Friday morning saw me and my "Fishing Companion" Rick Baxter travelling around the M25 to darkest Essex (yes we'd had our jabs and got our passports) for Carl Tamayo's annual two day "Chris Vandervleit Benevolent match / fishing lesson at Colin Bartlett's superb Lake John fishery. Obviously I'd rather have been working at Rainbow Trust Children's Charity where we do so much to support families across the country who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness but as this was the third year that Carl has arranged the event it would have been rude not to attend ! For those not knowing Lake John. it is full of skimmers / bream (100lb+ match weights of them are common) and loads of HUGE carp - 20lb+ fish are regularly caught but in matches any carp over 10lb counts as 10lb as this makes it a much more interesting match and means that it doesn't just turn into a carp match. If you've not fished Lake John then get yourself down there, you wont be disappointed, the owner Colin Bartlett is a bit of an odd ball but not a bad bloke and does run a superb fishery ! Anyway the pegs I fancied (mainly cos they might give me a chance of catching carp) were 7 10 11 12 32 33 34 35 36 and 38 or any others with a bit of room. So after a hearty breakfast and an explanation of the fishing times and rules, into the draw bag went the lucky left hand and out came............Peg 8.....Grrrrrrrrrrrrr For me, peg 8 was my worst nightmare as it had no room in the margins with Pegs 7 and 9 in and I really didn't fancy it at all. Arriving at my peg as Mr Grumpy, the sun was shining and I gave myself the "There are far worse things happening in the world than me not drawing a flier" talk, looked either side and had Pat Pritchard and Bruce Welfare for company and all was well in my fishing world again. Having seen the results of Wednesdays open and had a report from Rick regarding bait and tactics, my plan of attack was to be a carp line at the end of the bush, fishing meat and hemp. Corn at 6 metres, just feeding corn and a bomb and T Bag at about 30 metres whilst pinging a few 8mm pellets over the top. Simples. On the whistle I fed 3 pots of hemp, meat and micros by the end of the bush, a big pot of corn at 6 metres and pinged a few pellets on the T Bag line. The match began slowly for everyone and after 90 minutes. although I had a couple of decent skimmers at 6 metres, I knew I really needed to catch carp to finish high up in the section so decided to spend an hour on the T Bag. By now Pat's skimmer line was fizzing like a jacuzzi and he was catching a few skimmers on worm so the need to catch a carp was getting even greater ! Luckily after 30 minutes of inactivity, the tip went round and I was attached to something that was slightly bigger than a skimmer bream. A couple of minutes later I had my first "Put Back" (about 15lb) in the net and I was much happier as that was worth a skimmer or two. In the next hour I had one more carp of a similar size and a few decent skimmers on the T Bag before suffering a blank 90 minutes where I couldn't catch anything on the pole either. With an hour to go it was s*** or bust, I needed carp and with the bush peg being a biteless waste of time, the only way was to spend the last hour concentrating on the T Bag line. My hopes were raised when I could see a few blows out there and sure enough, I had 4 x 7lbers and a skimmer to finish the match with a not too shabby 69lb, third overall and a section win to carry into Day 2. Hathers won the match from Peg 36 with 123lb and Carl and Chris Vandervleit also won there sections. An enjoyable evening was spent in the company of 6 of my fellow competitors having a few beers (or cokes in my case) and a Turkish meal and when the favoured pegs for the next day discussion took place, it was a toss up between Pegs 33 and 36 for me. Unfortunately the weather had taken a serious turn for the worse overnight and we were to expect heavy rain and winds of up to 30MPH..............Lovely ! The good news however was that I drew Peg 33 as requested and nearly ran there (well a quickish walk) as Greggors was 2nd there the day before with 84lb and I really fancied it for a few Carp. My section was always going to be tough though with Bomber, Chris V (on his favourite Peg 36), Carl and Dickie Carr to beat. To cut a long and painful story short, it rained, the wind blew a lot and it rained some more. With 4 hours gone I was cold and my legs were soaked as my waterproof leggings weren't and I'd not had a bite on the T Bag, short pole or pole down the lovely margin to my left. I was so cold I had to go for a walk to warm up. Arriving back at my peg with two hours to go I decided to just spend it fishing down the edge as it was the only chance I had to do any good. I knew anglers had been having problems with foul hookers in the peg so just decided to cup in 10-12 pieces of 8mm meat every put in and see what happened. The rig was 0.18 colmic line, which may sound light for Lake John Munters but it does have a breaking strain of 10lb+, this had on it one of my home made 4 x 14 floats which was perfect on the 4 foot deep edge and a Size 14 Guru extra strong carp hook. The elastic was purple hydro and the pole my ever faithful Maver H10 edge pole which I've had for about 30 years or more. With an hour and 45 minutes to go, after a few indications I had my first bite down the edge and was soon netting a carp of probably about 18lb. Another one which was probably 20lb+ followed about 10 minutes later and with an hour to go I was thinking that if I could just catch another 4 in the last hour then I might just finish 2nd or 3rd in the section and give myself a chance in the 2 day overall pool. Unfortunately it was not to be as I managed to lose my rig on a snag and despite tying a near identical rig (which incidentally took me about 10 minutes to put a number 8 shot on as my fingers were numb by this time) I never had a fish in the final hour and finished up with 2 put backs for 20LB and last in the section. All in all a miserable days fishing in a peg I'd wanted to draw for ages and will probably not draw again. With Chris V winning our section with 94lb he once again took the overall victory (for the third year in a row) but it is always a pleasure to fish with him and we never mind giving him all our hard earned money ! Hathers finished 2nd in his section to finish on 3 points and 2nd overall which isn't bad for a bream plipper. So that was it for this years Lake John 2 dayer, despite the day 2 weather I had a great time, thanks to Carl for organising it and to Colin Bartlett for his company and use of his superb fishery. I will add some more results as soon as Carl posts them somewhere.