Steve Ringer on his great start to the year!

It’s that time of the year again when the winter leagues are coming to an end, so I felt that it was time for another round up.

I thought I’d start with Tunnel Barn, where myself, Pemb Wrighting, Paul Holland and Myles Levy managed to retain our title, and this was no mean feat when you consider that some of the best F1 anglers in the country frequent this venue. In fact, looking back, the margin by which we won is quite simply outstanding and one that I doubt will ever be repeated.

Fishing-wise it was a strange campaign I felt, as for me it was all about maggots, and no matter where I drew I never really got the pellets to work. I’m not sure why this was the case, but it made life a lot easier as I didn’t find myself chasing F1s all over the peg as tends to be the case with pellets!

The second winter league I’ve been fishing is the Meadowlands Teams of Three, which I fish with my Dad, Geoff, and brother Phil. We won it last year so were hoping to repeat that feat again this time around.

With one round to go things couldn’t really have gone any worse, as so far I’d managed to blank in the first round and we haven’t managed a decent team score so far. This leaves us miles off the pace, with Milton Keynes, barring a disaster, looking home and hosed! Looking back, I would say that we haven’t drawn well as a team, but we haven’t fished well either.

I fish the deep bank on the Lambsdown Lake, and while I have only drawn on carp once – when I won round two – the rest of the league I have struggled due to a lack of skimmers. When I say lack, I mean for me personally, and not on the lake in general!

In the past I’ve always caught well on the long pole over groundbait, but this winter I just haven’t been able to make this work at all, and as a result of this, and my stubborn refusal to fish the open-end feeder for skimmers instead, my results have suffered.

Last up is the pairs matches that myself and Phil run at Boddington Reservoir, and these for me have been a real success story this winter.

In the past Boddington has been a venue that I have really struggled to master as a result of which I’ve had some fearful batterings off the next peg. But this time round I finally feel I have got to grips with the place, and there are a couple of reasons for that.

Firstly, the carp have been at range and casting is one thing that I consider myself relatively competent at, and on occasion it has been a case of fishing in excess of 100m to get bites, and being one of the few that can do this has definitely been an advantage!

Of course having the right kit helps too, and I have found the new Pulse in 4lb or 5lb teamed up with a 10lb Tournament ST shock leader, and I have no doubt this has gained me valuable extra metres. What I really like about this line for casting is not only is it very supple, but it’s also extremely thin – 4lb is just 0.18mm in diameter – so there is less friction through the rod rings on the cast, and this is something that can reduce distance significantly, so a low diameter line is ideal for distance work.

Secondly, I also have to say that the Hybrid feeder has made a huge difference as I feel the protection that it offers the bait is second to none!

It allows me to fish every cast knowing that everything is just right, and it is a case of waiting for a carp to turn up. This to me is very important, as when you’re leaving a feeder out there for up to 45 minutes at a time you have to be 100% confident that everything is perfect.

That brings me pretty much up to date, and coming up I have the Big One show approaching fast, which is two days that I really look forward to. I’ll be flitting between the Guru and Daiwa stands, so if you plan on attending make sure you pop over and say hello.

After that it will soon be time for the annual trip to Hungary for the WalterLand Masters, and upon my return it will be time to start thinking about Serbia for the World Feeder Championships. It’s going to be busy but I can’t wait!