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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


27/06/2015 - Trout Chub and Sea Trout from River Ribble



Monday June 22nd After a visit to my dentist I arrived on the river around 1000hrs, having had a few days on the river Wye catching chub, it was back once more on my local river Ribble, as I showered this morning I could see my shoulder was black and blue from last week’s fall down the river bank on the Wye also quite painful, I wouldn’t get any relief by sitting around at home, though I could probably forget the pain if I caught some chub or trout. I can now fish for both species as the coarse fishing season is open. It was a cold windy day with showers, the river low and clear, I reckon we need at least two days of heavy rain to give the river a good flush, after pulling into the car park I put the kettle on, then put together a chub fishing outfit adding a bag of Lone Angler cheese paste with some cheese flavoured dumbbells into my bait and hemp bucket, I describe this bag as my roving bag, it also contains a box of hooks along with some L G shot. Hearing the whistle of the kettle I made a fresh brew, then put some cornflakes in a bowl then adding milk, with an early appointment at the dentist, I didn’t have breakfast before leaving home, I enjoyed my breakfast as I read the Daily Mail, swallows were hawking the field outside for insects, but every few minutes two or more swallows flew through the open door then settled in the rafters for a few minutes, see pic 0097, it was most delightful hearing their chatter before they flew away. What a great way to start the day. Thirty minutes later I’m ready to catch a chub, early in the year a tree crashed down mostly in the water with just a short length of the trunk partially attached to the base of the tree, this stopped the tree being swept away in the floods, it’s created a great looking chub holding area. I’d been dropping bait size bit of paste in the area for some three weeks, no weight was needed in the slow flowing water I just moulded a pigeon egg size chunk of cheese paste on a size 4 barbless hook, a simple underhand cast had the bait settled under the branches in five feet of water. Some five minutes later I felt a pluck then a good pull, the strike connecting with a fish, the rod over hooped the reel giving a few feet of line. I let the fish twist and shake its head without giving more line, then started to get line back on the reel, soon a chub about 3lbs was being drawn over the waiting net, nicely hooked in the scissors, slipping out the hook I lowered the net in the water then watched the fish swim slowly upstream. In the next half an hour I had two fish of similar size, then nothing after an hour I made my way back upstream for a brew also to exchange chub gear for a fly fishing outfit. What I will say if its chub you want then got onto these two baits. Pic 0983

Six Good Trout on a Size 16 Olive Body Klinkhammer

Having enjoyed a fresh brew, I walked downstream then through a mall copse for about a thousand yards as I did so ‘I thought how horrid life would be without my Yorkshire Gold tea, after the copse I arrived at a small pool with branches of a horse chestnut tree hanging well out over the water, offering shade and food in the form of caterpillar’s and beetles that would fall from the leaves and branches into the water, as boys we called them conker trees. At the head of the pool in the riffled water I could see a trout taking emerges of the large brook dun, my choice of fly was hopefully the correct one, moving further back from the pool I made my way downstream some fifteen yards, as I was going to cast a cloud covered the sun lowering the light level, giving me a better chance of presenting the fly without spooking my quarry. A minute or so later I made a cast dropping the fly some five feet upstream of the fish which was still feeding avidly, as I made the cast upstream and across, I put a wiggle in the rod so the line landed with a wiggle giving me a slightly longer drag free drift. Just before, as the fly drifted downstream I slowly lifted the rod taking in slack line but only for a short time span as the fish engulfed my fly, as the turned down I gently tightened. ‘Success’ as the rod hooped over a good fish headed downstream through the fast broken water into the pool below, slowly I gained line on the reel, I could see the fish in the clear water twisting and turning also rubbing its nose on the bottom, in its endeavour to get rid of the hook or break the line, it wasn’t successful as I pulled the fish into the net, a lovely brown trout measuring out at 18 inches, slipping out the barbless hook I watched the fish swim off fast to the opposite bank. In the following two hour session I caught five more trout between 14 and 17 inches then returned upstream for a very late but welcome lunch and fresh brew. I had another hour after lunch catching three more good fish between 16 and 18 inches then packed up as I had a doctor’s appointment at 1520hrs

Tuesday 23rd June bright sunny day, after getting a haircut I was on the river at 0920hrs to meet my pupil Dennis Wilding for his second fly fishing lesson, today I would have him fishing dry flies and upstream nymph to represent a caddis, after a brew and biscuits Dennis put together a 9 foot 6 weight outfit with floating line and 10 foot leader. I gave him a Pheasant tail nymph to start with, after walking across the meadow to the river we sat on the bank for a while to see what flies were coming off, also to see if any fish were showing, in half an hour we spotted three fish taking emerges, I suggested we move downstream in the hope some insects falling off the riverside trees, as we sat surveying the water several good fish swirled on the surface either grabbing bugs falling from trees or taking emerges perhaps chasing fry which were in abundance, I quickly changed the fly on Dennis’s rod to a pattern to imitate a small fish.

