Ringers Score In Ireland - Steve Ringer

Well what a week that was! My first ever festival in Ireland resulted in my brother Phil and I finishing runners up in the World Pairs! It was a whirlwind seven days, as on Sunday we fished the practice match and while neither Phil or I did our pegs justice, it did help us, as we learned loads. This meant that we could hit the ground running on the first day of the pairs on Monday morning.

After drawing Garradice in the practice, we found ourselves back there on the Monday. Better still, I pulled out two end pegs: 13 on Connelly’s and 8 on Haughton’s. While I really fancied 13, Phil’s peg was an unknown quantity, as it hadn’t been fished the day before in the practice match. As it turned out this didn’t help, as while Phil won Haughton’s with just over 14 kilos, the other part of his section on Church fished a lot better with 21 kilos being needed for fourth. Back to my match, I had a really good last two hours on the feeder, catching hybrids to finish with 25 kilos, which was enough to win my 13 pegs, plus put me third in the county. Therefore at the end of day one we had 39 kilos on the board and were up and running!

Day two was the mud flats and not a day to remember for me. I drew peg 12 in B section, which was opposite a marina and to be honest looked superb. To cut a long story short, I really struggled, catching just one small hybrid and a last-gasp bream to put 2 kilos on the scales. Meanwhile, Adam Rooney fished brilliantly to weigh nearly 10 kilos at the next peg! I’m still not quite sure what I did so wrong but there must have been something! Luckily for me, Phil performed brilliantly and weighed nearly 16 kilos to win the county and keep us in the hunt.

Day three loomed and we really needed to push on with Lough Scur and Kiltybarden being the potential destinations. As it turned out I drew Pump House on Lough Scur and Phil was on Kiltybarden. With no information on my peg I sent a quick text to Dean Barlow to see if he knew anything about it and he replied that there had been some pole fish there on Monday. This advice was to prove invaluable as I managed 21 kilos of roach and hybrids on the pole to win the county. Phil had suffered with snags but some late skimmers saw him put 9 kilos on the board and we had a 30-kilo day!

Day four was crunch time. We were sitting a little off the pace and our destination of Enniskillen was a chance to put this right. All we needed was a couple of decent draws and to avoid three pegs at the Airport, which were fishing hard. I drew first and was in the middle of Crom Lake on peg three, I then drew Airport 14 for Phil which was a disaster! Grant Albutt had blanked off it on day one and since then it had struggled to manage a kilo! Phil though, despite being obviously disappointed, excelled once again to catch 6 kilos of roach and perch from an area I feared he could blank from. Back to my peg, after a slow start I had a purple patch mid match catching 1lb-plus hybrids on the feeder to really boost my weight and even though they disappeared in the last hour, I still managed 35 kilos. This was enough to win the county and most importantly give us a 40-kilo day and kept us in the hunt.

Day five dawned and we were lying 7th, although with a few of our rivals above us going to the mud flats, which had got harder as the week went on, we knew a 30-kilo plus day could see us jump up that leader board. The draw saw Phil heading for peg three at Brackley, whilst I was on peg eight at Bunerky. Again, I had good information, this time from Cathal Hughes, who informed me that the pole line held a lot of roach and if the skimmers didn’t show on the feeder line to get on the pole early. This is exactly what I did and after 25 minutes I picked the pole up and never put it down again. Finishing with more than 220 fish for 18 kilos. Now it was all down to Phil and unbelievably he had managed 204 fish on the feeder again for 18 kilos! In fact, his slightly higher weight than mine was enough to win the county, putting me second. Most importantly though, it gave us 36 kilos for the day and it was now a case of waiting!

Early news soon came in that last year’s winners Cathal Hughes and Phil Jackson had put a big weight on the board from Garradice and looked like certain winners but after that it seemed second place was anyone’s! And so it proved as come the results, whilst Cathal and Jacko were confirmed as deserved champions, Phil and I had leapt up to second place, a result we were understandably over the moon with! On top of that I had also ended up second in the Daiwa Cup, which is for the top individual over the five days. For those interested this was won by the unstoppable Cathal!

To sum up, it was an unbelievable week’s fishing for us both and to catch 167 kilos of silver fish between us in five days was far above and beyond what we expected! On a separate note I’d like to thank both Lakelands and Inland waterways plus Daiwa for their extremely generous sponsorship of what is a fantastically well-run event. We’ll definitely be back next year, only next time we’ll hopefully go one better! Roll on 2014!