Chris Vandervleit won yesterday’s Bank Holiday Open at Lake John in Essex with an astonishing 228lb 8oz. Here’s how the southern match ace did it.
Mondays are probably the best day of a Bank Holiday Weekend as there is always an open match at Lake John. This has to be the best silverfish venue in the country, with a very good stocking of bream and skimmers as well as carp to 40lb. Any carp over 10lb have to be returned immediately and only count as 10lb. Personally, I try not to target the carp.
With Colin the fishery owner having the day off I helped run the match. With 16 anglers fishing I was able to give everyone a bit of room. At the draw I got a fellow angler to draw for me and peg 10 was my swim for the day.
Peg 10 is a very good peg with a lot form. It also has a large willow tree on the island opposite which is normally good for a few carp on the feeder. Today, however, I decided to leave the feeder rods at home and only fish the pole for bream and skimmers for the six-hour match.
After plumbing up I decided to fish at six metres on the shelf. Rigs for the day were 0.4g, 0.5g and 0.6g AS1 floats to 0.18mm Supplex line with an 0.14mm hooklength and a size 16 B911 hook. Elastic in the pole was 4-6 Aqua F1 & Silverfish Bungee. I also set up a bagging rig which was a 1g Drennan Carp 1 and a 0.16mm hooklength with a B911 16 hook and stronger 10-12 Yellow Carp Bungee elastic.
My bait for the day was eight pints of casters, half a kilo of worms and a pint of dead red maggots. These were to be fed over Bait-Tech F1 groundbait which is a new mix for me at Lake John.
At the start of the match I fed 250ml of worm and casters and four balls of groundbait. I started with the 0.5g AS1 but soon swapped to the 1g bagging rig due to the amount of small roach intercepting my three dead red maggots hook bait on the way down. I stayed on the gram rig for the rest of the match.
Bream and skimmers came steadily for a couple of hours. To keep them coming I topped up with a 250ml pot of worms and casters and two balls of groundbait every 15 minutes.
Three hours in I hooked and landed a bonus double figure carp which slowed the peg down for an hour. With two hours to go I decided to get a third keepnet, which turned out to be a good decision. I only caught around 25lb in the fifth hour but the last hour was a different story and I managed to add another 50lb to my weight.
I thought I had caught close to 200lb so I was really pleased to total 228lb 8oz. That included the 10b carp and 218lb of bream, skimmers, a few roach and hybrids for a nice match win and a day I’ll never forget.