Ringer brothers win!

Well, where do I start? Rather than write about everything I’ve been doing I thought in this month’s update I’d concentrate on what, World Feeder Champs aside, is the highlight of my year in the form of the World Pairs in Ireland. The last two years we, as in myself and my brother Phil, had finished runners-up so this year we were keen to try and go one better.

For those that aren’t familiar with the format of the World Pairs, basically on the opening night you draw for rotation so you know what order you will be fishing the venues in throughout the week. I pulled out rotation four for us which would see us heading to Brackley and Bunerkey on day 1. As these venues hadn’t been fished in the practice match on the Sunday I have to admit we weren’t sure how good a draw this would be but time would soon tell!

Day 1 and I drew peg 6 at Brackley for myself and peg 5 at Bunerkey for Phil, both bang in the middle so nothing to get excited about. It turned out to be a tough day for both of us as, after a good start on the pole catching decent sized roach, the pike moved in and I never managed another bite off that line for the last three hours. It was just a case of nicking odd fish on the feeder to keep my weight ticking over.

Come the weigh in my 9kg was 3rd in the section but a long way short of what I expected. Bunerkey had also fished hard and Phil managed 7kg to put us on 16kg on day one with a lot of work to do!

Day 2 and Garradice saw my drawing arm start to show some form when I found myself on peg 3 at church shore with Phil on peg 9 at Connolly’s. On previous year’s form, peg 3 at church is a real flier but this year with the water a lot colder weights had been significantly lower as a result. With a strong wind blowing I opted for an out and out feeder approach and after a slow start managed a few skimmers and hybrids late on to finish with just under 13 kilo and a section win.

Interestingly I struggled until I really attacked the peg by piling casters in, maybe in hindsight something I should have tried earlier. Phil had also fared well with 13 kilo plus to bring us onto just under 43 kilos after two days. This also moved us into the top ten overall so we were starting to make a move!

Day 3 was our first trip onto Lough Erne with Horse Island and Killadeas being the two chosen venues. Again, my drawing arm worked its magic as I pulled out peg 7 on Horse Island for myself with Phil on peg 2 at Killadeas, which is the legendary pontoon!

With the wind again being on the strong side it was another day on the feeder for me and whilst it wasn’t easy fishing, the fish I did catch were all good quality hybrids with some in excess of 2lb in weight. Surprisingly the last hour was a real struggle though and I finished on a decent 16kg-plus to again win the section and this time the county too. Phil put just under 13 kilos on the scales to win Killadeas, again all on the feeder to keep us well in touch with the leaders.

Day 4 was the potential banana skin as our destination was Kiltybarden and pump house on Lough Scurr. Both venues were fishing harder than normal but pegs 1-4 on pump house offered the chance of a decent weight. As a pair we set ourselves a target of 20 kilos for the day which, with Lough Erne to finish, we felt would give us a real chance going into the last day.

At the draw peg 3 pump house stuck to my hand which was ideal, while Phil found himself on peg 2 at Kiltybarden. Realistically with Kiltybarden fishing so hard I needed to catch 12-13 kilo to give us a chance. I opted to start short on the pole as this had worked for me in previous years with small fish being plentiful. I then fed a long pole line for skimmers for later in the match.

The short pole line was excellent to start but gradually the stamp of fish got smaller and smaller until I felt I was going nowhere and getting to 10 kilo was going to be tricky. A quick look on the skimmer line produced one decent fish around 10oz and a missed bite but I still felt it was too early. So it was a case of plodding on short hoping that the long pole line would eventually come good.

With just over an hour to go the stamp of fish short was not only tiny but I was having to wait for bites too. So it was now or never for the long line. Luckily for me the skimmers were there and settled and in a great 60 minutes I put 17 in the net ranging in size from 6oz to 1lb. These were great weight builders at a vital time and so it proved at the scales as I managed 15kg-plus to win the section and county. Phil managed a solid 6 kilo and it was very much a case of job done as we headed into day 5 in second place overall just grams behind the leaders.

Well, day 5 turned out to be memorable for all the wrong reasons! Our destination for the day was to be Maghoo Jetty or Rock House on Lough Erne. To stand any chance of winning we knew we really needed an end peg and a high one ideally as both venues were fishing hard through the middle compared to how they had fished early in the week.

Having not had an end peg all week I felt we were due one and they didn’t come any better than peg 13 on Maghoo Jetty which is the peg I pulled out for Phil. I wasn’t so fortunate though as peg 10 Rock house wasn’t where I wanted to be. Target-wise, we felt 25 kilo would be enough for us to win so I felt Phil needed to catch close to 20 kilo with 5 kilo a realistic target for me.

Sadly this is where the day went wrong as on the way to Maghoo to drop Phil off we were involved in a traffic accident which saw me end up in hospital and the van a write off. To all intents and purposes our chances of winning the World Pairs ended there even though Phil had gone to his peg. After being discharged from hospital and attending the police station, I eventually reached Phil with just five minutes to go.

Fearing the worst I casually asked if he’d done any good and he replied with 126 roach, I said 20 kilo? He replied more! And so it proved as Phil put a massive 28 kilos of big roach on the scales. A few quick phone calls followed and it soon became apparent that not only had we won the World Pairs but Phil had won the Daiwa cup too, which is in individual competition run within the pairs. So, all in all, an unbelievable end to a day that I’ll never forget both for good and bad reasons!

Looking back accident aside, it was a fantastic week on some stunning venues and the icing on the cake was finally becoming World Pairs champions after a couple of near misses! Yes the fishing was a bit harder this year but that was due to the weather and when I say, hard 20lb-plus weights of wild silver fish were still commonplace! So to sum up, there is just one thing left to say and that is roll on next year as I can’t wait to get back!

On a separate note, Ireland was also a great testing ground for the new Pulse8 braid. Being eight carrier, it is extremely hard wearing which is exactly what you need in when fishing in the rugged terrain of Ireland. As an added bonus it also sinks well too!

A little tip - when using Pulse8, it actually gets better with age and when it starts to change colour for me it’s at its best! The reason being that it has a fine wax coating on and once this has come off it becomes super supple and is quite simply a dream to use.