Another Brilliant Week In Ireland

Chris Vandervleit looks back on an enjoyable week competing in the Lakeland & Inland Waterways 2016 World Pairs Angling Championship with Gary Miller. 

Chris Vandervleit’s 12.25kg Day 5 catch from Garadice Lake.

The World Pairs in Ireland is a festival that Gary Miller and I always look forward to. This year was our third year in the event. This is an event decided by total weight rather than points. Last year we managed to come sixth, so we were hoping to get higher up the leader board this time.

As per normal we stayed at The Angler’s Rest in Ballyconnell. The first person to greet us and buy us our first Guinness was the owner, Francis McGoldrick, a very good angler, excellent host and now a very good friend.

First Day Practice Match

chris-vandervleit-world-pairs-15 chris-vandervleit-world-pairs-0The practice match is always spread around the venues, with sections in the South and North of Ireland. The draw took place in Enniskillen at Fishing Tackle & Bait. We met up with old and new friends and everybody was buzzing.

When the draw takes place there is a van draw, where anglers travelling together can draw the same section. When this is completed the rest of the pegs are put into the bag so anglers travelling on their own can draw. I had the pleasure of drawing for Gary and myself and drew us on the Grass Bank, which is the low numbers on the church section on Garadice Lake. I was on peg 10 and Gary was on 13. We were not too pleased as the section fished poorly the day before and it did for the rest of the week.

Tackle for the day was feeder at 50 metres and pole fished at 13 metres. Groundbait for the day and for the rest of the week was Bait-Tech Pro Natural Dark and Extra mixed 50/50.

After balling in on the 13m line I started on the feeder. First fish was a small hybrid of about 6oz. Next cast produced a skimmer of about 2lb, then an eel (which didn’t count as they are protected in Ireland).

chris-vandervleit-world-pairs-16As the match progressed the feeder line died. A quick look on the pole and in seven put ins I had seven roach up to 8oz, then not another bite. Back on the feeder I managed to catch several hybrids to 12oz.

At the end I weighed in 5.75kg. Gary managed to catch 6.5kg and Irish international Cathal Hughes won our small section on the pole with 7.19kg. Not great weights by Irish standards, but we learnt a lot.

Day One

chris-vandervleit-world-pairs-6Our draw rotation for the week put us on the Islands in Enniskillen. I was on Horse Island and Gary was on Inish Fovar. Peg 9 was my destination. After a boat trip to the island we still had two hours to set up. As Horse Island hadn’t been fished the day before, it was unknown how it was going to fish.

Three feeder rods were set up; two Acolyte Plus 12ft Feeders for fishing at 50 metres – one with a 50g window feeder and the other with a 35g front loading cage feeder – and an Acolyte Ultra 12ft Feeder for 25 metres with a 28g front loading cage feeder.

I started on the 50m line on the cage feeder. Second cast produced a 12oz roach. Next cast another roach. Third cast I lost a big hybrid in the weed and rocks in front of me. Straight after attaching a new hooklength I caught a 3lb hybrid.

Gary Miller’s Day One catch.


Throughout the day I stayed on this line catching 21.8kg of hybrids and roach which was third on the Island, beaten by 150 grams for second. Rod Scott won Horse Island and the county with 33.16kg. Gary also had a good day catching 16.7kg, giving us a good start to the week and putting us into eighth place.

Day Two

chris-vandervleit-world-pairs-12chris-vandervleit-world-pairs-7We were back to the hardest section of the week. I was on Church and Gary was on Lough Scur. My peg for the day was ten away from where I had practiced on the Sunday. Setting up the same methods as that day I managed to catch 5.6kg, mainly on the pole at 13 metres.

Gary caught 12kg which, as expected, wasn’t enough to keep us in the top 10. Hopefully that was the worst section out of the way!

Day Three

chris-vandervleit-world-pairs-2chris-vandervleit-world-pairs-11We were back in Enniskillen and I drew Greenies, which had fished very well on the three previous days. Gary was at Killadeas, which had also produced some very big weights, but only from the first four pegs.

