Lakelands and Inland Waterways World Angling Pairs Championships 2013

Match Report

They say that lightening doesn’t strike twice, but talented Irish anglers Philip ‘Jacko’ Jackson and Cathal Hughes proved that wrong and walked off with the €16,000 winners cheque and Irish crystal vases. Defending their 2012 title, the lads from either side of the border came together again to defeat a stronger field in this, the second year of the event.

With a massive 185.280kg over the five days fishing, they comfortably held off second-placed Steve and Phil Ringer.

Top 3 pairs (2) (l to r) Lee Addy, Paul Keeley, Cathal Hughes, Phil Jackson, Steve Ringer, Phil Ringer
Top 3 pairs (2) (l to r) Lee Addy, Paul Keeley, Cathal Hughes, Phil Jackson, Steve Ringer, Phil Ringer

Philip Jackson said: ‘it has been a brilliant week, but to be honest, my best day was last Saturday. During the small practise match on Bunerky, I had 35kg in cold, horrible weather. It was a real good day and helped me get my teeth into what we had to do.’

Although being Irish residents, neither of them fish the venues used in this event. It was a first time visit to the Mud Flats section at Carrick on Shannon, but Cathal still pulled out one of his now customary section-destroying performances.

Steve Ringer action
Steve Ringer action

‘Look, we fish in Ireland all the time and we have a way of fishing that suits lots of these venues. Jacko is a bit more intense than I am, so gets to thinking about how and why things are happening and what could happen, but I just take it one day at a time.’

Starting on the feeder and then resting it by swapping to the pole was a key part of their success. Cathal went on to say: ‘understanding the way hybrids want to feed is a big part of it. You can’t keep dropping a feeder on their heads. By resting the feeder line, you can keep going back out and add a few more quick fish.’

Steve (3rd l) & Phil Ringer (4th) collect trophies from (l to r) Michael Fitzsimons (Failte Ireland) Eddie McGovern (Fremanagh District Council) Damian McWheeny (Waterways Ireland) - low res
Steve (3rd l) & Phil Ringer (4th) collect trophies from (l to r) Michael Fitzsimons (Failte Ireland) Eddie McGovern (Fremanagh District Council) Damian McWheeny (Waterways Ireland)

Runner’s up, Ringer brothers Steve and Phil, had a great week despite not getting their hands on the main prize. On their first ever visit to fish in Ireland, they gradually crept through the field to claim the €7,500 for second-place.

‘We have both really enjoyed our week here,’ Phil said. ‘Getting to the venues each day was very easy, the fishing was incredible apart from one poor day for me on Airport and we’ve had help everywhere from the locals.’

On the individual front, Cathal Hughes and Steve Ringer were also vying for the top spot. Going in to the last day, not only were the pairs’ results on the line, but the battle for the Daiwa Cup was finely balanced.

Robin Morley (l) congratulates Daiwa Cup champ Cathal Hughes
Robin Morley (l) congratulates Daiwa Cup champ Cathal Hughes

Steve Ringer began the day just over 4kg ahead of his Irish rival. But the County Galway bagger was heading for a section that had given better weights all week, although not by much.

Cathal found himself on Garadice Lake, in Haughton’s Shore, at peg 10. 15kg was the best weight from the peg before the arrival of the 2010 World Champs silver medallist. After balling in at 13m with a groundbait mix lightly laced with chopped worm and casters, his first three casts saw three hybrids in the net before five minutes were up.

Cathal Hughes nets a fish
Cathal Hughes nets a fish

‘You have to just point the rod and crank them. When you hear the shockleader come into the tip ring, give it five more turns and lift.’ By really working hard for those fish, it helped him rack up a huge weight during the week. Putting 27.600kg on the scales confirmed his dominance in this event.

World Pairs Champion Cathal Hughes from Galway with a fine catch of 27 Kilos from Haughton's shore on Garadice Lake
World Pairs Champion Cathal Hughes from Galway with a fine catch of 27 Kilos from Haughton’s shore on Garadice Lake.  Cathal is our ‘Catch of the Week’ winner

The best section all week was on the Crom Estate on Upper Lough Erne in Fermanagh. Both the River and Turfhouse sections gave decent nets every day, but the day Cathal arrived was the day for the top weight of the week.

The feeder and pole routine worked a treat on peg 12 on the River. 40.180kg was the end result of five hours of frantic fishing. Bunches of red maggots proved to be the most successful bait for both Cathal and Jacko. These enabled the pair to pick off both hybrids and roach on either the pole or feeder.

‘We will fish to win, but without going stupid,’ Jacko said on day one. ‘We know that there will be some pegs where 5 or 6kg will be a good weight. There’s no point trying to do too much, the better pegs will come and then we’ll take advantage.’

Take advantage they certainly did. Can anyone stop them making it a hat-trick?

With some of the best of Europe’s anglers taking part this year, it was always going to be difficult to win either the pairs or the Daiwa Cup. Steve Ringer knew he and Phil still had things to learn about Irish festival fishing.

Cathal Hughes shows a hybrid
Cathal Hughes shows a hybrid

‘I had bad day on the Mud Flats. I knew there were some bream around and just tried too hard to catch them. Instead, I should have got my head down and scraped some small fish together.’

His 2kg was made up of a single bream from peg 12A, while Phil managed to put 12kg on the scales in section B. ‘The problem was, we didn’t know what would be target weights for the week. I was going all out for a big weight, when there were always going to be areas where 7 or 8kg was the best you could ever hope for.’

Some luck did come their way, like on the final day when only 17kg separated them in seventh place, and top placed Dean Barlow and Steve Fleming.

‘Cathal had told us that Bunerky Lake would be a pole job if the skimmers and hybrids weren’t feeding, but Brackley would be out and out feeder fishing. Phil isn’t the best on the pole, so we had to have me draw on Bunerky and Phil at Brackley.’

Drawing exactly that order helped Steve win his section with an astounding 18kg of tiny roach on the pole at 13m. Phil was drawn 4 on Brackley and fished the feeder at short range all day.

‘In the first two hours of the match I had 80 fish. They were mostly perch, but good little weight builders,’ Phil said afterwards. ‘Later, I began to get a few hybrids as well, but I was mainly fishing for the perch cup!’

When the final whistle blew on the 2013 competition, Phil’s 18kg net was also enough for a section win, but the combined 36kg was never enough to overhaul Cathal and Jacko’s 48kg addition. It was, however, just enough to lift the Ringer brothers from 7th to 2nd, with a difference of €7,000 in prize money.

World Pairs – Breakouts

Results Breakdown after each day