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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


30/06/2018 - A Week On The Beult Part 2

The LAA water on the River Beult

I left you the reader as Russ and Matt returned home leaving me alone in the cottage. After a shower I tidied up then mopped the floors. After some tea while sitting in the garden, I had a shower before going off to bed around 2100 hrs. I was up and about around 0600hrs, today 20th of June I would be fishing with John Woods the President of the LAA, I also promised John that I would supply lunch which I prepared before having a bowl of cereal for breakfast, then the day started badly as I went to put the lunch boxes in the car, I realised I hadn’t got the keys, returning to the cottage I found the door had locked on me, no way could I go and ask for another key so early in the morning, I sat in the garden until 0730 hrs, thankfully the family were up and about so no problem, eventually the car was loaded and off I went. We had arranged to meet around 0800 hrs, with a few minutes to spare, pulling up at the gate John was waiting with the gate open, driving through, I parked, then shut and locked the gate, before driving down to the riverside car park.

                                                 Kettle On For A Brew

Putting the kettle it wasn’t long before we were drinking a fresh brew of Yorkshire Gold. After discussing various friends, we switched to the various ways of fishing. John was going to fish the pole, I watched as he load up his electric trolley, the amount of gear was amazing, his chosen swim was the third one in the bottom field, roach were the target for both of us. I went off upstream to my swim shaded from the sun by a large willow, offering some shade, hopefully the roach would be present among the pads or just out a few feet out. I put in two handfuls of crumb loaded with hemp, then added a handful of hemp, I would feed half a dozen grains of hemp every cast baiting with a single tare.I set up a Milwards Swim Master matched with my “Beult” centre pin made by Watermole, it’s such a wonderful product it wouldn’t look out of place in a Bond Street jewellers, such is the fine craftsmanship. With the use of a line threader made for me by Russ I had the line through the guides quickly then put on a float stop, I threaded the line through a sliding float taking 3 AAA gravel shot, pinched lightly on the line 3 feet from the hook, with one BB on the line about 6 inches from a size 12 hook. I really like these gravel shots they are soft, easily opened by a finger nail.I then put together my seventeen foot pole, unlike in the past when we used silk topping, Tony Booker had made me some elastic toppings, to which I could attach the line, holding float, shot and hook. I chose not to use the whale bone tip, but a split bamboo tip that Lee Price of Cane & Able had made for me. Having sorted out my two outfits, I added more hemp then went off to look at some other swims. Fifty yards upstream I had a very attractive swim with lots of bulrushes, so I put in some ground bait holding chopped worms, hopefully it might produce a good perch or tench later on, perhaps a big roach. Back in my swim I started to fish, feeding hemp baiting with a tare, I soon started catching some nice roach, but a pike was proving troublesome. I baited another swim two rods further out in the hope the better roach would move out from the pads to escape the attention of the pike.

                                                                 A Very Rare Event

I suppose it was around thirty minutes later when I chose to fish an area two rods lengths out after half an hour I hooked what I thought was a good roach which turned out to be a hybrid, but it did pull the string. In the next seven casts I had seven more hybrids between a pound and a pound and a half. I was very surprised, usually you only tend to catch one hybrid in a session, though in Ireland you can catch big hybrids all day long. After adding some more ground bait and hemp in the second choice swim, I went off to make a brew for myself and John, when I got to John’s swim, I found he was catching roach and perch, he said “you get a few then they go off” it was a similar pattern for me during the previous two days. I was amazed at the amount of tackle, he had several short poles for close in work, a medium length pole for midstream, then the long pole for the far bank. John was fishing three swims two close in, the other towards the far bank. I was impressed at the way he fished the float as a tiny dot on the water. While I watched him he didn’t miss a bite, a couple of roach were around the pound mark. Back in my swim I started to catch again from the second swim two rod lengths out. As I was bringing in a roach around the twelve ounce mark I caught sight of a frog swimming upstream, then a pike chose to attack, I was amazed to see the frog hop onto a large lily pad leaf, the pike looked puzzled as the frog froze, it was fascinating watching the pike as it slowly cruised around just under the frog which didn’t move, I reckon it had also slowed its breathing. I decided to give the frog a chance by sticking my landing net in the water which frightened off the pike, ten minutes later the frog still hadn’t moved, I then put the net over the frog managing to get it in the net, then dropped it on the grassy bank where it would be safe if it didn’t get found by a Grass Snake.

                                                      Out With The Pole

Talking of grass snakes I watched one swim across the river straight towards me, but unlike Matt who had his camera ready I didn’t so missed a good shot. As I sat on the bank having lunch I watched the roach swimming around, occasionally a good fish of a pound plus put in an appearance but sadly I couldn’t catch one though I did come close at times.Time to use the pole, I really do find this ideal for fishing the Beult, I can comfortable fish over the pads and bring the fish to hand with ease. I started off fishing tares, then when the roach went off, I switched to small pieces of lobworm catching several perch but nothing over twelve ounces. Fishing punched bread I caught three 2lb bream, thinking I might have some bigger bream in the swim, I switched to a size ten hook with bread flake, half an hour later with no bites I switched baits still no bites. The fish had gone, it didn’t matter what I tried I couldn’t get a bite. As it was near 1700 hrs I packed away my gear then went to see how John was doing, he had also packed up as we agreed to leave at 1700 hrs. It had been an interesting day for both of us and we agreed we should do it again.

