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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


26/07/2017 - Success with Chub at Last

4lb 14 ounce chub

Success with Chub at Last

Today I was on the riverside car park around 0600 hrs to be met by light rain, a strong wind with thick low clouds, overnight the river had dropped around eighteen inches. Pulling on chest waders, I collected my bait and tackle bag from the back of the car along with landing net, knowing I had the river to myself I chose to fish the weir pool, I was going to be standing waist deep in the river just upstream of the weir, I suppose it could be described as a scary place to fish, but I reckon the chub would be just below the stone weir. As the water crashed over the crest of weir crashing down a few feet it created a sight like a giant washing machine with spray being blown on the wind, as the water frothed and boiled you would think nothing could live in that water, I sat for some minutes watching the various currents flowing in different direction looking for an area where the chub would probably be waiting for food to be washed down to them, such as minnows and other small fry which would be part of the diet, as these small fish are whipped around in the white foaming water then pushed downstream. The area I would concentrate on was just below where the foam ended and where the creamy white foam was some yards further downstream.(see pic)

Simple Tackle

I chose a 10 foot soft action cane rod given to me by Stuart of Bennet’s Tackle Mount Sorrel, after being stripped down and given a facelift, it turned to be a great rod for chub fishing being soft with an all though action, though on my 80th Birthday I will get an Abbey Avon which Colin Culley rates as the number 1 chub rod. I matched the rod with my recently purchased Eureka reel from Jim Hudson a fellow member of TTF with some 6lb line, weight would be plasticine wrapped around an AA shot, the length between hook and weight would depend on the bait, also the weight could easily be moved up and down the line as required, the shot being very lightly pinched on the line. Baits would be bread flake, crust, cheese paste and luncheon meat.(see pic of baited hook and weight)

As I gingerly slid down the bank I could feel the push of water against my legs, as I did so I thought was I doing the right thing then said “Yes” to myself as my feet touched the gravel bottom, once in the water, I felt more comfortable, first job was to see if I could reach any fish with my landing, there was no problem. My problem if any would be netting the fish in the boiling water. Resting the net handle on a concrete slab, along with my bait and other bits and piece I was ready to go. My first bait choice was cheese paste that had been made some two years before, it had a good smell so hopefully the fish would scent out the bait.

Instant Chub Success

Making a simple under hand cast I dropped the cheese paste into the quiet water than stood waiting for some action, fifteen minutes later I got my wish as the rod tip pulled down in a determined manner, all I had to do was lift the rod then set the hook into an angry fish which didn’t shoot downstream but upstream into the white cauldron, which was to my advantage as I could then pull the fish to my left into the quiet water where for a few minutes the fish got some line, then I got it back but all the time I thought will I be able to pull it into the net? Eventually I pushed the net into the water to have it nearly ripped from my grip. After a few seconds I let the net down again tight to the wall. Then heaved the fish towards the net, somehow net and fish were together, then it was a struggle to pull the net upwards, eventually I had the net and fish in the river upstream of the weir. Having unhooked the fish which I estimated around 3lbs I released the fish, then pushed the rod and landing net up the bank before moving upstream to where I could get out of the river, it was a struggle to get up the steep bank as I grabbed at grass roots nettles etc until I was able to stand up then make my way downstream to the top of the weir on a firm bankside. I then took stock of the situation, after some thought I moved down the wall side of the weir a few feet where I could net any more fish from the quiet water without a problem, also I wouldn’t risk losing my net or even my footing. I could now sit on the top of the wall with my feet over the side and feel quite secure. Throwing in half a dozen pieces of cheese paste, I baited with another pigeon egg size bit of paste then cast roughly into the area where I had the first fish, ten minutes later I got a small tap then a steady pull, a bite one shouldn’t miss, the rod hooped over, the reel purred as it gave line, again the chub sought the sanctuary of the white water, but after a spirited fight I netted fish number two a chub that weighed 4lb 5 ounces, I was more than happy, after some blank sessions I was catching again. In the next hour I had two more 4lb plus chub, then nothing for over an hour despite trying other baits and fishing different area of the pool, not a touch. After putting in a few bits of meat I went for a walk and chat with a couple of my fly fishers who had both caught some trout, I then had a brew at the car before going back to my weir pool swim.

A Near 5lb Chub

Baiting with a thumb size piece of meat I cast into the fast water then allowed the bait to move down in the flow, it had gone some ten yards when I got a good pull and missed it, three times I rolled the bait down in the fast water then I got another pull, this time I connected with a good fish which shot off downstream for some yards I was forced to give line, I had a fight on my hands but slowly the balanced tackle was working nicely as I slowly got line back on the reel, eventually I had the fish in the quiet water where I eventually got my first glimpse of the fish, a chub I reckon might well be a five pounder. Eventually I netted my fish but the scales gave another story it didn’t go 5lbs but weighed in a 4lb 14 ounces I was more than happy and shot a quick picture. Sadly that was the end of my fish catching as I never had a touch in the next hour or so and called it a day a very happy angler




Weir pool

rig set up

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Martin James Fishing
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