May update - Steve Ringer

With so much having happened of late I’m honestly not sure where to start! I guess Hungary would be a good place, as I recently made the trip to the Szeged rowing course to try and defend my WalterLand masters title.

My Daiwa team made up of myself, Martin Greene, Will Raison, Dave McAuley and Darren Peel also came second last year, so we were keen to try and go one better on that front too. Suffice to say, it was another cracking trip with 15 countries being represented by the 34 teams competing. Overall, the team managed a decent third to get on the podium plus individually I ended up fourth, missing out on second on weight after tying on points.

Personally, I managed a section win on day one with 17 kg of carassios (similar to our crucians) and small carp - then on day two, 19 kg of mainly carassio for second. The fishing was excellent, albeit very different to the UK - we fed seven litres of groundbait at the start at 12.5m and then fished at 13m past it all day!

Carassios are a very strange fish in that they seem to sit off the back of the bait, so if you feed on the pole tip at 13m they then sit out of range due to the 13-metre pole limit. After the initial feed, we then fed small boils of joker in soil on the pole tip to keep bites coming. It’s interesting fishing to say the least, as it brings home the important of accuracy and pin point feeding and bait presentation - if you don’t put your float right on top of the ball of soil, you struggle to get a bite!

This year there was also an extra match in the form of the Daiwa Feeder Cup, which is an individual event and one that I was particularly looking forward too. Tactically, I decided to try and mimic what I had been doing on the pole so with a 15m limit in place I put 5 litres of groundbait in on this line and then fished a tiny cage feeder with soil and joker in past it at 16m.

This seemed to work as I won my 25-peg zone and managed third overall. A really nice way to end another successful trip and one I’m already looking forward to next year.

There was no time for rest on my return as it was off to Holland with brand manager Adam Rooney to do some work for the Guru catalogue. On day one I took a competition winner fishing on a Dutch commercial while Adam showed off the new Hybrid feeders. The fishing was superb and in the afternoon I had a couple of cracking double-figure mirrors, which put up a very good account of themselves.

Day two was spent on another venue where I was to try and catch a big carp or two from the margins. I was told the fish were big and pulled hard but I didn’t really appreciate how hard as I set up with my standard margin rigs of 0.22mm N-Gauge to a 0.19mm hooklength and a size 14 XS spade hook.

Bait choice was pellets and corn - with the water being crystal clear I felt corn would be a great bait in terms of visibility. Suffice to say, I didn’t have to wait long for a bite as after just ten minutes the float shot under and an unseen monster made its bid for freedom. Actually it was more than a bid as it quickly bottomed out red hydro and broke me before I could do anything!

A rethink was in order so I stepped up to 0.25mm N-gauge mainline and a 0.22mm hook length with a size 12 XS spade replacing the 14. This certainly seemed to do the trick as, whilst I did lose a couple of foul hookers, I also landed three stunning carp of 12lb, 16llb and 18lb. Fight-wise, they were without doubt the hardest fighting carp I have ever come across. I can only think this is down to the clarity of water as they quite literally never gave up!

Adam also managed a stunning koi carp plus plenty of bream, so it was a good day all round and definitely a venue I’d like to go back to in the future. On the last day we made the trip out to the Voorne canal for a social - the canal is full of bream at this time of year and we all caught a few before making the drive back to the tunnel.

On the subject of bream, I managed my first match in the UK for five weeks at Ferry Meadows on my return. Ferry is without doubt my favourite venue as there is something magical about fishing big waters for me. Anyway, with 60 fishing I drew a decent area and managed 12 bream for 67lb and a win, with my fish falling to hair-rigged worm.

In case you are wondering how I hair rig worm I fish a size 14 MWG barbed hook which is tied using a knotless knot with a speed stop on the hair. I then top and tail a medium dendrobaena worm and thread the stop through the thick end. Once this is done, the stop is pushed through the side of the worm, whereby it holds it in place. For me, it’s perfect presentation as the hook is left totally free and there is no risk of the hook bait doubling over the point, which can be a problem when fishing worms.

Lastly and to bring you up-to-date, I have just fished the Daiwa Festival at Westwood lakes, it’s a venue I haven’t fished before but I had some good info and from what I could gather the lakes were full of fish! In this situation I am a big believer in fishing to your strengths and this is exactly what I did.

I took the info I had on board and then adapted it to suit me. It certainly seemed to work as I managed a perfect three-point score to win the festival and the £1,500 first prize, plus a £1,000 Daiwa voucher! I’d love to go into more detail on each day but as I plan to cover the event in depth in my Angling Times column in the coming weeks I’m afraid you’ll have to wait ‘till then!

So that’s about it for now; looking forward, I plan a few more trips to Ferry Meadows before I head back to Holland with the England Feeder Team for an early look at the World Championships venue! So, all being well, I’ll update you again soon.