                                                                         Gift Of An Avocet

Back in the cottage I sat down, then fell asleep, waking up about two hours later I had some tea then waited for Tony Booker to arrive when I could give him a big thank you present.Gift of an AvocetMy mate Tony arrived around 2200 hrs I soon had a fresh brew and sandwich for him, sitting down I related what had happened over the previous few days, I then showed Tony his bedroom and helped him unload his gear. With everything sorted we sat down chatting and drinking more tea for some time, around 0030 hrs I presented Tony with a thank you present for all his help over recent years, I have known for several years he wanted an Avocet, since then I’ve tried to get one, a few weeks ago Bumble told me he had one to sell, I accepted his offer with grateful thanks, when Tony opened the rod bag, then assembled the rod, the smile on his face was my reward. It had a whole cane butt, built cane middle and top joint made by B James of London for the 1959 Boat Show. After chatting about the rod we went off to bedrooms. Next morning after some breakfast we made the short drive to the river, again the look on Tony’s face told me I had done right in inviting him to this delightful venue, in the car park we met up with Rob Burt and Kevin Dyer, not only two good anglers, but people you can rely on for quality advice and trust. I took Tony on a long slow walk of the beat, then we headed back to the car park for a brew and sort out some tackle. Tony was equipped with pole fishing gear along with running line tackle, he is an extremely good angler, including lure fishing. I’d suggested he bring some lure fishing gear which he had, Today the wind over night had gone from a south westerly direction to a north westerly direction, with some very strong gusts, we chose to fish the top field, targeting the roach, but it wasn’t easy, I felt the change in wind direction has slowed up the fish, we ended with just a few roach and small perch each. After a lunch break, Matt turned up with his wife Alison, after a warm welcome, Matt went off to show Allison the fishery, while we both changed swims. This time I chose a swim on the bottom field as did Tony, he switched to pole fishing. I took time out from my fishing to watch Tony, it was a good learning curve for me as he switched from a far bank swim after a few fish, to fishing close in, tight to some overhanging bushes which created a shaded swim from the bright sunshine. After an hour I went back to my swim.

                                                               Roach On The Feed

I started off feeding hemp baiting with corn, catching the odd roach about six ounces, it was the pound plus roach I wanted. Having said that it was very pleasant as the float kept submerging. All to soon it was time for tea. Afterwards we went back to our swims, this time I fished a small soft pellet that Matt had given me when we fished a water in Hampshire a couple of weeks previously, I also painted the hook with some Tipp-ex, every cast I threw in a few grains of hemp baiting with a soft pellet, having the hook painted white I hoped the pellet resembled a bigger piece of hemp, immediately I had a take on the drop a fish about 12 ounces, quickly followed by six more fish of similar size. I rested the swim for ten minutes, but continued feeding a few grains of hemp every couple of minutes, as I only had 45 pellets I didn’t introduce any as a free offering. I then had a two hour spell catching good roach virtually every cast with several fish weighing 14 ounces these I quickly weighed hoping for a pound roach, it didn’t happen, the best was 15 ounces. Towards the end of the session, Tony appeared then sat there for a while watching me catch a fish virtually every chuck. It was roach fishing at its best, Tony went off back to the car for a brew, I was content catching roach. Eventually it was time to leave, I said to Tony “If it had been a match I would have been in the frame today” with some 25lbs. I don’t think my feet touched the ground as I headed back to the car park, my “Beult” centre pin had for the first time been given a good workout. That night I lay in bed reliving the evenings fishing.

                                                           Perch and Pike on Soft Plastics

Next morning Tony chose to target the perch and pike with soft lures, I baited two swims, one I fished the previous evening, also the fence swim, then I had a good look around including visiting the bulrush swim at the top end of the top field, I chose to start in this swim. An hour later I pulled out, I hadn’t had a bite, returning to the swim of the previous evening. It was a struggle for some five hours, with just one bite which I missed, around 1600 hrs Tony turned up. I said “Did you catch” he related his fishing session telling me had 5 perch and 4 pike, missing several pike which swirled away from the lure at the last moment. As he sat there watching me I had a bite hooking a roach about 6 ounces, as I did so a pike shot up from the depths grabbing the roach and refusing to let go, as I started gaining some line the pike released the roach, then immediately grabbed it again, at the time Tony was chatting to his friend Andy and describing the events, we were both laughing at the events, in total the fish grabbed the roach seven times, then some how the size 14 hook was attached to the pike, I quickly landed a fish about 4lbs. In the next hour I had two more bites getting two small roach. I then packed up, reaching the fence swim I found Kevin Dyer fishing, he’d just had a 4lb 12 ounce tench on a grain of corn. So ended a week of great fishing with great friends. Matt said “What about fishing later in the season”? I immediately booked the cottage that evening for the last week of September when we will all meet up again.

John Wood LAA President pole fishing

Roach bream hybrid

Kevin Dyers tench

Kingfisher with catch

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Martin James Fishing
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