peg 50, he'd caught 4 chublets early on but bites had dried up in the bright sunshine. I then walked down to Neil Dring on 52 and it was much the same story with him, he'd caught a few fish early before the bites tailed off and all he could now catch was minnows. I walked down the river a bit and never saw a single fish before heading back to my peg and I was thinking I'd give it an hour before packing up.
I tried 13 metres down the peg but nothing, by this time we were heading into the last couple of hours and I was bored stiff. Neil and Leighton turned up as they were in the same boat as me, after a bit Leighton wandered off and then I had an indication on half a lobbie and I was interested again. It didn't develop though and Neil soon got bored of watching me catch bugger all and went back to his peg. I tried caster and started getting bites but only from minnows, still I had avoided the blank.
Then Tony came up and said he'd just landed a decent trout (which count) and wanted to rest the swim after all the commotion (I think he just wanted to warm his feet up!). I was back on the lobbie and as I lifted the rig out a jack pike snaffled it and a short tussle ensued before it bit me off and that was the highlight of my day! I couldn't wait to pack up and thankfully the torturous six hours finally ended. Leighton had the scales and awarded both me and him the minimum weight of 1oz, before Tony had 2lb 13oz and Neil found a couple of late fish to weigh 3lb 9oz.
Back at the results and Martin Heard had got back to winning ways with 14lb 6oz of chub from peg 85, so I owe him another £1, Graham Bulgin had three chub for 7lb 9oz from peg 38 but lost three which would have pushed Martin's weight. Surprisingly Neil's weight was enough for third place and Tony won the section by default. Bob Hammond won the other section with 3lb 6oz from peg 27. The other fancied peg, 25, was an anti-climax and Graham Field only had 1lb 8oz from it. I scored 4 points so at this early stage I could already do with dropping a match!
1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 14lb 6oz
2 - Graham Bulgin (Ilminster) - 7lb 9oz
3 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 3lb 9oz
A - Bob Hammond (Chard) - 3lb 6oz
B - Tony Newman (Ilminster) - 2lb 13oz
Next week is round two of the V.E.S. and I must be due a good peg soon!!!!!!!