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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


15/06/2015 - Another Week on the Ribble

A Wigan barm-joe

Monday 8th June Yesterday Sunday 7th June I had a very busy day at the Prince Albert Angling Society Open day at Ribchester which was once again very well supported with hundreds of anglers from all over the Northwest, this very popular show had something for everyone, also it was all free including car parking. A big thank you to the Chairman, committee and the army of volunteers who made the event so successful, when I eventually arrived home all I wanted to do was sit in my favourite armchair and listen to some relaxing music on BBC Radio 3, then at 2100 hrs I listened to 2 hours of top class jazz on BBC Radio 2. This morning I read about Chris Mutton's success at being awarded the 'Barbel of the year' Barbel Society Cup. Congratulations young man on your award I'm sure it was very well deserved. It around 1000hrs when I arrived on the river bank in bright sunshine, blue sky with white fluffy clouds, having walked the beats, I helped a member having trouble with his casting, it was quickly sorted, after stretching, cleaning and polishing his line that hadn't been cleaned for some time, a happy member was casting a decent line. I then spent an hour or so clearing grass from the water's edge before going off for a mug of tea, about 1200hrs with the occasional fish showing I chose to have a couple of hours casting a fly. After about fifteen minutes I started feeling feint so thought I should stop wading and return to the cabin for a brew, after a rest I felt well enough to drive home arriving just after 1400hrs.


Tuesday 9th June cold cloudy day, with the wind ruffling the water surface in most areas of the river, no flies coming off just the odd fish causing a dimple on the surface as it intercepted a nymph or emerger, it was nice to see some of the water crowfoot in flower, certainly a sign of summer. Sadly it wasn't going to be a fishing day for me, I would be teaching a newcomer to fly fishing which entailed instructing him how to cast and learning how to fish the upstream nymph or free lined nymph also the dry fly. Dennis arrived at 1000hrs after a brew I showed him how to stretch his line, explaining how important it is to make sure leaders are also stretched, I demonstrated the Tiefast tool also how to use it for attaching leader to fly line or backing to fly line, it's the best little tool that a fly angler can own, usually available from Orvis shops. On the river I explained how important it was to ensure the line weight matched the rod, also how you need thirty feet of fly line outside the top guide to load the rod. An hour Dennis was making overhead casts allowing the piece of wool at the end of the leader to settle like thistledown, we then went onto casting across and against the wind, after about an hour we went off for lunch, after making two mugs of tea, Dennis laid out his lunch. I've been told that if you live in Wigan you enjoyed eating pies, he proved it in a fine way with his Wigan barm cake or a WIGAN barm-joe. A meat and potato pie between a large barm see pics 0968. he also had another barm with thick slices of beef cheese and lettuce, Dennis is just a very small slim guy, while I coped with my normal whole meal sandwich, Dennis put his two away before I'd finished. Back on the river I had Dennis go through all the lessons of the morning to ensure he hadn't forgotten, then we moved on to single haul, changing casting direction roll cast then more instruction on how to fish the nymph or fly. Around 1600 hrs we ended the day with Dennis making a good donation to one of my charities, I got home about 1700hrs,


Wednesday 10th June bright sunshine blue sky with a cold north easterly wind, a fish would show then just as I thought that fish was for catching the wind ruffled the surface putting the fish down. I was on the river just after 0500hrs, I started at the bottom of the beat fishing a large Dunkeld pattern in some fast water, catching three nice sea trout averaging 4lbs, then got busted off, an hour later with no more signs of fish I moved to the top of the bottom beat. About 1000hrs I was feeling quite rough with a lot of pain from my Diverticular disease, back at the cabin I had a brew then sat in the sunshine for a while before deciding to go home. I spent the rest of the day reading and listening to Radio 4.


Thursday 11th another bright sunny day with cold North Easterly wind, the river was low and gin clear when I arrived at 0900hrs this morning, I walked downstream to the high bank of the riverside wood, sitting quietly in one of my hides I watched a kingfisher dive then return to its perch with a small fish, it flew a few yards downstream where I noticed another bird, watching the area closely I was surprised to see a family of three youngsters with another adult. Most of the morning was spent watching this family of kingfishers, far better than trying to catch another trout, there would be plenty of time for that. Eventually the whole family flew off downstream. At 1240hrs I made my way back to the cabin for a brew, walking upstream I admired the flowering water crowfoot thinking to myself "It's been a hard few years working on the river to get it looking like a proper river both for game and coarse fish". See pic 20150611 The added bonus with all the plant life was plenty of cover for small fry also bigger fish, the tremendous increase in fly life such as the Iron Blue hatches have to be seen to be believed. Back in the cabin I put the kettle on then sat reading a book An Anglers Entomology by LA Harris F.R.E.S. I've had this book since 1952 which is so informative, after all these years I'm still getting to understand the subject which of course helps me learn more about the aquatic life. Back on the river I sat looking for rising fish, see pic 20150604 I suppose I spotted half a dozen fish but non showed more than once, so I didn't make a cast. At around 1400hrs my friend Mick Holgate of ‘Kingfisher rods' turned up, my first job was to strip off his old fly line, then put a new one in its place, adding a new leader at the same time. Our first session was spent discussing the insect life in the river, how to choose a suitable pattern to match the hatch, many anglers think matching the hatch is using a pattern to simulate flies coming off, you must also study the various nymphs and other bugs and match those, I reckon most of the trout's food will be nymphs, followed hatching flies then land based insects, you would be amazed at the quantity of grubs flies etc. that get blown into the water. I pointed Mick to a pool further downstream while I fished a small length above some rapids, catching a nice brace of trout, while Mick had a trout from downstream. After a tea break we went off downstream again, Mick to his first spot I chose again to fish the wooded stretch, we both caught, Mick had a nice sea trout estimated at 3lbs also a very good out of season grayling as he said "A very heavy fish well over the pound mark" plus a decent trout, all on a small nymph I suggested he try. Several good sea trout see moving but difficult to tempt. It was quite late when we left the river.


Friday 12th June I had a bailiffs meeting at 1000hrs to sort out coverage of the fishery, we then went off for an early lunch in a nearby café, the afternoon was spent visiting the library for some books to take away, getting together all my shopping, cloths and tackle for my week on the River Wye, apart from trying to catch a few decent chub I'm hoping to temp some nice trout and grayling on a dry fly or nymph, also relaxing with a good novel. My Lone Angler bank sticks and rear locking rod rests along with some bait arrived early this morning. If you're in the market for a decent back rod and bank stick, I suggest you leave a reminder around the house for Father's Day on Sunday June 21st, they are the usual Lone Angler high quality, see pic IMG 0881 the best locking rear rod rest I've seen and used. I will take this opportunity to wish you all a good fun start to the season on June 16th, enjoy not just the fish but all your surroundings including the wildlife.


Water Crowfoot in flower

Watching for feeding trout

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Martin James Fishing
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