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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


26/09/2020 - A Busy Day

Today Wednesday started off with finding some oil under my car, immediately I called the garage who look after my vehicle, they told check the oil level, not one familiar with the mechanics of vehicles, I drove to the garage, they immediately checked the oil level which was perfect, the mechanic then put the car up on a ramp, looking underneath there was a lot of hay, pulling off a handful Colin said “Its gear box oil, you need a new filter, the hay has wrapped itself around the drive shaft. You will have to leave it with us.” I had a fly casting lesson booked for 1000hrs, I called Bill to tell him of the situation, “No problem I will pick you up from the garage” Transferring all my gear to his vehicle it was off to the river.


After a brew and biscuit I explained how a fly rod works in conjunction with the fly line, why it’s most important to use the correct line weight for the rod, explaining how you need 30 feet of line to get the rod working, noticing the line wasn’t colour coded, I measured off 30 feet then marked it with a water proof marker. Bill said “Are we casting on the field, no I can't teach a pupil correctly on grass, we do it on the river, where you get to feel ther tension of the water that helps load the rod”. Dressed in waders and water proofs we head off to the river, I demonstrated a simple cast, of putting 30 feet of line on the water, lifting it off then replacing it in another direction, after half an hour of explaining and demonstrating what I wanted Bill to do. It was time for Bill to try, as usual with a new pupil, it was an hour of intense coaching, eventually he was getting to grips with the basics. I asked him to give me three good casts then it will be tea break time, fifteen minutes or so later he made three decent casts in succession, I gave him 5 out of 10 saying don’t despair as it will all work out in the end. Every half an hour I gave him a ten minute rest, at 1300 hrs we had lunch. It was then back on the water, more casting until I felt he’d done enough for one day, around 1600 hrs after more tea and biscuits he headed off home, having booked another day the following week.


It Was Time To Get Ready To fish


At 1730 hrs Anthony arrived having finished off some roof repairs, also a gate I needed fixed, I said “Let’s have some food”, kettle on, I set about preparing toasted cheese and pickle sandwiches for Anthony, heating up a boil in the bag meal for myself, It was nice to have a sit down having got out of our wet gear, looking outside the rain was still sheeting down, “It doesn’t look good for a chub fishing session” I said, Anthony answered “let’s give a few hours” 1830 hrs we headed off down river a walk of around a thousand yards, still the rain sheeted down, eventually we arrived at our chosen spot where a side stream flowed into the river, we were going to fish a few feet out in the river, depth was around five feet, tackle and baits were similar Avon action rods with a soft tip, ideal for chub fishing, matched with small fixed spool reels filled with braid, to which we both added two float stops to mould plasticine around then tied on a size 4 barbless hook, bait was meat paste. Having settled in our spots some four feet apart, casting out our baits in the same area. Every fifteen minutes we cast a fresh smelly bait in another area, as darkness immersed us the bats become active, often hitting the line giving us false bites, an occasional fish rolled, the river started to rise quickly, the stream turned a muddy colour. Debris was hitting and often catching on our lines, still no sign of a bite, my hands were suffering from the wet and cold, but I wasn’t prepared to put them in my coat pocket, I’m not happy just watching a rod tip, too many fish can be missed, to get the best out of chub fishing I feel better with the line over my forefinger, many of my chub bites have been a light pull or just the line going slack, which calls for an immediate strike, tonight nothing was happening but we persevered, on hearing the church clock strike ten we agreed it was time to pack up, I was wet through, my jacket was leaking like a sieve, as I walked back to the van, I thought its time I got a new coat. Back home I dumped everything in the garage then it was a hot shower and dry cloths, the end of another day.


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Martin James Fishing
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