Dillington Match Report – Jamie Rich

2016 had been going really well for me with lots of match and silverfish wins including my first golden ball pick up for a while and it was shaping up to be one of my best years ever. Then I went on holiday to Thailand where I caught loads of weird and wonderful species and generally had a great time (report can be found here – http://againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/teak-tree-lake-thailand-6th-july-to.html) but on my return the fish fairy paid me a visit. I wasn’t too concerned at first, as all anglers have bad runs, but as the weeks went by it started to get to me a bit and I was making the wrong decisions and silly mistakes were starting to creep into my fishing, a few bad draws along the way didn’t help either. Before I knew it, nine weeks had passed without me picking up a bean and I always seemed to be a couple of pounds off the pace and for the first time in a very long time, I wasn’t enjoying my fishing.

During the Summer months, a lot of my fishing is done on a local club water, Dillington pond, it’s a lovely natural venue, stuffed with roach, rudd, bream, perch, tench and chub. Winning match weights have been around 25-30lb and you generally need upwards of 15lb to frame, fantastic fishing. The top methods have been the groundbait feeder for bream and skimmers, long pole with caster shallow for quality roach and the short pole to hand for big bags of small fish, boosted by the odd bonus fish. Targeting the big fish has been very hit or miss and although they are featuring in winning nets of fish, the majority are caught by accident rather than design.

With a pairs match at the weekend, my partner Steve Hurford and I decided to get back to basics and fish two or three sections to hand with maggot and caster hookbaits and just get our heads down catching small fish and hope some quality fish put in an appearance. Hurf drew for us as my drawing hand is currently broken! He came back with pegs 2 and 22 and asked which one I’d rather fish, I said peg 2 as I’d struggled on 22 during the league.

My peg looked nice with some branches in the water on my right but there were also some overhanging and I just knew they’d img_5458cause me a few problems with my planned fishing to hand approach. After getting my box level, the first job as always was to mix up some groundbait and today I was using Bait-Tech Pro Natural Dark with a little Eastern Promise added! On my last trip to Thailand I visited a local tackle shop and picked up a couple of bags of groundbait which I think is basically just coloured breadcrumbs but I can’t be sure as I don’t read Thai!

On clear, natural venues, Pro Natural Dark is my first choice, it’s a very versatile groundbait and today I would be feeding a little nugget every two or three fish. On my side tray, I also had maggots, casters and some Bait-Tech Super Seed Hemp. I set up two 0.2 gram Drennan AS1’s to fish at two and three sections to hand, a Preston Chianti to fish up in the water and a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach for fishing on the deck at 8.5 metres. All four rigs had hooklengths comprising size 18 Kamasan B611 barbless hooks and 0.10mm bottoms.

From my peg I couldn’t see any of the other anglers in my section so would have to rely on the bankside banter to get an idea of how I was doing. Although I couldn’t see Hurf because of the bush we could hear each other and would be able to keep each other updated throughout the day. I’d said to him at the draw that I thought we’d need around 12-14lb each to get in the top three and that we should aim for around 300 fish (50 an hour).

On the whistle I cupped in two balls of groundbait at 8.5 metres before starting at two sections to hand with red maggot on the hook. I fed a pinch of casters and a little nugget of groundbait and was soon swinging in a small roach followed by a tiny perch and another roach, I shouted over to ask Hurf how he was doing and he’d already had 5 fish and was up and running. I had planned to switch to caster if I was catching too many small fish but I started catching some lovely roach which required netting and even had a couple of 4oz chublets and a Dillington barbel (gudgeon).

After the first hour my clicker was reading 48 and although I was a couple short of my target, I thought I had at least 3lb, probably nearer 4.5lb and if I could maintain this sort of catch rate, 18-20lb was on the cards but I knew there would be some quieter spells. Going into the second hour, I was still catching well when Hurf shouted across that I needed to up my game as one of the lads in my section had just landed a nice bream. I wasn’t too worried at this early stage as long as he didn’t catch anymore.

I added another 49 fish in the second sixty minutes and probably had around 8lb which was still way ahead of my target. Hurf said he was still catching small fish but had lost count and from what I could see he was doing okay in his section but then the guy on the next peg netted a nice bream on the pole to wipe out Hurf’s early lead and I shouted across that he needed to up his game! My catch rate started to slow as we approached the half way point but I still added another 36 fish to put me over 10lb and it was all going rather well.

I was still getting some nice roach when disaster struck and the rig went up the tree, I got the rig back but it was a bit of a mess and it took me a little while to sort it out. Obviously my catch rate suffered as a result and I only added 26 fish in the fourth hour. I switched to the three sections to hand rig and carried on catching roach and the odd chublet on caster and maggot but I wasn’t catching as well as earlier. I did briefly try the deep rig at 8.5 metres but had to wait for bites and the fish were too small, I had another go at two sections but it just wasn’t happening now and I made the decision to stick with three sections to hand for the remainder of the match.

img_5463With five minutes to go, my float buried and the strike resulted in a good fish tearing off, it headed straight for the bush on my right so I plunged the pole tip under the water and gave it as much welly as I dared. I started to win the battle and a decent chub came to the top on the inside and I managed to scoop a 3lb chub – bonus. I still had time to add another roach before the finish and ended up with 215 fish and I really had no idea of what sort of weight I had, possibly 15lb or so.

I was first to weigh in my section and was happy when the needle settled on 17lb 11oz which is my best weight on the pond for ages. The lad with the bream had found another and along with some quality roach, he weighed 22lb 7oz to win the section and he also had the top weight on the day. There was also a 19lb 15oz weight so I had to settle for third in the section which I was fairly happy with. Back at the results and Hurf had finished fourth in his section with 10lb 12oz and we’d tied with another pair on seven points but beaten them on weight to sneak into third place for some coin.

So although I hadn’t fished the perfect match by any means, I’d ended my bad run and had a cracking days fishing.

Follow my weekly exploits at www.againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk

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