March update - Steve Ringer

So what have I been up to of late? Well, the ten-round Tunnel Barn Farm league finished in early February and for Team Guru it ended on a real high as the team made up of myself, Pemb Wighting, Paul Holland and Myles Levvy clinched the league at our first attempt.

When you consider the league is made up of anglers like Des Shipp, Stu Palsar, Paul Yates, Jamie Hughes, then you can see why it’s a nice one to win. Looking back it was an interesting league and whilst maggots were the in bait, I felt I was bang on it, but during the last two matches pellets made a return and I felt I didn’t quite get things right. Very enjoyable, though, and if there is a better winter league in the country for fish catching and standard of angler, then I don’t know of it!

I have also been spending a bit of time at Meadowlands on the teams of three winter league that my dad runs. My team is a real family affair with Phil and my dad Geoff being other team members. You can place your anglers on this league and as Phil doesn’t own any pole rigs, I always end up on the deep bank of the Lambsdown lake, which to be honest I prefer anyway.

The fishing has been mixed with carp showing on the early rounds and straight lead and pop-ups being the favoured tactic. It’s been interesting as finding the right depth has been really important. For those that don’t know the big lake at Meadowlands its deep and a lot of the time you are casting into 12ft-plus on the lead.

With this in mind I have found that when the sun is out the carp have been as high as 5ft off the bottom and if you don’t put a bait in right in front of them then you wont get a bite. In terms of baits, 8mm fluro pink pop-ups seem to have done a lot of the damage in terms of the bigger weights, when it’s been hard, though, bread has always winkled me out a bite or two.

I have been fishing it with a slight twist, in that I put a small trimmed-down disc of pink pop-up boilie in the middle of the punched bread just to add a fleck of colour. After the first two rounds the cold weather kicked in and silvers became the banker species.

This has been interesting fishing as last winter it was all pellets for the skimmers, whereas this year I have really struggled to catch on them. Instead, groundbait and casters have proved a much more reliable approach and whilst the weights have been low compared to previous years, the fishing has still been very good.

On the subject of groundbait and casters, it has amazed me how much difference hook bait choice can make. In the past I have always fed casters in groundbait and fished red maggot over the top. But this year I have struggled at times to catch on maggot, but if I put a caster on it’s been a bite a chuck.

This suggests to me the silvers are wising up, which is no real surprise when you consider that they are a lot more pressured than they used to be. Going back to the league, round five saw the carp wake back up so with the final round being on Sunday, I’m expecting some decent carp sport if the weather holds. League-wise, we are actually 26 points clear but with 16-peg sections that can easily change, so finger’s crossed for a couple of decent draws for the team.

Lastly, I have also been spending a bit of time at Boddington, which is a venue I love but sadly it doesn’t seem to love me! Phil has been running a few pairs matches and whilst we have had good results, on a personal level I always seem to come away thinking I could have done better.

This winter I have had no real problems getting bites but the size of fish has consistently let me down. For example, on three matches I have ended up with the same amount of fish as another angler and on every occasion I haven’t been within 10lb of them!

I have to admit this has bugged me somewhat so I spent a bit of time practicing there trying a few different things to try and catch a bigger stamp of fish. In the past I have always felt that you can’t determine what size of carp you catch as its all about what’s in front of you, but this winter at Boddington has got me thinking twice about this as certain anglers always seem to catch a larger stamp than others.

Anyway I’ve been trying a few things such as different hook baits, bigger hook baits, etc. and eventually felt I was getting somewhere. I then booked myself onto the Saturday open and after drawing peg 75 I managed eight carp for 69lb and a win! Now this was the sort of stamp I was looking for as previously I had weighed in 11 for 62lb and three for 17lb as an example.

So come the most recent pairs match, I was brimming with new-found confidence! This time I drew end peg 63, which to be fair is the wrong end but I still fancied it for a few. To cut a long story short I fished in exactly the same manner as I had done the previous week and managed six carp for 36lb!

So it’s back to the drawing board it seems in my quest for bigger fish! It has been interesting experimenting, though, and while long-range method fishing at Boddington isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I have to admit I have really enjoyed the change even if my results haven’t quite reflected this.

On a separate note, it wouldn’t be right to end this month’s update without mentioning some new feeders that I have been testing for Guru. They are actually a product we have been working on for quite some time but they weren’t quite right.

I can honestly say they are now and they really are something special. I can’t say too much but they are a cross between a method and a banjo-type feeder and are quite different to anything else on the market. I have used them on lots of different venues of late and the results have been excellent.

It’s rare I get really excited about new products (Adam Rooney will testify to this!) but, with these, it’s different and I will go on record here as saying these will take feeder fishing on commercials to a whole new level! You heard it here first!