Attack on the feeder follow Steve Ringer’s advice for bigger catches
Steve on why sticking to your plan can reap rewards
THE UK Championships has been a really tough event for me this year.
A poor draw in Round 1 at Lindholme saw my chances vanish from the off and on top of that, work commitments meant I missed Round 2 at the Glebe.
A section second at Boddington in Round 3 only papered over the cracks, but despite all of the above I was still keen to finish on a high at Barston for the last round.
Come the draw, though, when 117 stuck to my hand I knew I was up against it.
I was in the same section as end peg 124, and there are generally more fish to be caught as you go higher up that bank.
That said, I was here to try and win the match and that is exactly what I intended to do.
Looking at the peg and my section line-up I quickly came up with a plan. It looked as though everyone would feed short, so I had no real chance if I was to concentrate on that – although I would feed it just in case.
Instead, I felt my best option was to fish the feeder, but fish it positively.
My theory was that after an hour most of the other anglers would pack in the long line and come short, but if I could attack it and have it to myself then if the fish turned up I might have a chance.
Of course there are a lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ there but after considering all my options I felt I had no other choice.
While I now had a plan I still felt it important to cover my options, so I set up a long feeder rod to fish a medium-sized Hybrid feeder at around 55m.
I had a quick cast around with a 2oz lead and felt I was on gravel here. This isn’t something I normally do at Barston, but as it was to be my main line of attack I felt it well worth a look.
On top of that I set up two waggler rods, a bomb and a short pole in case the peg was solid with big skimmers.
I could feed the waggler/bomb line while I fished the feeder, and it would prevent those around me having that line to themselves.
On the bait front, bearing in mind my plan to attack the feeder line I had four pints of wetted-down, 2mm Ringers Method Micros to which I added a good squirt of Mainline Hybrid liquid.
The carp in Barston see a lot of boilies, and I know that Hybrid is a favourite of theirs, so it made sense to add it to my pellets to give them a boost.
On top of this I also had five pints of 8mm carp pellets for the loosefeed line, plus meat and corn for skimmers short – although admittedly this was something of a throwaway line. After all, there were 124 anglers in my section and I couldn’t see how I could win it unless I caught carp.
HOW THE MATCH WENT
My plan was to really attack the feeder line. I wanted to get a lot of bait down so that when a few carp turned up I could hopefully hold them. With this in mind I kicked off by casting every two minutes with a 32g medium-sized Hybrid feeder.
I half expected that regular casting would bring a quick response, but 45 biteless minutes wasn’t what I was hoping for!
Now at this point it would have been easy to panic and start chopping and changing, but I had a plan and if it was to work I felt I needed to stick to it. Looking around the area, other than from the favoured pegs there was very little being caught so there was no obvious tactic that was working.
On the 55-minute mark I had my first indication, which was a 2lb bream. Then, within 30 seconds of the next cast, the tip pulled round and the first carp was on.
At around 8lb it was a welcome fish, and when another followed next cast I began to think the plan was working.
VARY THE CASTS
Sadly though, those fish proved to be a bit of a false dawn. The next hour produced nothing, despite varying my casting pattern. A little trick that often works at Barston is to make three quick casts and then fish on the fourth.
The carp are attracted by the noise and bait going in, and I then catch on the fourth cast, which I leave out for up to 10 minutes.
After two hours I decided to slide a chuck slightly to the right of my spot, as that was the direction the fish seemed to be going. Maybe they were sitting off the feed?
This brought an immediate response and I knew straight away I was into a proper fish.
Sure enough, after a lengthy battle a 15lb-plus common lay in the net – a couple more of those and I would be back in it!
Frustratingly, though, I couldn’t get another bite and it was back to watching a motionless tip.
I did have a look on the pole at the halfway point, having fed it from the off. Two biteless minutes were all I needed, though, to know it wasn’t solid so I quickly put that down again to avoid wasting time.
At this point there were a few waggler fish coming out to my right, but in front of me it just looked dead and to my left nothing was being caught.
I opted for another half-hour on the Hybrid. This still offered the best chance of a run of fish, as I had my own water out there and with an hour remaining there was every chance it could still come
good with the amount of bait I now had out there.
A couple of small skimmers weren’t really what I was looking for, though, so just to mix things up I decided to try 15 minutes on the waggler, mainly to give my feeder line a rest.
Fifiten minutes later and with no bites it was back out on the Hybrid, and sure enough, the tip pulled straight round with carp number four!
Yet again, though, this fish was a loner and I was back to attacking a swim that just wasn’t responding.
I have to admit it was really frustrating. To my right you could see carp moving, yet from me back to the left no-one was catching.
The last hour did get slightly better, as I managed three decent F1s on the feeder plus a late carp on the waggler, albeit a small one.
This gave me 62lb 11oz and fourth in section, which I think was as good as I could have hoped for at the start of the day.
As expected, end peg 124 won the section with 107lb, with Andy Power second on my right with 79lb of waggler-caught fish.
To my left the top weight was just 34lb, which summed up the direction of the day.
Looking back, I honestly feel I got it right in my approach – it was just that you can’t catch what’s not there!
Had I been able to fill in the gaps between the carp with F1s and skimmers then I may have been able to nick second, but I never felt they were out there and despite attacking the swim they never moved in either.
I was hoping by putting a lot of bait on the bottom long that if any fish moved up the lake I would hold them, but it just never happened.
Oh well, that’s match fishing I suppose and it’s not every day you can win the World Champs! Don’t worry, I’ll be raring to go when it comes to next year’s event.
I wish I’d had a few more of these big carp!
I was prepared to chop and change tactics.