fly fishing sport fishing freshwater fishing
Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


21/08/2020 - Two Different Days On The River

It’s amazing how each day at the waterside can be so different, yesterday the river had 3 feet on, walking down river I come to a big raft suspended next to a large willow bush, in normal conditions the spot has just a few inches of water, it’s where I often sit and trot a float down the stream. Today there would be three feet, just a foot from the bank there was little flow. I couldn’t resist putting a bait in for a few minutes, before moving off further downstream, I moulded a chicken egg size lump of beef sausage meat around a size 4 hook then quietly dropped the bait through the thick scum close to the willow bush. Five minutes probably less I noticed the line cutting through the scum towards the faster water. Striking I set the hook into a powerful fish, “Salmon” I thought as the clutch yielded line at a fast rate. I immediately moved upstream so I could get a different angle on the fish not knowing how far under water the willow branches reached. Ten minutes later I was able to draw the fish into a quiet backwater, I could see it was a barbel, where I let the fish thump around until I felt it was ready for netting, cramping on some extra pressure I walked slowly backwards while slowing drawing the fish towards the waiting net. I then quickly moved forward winding at the same time to keep the pressure on the fish, as it arrived over the net I lifted, there was just enough room in the net for the fish, then it was mine. I dropped the rod then went forward grabbing the net so I could drag it up the bank. I then struggled to get the fish in the weight bag, it pulled the needle down to 9 lb 12 ounces, putting the net in the water edge, I started to sort out the camera, then heard a splash, looking round I could see my prize had disappeared into the fast coloured water.

My First Choice Swim

After all the excitement and sadness, I moved off well downstream to a favoured swim in high water where I’ve had some very good catches, it’s not an easy swim I had a gap of no more than two feet between willow bushes and brambles, on a steeply sloping bank which ended six feet above the water. It’s also a swim where I need to use a dog spike and knotted rope, eventually I was seated on the ground, throwing in half a dozen lumps of sausage meat, I then added a shot to the line eighteen inches from the hook before moulding a lump of plasticine around the shot. Casting out I allowed the bait to bump slowly downstream until it reached an area of slower water where the depth increased around two feet, then sat holding the rod, I would say “Never put the rod in a rest, as you will certainly miss some bites”, I find with the line looped over my index finger I feel those tiny pickups that don’t register on the rod tip, but register on your finger, even more so if you use a fine braid. I fished for three hours without any sign of a pickup, so called it a day.

Another Swim On Another Beat

Today Thursday I fished a beat where I could sit under the branches of a large maple tree with several branches were no more than three feet above my head, which shielded me from the sun, behind me I had a steep bank topped off by a barbed wire fence with lots of brambles, I was also out of sight from the idiots who think they can go where they like. In this swim I used the same tackle set up but with a tiny piece of plasticine covering the shot, with sausage meat as bait, if that didn’t work I had some bread. Fishing from 0800 hrs until noon, I had around ten good bites I didn’t connect with a single one. I also tried bread crust and flake which was quickly devoured by a mass of small fry. Making the long walk back to my car I was thinking how did I miss those bites, but I had no answer, several hours after I still can’t answer the question.




Back to the News List

Martin James Fishing
Email: [email protected]