Dennis Hooks His First Brown Trout

A few casts later Dennis is hooked up to a good fish which bored deep twisting and head shaking in its bid to get rid of the hook. It didn’t work after seven or eight minutes Dennis was able to net a lovely brown trout which measured out at seventeen inches. See pic 009 It was unhooked then a quick picture before being released. In the session before lunch Dennis had another good fish, then got broken off by another trout. After lunch we fished another stretch of river where Dennis using the same tactics caught 5 trout losing two others and missing a few takes. I was impressed with his fly fishing ability after just two days of instruction. During the last two hours I just sat on the bank to observe, leaving Dennis to fish on his own, he was more than capable. It was 1630 hrs. when we headed off to the cabin agreeing it had been a good day, after packing all our gear in our cars we said our good byes then departed for home.

Wednesday24th June I was on the river at 0800hrs this morning, there would be no chance of fishing I had lots of work to do in the river around the river bank also in the wood, after a brew I made several trip to the river bank carrying some steel boxes which were placed in several areas of the river where small fish could take shelter from goosanders and high water conditions, several of these boxes were placed underneath the flowing water crowfoot. These boxes would also encourage nymphs and invertebrates especially caddis. It wasn’t until 1400hrs before I got chance to have a brew with a beetroot wholemeal roll as my lunch. I then went off into the wood to check rat and mink traps, I was lucky to find six rats, no mink, I did shoot three grey squirrels, I also had the pleasure of watching three young robins outside the nest being fed by a parent bird, I then spent ten minutes watching a pair of roe deer. The bird song was comforting, occasionally I heard the crash of a good fish in the river, no doubt a salmon waiting for a lift on the river. Around 1600hrs I made my way back to the car park having put all the tools in the back of the car I went off home.

Thursday 25th June over cast but a warm day, it looked as if we might get some badly needed rain but it didn’t happen, Dennis Wilding joined me on the river around 1000hrs, I left him to fish on his own today to see how he would cope. Meanwhile I went off upriver to fish a pool over hung by beech trees with some fast water in the hope of catching a sea trout in the low light level, it worked on my second cast fishing a size 8 Dunkeld I got a hit, setting the hook it looked as if there was an underwater explosion as the fish swirled then shot skywards, it looked a good one, I reckon it took ten minutes or more before I was able to net a fine fish estimated at around 6lbs, I was a happy angler with this result, as I watched it swim off upstream into the fast broken water I thought what an exciting fish sea trout are. During the morning session I also had seven good trout fishing an imitation caddis pattern. Around 1400hrs my friend Mick Holgate of ‘Kingfisher’ rods turned up, I caught more trout, while Mick had a brace also losing what we thought was a big fish. I was fortunate to catch another sea trout on a caddis fly stripped across the surface estimated at 4lbs plus the black spots were the size of half a crown looking spectacular against the silver body of the fish. I ended my session with twelve trout and two sea trout, I decided I didn’t want to catch any more fish. Mick fished on for another hour while Dennis left around 1700hrs having caught four good trout losing two others. Mick fished on until 2000hrs with no more fish, we decided to go home. All in all a very good days fly fishing for everyone.

Friday 26th June I was on the river at about 0830hrs the sky was overcast with a light shower lasting a few minutes which seemed to happen about every twenty minutes, no chance of this light rain being of help to the river flows. By 1130hrs the rain had ceased. I chose not to fish as I felt they were likely to get stressed in the low water, high water temperature and of course low oxygen content, I hate to think how the barbel and chub might suffer when they are put in a keep net by some people. I will either fish the weir pools or turn my attention to the mullet on the coast. I spent an hour in the wood where I was lucky to get a mink and three rats then went off home about 1500hrs. So ended another good week on the river, the forecast for the next week is hot dry weather, the date of Peover Show in Cheshire is Sunday 16th August 2015, I will be giving two talks Fly Fishing for Pike, followed by What You Need To Know and How to use Lone Angler Paste and Dumbbell baits, I will also give away Lone Angler bags of flavoured bait to many lucky visitors at the show. Further details of the show nearer the time.


Lone Angler cheese paste and dumbells

Dennis first brown trout

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Martin James Fishing
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