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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


13/07/2019 - Eye Ball to Eye Ball with a Kingfisher

Meat and lob worm cocktail bait


Eye Ball to Eye Ball with a Kingfisher

I was on the river about 0500 hrs this morning, it was cloudy but quite warm, conditions looked good in the weir pool with lots of dissolved oxygen with a decent flow of water, fishing this area at the current time can be a bit risky with thick undergrowth, chest high nettles lots of brambles, so it’s extremely hard to see where the several holes averaging some six feet deep are, it was a slow job prodding with landing net handle so I could reach the top of the weir in safety. Having pushed and prodded my way to the water’s edge I was able to look into the pool, first job was to extend my landing net handle to see if it would reach the water, my luck was in so I could fish my chosen location and know I should be able to land any fish I might catch.

Making my way back up the bank I collected rod, reel and rod rest, a small tackle bag, my piece of sponge to sit on and the cool bag with the lobworms and luncheon meat, I had nearly got to the bottom of the steps when the bottom post holding the rope broke, thankfully I was holding the rope tight which stopped from falling down on the rocks of the weir pool. After a minute or so I got my senses going, then settled down in my swim. Having laid out my gear I pushed the rod rest into the hard ground, I was fishing with 1 LG shot wrapped in plasticine , bait would be meat followed by lobworms, if no results it would be a lob worm and luncheon meat cocktail which had been a good combination in the past especially for barble, but chub were my target today. Having cast out I rested the rod in the rest but held the rod at same time, suddenly out of nowhere a kingfisher perched on the rod less the six inches from my hand, the most colourful bird of our water ways, it looked down into the pool, no doubt thinking how lucky it was to have a perch and not just hover over the water flapping its wings. For some twenty seconds I was in wonderland, over my angling lifetime of seventy plus years I’ve had many kingfishers perch on the rod, on one occasion I had two youngsters and a parent bird.

Chub on Cocktail Bait

I fished hard rolling meat down the pool, nothing, after about thirty minutes I switched to two lobworms, another thirty minutes later with no sign of a fish, I switched to fishing lobworm and meat cocktail. Within minutes of casting out I felt a light pluck, braided line is perfect for much of my angling that these small plucks are felt through the rod, a minute or so later another pluck this time a bit more determined, five minutes later the rod was wrenched savagely, I didn’t need to strike the fish had hooked itself. This fish certainly used the powerful flow of water coming over the weir, as it moved into the full force of water, I had a series of hard jabs on the rod tip. Typical of early season chub it suddenly gave up the struggle then moved into the quiet water soon it was ready for netting, a good 4 lb fish I was more than happy. In the next hour I had five more chub around the 4lb mark including a very good fish which wasn’t flabby as the other chub, this one was very firm and gave a good account for some minutes, but then gave up, but it did give me a few anxious moments as it fought hard in the fast water of the weir pool. As I was drawing the fish up from the deep water I got my first glimpse of the fish thinking “That’s another good 5lb fish” eventually it was in the net, laying the fish on the grass I shot a quick picture then released the fish immediately as I could see it needed to get back in the water quickly, thankfully it did swim off strongly heading out towards the fast water of the weir pool. I fished on for another hour without a bite then gave up and went off to a local café enjoying some buttered toast with a mug of Yorkshire Gold tea.

Repairing the Rope and Post at the Weir Pool Footsteps

After breakfast I went back to the river to sort out the broken post at the weir pool footsteps, not an easy job, first job was to get all the tools from the store room to the weir pool a trip of around a thousand yards every time, my first trip I had a very heavy steel crowbar, along with a sledge hammer, back in the store room I collected a bucket of tools, back at the weir pool I then measured the length of the broken pole adding another twelve inches, back in the store room I sellected an eight foot fence post which was cut down to the size I wanted. By this time I was perspiring, sitting down I had a good drink of cold water while taking a breather for some ten minutes. Back at the weir pool I worked hard to create a good size hole to take the post, then with the post it in place I gave it a couple of taps with the sledge hammer, finally checking it was straight, I moved up a step to give myself a better swing then gave the post a good hammering. Checking it was firmly in place I attached the rope, another job finished. Having moved all the tools back to the store room, I collected my fly fishing gear then spent two relaxing hours fly fishing catching three nice trout, the end of another day at the waterside. 

My best chub

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Martin James Fishing
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