Win­ning tricks

Ringer Baits team pipped on the day, but we learn vi­tal lessons

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

from Adam Wake­lin

THE late, great Frank Bar­low fa­mously said that prac­tice was ‘only good for find­ing the depth’.

The jury may be out on whether putting in the time in the run-up to a big match pays div­i­dends on the day, but go­ing into an event blind re­mains an ex­tremely big gam­ble.

A bit of knowl­edge un­der your belt can do no harm, and on very hard venues when ev­ery trick in the book is needed to eke out a bite, it’s es­pe­cially handy. One fish can make all the dif­fer­ence.

That was the phi­los­o­phy of the Ringer Baits team as they pre­pared for the World Club Feeder Champs qual­i­fier on the Glouces­ter Canal. Any­one who has fished the canal be­fore will know how tough it can be, and a bream can be worth mas­sive points in a team event, so the mot­ley crew left no stone un­turned in a re­cent prac­tice ses­sion.

New Fee­d­er­mas­ters champ Adam Wake­lin was in their ranks, and who bet­ter to ex­plain the ins and outs of what an­glers try to achieve in prac­tice? Pegs be­low Sims Bridge were cho­sen for the chance of a bream or three, but by Adam’s own ad­mis­sion it wasn’t go­ing to be easy!

DO­ING OUR HOME­WORK

“Not hav­ing fished the canal for years, the aim was to find out what works and what doesn’t in terms of best baits, dis­tance to cast, what feed is best and how long be­tween bites.

“You can’t play about on the day, and al­though I ap­pre­ci­ate that match con­di­tions are dif­fer­ent from a plea­sure ses­sion, you can still learn a lot.

“Do­ing some home­work on the phone is equally im­por­tant. Phil Ringer made sev­eral calls to find out as much as he could, but on the Glouces­ter we’re all fish­ing pegs with the same width, depth and tar­get species.”

THE BEST LINES TO FISH

“Feeder matches to­day al­most al­ways in­volve hav­ing two lines on the go, much as you would on the pole. These are called ‘short’ and ‘long’ lines, and the trick is to work out which one you’ll catch the most fish off.

“I’d say that this will be the longer one at around 35m, with the sec­ond, shorter, line serv­ing as some­where else to cast and nick a fish from. This one goes in at 14m, the typ­i­cal long pole line on the canal. I mea­sure both out us­ing sticks so I know I’m bang on the money.”

DIF­FER­ENT FEEDS

“I’ll have two ground­bait mixes on the go, with very dif­fer­ent jobs. My bulk feed is Ringer Baits Euro Mix and Damp Leam to give the fish some­thing sim­i­lar to what would be balled in by pole an­glers us­ing blood­worm and joker. Through the feeder goes just Euro Mix.

“The leam is added to the over­wet­ted ground­bait to en­sure the fi­nal ground­bait is damp

enough to hold in the feeder.

“There’s also the ques­tion of fish­meal to an­swer. Fish­meal ground­bait catches you the big­ger fish but puts off the smaller roach and skim­mers and when ev­ery fish is vi­tal, I don’t think that you can be too bold and go for a big-fish-only at­tack.”

AD­DING FREE­BIES

“Al­though I’m after bream, the amount of free­bies go­ing into the peg is kept min­i­mal.

“For 4kg of ground­bait I’d add only 400g of cast­ers, chopped worm, dead pinkies and mag­gots. The think­ing be­hind this is to get a big bed of ground­bait in with min­i­mal

par­ti­cles so that the fish have to spend longer in the peg try­ing to find them – and your hook­bait of course.

“Into each feed­er­ful goes just a pinch of worm, half-a-dozen cast­ers and a few dead pinkies.”

US­ING THE ‘BOSHER’

“Rather than re­ly­ing on my feeder to get a bed of bait down, I in­stead have a sep­a­rate rod set up with a big bait­ing-up feeder or a ‘bosher’, as it is known.

“This can get 1kg of ground­bait into the peg in no time, and at the start I’ll put 20 of these on to the 14m line. That equates to around 10 large balls of ground­bait thrown in by hand on the pole.

“How­ever, the longer 35m line gets no hit of bait. I am try­ing to get a quick re­sponse and will rely on the feeder alone for here.”

BLOOD­WORM MIM­ICS

“With the blood­worm that pole an­glers use in mind, I try to mimic a bunch of bloods on the hook. This means three flu­oro pinkies or even five red squatts – red­worms can be very good but are more se­lec­tive. They are still worth giv­ing one or two ex­ploratory casts, how­ever.”

TALK­ING TACKLE

“Be­cause the qual­i­fier is fished to in­ter­na­tional rules, there are a few lim­its to tackle, such as the length of the hook­link – the min­i­mum is 50cm, so I tie up size 16 Guru Feeder Spe­cial hooks to 0.12mm line in con­junc­tion with braid and a shock­leader.

“That just leaves feed­ers to be de­cided on, and I keep them on the small side so I’m not in­tro­duc­ing too much bait each cast. Set­ting up two rods for short and long, both run­ning on the line, I fish a small 20g Guru Dis­tance feeder for the long line and tiny 20g cage rocket for cast­ing short.

“The Guru in­tro­duces more bait, as I’m not giv­ing the long line an ini­tial hit of feed, but the rocket puts in next to noth­ing. I’ll be fish­ing over those 20 bosh­er­fuls of ground­bait.”

DID IT ALL WORK?

“I’d like to say that I love it when a plan comes to­gether. and on the day it al­most did!

“We thought we’d got the canal sorted, but we fin­ished an ag­o­nis­ing one point off win­ning be­hind lo­cals Daiwa Gor­don League, with Trent­men tak­ing sec­ond on to­tal weight after scor­ing the same as us.

“Steve Ringer, Rob Woot­ton, Jamie Har­ri­son and I all fin­ished in the top two in our sec­tions, but cap­tain Phil got a proper stinker of a peg and could only score five points!”

A good Glouces­ter Canal haul by any­one’s stan­dards.

The longer line proved bet­ter in prac­tice.

Hook­links must be a 50cm min­i­mum.

‘Bosh­ing’ feed­ers used for bait­ing up.

Triple pinkie on a size 16 hook.

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