Steve Ringer catches 900 roach on the feeder! Discover his tricks this week...
Steve reveals the silverfish speed tricks which won him the new Feederfest 2016 event
I’VE just returned from yet another brilliant week in Ireland, fishing the newly formed Feederfest competition on Inniscarra Lake, near Cork.
Inniscarra holds fond memories for me as it’s where I was fortunate enough to win both individual and team gold medals in the World Feeder Championships in 2014.
Well, all I can say is that Inniscarra is rapidly becoming my favourite venue as I have now added the Feederfest title to the gold medals I’ve won there!
Feederfest was run over five days with total weight being the
deciding factor, and my final total of 52kg 010g was enough to hold off a strong field.
When you consider this means I averaged over 20lb of silverfish a day you can see that the fishing was very good for the time of year.
After the practice match it became apparent that roach were the dominant species.
Yes, there were skimmers present but I felt roach were the safer bet, and with this in mind I decided to ignore the skimmers.
The roach were small in the main, averaging 2oz, but they were plentiful, so I set myself a target of catching 180 a day
That, I reckoned, would give me 10kg-plus and I felt it would be enough to win unless something changed during the week – as indeed it did.
Catching 180-plus roach a day isn’t easy, especially on the feeder, and it’s the little things which make the difference…
PERFECT DISTANCE & DEPTH
When we won the World Champs on Inniscarra the key was to find a certain depth of water where we could catch a better stamp of roach with skimmers mixed in.
If we fished in shallower water all we could catch were small
roach, and if we went longer into the deeper water it was just skimmers – plus eels, which didn’t count!
The ‘magic’ depth to find was a ‘12 count’ as a 1oz Guru square bomb sank through the water to the bottom.
This time, though, it quickly became apparent that the roach weren’t in the deeper water in any numbers. Additionally, the further out you fished, the harder it was to catch enough fish to reach the target weight.
So instead I found it better to fish shorter. A 9-10 count was the best place to start on the majority of the sections being used. This meant starting off around 20m-25m from the bank, depending on the peg I had drawn.
On the subject of depth, I think when feeder fishing a lot of anglers don’t spend enough time plumbing up and finding out exactly what depth of water they are fishing in.
It’s strange, really, as it’s something that makes a massive difference.
For speed I used just one hookbait all week, and that was a single live red maggot. This was hooked straight through the middle on a size 10 hook.
Now, to many this will sound
very crude, but bear in mind the roach in Ireland are wild fish so they have no idea what a hook is.
To them a size 10 hook doesn’t spell danger, and from my point of view it makes bites a lot easier to hit – a big hook is a lot harder for small fish to deal with.
Hooking the maggot straight through the middle also seems to help minimise missed bites.
Strangely, throughout the week a short 50cm hooklength proved to the best.
Even though the water was clear, it seemed that the roach were still coming to the feeder and the groundbait in it.
The big plus point with a short hooklength, though, was that bites were easier to hit, as the fish felt the weight of the feeder that little bit quicker.
That said, when bites tailed off on a couple of days I did pick off a few late fish on a longer 80cm hooklength – but overall 50cm was without doubt the best length.
Catching large numbers of small fish on the feeder is all about keeping busy, and this is particularly true when it comes to casting.
As a guide, I never left the feeder on the bottom longer than 45 seconds. If I didn’t get a bite I simply reeled in and recast.
As a rule, roach aren’t bottom feeders so bites tended to come within 15 seconds of the feeder hitting the bottom as the roach followed the bait down.
If you had to wait longer than 45 seconds then a bite wasn’t likely to come.
Regular casting was also key to keeping the cloud in the water which is, of course, what was both holding the fish and pulling them into the swim.
KEEPING ON THE MOVE
Perhaps one of the most important lessons I learnt all week was that if a line died you had to move off it quickly. It was very hard, if not impossible, to restart a swim once bites had tailed off.
A brilliant example of this was Day 3 on the Greenway. I caught really well for three hours at 25m before all of a sudden I couldn’t buy a bite.
I then dropped short at 18m and caught again immediately, and this continued until the end.
This happened on at least three of the five days, although sometimes I had to go longer to find the fish again.
The good thing was that if the fish were there you had an indication within three casts, and so if I didn’t get bites after three chucks I simply changed lines again.
Another little tip was to try and bring the fish shorter – I would start catching at 20m and if I felt there were a lot of fish there I’d would take a metre off that.
Shorter meant faster, which in a numbers match is very important.
Again, though, if taking a metre off didn’t work I only gave it two casts before going back to the original mark.
Last day of Feederfest, and I’m on my way to a festival win.
My final day’s catch from Inishleena Concrete peg 101.
I was able to keep roach coming all day by constantly moving lines.
A single red maggot on a size 10 hook!
Clip up to find perfect distance and depth.