Unlike most other participant sports, match fishing gives you the opportunity to compete against world champions if you so wish. You can also use exactly the same equipment that they do.
The accusation ‘all the gear and no idea’ is often levelled at those who invest lots of their hard earned in the best kit that money can buy. However, there’s lots to be said for fishing with tackle chosen by world-class anglers, and 99 per cent of the time, if it’s good enough for them it will certainly be good enough for you.
I have heard the naysayers proclaim that top matchmen ‘obviously’ only ever use their backers’ products, even when they don’t really believe in them. Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but when it comes to the current World Feeder Champion Steven Ringer nothing could be further from the truth.
Here is an angler who knows exactly what kit he needs, how it should perform, and where, when, and how to use it. Compromise is not an option for Mr Ringer – so when he won the World Feeder Champs using the new Daiwa Tournament Pro11Q feeder rod teamed with the largest of the famous TDR reels, the 3012, it wasn’t because someone at Daiwa had forced them on him – they were quite simply the champion’s choice.
Interestingly, though, most matchmen – myself included – would have considered the 11ft Tournament Pro and TDR reel more of a flatbed Method feeder combo for medium-sized commercials, rather than a pairing that could cope with the soft-mouthed skimmers, hybrids, and roach of Ireland’s massive Inniscarra Reservoir.
As I had already live tested this rod and reel, and fished regularly with them since their introduction last year, I was eager to learn what the mighty Ringer had seen in them – perhaps something I might have previously overlooked? So when the opportunity arose I headed down to my local Grimsby Reservoir in Banbury for a taste of what it was like to use a world-beating combination on a venue very different to what I would normally associate with this kit.
The rod, like all Daiwa Tournament Pro models, has a build pedigree second to none. The blanks, made in Scotland, are at the cutting edge of carbon technology, delivering flex and action without compromising accuracy or casting power. There is, though, a pain barrier to go through, and it’s located in the wallet. This rod will set you back around £35 per foot, but if you think of the cost in this way it’s not too bad after all.
The jet black blank with its red-edged whippings simply oozes class. It comes with two of Daiwa’s unique Megatop carbon quivertips, so flexible that unless you actually slam them in a car door you’ll never break one.
But back to the fishing. Set up with an 8lb mainline matched with a 30g open-end feeder to cut through the niggling side wind, the pencil-thin blank seemed close to its maximum casting weight and in my hands it maintained accuracy to a distance of around 40m. That might well be increased in Mr Ringer’s hands, but I sensed the blank was at full stretch. That said, an 11ft rod is never going to break distance casting records, even if it is of the flagship Daiwa Tournament marque.
The real magic happens every time you hook into a fish – the blank’s outstanding forgiveness is a wonder to behold, yet it can shift up several more gears if necessary. Mr Ringer has undoubted sussed out that as long as your hook is big enough, this rod isn’t ever going to wrench it from a fish’s mouth. Yes, it will be every bit as good with natural-water bream, skimmers, tench and roach, as it is with commercial F1s and carp.
Did I miss anything out first time around? I think not. Back then I thought the 11ft Tournament Pro Feeder was the best rod Daiwa had ever produced, and the fact that it went on to become a world beater in the hands of the best feeder angler in the entire world came as no shock.