My peg was end peg 2, which had actually been the worst peg in the section over the previous days with 9kg the best that had come off it. Gary had also drawn bad peg 13 on Killadeas. As you can imagine we were not very happy!

Two rods were set up to fish at 50 metres; one with a cage feeder and the other a 50g window feeder.

chris-vandervleit-world-pairs-4After a very slow start I caught a few small hybrids and roach. The anglers to my left were also struggling. Thankfully, as the match neared the end a few big hybrids turned up.

I managed to win my mini section with 14.9kg. Unfortunately Gary had a bad day, as we feared, and only caught 7.15kg and the low numbers in his section dominated.

We were still  in the race, however, as after three days we were now about 3kg off the top 10.

Day Four

chris-vandervleit-world-pairs-10Brackley and Bunerky lakes were our destinations. I was on peg 5 on Brackley, which again on paper wasn’t too good as 5kg had been the best weight off it all week. One thing in my favour was that the wind had picked up, which always makes the fish feed better.

My methods for the day was a 9m pole (it was too windy to fish any further), a feeder for 60 metres and another feeder rod for 45 metres, both with 50g window feeders.

chris-vandervleit-world-pairs-7I started on the 60m feeder line, which I only spent 30 minutes on as the anglers around me were catching a lot of fish on the pole. First look on my pole swim, which I had been loose feeding casters produced a small roach, then a hybrid. For about two hours I caught steadily, then the fish just disappeared when the sun came out.

At this point I decided to look on the 45m feeder line and swapped the window feeder for a cage feeder. After several quick casts I caught several roach then this line died for about 20 minutes, then in two casts two big skimmers of about 2lb each.

At this point there was 90 minutes of the match left, so I decided to stay on this line. I had to wait another 50 minutes for my next skimmer. I managed to weigh 14.6kg and Gary caught 10.7kg. We were now 6kg out of the top 10.

Day Five

chris-vandervleit-world-pairs-9Our final day was on Garadice Lake. Our pegs on paper were the best pegs we had drawn all week. I was on peg 10 on Cully’s Shore and Gary was on peg 8 on Connolly’s Shore. Both of these pegs had some form from the previous days. The problem was now the weather. The forecast was going to be horrendous – and it was! I have never fished in such bad conditions with the wind and rain in my face.

I set up two feeder rods, both for 35 metres; one with a cage the other a window feeder and a 9m pole. I started on the window feeder as the wind had already picked up and a window feeder is much easier to cast. After 30 minutes I had managed one bite, which was a hybrid.

Switching to the pole where I had been feeding hard balls of groundbait and casters as loose feeding was impossible. It was only 4ft deep here but I managed to catch approximately 150 roach from 1oz to 4oz over the next two hours. Then the wind picked up, creating 2ft waves and presentation was  now impossible. I had to fish the feeder for the last two hours for six more hybrids.

At the weigh in I had managed to catch 12.25kg. Gary managed to catch 17.2kg to give us a near-30kg day and a chance of a top-10 finish.

The Result

chris-vandervleit-world-pairs-8After drying off from the rain storm, which was like someone had put a hose on you, we went to the presentation evening. Our total weight was 132.875kg. Tenth place was 136.345kg. We finished just off the top 10 in 13th place. Close but not close enough!

It was still a brilliant week and I would like to congratulate all the top 10 pairs, especially the winners Jens Koschnick and his partner Thorsten Kusters from Germany who put in an incredible performance. Jens also won the Daiwa Cup.

Also I would love to thank all of the sponsors: Leitrim County Council, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Fermanagh & Omagh District Council, DAERA and Daiwa. Also the people who make this competition possible: Helen Rainsford, Kevin Locke, the boat, quad bike and tractor drivers and everyone that helps out. Another big thank you to Francis McGoldrick for his brilliant hospitality and, last but not least, my pairs partner and chauffeur Gary Miller.