Ringer Wins at Earlswood

"With the World Feeder Championships starting to loom large I’ve been keen to get back to some natural-water fishing, so when I found out there was an open on The Yachter at Earlswood Lakes I booked straight in. Now for those who don’t know, while The Yachter does contain carp, it’s nothing like the better-known, carp-filled Engine Pool, as bream dominate.

With 30 anglers fishing, the word at the draw was that the dam was the place to be. So, when I pulled out peg 37, which wasn’t on the dam, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. My initial thoughts were that it looked decent, as in I wasn’t far up what they call The Tins, and had plenty of open water to go at.

Tackle wise I set three rods up, one for baiting and two for fishing. The two fishing rods were 12’ Daiwa Connoisseurs, teamed up with Caldia 4000 reels, which were loaded with 0.08mm Submerge braid. I then had a shock leader of 8lb Tournament ST, which was roughly twice the length of the rod. End setup was a running paternoster with a 30g small Kevin Leach feeder attached and a 50cm hooklength of 0.13mm Guru N-Gauge to a size 16 B560 hook.

On the bait front I had a mixture of what I would term ‘new’ and ‘traditional’ baits. My groundbait was a 50/50 mix of Ringers original and dark, plus I had two pints of wetted-down micro pellets for feed. On top of that, I also had a pint and a half of casters, half a kilo of worms plus a few dead red maggots for the hook.

Now, things at the start didn’t quite go to plan, as I have omitted to tell you that whilst tackling up I quite quickly realised I had left the handles of my Caldias at home. Now, I can assure you that reels without handles aren’t really all that so I had no option but to drive the 45-minute journey home in record time and get said handles! I eventually got back to Earlswood fifteen minutes into the match to some strange looks from the anglers around me. To save time I quickly measured out my baiting up rod at 42 metres and put six big feeders in full of groundbait, chopped worm, caster and pellets. With bait in I could now concentrate on getting my other rods clipped up at the right distance.

Eventually, 25 minutes in, I was finally ready to cast out. Looking around it didn’t seem like anyone near me had caught so it was time to get my head down and make up for lost time.

My first bite came just after the hour mark on three dead red maggots and produced a 10oz skimmer bream. Next chuck produced a liner and all of a sudden things were getting interesting. Sure enough, the tip soon pulled round again and a big skimmer of 2lb was in the net. The next four casts produced four more and I was starting to think I was going to empty it when, as quick as they had arrived, they were gone again. Despite chopping and changing, the next two hours passed me by, as I couldn’t get a bite when all of a sudden, the tip went round again with my biggest of the day at 3lb. Five more quickly followed before again the swim went quiet. Interestingly, although feeding worms I couldn’t get a bite on them on the hook with all fish coming to two or three dead red maggots. Looking back though, like most people, once I have caught a few fish on a bait I don’t tend to swap and change too much!

Anyway, the word on the bank suggested the lake was fishing hard so if I could just pick a couple of fish up in the last hour I was going to be right in the shake up. Just as I thought it, the tip went round and I picked up felt one kick and the hook pulled out! I was gutted, but upon casting back out within seconds the tip was bouncing and I was in again. This time I took my time to make sure there was no repeat performance and played the bream like it was the proverbial crown jewels. Sadly, the bream had other ideas and just as I lifted the rod it simply fell off! Suffice to say I never had another bite and sat there convinced those two lost fish would cost me.

However, when the scales arrived 19lb was winning with 18lb second. I felt I had 20lb but not much more. On the scales the big skimmers, as I called them, were obviously bigger than I thought as my eleven went 27lb, which was enough for a clear match win! Something that didn’t look possible when the match started and I was still on the M42!"